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Aug 2, 2013

Pentagon officials press Congress for more time on budget cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A day after the Pentagon outlined the stark choices it confronts due to looming budget cuts in coming years, top defense officials pressed Congress to give them the time and flexibility to make the reductions without undermining security.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warned lawmakers on Thursday that the Pentagon could not hit its budget targets under the law in the next few years without “drastic measures that are not strategically or managerially sound,” like grounding aircraft or putting employees on unpaid leave as was done this year.

Jul 31, 2013

Pentagon warns of tough trade-offs in face of looming cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday pledged $40 billion in new Pentagon spending reductions over the next decade, but warned that additional cuts required by law posed stark choices that could bend or break the president’s defense strategy.

Hagel, unveiling the results of his four-month Strategic Choices and Management Review, said the Pentagon would cut $40 billion in overhead from its agencies and headquarters units over the next decade. He also said it would propose compensation reforms to try to save about $50 billion.

Jul 25, 2013

House rejects bid to curb spy agency data collection

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. spy program that sweeps up vast amounts of electronic communications survived a legislative challenge in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the first attempt to curb the data gathering since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed details of its scope.

The House of Representatives voted 217-205 to defeat an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have limited the National Security Agency’s ability to collect electronic information, including phone call records.

Jul 24, 2013

Clashes on Syria, spying mark debate on U.S. defense funding bill

WASHINGTON, July 23 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers clashed over
Syria, Afghanistan and government spying on Tuesday as the House
of Representatives began debating a $598 billion defense
spending bill for 2014, including a Pentagon base budget of $512
billion and $86 billion for the Afghan war.

The confrontations began even before the measure made it to
the floor of the House after Republican leaders moved to
restrict the number of permitted amendments to 100, with no more
than 20 minutes of debate on divisive issues like Syria policy
and spying by the National Security Agency.

Jul 22, 2013

Top U.S. officer outlines options for military force in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officer said in a letter released on Monday that American forces could undertake a range of missions to help Syrian rebels if asked by the White House, from providing training to establishing no-fly zones or conducting limited attacks on military targets.

The letter by Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, contained an unclassified assessment of the options for using U.S. military force in the Syrian conflict. He indicated the administration was still deliberating what steps it should take in response to the civil war.

Jul 19, 2013

U.S. Navy deployments, readiness eroded by budget cuts: Navy chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Budget cuts have prompted the U.S. Navy to trim the number of warships deployed overseas and eroded the readiness of forces at home, undercutting its ability to respond rapidly to future crises around the globe, the top Navy officer said on Friday.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, said the Navy had an aircraft carrier strike group and an amphibious assault ship with U.S. Marines in the Arabian Sea. A similar group of ships is in the Western Pacific, he said.

Jul 18, 2013

Budget cuts have left U.S. forces unbalanced, less prepared: general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officer said on Thursday that steep, across-the-board budget cuts have left American armed forces out of balance and less prepared to meet new security threats, a problem that can only worsen with new reductions on the horizon.

Army General Martin Dempsey, speaking to a Senate panel considering his nomination to a new two-year term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said one of his key jobs was to ensure U.S. forces are ready and balanced to address any challenge, but “so far we are getting it wrong.”

Jul 18, 2013

Republican senator vows to delay Dempsey nomination as U.S. military chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Army General Martin Dempsey’s nomination to a second term as the top U.S. military officer hit an unexpected bump on Thursday when a senior Republican lawmaker denounced his stance on Syria during a Senate hearing and vowed to block a vote on the appointment.

Senator John McCain repeatedly questioned Dempsey over his position on the Syrian civil war during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee and criticized him for declining to give the panel his full opinion on whether the United States should intervene in the conflict.

Jul 16, 2013

Hagel says more budget cuts will force Pentagon layoffs

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Tuesday that a new round of automatic spending cuts next year would force the department to cut personnel and that he already has decided to reduce jobs in the offices of the Pentagon’s top leadership by 20 percent.

Hagel, speaking to aircraft maintenance workers at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, defended his decision to put civilian workers on unpaid leave for 11 days through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, saying further cuts in other areas could have jeopardized military readiness.

Jul 16, 2013

U.S. defense chief says more budget cuts will force Pentagon layoffs

, July 16 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary
Chuck Hagel said on Tuesday that a new round of automatic
spending cuts next year would force the department to cut
personnel and that he already has decided to reduce jobs in the
offices of the Pentagon’s top leadership by 20 percent.

Hagel, speaking to aircraft maintenance workers at Naval Air
Station Jacksonville, defended his decision to put civilian
workers on unpaid leave for 11 days through the end of the
fiscal year on Sept. 30, saying further cuts in other areas
could have jeopardized military readiness.

    • 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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