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Jan 24, 2013

Pentagon lifts ban on women in combat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon on Thursday lifted its ban on women in front-line combat roles, a move hailed by supporters as a historic step toward gender equality in U.S. armed forces after 11 years of non-stop war.

There are important caveats, and change will not happen overnight for women who have already been serving and dying in the past decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where nearly 300,000 of them have deployed.

Jan 23, 2013

U.S. to lift ban on women in front-line combat jobs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military will formally end its ban on women serving in front-line combat roles, officials said on Wednesday, in a move that could open thousands of fighting jobs to female service members.

The move knocks down another societal barrier, after the Pentagon scrapped its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban in 2011 on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

Jan 23, 2013

Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan cleared in Pentagon inquiry

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General John Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was cleared by Pentagon investigators of allegations of professional misconduct over email exchanges with a Florida socialite, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The decision by the Defense Department’s Inspector General helps lift a cloud that has hung over Allen, who is married and has two daughters, ever since he became indirectly ensnared in the scandal that forced David Petraeus to resign as CIA director in November.

Jan 11, 2013

Obama Pentagon pick calls US senators, clarifies views on Iran

WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Chuck Hagel, President Barack
Obama’s pick to become the next U.S. defense secretary, has
begun calling critics in the Senate in an attempt to c l arify his
views about how to deal with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas before
his upcoming nomination hearing.

The decorated Vietnam veteran’s Republican credentials have
done little to rally support with his party, which he publicly
split with as a senator by opposing the Iraq war during the Bush
administration.

Jan 9, 2013

U.S. does not rule out removing all troops from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration does not rule out a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan after 2014, the White House said on Tuesday, just days before President Barack Obama is due to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The comments by U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes were the clearest signal yet that, despite initial recommendations by the top military commander in Afghanistan to keep as many as 15,000 troops in the country, Obama could opt to remove everyone, as happened in Iraq in 2011.

Jan 8, 2013

U.S. doesn’t rule out complete pullout from Afghanistan after 2014

WASHINGTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) – The Obama administration does
not rule out a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from
Afghanistan after 2014, the White House said on Tuesday, just
days before President Barack Obama is due to meet Afghan
President Hamid Karzai.

The comments by U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben
Rhodes were the clearest signal yet that, despite initial
recommendations by the top military commander in Afghanistan to
keep as many as 15,000 troops in the country, Oba ma could opt to
r emove eve ryone, as happened in Iraq in 2011.

Jan 8, 2013

As Pentagon chief, Hagel likely to favor sizable Afghan drawdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A decorated Vietnam veteran acutely aware of the limits of military power, Chuck Hagel is likely to favor a sizable drawdown in Afghanistan, more frugal spending at the Pentagon and extreme caution when contemplating the use of force in places like Iran or Syria.

Obama’s decision to nominate Hagel – a Republican former senator who split with his party to oppose the Iraq war – as U.S. defense secretary came despite a public lobbying campaign against his candidacy in recent weeks by a host of critics, some of whom seized upon past remarks to argue he is anti-Israel.

Jan 7, 2013

Analysis: As Pentagon chief, Hagel likely to favor sizable Afghan drawdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A decorated Vietnam veteran acutely aware of the limits of military power, Chuck Hagel is likely to favor a sizable drawdown in Afghanistan, more frugal spending at the Pentagon and extreme caution when contemplating the use of force in places like Iran or Syria.

Obama’s decision to nominate Hagel – a Republican former senator who split with his party to oppose the Iraq war – as U.S. defense secretary came despite a public lobbying campaign against his candidacy in recent weeks by a host of critics, some of whom seized upon past remarks to argue he is anti-Israel.

Dec 14, 2012

U.S. defense chief orders Patriot missiles to Turkey

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey, Dec 14 (Reuters) – U.S. Defense
Secretary Leon Panetta signed an order on Friday to send two
Patriot missile batteries to Turkey with 400 American personnel
to operate them, in a move by NATO members to bolster Turkey’s
defences against the threat of Syrian missiles.

The order was signed shortly before Panetta arrived on an
unannounced visit to Turkey to meet American troops stationed at
the Incirlik Air Base, the last stop on a week-long trip that
took him to Afghanistan and Kuwait.

Dec 13, 2012

Bomber kills American near Afghan base after Panetta visit

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed one American service member and wounded three other U.S. troops outside a base in southern Afghanistan on Thursday shortly after a visit there by U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, officials said.

Panetta dismissed the attack as a desperate and futile attempt by insurgents to sow chaos in Afghanistan.

    • 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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