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Aug 22, 2014

Insight – Amid U.S. air strikes, Iraq struggles to build own air force

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama told a recent interviewer he did not want the U.S. military to become Iraq’s air force. But he may have little choice.

Iraq had only a fledgling air force when the United States withdrew in 2011. Washington has agreed to bolster Iraqi air power by selling Baghdad 36 sophisticated F-16 multi-role jet fighters and 24 Apache helicopters.

Aug 22, 2014

Amid U.S. air strikes, Iraq struggles to build own air force

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama told a recent interviewer he did not want the U.S. military to become Iraq’s air force. But he may have little choice.

Iraq had only a fledgling air force when the United States withdrew in 2011. Washington has agreed to bolster Iraqi air power by selling Baghdad 36 sophisticated F-16 multi-role jet fighters and 24 Apache helicopters.

Aug 21, 2014

U.S. watchdog finds Pentagon broke law in Bergdahl transfer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Defense Department violated U.S. law by failing to alert Congress before releasing five Taliban members held at Guantanamo Bay military prison in exchange for a captured U.S. soldier, a government watchdog agency said on Thursday.

The Government Accountability Office said the Pentagon broke the law by using money appropriated by Congress to carry out the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners without giving lawmakers the required 30-day notice.

Aug 18, 2014

U.S. ship finishes neutralizing Syria’s worst chemical arms: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A specially equipped U.S. ship has finished neutralizing all 600 metric tons of the most dangerous of Syria’s chemical weapons components surrendered to the international community this year to avert threatened air strikes, the Pentagon said on Monday.

It said the Cape Ray, equipped with the U.S.-developed Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, neutralized 581.5 metric tons of DF, a sarin precursor chemical, and 19.8 metric tons of HD, an ingredient of sulfur mustard, while afloat in the Mediterranean.

Jul 25, 2014

Russia transfer of rocket system to Ukraine rebels imminent- Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Friday the transfer of heavy-caliber multiple-launch rocket systems from Russia to Ukrainian separatists appeared to be imminent with the arms close enough to the border they could be handed over “potentially today.”

“We have indications that the Russians intend to supply heavier and more sophisticated multiple-launch rocket systems in the very near future,” said Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, adding that the weapons were in the over-200mm range.

Jul 23, 2014

Army defends job cut notices to U.S. captains in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Army on Wednesday defended its decision to notify 87 captains deployed overseas, including 48 in Afghanistan, that they were losing their jobs, would be transferred home and had nine months to organize their departure from the service.

Senior Army officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the officers were among a group of 1,188 captains notified last months that they were being separated from the service as it draws down from the current 513,800 soldiers to 510,000 by the end of the year due to budget cuts.

Jul 18, 2014

Malaysian airliner downing puts spotlight on Buk missile system

WASHINGTON, July 17 (Reuters) – As Russia and Ukraine trade
blame over the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian airliner,
they appear to agree on one thing: the type of Soviet-era
missile that brought it down.

But if an SA-11 Buk missile, known as “Gadfly” in NATO,
struck the aircraft and killed all 298 on board, that won’t
solve the mystery of who did it: Russia, Ukraine and
Russian-speaking rebels have all claimed the missile in their
arsenals.

Jul 17, 2014

Proposed ban on Russian arms firm would hurt U.S. troops: general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A day after President Barack Obama slapped sanctions on several Russian arms firms over the Ukraine conflict, a top U.S. general warned that a congressional bid to bar dealings with Moscow’s main weapons exporter could be “catastrophic” for U.S. forces.

Marine General Joseph Dunford, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said 88 Russian helicopters the Pentagon is buying for Afghan security forces were critical for protecting U.S. troops that remain in the country after the end of this year.

Jul 16, 2014

Pentagon defends war-funding request amid ‘slush fund’ complaints

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top Pentagon officials on Wednesday defended their 2015 war-spending request before skeptical lawmakers, some of whom called the $58.6 billion plan a “slush fund” to offset defense cuts at home and others who worried the funding-level was too small.

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon’s 2015 spending plans for the Afghanistan war were a third less than this year’s and $100 million less than four years ago.

Jul 15, 2014

US Senate defense funding bill rejects some Pentagon cost-cutting

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) – U.S. senators gave initial
approval on Tuesday to a bill that would provide $549.3 billion
in defense spending next year but reject many Pentagon
cost-cutting plans, such as retiring a fleet of planes and
delaying modernization of a nuclear aircraft carrier.

The defense subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations
Committee approved legislation that would provide the Pentagon
with a $489.6 billion base budget in the 2015 fiscal year
beginning in October, plus $59.7 billion for conflicts abroad.

    • 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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