David's Feed
Apr 5, 2014

U.S. Navy testing more sophisticated pilotless helicopters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The helicopter kicked up a cloud of freshly fallen snow that partly obscured the ground below, but despite the poor visibility, it gently touched down in a landing that was unremarkable except for the fact no one was at the controls.

The helicopter, filmed during testing by the Naval Research Laboratory, was piloted by a 100-pound (45-kg) sensor and software package that officials said can turn any rotary-winged aircraft into a virtually autonomous drone able to fly with minimal input from the Marine Corps troops it was designed to serve.

Apr 2, 2014

U.S. sending 175 Marines to Romania as part of Africa crisis team

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Wednesday it was bolstering the size of its Europe-based crisis response force to 675 Marines by sending 175 new troops to a Romanian base near the Black Sea at a time of tensions over Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

The Marines are part of a crisis response team headquartered in Moron, Spain, and primarily meant for operations in Africa, although they can be sent anywhere, a Pentagon spokesman said. The decision to increase the force with Marines based in Romania was made last year before the current crisis, he said.

Mar 31, 2014

Hagel revamps effort to find U.S. troops missing from foreign wars

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday ordered the Pentagon to reorganize its much-criticized effort to account for U.S. troops missing from foreign wars, creating a single agency to improve accountability and speed recovery and identification of remains.

Hagel’s announcement came as the U.S. Congress is putting pressure on the Defense Department to boost its accounting for some 83,000 missing U.S. troops – about 73,000 from World War Two and 10,000 from other conflicts.

Mar 28, 2014

Hagel, ahead of China trip, urges military restraint in cyberspace

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, pushing for openness ahead of a trip to China, said on Friday in an unusual live broadcast from a secretive base the Pentagon would exercise restraint in using the military in cyberspace and urged other nations to do so as well.

In his first remarks on cyber security since becoming defense secretary last year, Hagel told a retirement ceremony for Cyber Command chief General Keith Alexander that the Pentagon sought to be “open and transparent” about its cyber capabilities and intentions with both allies and competitors.

Mar 27, 2014

Nine officers removed, one resigns in Air Force cheating probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the nuclear missile wing at a base in Montana resigned on Thursday and nine officers were removed from their jobs over a test-cheating scandal that involved 91 missile launch officers, the Air Force said.

Lieutenant General Stephen Wilson, head of the Air Force’s Global Strike Command, said Colonel Robert Stanley, commander of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, had resigned on Thursday and would retire from the service.

Mar 26, 2014

UK defense chief says give Russia chance to de-escalate in Crimea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If Vladimir Putin follows traditional Russian military doctrine, he may seek to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine and not move beyond annexing Crimea, Britain’s defense chief said on Wednesday, adding the West should not militarize the standoff.

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said it was important to reduce tensions with the Russian leader over the Crimea by avoiding an aggressive military response from NATO allies and instead using diplomatic and economic levers of influence.

Mar 25, 2014

Deep budget cuts may erode U.S. Army ability to fight long war: general

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top U.S. Army officer told lawmakers on Tuesday that a return to deep budget cuts as required by law beginning in 2016 would make it difficult for the military to carry out even one extended ground war.

General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told a panel in the House of Representatives that severe, across-the-board budget cuts would force the Army to shrink to 420,000 active-duty soldiers, a level at which it could no longer execute the president’s national defense strategy.

Mar 24, 2014

U.S. airlift support to bolster African hunt for violent warlord

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military is deploying four tilt-rotor transport planes to Uganda in response to African Union requests for airlift support in the hunt for the elusive leader of the violent Lord’s Resistance Army extremist group, the Pentagon said on Monday.

The U.S. Defense Department has deployed the four CV-22 Osprey, which can take off and land vertically, to Uganda from Djibouti along with tanker refueling airplanes and 150 air crew and support personnel, said Rear Admiral John Kirby, a top Pentagon spokesman.

Mar 21, 2014

U.S. may give sonar gear to Malaysia for plane search

WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) – The Pentagon is weighing a
request from Malaysia for sonar equipment to bolster the so-far
frustrated search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370,
as concerns grow that any debris may have sunk to the bottom of
the sea.

Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein asked for
undersea surveillance equipment in a phone call with U.S.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, as the Pentagon tallied $2.5
million in costs so far in the nearly two-week-old search.

Mar 21, 2014

U.S. search for missing Malaysian jetliner cost $2.5 million so far

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military’s search for the missing Malaysian jetliner has cost $2.5 million so far, the Pentagon estimated on Friday, adding it has set aside about $4 million for the hunt so far, enough to cover operations through early April.

It was the first disclosure of costs for the U.S. ships and aircraft joining the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-370, which went missing almost two weeks ago with 239 people aboard.

    • 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."
    • More from David

    • Follow David