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Nov 8, 2013

Pentagon offset budget cut impact in key areas -watchdog

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When $37 billion in budget cuts hit the Pentagon abruptly early this year, officials took steps that minimized the impact on key areas like the Afghanistan war but also took action that could raise long-run costs, a watchdog agency said on Thursday.

The Pentagon was hit by the reductions in March, almost midway through its fiscal year, as part of across-the-board government budget cuts that slashed its approved spending level for the year to about $490 billion from $527 billion.

Nov 7, 2013

U.S. military chiefs say spending cuts erode preparedness for war

WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officers
said on Thursday that across-the-board cuts in defense spending
have seriously eroded American forces’ preparedness for war, and
another round of reductions in the coming months will wreak even
more havoc.

To quickly achieve the abrupt cuts that went into force in
March, U.S. military chiefs slashed big-unit training for
soldiers, curbed flying time for pilots and canceled regularly
scheduled maintenance for ships. A similar round of reductions
in January would lead to more of the same.

Nov 5, 2013

Pentagon chief warns against over reliance on military power

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Tuesday the United States must effectively use all instruments of power, not just military might, to successfully lead the world after a dozen years of war that have strained it physically and financially.

The Pentagon chief told a leading Washington think tank that Americans should not “fall prey to the false notion of American decline,” and must also resist the post-war urge to retreat from foreign entanglements.

Nov 2, 2013

Some U.S. states, Pentagon clash over ID cards for same-sex spouses

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Several Republican-led U.S. states on Friday rejected Pentagon demands that their state militias issue identity cards to same-sex spouses and accused the Obama administration of using the military as a pawn in its bid to force social change.

The resistance put the Pentagon on a collision course with states that have rejected a Defense Department request, first issued in September, for identity cards to be issued to same-sex spouses so they can begin receiving benefits due to married couples.

Nov 2, 2013

Four extra sites opened to search for U.S. troops missing in Vietnam

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vietnam advised the United States at the start of high-level talks this week it would open four additional sites to investigators seeking the remains of American military personnel missing since the Vietnam War, a senior U.S. defense official said.

Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Vikram Singh, who oversees U.S. military ties with South and Southeast Asia, said an eight-member delegation led by Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh told U.S. defense officials about the decision at the outset of talks at the Pentagon this week.

Nov 1, 2013

Pentagon chief criticizes states over ID cards for same-sex couples

WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
criticized nine U.S. states on Thursday for refusing to issue
identity cards to same-sex spouses and said he expected the
adjutants general for the state militias to comply with lawful
directions and Pentagon policy.

Hagel, in remarks prepared for delivery to a Jewish rights
group in New York, also announced the United States has agreed
to sell Israel six vertical liftoff V-22 Osprey aircraft – the
first U.S. ally to receive the plane.

Oct 31, 2013

Iraqi leader blames regional unrest for revival of al Qaeda in Iraq

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said on Thursday he was seeking U.S. help to counter a resurgent al Qaeda in his country and blamed the revival of the extremist group on power vacuums in the region rather than divisive Iraqi policies.

On his first visit to Washington in two years, Maliki met with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army General Martin Dempsey before speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He is due to meet President Barack Obama on Friday.

Oct 30, 2013

Lockheed signs deal to design largest ocean thermal electric plant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leading U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin signed a contract on Wednesday to design the biggest power station fueled by differences in ocean temperatures, a 10-megawatt plant that would provide electricity for a new Asian resort.

The contract between Lockheed and Beijing-based Reignwood Group, a Chinese consumer products and lifestyle firm, is the initial 10-month stage in a 3-1/2-year effort to build the green energy electric plant, which would generate power using a process known as ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC).

Oct 30, 2013

U.S. nuclear arms overhaul needed to ensure reliability: officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. nuclear arsenal needs a multi-billion dollar overhaul in the coming decade to ensure the weapons’ safety and effectiveness, defense officials said on Tuesday, despite warnings from arms control groups that the effort is unaffordable and unnecessary.

Assistant Defense Secretary Madelyn Creedon told a panel in the U.S. House of Representatives that modernization work on the aging weapons was needed to give policymakers the confidence they need to pursue President Barack Obama’s goal of deeper cuts to the nuclear stockpile.

Oct 25, 2013

Automatic budget cuts could hit Pentagon harder this year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Months after the U.S. military was hit with a $37 billion budget cut that threw it into turmoil and confusion, the Pentagon is headed into the new fiscal year facing a similar threat that could have even more devastating consequences, officials say.

The budget deal that ended the government shutdown this month let the Pentagon continue spending at an annualized level of $496 billion in the 2014 fiscal year that began on October 1.

    • 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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