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Jan 30, 2014

Half of U.S. nuclear missile wing implicated in cheating

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Just over half of the 183 nuclear missile launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana have been implicated in a widening exam cheating scandal, the Air Force said on Thursday, acknowledging it had “systemic” problem within its ranks.

The cheating was discovered during an investigation into illegal drug possession among airmen, when test answers were found in a text message on one missile launch officer’s cell phone. The Air Force initially said 34 officers either knew about the cheating or cheated themselves.

Jan 28, 2014

China challenging U.S. military technological edge: Pentagon official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military’s technological superiority is increasingly challenged by China, and efforts to maintain an edge are complicated by shrinking defense budgets that have cut money for development, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer said on Tuesday.

Frank Kendall, the deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology, told lawmakers the U.S. military’s technological superiority is being “challenged in ways that I have not seen for decades, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region,” where China is pursuing a rapid modernization program.

Jan 24, 2014

Hagel ‘deeply concerned’ about health of U.S. nuclear forces

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Friday he was “deeply concerned,” over the health of U.S. nuclear forces after the drug and cheating scandals this month, and that some nuclear officers felt their mission was taken for granted during 13 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hagel, who ordered a high-level review of nuclear forces on Thursday, told a news conference that the problems affecting missile launch officers were caused by a range of factors.

Jan 23, 2014

Pentagon chief orders nuclear forces review amid probe of drugs, cheating

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a high-level review of the state of American nuclear forces on Thursday, days after missile launch officers were caught in a drug investigation and dozens were accused of cheating on their certification exams.

Hagel will convene a meeting in the next two weeks of officials responsible for U.S. nuclear weapons to examine the leadership and culture of the force, said Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.

Jan 23, 2014

US military sees risks in China-Japan tensions, seeks restraint

WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – The top U.S. military
commander in the Asia-Pacific region acknowledged his concerns
on Thursday over entrenched tensions between Japan and China, a
day after Japan’s prime minister evoked comparisons to Britain
and Germany before World War One.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, the head of the U.S. military’s
Pacific Command, said the role of the United States was to keep
encouraging restraint, professionalism and “hope there will be
diplomatic dialogue and a solution to this”.

Jan 23, 2014
via FaithWorld

U.S. military giving troops more leeway for religious clothing and beards

Photo

(Indian Sikh soldiers listens to their commander in Nowgam sector, 100 kms (62 miles)
north of Srinagar, September 1, 2003. REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli)

The Pentagon took steps on Wednesday to give individual troops greater latitude to wear turbans, head scarfs, yarmulkes and other religious clothing with their uniforms, but advocacy groups said the new policy fell short of what they were seeking.

Jan 17, 2014

U.S. budget watchdog eyes steps to control military health costs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The most effective way to control the rising expense of the military healthcare system is to boost cost-sharing among retirees, the Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday, endorsing an unpopular step Congress has repeatedly rejected.

The non-partisan CBO said the Defense Department spent some $52 billion in 2012 for its TRICARE healthcare program, which covers about 1.8 million troops and their 2.6 million family members, plus 5.2 million military retirees and their families.

Jan 16, 2014

Chinese inexperience a factor in warships’ near-miss : U.S. admiral

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chinese operational inexperience and communications difficulties on both sides contributed to a near-collision between the USS Cowpens and a Chinese warship in the South China Sea last month, the head of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific said on Wednesday.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, the head of U.S. Pacific Command, told a Navy conference the Cowpens, a guided missile cruiser, was monitoring China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, as it conducted operations in international waters for the first time when the incident occurred.

Jan 10, 2014

Hagel praises U.S. nuclear forces, gets reminder of morale issues

CHEYENNE, Wyoming, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck
Hagel praised troops in the U.S. nuclear missile force on
Thursday for their professionalism in executing a difficult job,
only to be reminded of morale issues facing the unit when two
launch officers were suspended in a drug probe.

As Hagel visited F.E. Warren Air Force Base and toured a
missile site in nearby Nebraska, two Air Force officers
belonging to a missile launch crew at Malmstrom Air Force Base
in Montana had their security clearances suspended after they
were implicated in an illegal narcotics operation.

Jan 9, 2014

U.S. needs modern nuclear deterrent despite high price tag -Hagel

, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck
Hagel said on Wednesday the United States had always supported a
strong nuclear deterrent and would continue to do so, even as it
braces for a nuclear forces overhaul that analysts say could
cost $1 trillion over 30 years.

“To modernize your nuclear weapons stockpile and assure that
they continue to stay secure and safe, it takes money, it takes
resources,” Hagel said after touring Sandia National
Laboratories and Kirtland Air Force Base, two facilities
involved in maintaining the weapons.

    • 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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