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National Security Correspondent J.J. Green has traveled three continents covering intelligence, terrorism, and security issues. From Afghanistan to Africa, Iraq to Ireland, there isn't anywhere J.J. won't go, nor anyone he won't talk with, to get the stories affecting the defense and national security communities.
The U.S. Army announced Thursday a restructuring of its Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) as the service prepares for a scheduled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and a continued decline in the number of combat wounded. According to Brig. Gen. David Bishop, commander, Warrior Transition Command and Assistant Surgeon General for Warrior Care and Transition, "These changes will improve the care and transition of soldiers through increased standardization, increased cadre to soldier ratios, improved access to resources on installations, and reduced delays in care. They are not related to budget cuts, sequestration or furloughs." As part of the restructuring, the Army will inactivate five WTUs and establish more than a dozen community care units (CCUs) across 11 installations by September 30, 2014.
The United States is going to send 800 more soldiers and about 40 Abrams main battle tanks and other armored vehicles to South Korea next month as part of a military rebalance to East Asia after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The battalion of troops and M1A2 tanks and about 40 Bradley fighting vehicles are from the 1st U.S. Cavalry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas. They begin a nine-month deployment in South Korea on Feb. 1.
Last year we reported that a longtime adviser to the U.S. Director of National Intelligence had resigned after the government learned he had worked since 2010 as a paid consultant for a Chinese technology. That company Huawei Technologies Ltd.is viewed by some as an espionage threat to the U.S. After inquiring with U.S. intelligence officials, it turns out that Theodore H. Moran, a respected expert on China's international investment and professor at Georgetown University, while listed as an advisor, has never even met DNI James Clapper."
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has spoken to Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu to discuss recent events in Russia. He offered his condolences for the recent terrorist attacks in Volgograd, saying the United States stands with the Russian people against terrorism. He also assured Minister Shoygu that the United States stands ready to provide security assistance to Russia for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, if requested.
If you serve the US military in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, you'll get imminent danger pay. But Bahrain, which is headquarters to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have been removed from that list. Lt. Col Steve Warren, Pentagon spokesman said the decision to drop more than 20 locales from the list followed a regular review and was not budget-driven.
China's says the U.S. should not have sent the last three Uighur Chinese inmates at the Guantanamo Bay detention center to Slovakia. The Chinese government claims they are terrorists. A spokesman says they are members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which Beijing labels a terrorist group and not only threaten China's security, but other countries as well.
The Department of Defense has released the names of those who died when their Black Hawk UH-60 went down Tuesday during a mission. Five U.S. soldiers based at Fort Riley, Kan., and one based in Europe were killed in a helicopter crash this week in southern Afghanistan, Army officials said Thursday. The five Fort Riley soldiers were identified as Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings, 34, of Heavener, Okla.; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, 35, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Sgt. Peter C. Bohler, 29, of Willow Spring, N.C.; Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Forde, 28, of Marietta, Ga.; and Spc. Terry K.D. Gordon, 22, of Shubuta, Miss. A sixth soldier, based in Vilseck, Germany, was identified as Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Williams, 30, of Elkhart, Ind. One soldier survived the crash.
Russia is developing a new intercontinental ballistic missile mounted on a railway car. Government officials say their stated goal is to counterbalance U.S. weapons in the pipeline. Col. Gen. Sergei Karakayev, the chief of the military's Strategic Missile Forces, told Russian news agencies that the new weapon will be much easier to camouflage than its predecessor. The Soviet-designed railway missiles were dismantled in 2005. So what does this mean for the Cold War? Many say it never ended.
Two Guantanamo Bay prisoners have been sent back Saudi Arabia. U.S. officials say 35-year-old Saad Muhammad Husayn Qahtani and 48-year-old Hamood Abdulla Hamood were transferred after a security review. Neither man had been charged with a crime. U.S. records show both were suspected members of al-Qaida and were considered to be at high risk of rejoining the terror group if released.
Terry Lee Loewen, a 58-year-old avionics technician allegedly spent months studying the layout of the Mid-Continent Regional Airport in Wichita, Kansas. The FBI says he was looking at flight patterns and other details as he planned a suicide car-bomb attack. The FBI says he developed a plan with other conspirators and Loewen, who lives in Wichita had been under surveillance for 6 months and was planning the attack to support al Qaida.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday that the U.S. will continue to support the moderate opposition in Syria, but non-lethal aid will be suspended until the U.S. can get a clear assessment on the status of warehouses of military equipment that may have been seized by extremist Islamic militants. The U.S. and Britain suspended the aid after opposition fighters from conservative Islamic rebel brigades seized warehouses containing U.S. military gear that was intended for the main Western-backed moderate rebel group.
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) for the first time used a vehicle mounted high energy laser to successfully engage more than 90 mortar rounds and several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in flight. This occurred during multiple test events of the Army High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) conducted between November 18 and December 10 at the High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility, White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is warning Congress that failure to act on a defense policy bill before year's end would create more uncertainty for the military. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey wrote to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other leaders urging prompt action and detailing special pay, bonuses and other authorities that would expire if the bill slips to January.
Top Democrats and Republicans on Congress' military panels are working on a plan to ensure that they complete a broad defense policy bill before year's end. It would cover a pay raise for troops, buy new ships and aircraft and address the epidemic of sexual assault in the military. The Senate and the House have only one legislative week to work out their differences before the House adjourns for the year on Dec. 13. A version of the bill remains stalled in the Senate, caught up in a dispute over amendments.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey is concerned about the next generation of military recruit being endangered by bad or illegal behavior online. He told reporters in his own words, "I worry a bit about ... the young men and women who are now in their teens, who probably underestimate the impact of their persona in social media". The problem is so pervasive, military officials have been considering the idea of giving people a second chance.
The U.S. has halted shipments out of Afghanistan, because protesters are a threat to truckers from who drive along part of the route in neighboring Pakistan. The Associated Press reports, "there have been anti-U.S. demonstrations in Pakistan in recent days calling for an end to the American drone program that targets militants. So U.S. officials said Tuesday that they had ordered truckers under U.S. contract to park at holding areas inside Afghanistan temporarily to avoid going there."
The U.S. Navy has sent two advanced P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft to Japan. U.S. military officials say their jobs will be to improve U.S. capability to hunt submarines and other vessels in waters near China as tension in the region mounts. Last month China established an air defense identification zone covering islands in the East China Sea controlled by Japan and claimed by Beijing. In a few days four more of the aircraft will arrive.
The 22nd meeting of the U.S.-Pakistan Defense Consultative Group took place recently to coordinate defense policy. Their principle goal of strengthening defense cooperation to support each country's security interests. During the meetings the two sides agreed that the U.S.-Pakistan defense partnership is vital to regional and international security and that it should continue to endure and grow in the years ahead. Another key goal --continued efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation based on mutual interests and trust.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to go after al-Qaida, which was being sheltered by the Taliban. The longest and costliest war in U.S. history has proven deeply unpopular at home and among its allies, who also have said they will not commit any troops after 2014 unless the security deal is signed.
The company that employed the Washington Navy Yard shooter pulled his access to classified material for two days in August when mental health problems became evident, but restored it quickly and never told Navy officials about the withdrawal. The Associated Press reports, "an initial Navy review revealed that the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company, The Experts, ordered computer contractor Aaron Alexis back to Washington, D.C., after a police incident in Rhode Island in August, according to senior U.S. officials."