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Nov 6, 2014

U.S. Army to deactivate long-serving ‘Iron Brigade’ in South Korea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An Army combat brigade that has anchored the U.S. military presence in South Korea for nearly 50 years will be deactivated and replaced with a rotational unit as the service shrinks in size due to budget cuts, defense officials said on Thursday.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved deactivation of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team effective next summer, officials said. The unit, the so-called “Iron Brigade,” has been permanently stationed in South Korea since 1965, staffed by individual soldiers sent to serve a year.

Nov 6, 2014

Israel tried to limit civilian casualties in Gaza: U.S. military chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The highest-ranking U.S. military officer said on Thursday that Israel went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in the recent war in Gaza and that the Pentagon had sent a team to see what lessons could be learned from the operation.

Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged recent reports criticizing civilian deaths during the 50-day Gaza war this year but told an audience in New York he thought the Israel Defense Forces “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.

Nov 5, 2014

Afghan casualties on battlefield at unsustainably high level: U.S. general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 4,600 Afghan troops have been killed in the war against the Taliban this year, a 6.5 percent jump over last year and an unsustainably high figure that underscores the need for better medical evacuation, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson, a top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, said 4,634 Afghan security personnel were killed in action this year, compared with 4,350 in 2013, despite a 25 percent dip in Taliban attacks from 24,000 to 18,000 over the same period.

Nov 5, 2014

McCain could shake up U.S. defense in powerful new Senate role

WASHINGTON, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Senator John McCain’s voice
just got a whole lot louder.

One of President Barack Obama’s noisiest detractors, McCain
is expected to take the helm of the powerful Armed Services
Committee in the new Republican-controlled U.S. Senate when the
U.S. Congress convenes in January.

Oct 30, 2014

U.S. military says advisers needed in embattled Iraq province

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States needs to expand a limited advise-and-assist mission in Iraq into embattled Anbar province, where some Iraqi forces are isolated and in defensive positions against Islamic State, the top U.S. military officer said on Thursday.

But General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iraq’s government must be ready to arm Sunni tribes as a precondition for getting outside advisers into the western Iraqi province.

Oct 29, 2014

Quarantine-like monitoring set for U.S. troops on Ebola mission

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
on Wednesday approved 21 days of strict, quarantine-like
monitoring for U.S. military personnel returning from Ebola
relief efforts in West Africa, but the Pentagon was still
finalizing details on who exactly would be affected.

Hagel, acting at the recommendation of top military
commanders, agreed to tougher monitoring for military personnel
than recommended by U.S. government health authorities, saying
the issue had been discussed with military families and
communities who “very much wanted a safety valve on this.”

Oct 29, 2014

U.S. nurse who tested negative for Ebola fights Maine quarantine

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – The state of Maine on
Wednesday moved to enforce a quarantine on a nurse who has
tested negative for Ebola and says she is healthy in a fight
that illustrates how U.S. states are struggling to guard against
the virus without resorting to overzealous precautions.

Governor Paul LePage said he would seek legal authority to
enforce a 21-day quarantine after nurse Kaci Hickox said she
would challenge state restrictions and not follow guidelines to
quarantine herself at home until Nov. 10 as demanded.

Oct 29, 2014

Maine, nurse who tested negative for Ebola clash over quaratine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Maine’s governor said on Wednesday that he would seek legal authority to enforce a 21-day quarantine on a Maine nurse who has tested negative for Ebola after treating patients in West Africa and initially was isolated in a tent in New Jersey.

Governor Paul LePage issued a statement after nurse Kaci Hickox said she would challenge the New England state’s restrictions and would not follow guidelines to quarantine herself until Nov. 10 as demanded.

Oct 29, 2014

Quarantine-like monitoring approved for U.S. troops on Ebola mission

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
on Wednesday approved a strict, 21-day quarantine-like
monitoring period for all U.S. troops returning from the Ebola
relief mission in West Africa, the Pentagon said.

Hagel, acting at the recommendation of top military
commanders, signed a memo asking for an implementation plan for
the monitoring regimen, Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon
press secretary, said in a statement.

Oct 29, 2014

Costly US nuclear arms revamp, tight cash call for tough choices

, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck
Hagel grabbed a ladder extending through the sleek black hull of
the USS Tennessee at a Navy submarine base here and disappeared
down the hatch for a close look at one of the Pentagon’s most
daunting budget issues.

Inside the vessel, 24 tubes for launching nuclear ballistic
missiles sliced through the submarine’s decks, with the crew’s
bunks and Spartan living quarters packed in around them.

    • 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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