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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.

Mar 20, 2014

U.S. eyes military supplies for Ukraine, seeks to avoid escalation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Thursday it was focusing for now on Ukrainian requests for non-lethal support, as opposed to any weaponry, as a senior U.S. official said Washington wanted to avoid further militarizing the standoff with Russia.

Ukraine’s government has put its heavily outnumbered and outgunned forces on alert for an invasion from Russia in the east following Moscow’s seizure of Crimea.

Mar 20, 2014

Russia defense chief tells Hagel no plans to cross into eastern Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel received assurances on Thursday from his Russian counterpart that the thousands of Russian troops along Ukraine’s eastern border had no plans to enter the country, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Hagel held an often “direct” conversation with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the Ukraine crisis for about an hour, U.S. Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

Mar 20, 2014

U.S.-Russia sanctions rhetoric shakes companies, investors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The potential for broader U.S. sanctions on Russia and Moscow’s threat of responding in kind are raising concerns among U.S. corporations and investors about the economic fallout from the crisis over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Rapped by critics for not taking a harsh enough line with Russia, the White House is mulling its next moves.

    • 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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