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Jun 28, 2013

U.S. watchdog raps Pentagon for buying aircraft for Afghan unit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A government watchdog criticized the Pentagon on Friday for forging ahead with controversial helicopter purchases from a Russian arms dealer despite warnings the Afghan special forces unit due to receive the aircraft could not fly or maintain them.

The watchdog – the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction – urged the Pentagon to suspend the $553 million Russian arms deal as well as a $218 million contract for 18 planes from a U.S. firm until plans were in place to fully recruit and train the Afghan special forces unit.

Jun 27, 2013

Top officer rejects comparison of U.S., Chinese cyber snooping

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officer on Thursday dismissed comparisons of Chinese and American snooping in cyber space, saying all countries gathered intelligence on their potential adversaries but Beijing’s problematic “niche” was intellectual property theft.

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said the U.S. government was close to completing an update of its rules of engagement in cyber space and that Americans needed to understand a cyber attack could trigger a real-world military response.

Jun 25, 2013

Army to eliminate 10 brigades at U.S. bases in drawdown: Odierno

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Army said on Tuesday it would eliminate 10 brigade combat teams at bases across the United States and cancel some $400 million in construction projects as it cuts about 80,000 soldiers over the next four years.

General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said the move was part of the largest organizational change in the Army since World War Two as the service winds down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and responds to tighter U.S. budgets.

Jun 25, 2013

U.S. Army to eliminate 10 brigades at bases in drawdown – Odierno

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Army said on Tuesday it would eliminate 10 brigade combat teams at bases across the United States and cancel some $400 million in construction projects as it cuts about 80,000 soldiers over the next four years.

General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said the move was part of the largest organizational change in the Army since World War Two as the service winds down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and responds to tighter U.S. budgets.

Jun 22, 2013

Pentagon flash drive ban has many exceptions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon has granted many exceptions, possibly numbering in the thousands, to allow staff members who administer secure computer networks to use flash drives and other portable storage devices, department spokesmen say.

The exceptions to policies barring the use of such devices could make it easier for rogue employees to remove sensitive documents. But officials say waivers go to people who update software and run helpdesk services for the Pentagon’s vast computer network and are needed to run the system efficiently.

Jun 19, 2013

Theft of F-35 design data is helping U.S. adversaries -Pentagon

WASHINGTON, June 19 (Reuters) – The theft of sensitive
design data by hackers targeting programs like the F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter takes away a big U.S. advantage by allowing
rivals to speed up development of their own stealth aircraft, a
top Pentagon official said on Wednesday.

Defense acquisitions chief Frank Kendall told a Senate
hearing he was reasonably confident that classified information
related to the development of the F-35 was well-protected.

Jun 19, 2013

Pentagon unveils plans for moving women into combat roles

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top U.S. military official declared “the days of Rambo are over” as the Pentagon unveiled its plans on Tuesday for integrating women into combat infantry positions following 12 years of war in which they fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan while barred from front-line fighting jobs.

The plans, which call for gender-neutral job requirements like scaling walls and lifting 55-pound (25-kg) tank ammunition, will require more years of study, education and training before some services open combat jobs to women.

Jun 15, 2013

U.S. missiles, jets to stay in Jordan as Syria crisis rages

WASHINGTON, June 15 (Reuters) – The United States said on
Saturday it will keep Patriot missiles and F-16 jet fighters in
Jordan after joint military exercises end next week while
Secretary of State John Kerry said a political solution to the
civil war in neighboring Syria may be getting “out of reach.”

The decision to put Patriot batteries – an air and missile
defense system – in Jordan has been particularly controversial
for Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main global ally.

Jun 14, 2013

U.S. military options in Syria remain challenging

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is promising to step up assistance to Syrian rebels after concluding Damascus used chemical weapons against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, but the military options facing the United States are no easier than before.

President Barack Obama has been slow to move toward military assistance for Syria’s opposition in the past and is likely to continue to move judiciously, looking to work with allies in any intervention in the country’s civil war.

Jun 13, 2013

Senate panel bolsters effort to deal with military sex assault

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate Armed Services Committee endorsed several steps to improve prosecution of military sexual assault on Wednesday during a rare open debate of its annual defense policy bill, but it killed a controversial proposal opposed by Pentagon leaders.

The panel, on a 17-9 vote, approved a plan by committee chairman Carl Levin that would continue to let military commanders decide whether to bring sexual assault cases to trial but would add levels of automatic review by more senior leaders.

    • 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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