WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chuck Hagel will face tough questions on Pentagon spending cuts and U.S. relations with Israel and Iran on Thursday as he faces a deeply skeptical Senate panel considering his nomination to be President Barack Obama’s next secretary of defense.
Another member of Obama’s second-term national security team, Senator John Kerry, sailed through his confirmation before being receiving the Senate’s overwhelming support on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chuck Hagel has told Congress that if confirmed as the next defense secretary he would ensure America’s military is prepared to strike Iran if necessary but stressed the need to be “cautious and certain” when contemplating the use of force.
Hagel’s views were detailed in 112 pages of written responses to wide-ranging questions by lawmakers submitted ahead of his confirmation hearing on Thursday. In them, he also voiced support for a steady U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Yemeni forces intercepted a ship on January 23 carrying a large cache of weapons – including surface-to-air missiles – that U.S. officials suspect were being smuggled from Iran and destined for Yemeni insurgents, officials said on Monday.
Yemen’s government said the arms intercepted aboard the ship off the country’s coast also included military grade explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and bomb-making equipment, according to a statement by its embassy in Washington.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three years before he lifted the U.S. military’s ban on females in front-line combat, Leon Panetta grew acutely aware that women in senior positions were already risking – and losing – their lives when a would-be informant blew himself up at a CIA base in Afghanistan.
Panetta was CIA director at the time of the December 2009 attack in Khost, Afghanistan, and two women — including one who headed the CIA base — were among the seven Americans killed.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.