Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Wednesday that the Pentagon may have to mothball up to three Navy aircraft carriers and order additional sharp reductions in the size of the Army and Marine Corps if Congress doesn’t act to avoid massive budget cuts beginning in 2014.
WASHINGTON — Afghanistan’s military is growing stronger but will require “substantial” additional training and foreign financial aid after the American and NATO combat mission ends next year, the Pentagon told Congress on Tuesday.
The Pentagon’s assertion comes amid debate about the White House’s reluctance to announce how many – if any – U.S. forces should remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to help Afghan forces hold off the Taliban.
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post
By Dave Robbins
China, North Korea and Iran will all soon have nuclear missiles capable of reaching the U.S., according to a report published by the Pentagon Thursday. Read More: Pentagon report: China, Iran and North Korea close to nuclear capability – World – Israel News | Haaretz.
Source: Endtime Ministries
Congress has launched an investigation of the helicopter crash that killed 30 Americans in Afghanistan, including members of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 unit, The Hill has learned. [WATCH VIDEO]
The victims’ families say the Pentagon hasn’t provided answers to their many questions about the deadly attack, which took place on Aug. 6, 2011, three months after Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by Team 6 forces.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on National Security, told The Hill, “We’re going to dive into this.”
Chaffetz said he met with the victims’ families about a month ago in what he described as an “emotional” gathering. He is poised to send questions to the Pentagon and may hold hearings on the matter.
Charlie Strange, whose son Michael was among those killed, said he asked President Obama two years ago at Dover Air Force Base to fully investigate. The death toll in the crash was the largest of any single incident for the U.S. military during the Afghanistan war.
Read More at The Hill . By Bob Cusack.
A customs dispute between the Afghan and US governments has disrupted the withdrawal of American military equipment, dramatically inflating the cost of the drawdown, defense officials said.
With Afghan authorities insisting the United States owes millions of dollars in customs fines and trucks carrying hardware being blocked at border crossings, the Americans have started flying out most equipment by air at great cost.
“The cost is five to seven times more” by aircraft than over land through neighboring Pakistan, a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.
The Afghan government is insisting that US forces pay $1,000 for each shipping container leaving the country that lacks what it calls a valid customs form.
And authorities now claim the Americans owe $70 million in fines, even though the United States contends that Kabul’s stance contradicts previous agreements, said US officials, confirming a report that first appeared in the Washington Post.
The US Congress was warned in May by the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction that Kabul was exacting exorbitant customs fees and taxes in violation of previous agreements regulating imported goods and the status of US forces.
In some cases, Afghan officials were blocking commercial trucks from delivering food and fuel to US forces due to the customs dispute, the inspector general said.
Afghan authorities, however, claim that US contractors transporting equipment failed to file proper documents for large amounts of gear shipped into the country since 2010.
To collect fines that Washington allegedly owes Kabul, “the only way is to stop all trucks from crossing the border,” Najibullah Wardak, the director general of the Afghan Customs Department, told the Washington Post.
“What else can we do?”
The Pentagon in a statement acknowledged “challenges” with the withdrawal at Afghan border crossings.
The disputes are “typically centered on the interpretation of Afghan customs processes,” spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Bill Speaks said in the statement.
NATO-led force commanders are talking with Afghan officials and “we are confident that the situation will be resolved soon,” he said.
With a massive drawdown of military equipment due between now and the end of 2014, US officers had counted on moving most of the equipment by land routes through Pakistan.
Recent tensions with Pakistan have previously forced the US and its NATO allies to transport large amounts of cargo by air and by a longer, more expensive route through Central Asia.
Over the past month, only 36 percent of US equipment has been driven out by land routes, the Post wrote, citing a Pentagon official.
