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Apr 10, 2013

Pentagon’s $526.6 bln budget asks Congress for unpopular steps

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) – The Pentagon proposed a
$526.6 billion budget on Wednesday that calls for closing bases,
slashing the civilian workforce and scrapping arms programs,
holding out hope the U.S. Congress might still opt for an
alternative to even more draconian cuts already on their way.

The proposed 2014 fiscal year budget would let the U.S.
Defense Department implement new spending reductions of $150
billion over the next decade rather than forcing it to carry out
the $500 billion in automatic cuts known as sequestration that
began on March 1.

Apr 10, 2013

(OFFICIAL) U.S. can intercept N.Korean missile but may opt not to -admiral

WASHINGTON, April 9 (Reuters) – The United States is capable
of intercepting a North Korean missile, should it launch one in
the coming days, but may choose not to if the projected
trajectory shows it is not a threat, a top U.S. military
commander told Congress on Tuesday.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, the commander of U.S. forces in the
Pacific region, said the U.S. military believed North Korea had
moved to its east coast an unspecified number of Musudan
missiles, with a range of roughly 3,000-3,500 kilometers (about
1,900-2,200 miles).

Apr 10, 2013

Pentagon’s $526.6 billion budget asks Congress for unpopular cuts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon unveiled a $526.6 billion budget on Wednesday that calls for base closures, program cancellations and smaller pay increases, but which is still $52 billion higher than spending caps set by law, putting the department on a path toward another year of financial uncertainty.

The Defense Department request for the 2014 fiscal year beginning on October 1 asks Congress to implement a series of politically difficult cuts, involving a new round of base closure proceedings, increased healthcare fees and slower military pay increases.

Apr 10, 2013

South Korea increases surveillance as North moves missile

SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – South Korea has raised its surveillance of North Korea after the reclusive state moved one or more long-range missiles in readiness for a possible launch, Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific region, said the U.S. military believed North Korea had moved an unspecified number of Musudan missiles to its east coast.

Apr 9, 2013

U.S. can intercept North Korean missile but may opt not to: admiral

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is capable of intercepting a North Korean missile, should it launch one in the coming days, but may choose not to if the projected trajectory shows it is not a threat, a top U.S. military commander told Congress on Tuesday.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific region, said the U.S. military believed North Korea had moved to its east coast an unspecified number of Musudan missiles, with a range of roughly 3,000-3,500 miles.

Apr 9, 2013

U.S. can intercept N.Korean missile but may opt not to -admiral

WASHINGTON, April 9 (Reuters) – The United States is capable
of intercepting a North Korean missile, should it launch one in
the coming days, but may choose not to if the projected
trajectory shows it is not a threat, a top U.S. military
commander told Congress on Tuesday.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, the commander of U.S. forces in the
Pacific region, said the U.S. military believed North Korea had
moved to its east coast an unspecified number of Musudan
missiles, with a range of roughly 3,000-3,500 miles.

Apr 7, 2013

U.S. commander in South Korea cancels Washington trip over tensions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. commander in South Korea, General James Thurman, has canceled a scheduled trip to Washington this week due to tensions with North Korea, a spokeswoman said on Sunday.

Thurman had been due to testify before three congressional committees, where he was expected to discuss the U.S. response to threats from Pyongyang.

Apr 7, 2013

U.S. delays missile test to avoid stoking North Korea tensions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has decided to delay a long-planned missile test scheduled for next week out of California “to avoid any misperception or miscalculation,” given tensions with North Korea, a senior U.S. defense official said on Saturday.

The unusual precaution by the United States follows a barrage of hostile rhetoric from North Korea – including the threat of open war – that has created jitters in South Korea’s financial markets.

Apr 6, 2013

Obama seeks to hike veterans’ funding despite budget pressure

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will request a 4 percent increase in discretionary spending next year for the Department of Veterans Affairs, a move officials said on Friday demonstrated his commitment to veterans and their families despite intense fiscal pressure.

Obama will also seek to make permanent two tax cuts for businesses that hire veterans, an effort meant partly to help drive down unemployment among former service members from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Their jobless rate has been higher than the national average.

Apr 5, 2013

A quieter second-act for U.S.-South Korea military drills?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration, which has made military moves intended to signal to North Korea and U.S. allies that it takes Pyongyang’s threats seriously, plans to switch gears and tone down public pronouncements about joint military exercises with Seoul, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The U.S. messaging, which has included flying two B-2 stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula and the announcement of new or expanded missile defense systems in Alaska and Guam, was intended to reassure South Korea and Japan it would back them in a crisis, the officials said.

    • 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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