Pentagon Correspondent
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Oct 24, 2014

U.S. general says he believes N. Korea can build nuclear warhead

WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – The commander of U.S. forces
in South Korea said on Friday he believes Pyongyang has the
capability to build a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on a
ballistic missile, but added there were no tests or other
evidence it has taken that step.

Army General Curtis Scaparrotti said he thought North
Korea’s connection with Iran and Pakistan meant it probably had
access to the expertise needed to miniaturize and mount an
atomic weapon on a missile.

Oct 24, 2014

Ground offensive against Islamic State months away in Iraq: U.S.

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE Florida (Reuters) – Iraqi forces are months away from being able to start waging any kind of sustained ground offensive against the Islamic State and any similar effort in Syria will take longer, officials at the U.S. military’s Central Command said on Thursday.

In Iraq, the timing will depend on a host of factors, some out of the military’s control – from Iraqi politics to the weather. Iraqi forces also must be trained, armed and ready before major advances, like one to retake the city of Mosul, which fell to the Islamic State in June.”It’s not imminent. But we don’t see that that’s a years-long effort to get them to a place to where they can be able to go on a sustained counter-offensive,” a military official said, instead describing it as a “months-long” endeavor.

Oct 23, 2014

Syria’s Kobani less at risk but could still fall: U.S. officials

By Phil Stewart

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE Fla. (Reuters) – The Syrian border town of Kobani appears in less danger of falling to the Islamic State, but the threat still remains, U.S. officials said on Thursday, offering a measured view of a key battle against the militant group.

Officials at the U.S. military’s Central Command warned the Islamic State could ultimately capture the town, even after coalition air strikes and air drops of weapons and medical supplies to help Syrian Kurdish fighters fend off the militants in street battles.

Oct 17, 2014

Ebola scare at Pentagon after woman vomits in parking lot

WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – The Pentagon confirmed an
Ebola scare on Friday in one of its parking lots when a woman
vomited after getting off a bus headed to a high-level Marine
Corps ceremony.

The Pentagon said the woman was taken to Inova Fairfax
Hospital, where she was isolated. A spokesman for the local
health authority said it was still unclear, however, whether she
would meet the criteria for Ebola testing.

Oct 16, 2014

U.S. medics to soon start staffing Ebola hospital in Liberia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some 65 U.S. medical personnel will arrive in the next week or so to staff a U.S.-military built hospital in Liberia that will treat healthcare workers who contract Ebola, a centerpiece of U.S. efforts to fight the epidemic, a top general said Thursday.

Major General Darryl Williams, who is overseeing the U.S. military response in West Africa, renewed assurances that there were no plans for American troops to treat Liberians infected by Ebola.

Oct 15, 2014

Hundreds of Islamic State militants killed in Kobani strikes – U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S.-led air strikes have killed several hundred Islamic State fighters around the Syrian town of Kobani, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, but it cautioned that the town near Turkey’s border could still fall to the Sunni militant group.

The U.S.-led coalition has launched about 40 air strikes on the mainly Kurdish town of Kobani in the past 48 hours, the largest number since the strikes inside Syria began on Sept. 22 and illustrating the difficulty of staunching a nearly month-long Islamic State offensive on the town.

Oct 15, 2014

Obama, foreign military chiefs coordinate Islamic State plans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday told military leaders from more than 20 countries working with Washington to defeat Islamic State that he was deeply concerned about the radical group’s advances at the north Syrian town of Kobani and in western Iraq.

But Obama did not hint any changes to what he saw as long-term strategy that would see ups and downs in the months ahead, even as pressure builds for the coalition to stop the Islamic State from taking control of more territory.

Oct 14, 2014

Obama, foreign military chiefs, to thrash out Islamic State plans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will hash out a strategy to counter Islamic State on Tuesday with military leaders from some 20 countries including Turkey and Saudi Arabia amid growing pressure for the U.S.-led coalition to do more to stop the militants’ advance.

Some three weeks before U.S. congressional elections viewed largely as a referendum on Obama’s leadership, the president will aim to show the U.S. public and allies abroad that he is committed to a plan to “degrade” and “destroy” the group that has taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Oct 12, 2014

U.S. military faces new kind of threat with Ebola

Oct 12 (Reuters) – At Fort Campbell in Kentucky, spouses of
U.S. soldiers headed to Liberia seem to be lingering just a bit
longer than usual after pre-deployment briefings, hungry for
information about Ebola.

For these families, the virus is raising a different kind of
anxiety than the one they have weathered during 13 years of
ground war in Afghanistan and Iraq. They want to know how the
military can keep soldiers safe from the epidemic, a new
addition to the Army’s long list of threats.

Oct 10, 2014

Analysis – Kobani’s fall would be symbolic setback for Obama Syria strategy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It’s not a particularly strategic location, the United States and its allies never pledged to defend it, and few people outside the region had even heard of it before this month.

    But the symbolism of U.S.-led airstrikes failing to stop Islamic State militants from overrunning the Syrian city of Kobani could provide an early setback to U.S. President Barack Obama’s three-week old Syria air campaign – far beyond its battlefield importance.

    • About Phil

      "Phil Stewart has worked for Reuters since 1998 and reported from more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt. Before becoming a Washington D.C.-based military affairs and intelligence reporter, Phil covered terrorism, foreign affairs and the Vatican from Rome from 2004 until mid-2009. He has also previously been based in Colombia and Brazil as a foreign correspondent. Before joining Reuters, Phil covered U.S. politics out of Washington D.C. for States News Service. He earned his BS in international relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. ..."
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