The disagreement over customs fines threatens to undermine difficult negotiations over a possible future US military presence after 2014. ddl/adm
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News
By Kevin Spak
Publicly, the military has vowed to do everything it can to combat sexual assault. But privately, it’s been in lobbying overdrive to ensure it doesn’t have to do much at all, Politico reports. While federal agencies regularly lean on legislators, this push by the Pentagon has been unusually heavy, and… …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home
By Dave Robbins
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon Tuesday, July 16, contradicted US claims that Israeli air strikes of July 5 were responsible for destroying Russian-made Yakhont SS-N-26 anti-ship missiles stored at the Syrian port town of Latakia.. Wiped out too were the system’s radar. The claims by Pentagon and other US officials were widely published by American and British […]
Source: Endtime Ministries
Washington, D.C. is a town run largely by lawyers. Naturally, this leads to a ton of convoluted and unnecessary legislation. And this overabundance of legality often leads to twisted logic in our nation’s capital – and confusion for us.
Take the two hotly debated (and often misused) words: “coup” and “terrorism.”
You see, when the Egyptian military recently ousted President Mursi, most of the world called that a coup. But for reasons you’ll see in a moment, the Obama administration doesn’t see it that way.
Then there’s Major Nidal Hasan’s attack on Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009 – which left 13 people dead and 30 injured. You’d probably file that one under an act of terror. But according to Obama, you’d be wrong.
“Coup d’état” is a French word that made its way into the English language. The Oxford Dictionary identifies it as a French expression, meaning a “stroke of state.”
Military historian Edward Luttwak says that “[a] coup consists of the infiltration of a small, but critical, segment of the state apparatus, which is then used to displace the government from its control of the remainder.”
So, when the Egyptian military grabbed power and imprisoned President Mohamed Mursi, headlines across the world (correctly) screamed “Coup in Egypt.”
Yet in the Obama administration, twisted words reign, and take on surreal meanings. And in this case, they’re simply insisting that the situation in Egypt isn’t actually a coup.
Well, the Foreign Assistance Act states that if the “duly elected head of government is deposed by military act or decree,” then the United States must stop providing aid.
But Obama desperately wants to continue pumping $1.55 billion in aid to Egypt. And as I explained back in June, Egypt is collapsing and ungovernable. Without the continued flow of aid, the collapse will accelerate, and Egypt’s government would likely vanish.
This is just another classic example of the Obama team’s complete disregard for the law. And if Obama says it’s not a coup, then it’s not. Period.
More Than Semantics
A similar twist of words is playing out in the Fort Hood case. Obama’s lawyers insist that Hasan isn’t a terrorist, and that his attack is “work place violence” rather than an act of terrorism.
Talk about splitting hairs.
According to the FBI, Hasan was an avid reader of Jihadi websites. He worshipped at Jihadi-influenced mosques. Hasan even self-identifies as a “soldier of Allah.” He openly supported suicide attacks against non-Muslims, and received religious and operational inspiration from Anwar Al-Awlaki.
You may remember Al-Awlaki – he was the American citizen and al-Qaeda promoter killed by a U.S. drone because he was deemed a terrorist.
Now the administration’s refusal to call the Fort Hood attack a terrorist attack is seriously impacting the lives of the survivors and victims.
For example, the Pentagon refuses to treat the injured and dead as casualties of war. Consequently, they’ve been denied the Purple Heart medal that’s bestowed on Americans injured in battle.
The U.S. House even …read more
The laughter and chatter ceased as soon as the two naval chiefs appeared on the rooftop deck of the barracks, where four sailors — three men and one woman — were having drinks in a hot tub with a sweeping view of San Diego Bay.
Chief Petty Officer John Tate approached the group and asked a 23-year-old in a don’t-try-to-fool-me tone whether his Gatorade bottle was spiked. Then Tate turned to the only female in the hot tub: “You on the same ship? You drinking a little bit, too?”
“I’m just sipping on it,” she said.
There was no mention of the military’s push to prevent sexual assaults in its ranks, but those in the hot tub at Naval Base San Diego said they knew that’s why Tate was there. Tate serves on one of the Navy’s new nightly patrol units charged with policing bases to control heavy drinking and reckless behavior.
