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Mar 31, 2015

U.S. supports, would cooperate with proposed Arab force: Carter

By David Alexander

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Reuters) – The United States supports Arab plans to create a unified military force to counter growing security threats in the Middle East, and the Pentagon will cooperate with it where U.S. and Arab interests coincide, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday.

Carter told reporters during a visit to Fort Drum in New York that U.S. military leaders who met with him in Kuwait several weeks ago thought that regional members of the coalition fighting Islamic State militants should be encouraged to do more if they were able.

Mar 30, 2015

U.S. defense chief sees military recruitment challenges ahead

By David Alexander

ABINGTON, Pa. (Reuters) – The U.S. military faces a challenge recruiting people with the high-tech skills it needs for the future as those who joined after the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks leave the service and the U.S. economy creates more jobs, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday.

Carter, in a speech at his former high school, said the military has to attract about 250,000 people a year just to keep up with those who retire or leave the service to pursue jobs, education and other opportunities in the civilian world.

Mar 26, 2015

U.S. has no policy to protect Syrian force after training: general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Syrian opposition forces being trained to fight Islamic State militants will need support from the U.S.-led coalition when they return home, but the Obama administration has yet to decide what protection to offer, a top U.S. commander said on Thursday.

Army General Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate hearing the Syrian opposition force being trained by the coalition would need help with logistics, air strikes and intelligence but said the administration had not agreed on a policy about providing protection once the troops returned home.

Mar 25, 2015

U.S. military challenged maritime claims of 19 countries in 2014

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military conducted freedom of navigation operations last year challenging maritime claims by 19 countries, from China to Argentina, asserting U.S. transit rights in defiance of efforts to impose restrictions, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

It was the largest number of countries challenged in more than a decade, establishing the program’s return to levels from before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when U.S. forces had to curtail operations because of other priorities, officials said.

Mar 20, 2015

U.S. moving additional artillery battalion to South Korea: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Army is sending a field artillery battalion of about 400 soldiers and multiple-launch rocket systems to South Korea, a move the Pentagon said on Friday was part of a reorganization of the service and unrelated to any tensions on the peninsula.

Army Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said a battalion from the 20th Field Artillery would deploy from Fort Hood, Texas, in June for a nine-month rotation at Camp Casey in South Korea as part of the 210th Field Artillery Brigade.

Mar 19, 2015

U.S. has flown 2,320 strikes against Islamic State at a cost of $1.83 bln -official

WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. military has flown
2,320 air strikes against Islamic State militants since Aug. 8
at a cost of $1.83 billion, hitting thousands of targets
including tanks, oil infrastructure and fighting positions, the
Pentagon said on Thursday.

The strikes by U.S. forces amounted to about 80 percent of
the total number carried out by a multinational coalition. In
all, the partners have flown 2,893 air strikes, with 1,631 in
Iraq and 1,262 in Syria, hitting 5,314 targets.

Mar 18, 2015

Some U.S. allies may send troops to Syria with trainees: Army chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some U.S. allies in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria may be willing to send troops to accompany and support the Syrian opposition force the coalition is planning to train and send back to Syria, Army General Ray Odierno said on Wednesday.

Odierno, the U.S. Army chief of staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee the military was aware the Syrian opposition force would need help and support once it returned home and was studying how best to provide that assistance.

Mar 17, 2015

Plan to boost war budget will not fix Pentagon funding woes: officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Continued deep cuts to the U.S. defense budget will hinder efforts to modernize an aging military, and a Republican plan to boost war-fighting money might provide some relief but will not fix the main problem, senior Pentagon officials said on Tuesday.

The officials told a panel in the House of Representatives that while a Republican budget proposal unveiled earlier in the day would add an additional $40 billion to the Pentagon war-funding account, the military services could not use that money for many of their most pressing needs.

Mar 11, 2015

U.S. Army: $500 million spent on empty buildings as troops cut

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Army is spending half a billion dollars a year to maintain empty or unused facilities, even as it faces budget cuts that could force it to slash 60,000 more troops, top Army officials told lawmakers on Wednesday.

Army Secretary John McHugh said the Army faced a “dark and dangerous future” unless Congress took action this year to end the “ill-conceived and inflexible budget cuts” it approved in 2011.

Mar 11, 2015

U.S. blacklists more Ukrainian rebels, expands non-lethal aid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States targeted eight Ukrainian separatists and a Russian bank with sanctions and announced more non-lethal aid for Ukraine on Wednesday after accusing Russian-backed rebels of breaking a European-brokered ceasefire.

Washington is ratcheting up pressure on Moscow a day after it said Russia sent tanks and heavy military equipment into Ukraine in breach of the Minsk accord agreed on Feb. 12.

    • 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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