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Aug 28, 2014

Pentagon’s relatively small Iraq costs may jump with escalation: analysts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A big escalation in U.S. military activity against Islamic State militants could force the Pentagon to seek more money from Congress as policymakers draft next year’s budget, though it should be able to pay for the current pace of operations from existing funds.

The prospect of seeking more money for the Pentagon just months ahead of congressional elections could raise scrutiny on Capitol Hill of the Obama administration’s decision on whether to step up U.S. efforts against the jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

Aug 25, 2014

Experimental U.S. hypersonic weapon destroyed seconds after launch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A hypersonic weapon being developed by the U.S. military was destroyed four seconds after its launch from a test range in Alaska early on Monday after controllers detected a problem with the system, the Pentagon said.

The weapon is part of a program to create a missile that will destroy targets anywhere on Earth within an hour of getting data and permission to launch.

Aug 22, 2014

U.S. protests intercept of Navy jet by Chinese warplane

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States charged on Friday that a Chinese fighter pilot conducted a “dangerous intercept” of a Navy patrol plane in international air space this week, flying a few yards (meters) from the U.S. jet and performing acrobatic maneuvers around it.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the United States lodged a formal diplomatic protest with Beijing over the incident, which took place on Tuesday 135 miles (215 km) east of Hainan Island, site of a sensitive Chinese submarine base.

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.

    • 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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