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Mar 5, 2014

U.S. Air Force to fund rescue helicopter in last-minute reversal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force decided on Tuesday to start work on a new rescue helicopter by United Technologies Corp’s Sikorsky Aircraft in fiscal 2015, a surprising turnaround hours after the Pentagon told Congress the program had been postponed.

Air Force Secretary Deborah James made the abrupt decision on the Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) program shortly before officials began briefing reporters about the Air Force’s budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1.

Mar 4, 2014

With 2015 budget, Pentagon looks beyond Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon unveiled a $496 billion base budget on Tuesday that shifts the United States from its war-footing for the first time in a dozen years, cutting the size of the military to pay for training and new weapons systems in an era of tighter spending.

The budget sets the Obama administration on a collision course with Congress by seeking to eliminate popular older weapons and reform military compensation while proposing an additional $26.4 billion in military spending to be paid for by closing tax loopholes and cutting mandatory spending.

Mar 4, 2014

Fear of losing tech edge factors into Pentagon budget plans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Concerns that cuts in defense spending could erode the U.S. military’s technological edge over rivals such as Russia and China are in part driving the Pentagon’s plans to slash troop levels and retire aging weapons.

U.S. defense officials have watched in recent years as Moscow and Beijing have tested a string of sophisticated weapons, from radar-evading aircraft and anti-ship missiles that fly many times the speed of sound, to integrated air defenses.

Feb 24, 2014

Budget cuts to slash U.S. Army to smallest since before World War Two

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Monday it would shrink the U.S. Army to pre-World War Two levels, eliminate the popular A-10 aircraft and reduce military benefits in order to meet 2015 spending caps, setting up an election-year fight with the Congress over national defense priorities.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, discussing the Pentagon’s plan for meeting its new spending caps ahead of the formal budget presentation on March 4, advanced a number of ideas that have been attempted in the past but rejected by Congress or are seen as likely to be unpopular in a congressional election year.

Feb 22, 2014

Hagel decides not to pursue top medal for celebrated U.S. Marine hero

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reviewed the case of a Marine sergeant honored for heroism in Iraq and agreed with two other Pentagon chiefs that the evidence is insufficient to merit the highest military award for valor, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Supporters have criticized the department for denying Marine Sergeant Rafael Peralta’s nomination for the Medal of Honor for his actions in Fallujah in 2004, when pulled a grenade under his body to shield his comrades from the explosion, even as he was already dying of a fatal head wound.

Feb 20, 2014

Pentagon working to share reserved airwaves with industry -officials

WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Thursday
it was working to find ways to share more of its reserved
airwaves with commercial wireless companies that need greater
bandwidth for smartphone and tablet users, but it declined to
elaborate on how much it might vacate.

The Pentagon’s communications chief, Teri Takai, said the
department was working “very closely” with key federal agencies
to reach President Barack Obama’s goal of making 500 megahertz
of airwaves reserved for federal agencies available to
telecommunications companies over the next decade.

Feb 11, 2014

Before budget rollout, Pentagon official says military must shrink

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military must shrink in coming years as it tries to balance less spending with investments to stay ahead of potential Asian rivals, a leading Pentagon official said just weeks before a new defense budget is rolled out.

Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox, speaking to a naval conference in San Diego, said the U.S. military could not risk falling behind in a race for technological superiority as China and other countries increase defense spending at a time of declining Pentagon budgets.

Feb 7, 2014

Hagel unveils new Pentagon leadership team to tackle budget woes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a new Pentagon leadership team on Friday that will guide the department through a critical period as it cuts hundreds of billions of dollars in defense spending while maintaining U.S. security commitments worldwide.

Hagel, speaking at a Pentagon news conference, said the Defense Department was still facing big spending cuts despite a two-year budget deal by Congress in January that eased some of the financial pressure.

Feb 7, 2014

Hagel praises U.S. Marines’ progress on readying accounts for audit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recognized the Marine Corps on Thursday for achieving a clean audit on a slice of its 2012 budget but acknowledged the Pentagon was “not where we need to be” as it works to reach full audit readiness by 2017.

The Marine Corps in December became the first military service to receive a clean audit, which was for the 2012 schedule of current-year budgetary activity. The schedule represents about 88 percent of the accounting needed for full audit readiness, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Feb 6, 2014

Cuts in U.S. defense spending force hard strategic choices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Big budget cuts over the next decade will force the Pentagon to make painful cuts to personnel and readiness and could make it hard to execute a global security strategy, defense analysts predicted on Wednesday.

Teams of analysts from four think tanks, who unveiled the results of a defense budget-cutting exercise at a Capitol Hill briefing, all found themselves slashing large numbers of civilian and uniformed personnel, along with ships and fighter jets, to help meet tough budget targets facing the Pentagon.

    • 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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