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Sep 27, 2013

Government shutdown would hit Pentagon civilians – again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department will put half its 800,000 civilian employees on unpaid leave next week and halt military activity not critical to national security if Congress fails to resolve a looming funding crisis, Pentagon officials said on Friday.

The U.S. military’s 1.4 million uniformed personnel would continue fighting the Afghanistan war, patrolling the Mediterranean off Syria and conducting other operations considered necessary for security, but they wouldn’t get paid until Congress resolves the spending dilemma, officials said.

Sep 27, 2013

U.S. government shutdown would hit Pentagon civilians – again

WASHINGTON, Sept 27 (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department
will put half of its 800,000 civilian employees on unpaid leave
and halt military activity not viewed as vital to national
security in the event of a
government shutdown next week, a senior Pentagon official said
on Friday.

The department’s 1.4 million military personnel would keep
working even if Congress fails to reach a deal to fund
government operations after the start of the 2014 fiscal year on
Oct. 1, Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale told reporters.

Sep 23, 2013

Security check of Navy Yard attacker did not mention 2004 shooting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy said on Monday it did not know Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis had once shot out the tires of a car in Seattle before it let him into the service in 2007 and granted him a security clearance, only that he “deflated the tires” on a car.

The disclosure raises new questions about screening investigations conducted by the Office of Personnel Management using the company USIS, which carried out the checks on both Alexis and former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, who is accused of disclosing top secret documents.

Sep 19, 2013

Budget uncertainty crippling military, Pentagon officials say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With lawmakers spoiling for another fight over federal spending ahead of the new fiscal year next month, senior Pentagon officials are trekking to Congress with a sobering message: budget uncertainty is wreaking havoc with the armed forces.

The top U.S. military officers and senior defense officials warned in separate hearings this week that annual budget gimmickry plus across-the-board spending reductions of $50 billion are forcing them to cut back in ways that leave much of the military poorly trained and unready to respond in a crisis.

Sep 19, 2013

Military background checks not re-examined for a decade unless concerns raised

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – People who seek “secret” security clearances to work at U.S. military installations undergo background checks that are good for a decade and are not re-examined unless derogatory information is presented to authorities, defense officials said on Wednesday.

The department is working on a pilot program that would automatically send records of arrests or criminal charges to the appropriate defense officials. But the project is in the early stages and the Pentagon depends largely on individuals or their supervisors to report any misconduct, officials said.

Sep 18, 2013

Hagel says ‘red flags’ missed before Navy Yard shooting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday the suspected Washington Navy Yard gunman’s background presented some “red flags” easy to spot in hindsight and ordered a broad review of security worldwide, including clearances.

Aaron Alexis, the 34-year-old suspect who was killed by police during Monday’s shooting, received a security clearance more than five years ago when he was still in the Navy and kept it in his most recent job as a technology contractor at the Navy Yard.

Sep 16, 2013

Oldest Navy facility is site of U.S. shooting, despite security checks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Washington Navy Yard, where 13 people were killed in a shooting rampage on Monday, is a sprawling walled complex that covers about 16 city blocks in the rapidly developing southeast corner of the U.S. capital, not far from its new baseball stadium.

Officials have identified the suspected shooter as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis and said he previously served fulltime in the U.S. Navy Reserve. But they have not publicly released details about how the suspect, who was killed in the shooting, entered the complex, which has multiple security checks.

Sep 13, 2013

U.S. poised to ramp up withdrawal of gear from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon is poised to ramp up its withdrawal of military equipment from Afghanistan in a massive logistics effort expected to cost up to $7 billion, a defense official said.

The U.S. military is planning to send home some 24,000 vehicles and 20,000 shipping containers of gear collected in Afghanistan during a dozen years of war, the official said.

Sep 12, 2013

China navy chief says operational aircraft carrier a few years away

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Chinese navy is using its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, for training and testing and will decide on an operational carrier for the fleet after a few years of evaluation, Admiral Wu Shengli said on Thursday.

The navy chief of the People’s Liberation Army, on a military-to-military visit with his U.S. counterpart, told reporters at the Washington Navy Yard that Chinese sailors would carry out “very heavy” training over the next two or three years as they assess the carrier.

Sep 12, 2013

After seeing Iraq up close, top U.S. general wary on Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – America’s top military officer General Martin Dempsey has already seen one Middle Eastern civil war. He is much more cautious about involvement in another.

While Dempsey, 61, has argued in favor of the White House’s idea of limited military strikes against Syria and arming moderate rebels, he has made clear his lack of enthusiasm for widening America’s role in the conflict much beyond that.

    • About David

      "David has been a journalist for 30 years, based in Washington, London, New Delhi, Jerusalem and Philadelphia. He covered the first Gulf war, the Palestinian intifada and the conflict in Kashmir. Since 1998 he has been an editor and reporter in Washington, covering politics, the White House and other stories."
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