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Dec 6, 2013

Hagel reassures Gulf allies U.S. committed to regional security

MANAMA (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel toured an anti-mine warfare ship in the U.S. Fifth Fleet on Friday to underscore U.S. commitment to Middle East security despite policy differences over Iran and Syria that have angered Washington’s longtime Gulf allies.

His visit to Bahrain, in which he will also speak at the Manama Dialogue security conference, came at a time of regional unease over President Barack Obama’s policies ranging from the cautious U.S. response to Syria’s civil war to the six world powers’ interim deal with Iran on its nuclear program.

Dec 2, 2013

U.S. ship Cape Ray readied for possible chemical arms destruction

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government has begun outfitting a ship in its reserve ready force with equipment to enable it to destroy some of Syria’s chemical weapons at sea in the event Washington is asked to assist in the effort, a defense official said on Sunday.

The Maritime Administration vessel MV Cape Ray is being equipped with the newly developed Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, which was designed by the Defense Department to neutralize components used in chemical weapons, a defense official said on condition of anonymity.

Nov 29, 2013

Firm says U.S. Navy suspension related to old billing dispute

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A maritime services company that had millions of dollars in contracts suspended by the U.S. Navy this week says the action stemmed from a billing dispute probed by the Justice Department several years ago, and it hopes to resolve the issue quickly.

The Navy said on Wednesday it had suspended all contracts with British-based Inchcape Shipping Services Holding Ltd, a unit of Dubai World, because of questionable conduct.

Nov 28, 2013

U.S. Navy suspends business with second maritime services firm

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Navy said on Wednesday it has suspended a maritime services company from doing business with the U.S. government due to questionable conduct, the second firm barred in a widening corruption probe that has resulted in action against seven Navy officials.

The Navy suspended British-based Inchcape Shipping Services Holding Ltd. and its affiliated companies from contracting with the U.S. government on November 26, Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Navy spokesman, said in a statement.

Nov 27, 2013

U.S. affirms support for Japan in island dispute with China

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States pledged support for ally Japan on Wednesday in a growing dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea as senior U.S. administration officials said China’s claim to air space over the islands had unsettled its neighbors.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told his Japanese counterpart in a phone call that the two nations’ defense treaty covers the small island group where China established a new airspace defense zone last week and “commended the Japanese government for exercising appropriate restraint,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

Nov 26, 2013

Defying China, U.S. bombers fly into East China Sea zone

WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers
on a training mission flew over disputed islands in the East
China Sea without informing Beijing, Pentagon officials said on
Tuesday, defying China’s declaration of a new airspace defense
zone in the region.

The Pentagon said the flight on Monday night did not prompt
a response from China, and the White House urged Beijing to
resolve its dispute with Japan over the islands diplomatically,
without resorting to “threats or inflammatory language.”

Nov 26, 2013

Defying China, U.S. aircraft fly over East China Sea without notification

WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Two U.S. military aircraft
have flown around disputed islands in the East China Sea without
informing China, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, defying China’s
declaration that the region falls into a new airspace defense

“We have conducted operations in the area of the Senkakus.
We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include
not filing flight plans, not radioing ahead and not registering
our frequencies,” spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said, using the
Japanese name for the islands.

Nov 21, 2013

Another U.S. Navy officer suspended in widening corruption probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy said on Thursday it has suspended the deputy commander of a unit responsible for port and harbor security as a result of allegations in the widening corruption probe involving a Singapore-based defense contractor.

Captain David Haas was suspended as deputy commander of Coastal Riverine Group 1 in San Diego, which is responsible for port security and military operations in rivers, harbors and coastal waterways, the Navy said. He was temporarily reassigned effective November 15 to the Expeditionary Training Group staff.

Nov 21, 2013

Senators move toward crackdown on sexual assault in U.S. military

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With Senate action to overhaul the military’s handling of sexual assault cases certain, senators debated an emotionally charged proposal on Wednesday to strip commanders of their power to decide whether many serious criminal charges should go to trial.

The debate came as the Senate considered amendments to its annual defense policy bill – the National Defense Authorization Act – a measure that already includes more than two dozen reforms that will radically alter the way the military responds to violent sex crimes.

Nov 20, 2013

Senate military policy debate focuses on Guantanamo, sexual assault

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers clashed on Tuesday over how to deal with sexual assault in the armed forces and what to do about terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in the opening of Senate debate on the annual defense policy bill.

Senators rejected an amendment that could have helped close the Guantanamo prison over time by making it easier to transfer inmates to the United States for trial or imprisonment. They also rejected a competing measure that could have complicated administration efforts to close the facility.

    • 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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