The patrols are among a number of new initiatives the armed forces is implementing to try to stop sexual assaults by changing the military’s work-hard, play-hard culture. The effort follows a Pentagon report, released in May, that estimates as many as 26,000 service members may have been sexually assaulted last year.
The head of the Army has called sexual assault “a cancer” that could destroy the force, while Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the problem threatens to undermine troops’ effectiveness in carrying out missions. But military leaders have rejected far-reaching congressional efforts to strip commanders of some authority in meting out justice, saying that would undercut the ability of commanders to discipline their troops.
Now every branch is scrambling to demonstrate it can get the situation under control by instituting new measures that emphasize a zero-tolerance message and crack down on alcohol, which is said to be a major contributor to the problem.
“We need cultural change, where every service member is treated with dignity and respect, where all allegations of inappropriate behavior are treated with seriousness, where victims’ privacy is protected, where bystanders are motivated to intervene, and where offenders know that they will be held accountable by strong and effective systems of justice,” Hagel said after the report was released.
Hagel ordered all commanders to inspect workspaces by July 1 to ensure they were free of degrading material, and he gave military leaders until Nov. 1 to recommend ways to hold officers accountable for their commands’ environments.
In June, thousands of military men and women attended interactive, in-your-face training programs as part of a Pentagon-ordered stand-down from regular duties to specifically address sexual assault. The service members role-played uncomfortable scenarios, watched explicit videos that included rape scenes and were grilled over the meaning of “consent” in boot camp-style lectures. Some branches allowed media to attend the sessions.
During one course at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, S.C., 1st Sgt. Rena Bruno paced in front of screens filled with statistics as she schooled 200 recruits, in their 10th day of basic training, on the definitions of sexual assault and harassment.
“We’re tired of hearing about …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News
Boasting its own artificial sun and a floor area three times that of the Pentagon, the “world’s largest building” has opened in southwest China to mixed reviews from its first visitors.
The towering 100-metre (330-foot) high New Century Global Centre, which is said to to be big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses, recently opened its doors Chengdu.
The complex, which Chinese officials say is the world’s largest standalone structure, is 500 metres long by 400 metres wide, offering 1.7 million square metres of floor space.
But the first wave of visitors were divided over the attractions of the the structure, which houses 400,000 square metres of shopping space, offices, conference rooms, a university complex, two commercial centres, two five star hotels, and an IMAX cinema.
“It lacks creativity,” said one visitor on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
Another visitor poked fun at its name.
“Why is everything in Chengdu called ‘global’,” the poster said.
However, some Internet users were impressed with the complex, which opened on June 28.
“It will become the new landmark of Chengdu,” said one poster.
The Global Centre has a marine theme, with fountains, a huge water park and an artificial beach, accented by the undulating roof, meant to resemble a wave.
The centrepiece is a 5,000 square metre artificial beach, which includes a rafting course and a “seafront” promenade, complete with parasols and seafood outlets that can accommodate 6,000 people.
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News
By Kevin Spak
Chinese hackers have managed to access the designs for dozens of America’s most advanced weapons systems, according to a confidential report from the Defense Science Board obtained by the Washington Post . The designs accessed include the heart of the Pentagon’s missile defense shield for Asia, along with combat aircraft and ships like the Black Hawk Helicopter, the V-22 Osprey, the new Littoral Combat Ship, and the most expensive weapons system ever, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet. “That’s staggering,” says the head of one think tank covering Asia security issues. “These are all very critical weapons systems, critical to our national security. When I hear this in totality, it’s breathtaking.” Experts say the thefts could drastically aid Chinese weapons development by saving the country years of research and the massive associated costs (which experts peg at billions of dollars); it could also give China an edge in any military conflict with the US. The Post notes that when the hacking occurred, and through what point of access (government computers, or those of defense contractors or subcontractors), were not made clear. China, of course, says it hasn’t conducted cyber-espionage at all, and indeed claims that US cyberspies are targeting it.
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Newser – Home