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Jan 24, 2014

U.S. to ensure citizens’ evacuation from Olympics if needed – Hagel

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – The United States will have “appropriate arrangements” with Russia to ensure the evacuation of Americans from the Sochi Winter Olympics, if necessary, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Friday, amid militant threats to attack the Games.

Russian security forces are hunting a woman suspected of planning a suicide bombing and of being in Sochi already and U.S. officials acknowledged on Friday an increase in reported threats ahead of the Games.

Jan 24, 2014

Hagel ‘deeply concerned’ about health of U.S. nuclear forces

WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
said on Friday he was “deeply concerned,” over the health of
U.S. nuclear forces after the drug and cheating scandals this
month, and that some nuclear officers felt their mission was
taken for granted during 13 years of war in Afghanistan and
Iraq.

Hagel, who ordered a high-level review of nuclear forces on
Thursday, told a news conference that the problems affecting
missile launch officers were caused by a range of factors.

Jan 23, 2014

Pentagon chief orders nuclear forces review amid probe of drugs, cheating

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a high-level review of the state of American nuclear forces on Thursday, days after missile launch officers were caught in a drug investigation and dozens were accused of cheating on their certification exams.

Hagel will convene a meeting in the next two weeks of officials responsible for U.S. nuclear weapons to examine the leadership and culture of the force, said Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.

Jan 23, 2014

US military sees risks in China-Japan tensions, seeks restraint

WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) – The top U.S. military
commander in the Asia-Pacific region acknowledged his concerns
on Thursday over entrenched tensions between Japan and China, a
day after Japan’s prime minister evoked comparisons to Britain
and Germany before World War One.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, the head of the U.S. military’s
Pacific Command, said the role of the United States was to keep
encouraging restraint, professionalism and “hope there will be
diplomatic dialogue and a solution to this”.

Jan 16, 2014

U.S. Air Force hit with cheating scandal in nuke missile wing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Air Force has suspended security clearances for 34 officers and is re-testing the entire force overseeing America’s nuclear-armed missiles after uncovering widespread cheating on a key proficiency exam.

The incident was the largest single case of cheating in America’s nuclear missile wings in memory, and is the latest embarrassment for a force that faces growing questions over discipline and morale in the post-Cold War era.

Dec 23, 2013

U.S. moves Marines to Africa as South Sudan violence rages

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military on Monday deployed about 150 Marines to a base in the Horn of Africa to prepare for possible further evacuations of American citizens from the deepening conflict in South Sudan, U.S. officials said on Monday.

The deployment of a special crisis-response team of Marines, who are normally stationed at Moron Air Base in Spain, follows a thwarted evacuation attempt in South Sudan over the weekend in which four U.S. soldiers were wounded by gunfire.

Dec 21, 2013

Obama warns South Sudan after U.S. military aircraft attacked

HONOLULU (Reuters) – President Barack Obama was briefed by his national security team on Saturday after four U.S. military service members were wounded when their aircraft were fired upon during a mission to evacuate American citizens from chaotic South Sudan.

“Any effort to seize power through the use of military force will result in the end of longstanding support from the United States and the international community,” the White House said in a statement following Obama’s call with National Security Adviser Susan Rice and other top aides.

Dec 20, 2013

Top U.S. Navy official knew of probe months before bribery scandal broke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said on Friday he knew about a Navy contracting investigation for months before it erupted into a major bribery scandal and that Navy investigators planted false information that helped lead to the first arrests in the case.

In his first public comments on the scandal involving maritime services firm Glenn Defense Marine Asia and its colorful chief executive Leonard Glenn Francis, Mabus said there would be “more disclosures” in the case, which has so far led to action against six senior Navy officers and an investigator.

Dec 12, 2013

U.S. vows support for Syrian opposition despite troubles

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is concerned about troubles facing Syria’s Western-backed opposition but it will keep supporting Free Syrian Army leader General Salim Idris and the moderate opposition, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday.

The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.

Dec 9, 2013

U.S. to fly African troops to Central African Republic to ease violence

WASHINGTON/DOHA, Dec 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on
Monday that it will fly African forces into Central Africa
Republic, responding to a request by France to bolster
international efforts to halt the spread of violence between
Christians and Muslims.

Two U.S. military C-17 aircraft will fly about 850 troops
from Burundi into Central African Republic within the next 24
hours, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Firman, a Pentagon spokesman,
said. It was unclear what U.S. support might follow, but Firman
said consultations were ongoing.

    • 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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