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Jul 9, 2015

Russia is top U.S. national security threat: Gen. Dunford

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia presents the greatest threat to U.S. national security and its behavior is “nothing short of alarming,” Marine General Joseph Dunford told lawmakers on Thursday as they weighed his nomination to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dunford also added his voice to those Pentagon officials who have supported providing lethal arms to Ukraine to help it defend itself from Russia-backed separatists, a step that President Barack Obama has so far resisted.

Jul 9, 2015

Russia is top U.S. national security threat -U.S. Gen. Dunford

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) – Russia presents the greatest
threat to U.S. national security and its behavior is “nothing
short of alarming,” Marine General Joseph Dunford told lawmakers
on Thursday as they weighed his nomination to become chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Dunford also added his voice to those Pentagon officials who
have supported providing lethal arms to Ukraine to help it
defend itself from Russia-backed separatists, a step that
President Barack Obama has so far resisted.

Jul 7, 2015

U.S. only training 60 Syrian fighters, far below expectations

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States was only training about 60 Syrian opposition fighters to battle Islamic State as of July 3, far below expectations, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress on Tuesday, citing rigorous U.S. vetting of recruits.

The program, which launched in May in Jordan and Turkey, was designed to train as many as 5,400 fighters a year and seen as a test of President Barack Obama’s strategy of engaging local partners to combat extremists.

Jul 2, 2015

U.S. seeing rapid expansion of Sunni outreach at new Anbar base

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is seeing signs that new efforts to draw Sunni tribesmen into Iraq’s battle against Islamic State may be taking root at a military base near the fallen capital of Sunni-dominated Anbar province, U.S. officials say.

A U.S. defense officials told Reuters the first group of 500 Sunni recruits would soon complete training at the Taqaddum military base near the city of Ramadi, making way for a second group of about 500 Sunnis who have agreed to participate.

Jun 25, 2015

Putin not done in eastern Ukraine, NATO’s top general says

BRUSSELS, June 25 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir
Putin is not done in eastern Ukraine, NATO’s top commander said
on Thursday, cautioning that Russia has been building up
supplies on its border with Ukraine and keeping its military
options open.

U.S. General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s supreme allied
commander, said the border between Ukraine and Russia was “wide
open,” allowing free movement of equipment and supplies.

Jun 25, 2015

NATO warns of risk of return to heavy fighting in Ukraine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO’s head warned on Thursday of a risk of a return to heavy fighting in Ukraine but said it would be unwise to declare a ceasefire agreement dead, despite repeated violations, because it remained the best hope for peace.

The Ukrainian military on Tuesday accused pro-Russian rebels of conducting long-range artillery attacks on villages in the east and said one of its serviceman was killed and 12 wounded in clashes in the previous 24 hours.

Jun 24, 2015

U.S., eyeing Russia, urges NATO allies to harden cyber defenses

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter urged NATO allies on Wednesday to strengthen their cyber defenses, a senior U.S. defense official said, citing an advanced threat from Russia.

Cyber vulnerabilities within NATO have come into focus following Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year, which raised concerns about unconventional warfare techniques that can range from use of unidentified troops to information campaigns.

Jun 23, 2015

U.S. to pre-position tanks, artillery in Baltics, eastern Europe

TALLINN (Reuters) – The United States will pre-position tanks, artillery and other military equipment in eastern and central Europe, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced on Tuesday, moving to reassure NATO allies unnerved by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

Carter, during a trip to Tallinn, said the Baltic states – Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia — as well as Bulgaria, Romania and Poland agreed to host elements of this equipment. Some of the equipment would also be located in Germany.

Jun 22, 2015

US pledges high-end equipment for NATO rapid response force

MUENSTER, Germany, June 22 (Reuters) – The United States
said on Monday it would contribute special operations forces,
intelligence and other high-end military assets to a new NATO
rapid response force that aims in part to deter any future
actions by Russia.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter made the announcement
during a trip to Germany, where he delivered an address accusing
Moscow of trying to re-create a Soviet-era sphere of influence.

Jun 22, 2015

U.S. won’t let Russia “drag us back to the past” – Pentagon chief

BERLIN, June 22 (Reuters) – The United States and its allies
won’t let Russia “drag us back to the past”, U.S. Defense
Secretary Ash Carter said in an address in Berlin on Monday, as
he accused Moscow of trying to re-create a Soviet-era sphere of
influence.

Russia’s intervention in Ukraine has put NATO allies in
eastern Europe on edge and triggered a series of military moves
by the NATO alliance, including an acceleration of exercises and
the creation of a NATO rapid response force.

    • 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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