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9:17 am, November 26, 2014

Pentagon & Beyond

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.

Davis considered for top DHS post

Boston police commissioner Edward F. Davis has been mentioned as a candidate to be the next secretary of Homeland Security. The Boston Globe reports he may be in the mix for the job being vacated by Janet Napolitano. According to the Globe, some Senators, think President Obama will announce his nomination within the next few weeks. They also report the White House is vetting "a handful of people" for the position.

Hagel discusses Review

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has revealed the results a four-month Strategic Choices and Management Review, He said the Pentagon would cut overhead by almost $40 billion more over the next decade, and was looking at $50 billion in savings from compensation. He said the review also pointed to possible reductions of up to 70,000 troops from the U.S. Army's active force, and up to 65,000 from the Army reserves.

Prisoners Escape

Hundreds of convicts, including senior members of al Qaeda, broke out of Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail after comrades launched a military-style assault, authorities said on Monday. Reuters reports ten policemen and four militants were killed in the clashes. Suicide bombers reportedly drove cars packed with explosives to the gates of the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday night and blasted their way into the compound, while gunmen attacked guards with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

Surveillance no surprise to Germany

Germany was one of several European countries expressing outrage over the NSA surveillance of their diplomats under certain circumstances. Now it turns out according to German newspaper Bild, the government has known about the capability for years and has actually used the apparatus to collect information about German citizens. Apparently, according to the newspaper the BND, Germany's intelligence agency asked NSA for email and telephone records of German citizens kidnapped in Yemen and Afghanistan.

Failed missile test has consequences

Reuters is reporting that "four U.S. Republican lawmakers on Friday urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to conduct another test of the missile defense system this year after last week's test failure, and to make development of a next-generation interceptor a top priority." The lawmakers seemed to indirectly failed July 5 missile defense test was not yet clear, but they argued that President Barack Obama's cuts in spending on missile defense had reduced funding for needed tests and maintenance of the system."

Hacker conference tells feds to stay away

The U.S, government has been disinvited from a key hacking convention. "It would be best for everyone involved if the Feds call a 'time-out' and not attend Def Con this year," conference founder Jeff Moss said in a statement on the convention's website. It looks as though Edward Snowden's revelations in the NSA leaks have made some in the hacking community uncomfortable about the U.S. government's presence.

JPAC investigation underway

There are more than 83,000 Americans missing from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, according to US estimates. Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters at a Tuesday afternoon briefing, "We're going to review the concerns raised about how the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command or JPAC is or isn't functioning well,". The Associated Press reported recently the command suffers from waste, mismanagement and ineptitude.

Judge rejects hunger-striker's motion

A U.S. federal judge said Monday she lacks the authority to stop the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay prison facility in Cuba. But, District Judge Gladys Kessler pointed out the practice may violate international law. She said previous rulings have established that the court lacks jurisdiction to stop the force-feeding of prisoners, but she added, President Barack Obama can resolve the issue quoting from a recent speech where he "criticized" the practice.

North Korea extends offer to South

South Korea said Wednesday that it is considering an offer by North Korea to allow South Korean businessmen to visit a shuttered joint industrial complex in the North and hold talks on possibly removing some of their equipment. The two nations are on very tense footing as North Korea has threatened to attack the South and U.S forces stationed there. The North is also pursuing a new round talk over its nuclear weapons program.

Remains of heroes buried at Arlington

A soldier who went missing after his helicopter was shot down during the Vietnam War...was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. The remains of Army Specialist John L. Burgess of Sutton Bay, Mich., were buried today in a single casket with the remains of two members of his crew who had been previously identified. They were among five soldiers aboard a helicopter that crashed near the Cambodian border in 1970. Only one survived.

U.S. Navy sending vessels to Persian Gulf

The U.S Navy says three coastal patrol boats have arrived at 5th Fleet headquarters in Bahrain to boost its fleet of the rapid-response craft in the Persian Gulf, where U.S. and Iranian forces often operate within close range. The Navy says the new vessels Wednesday bring the total to eight patrol boats as part of plans to have 10 stationed in Bahrain by early next year.

Hunger-strikers petition to stop force-feeding

The U.S. government has until noon on Wednesday to respond to a request to block the force-feeding of hunger strikers at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. Lawyers for the prisoner argue it violates human rights. The U.S. military holds 166 foreign captives at the detention camp on the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, and a spokesman said 106 had joined a months-long hunger strike to protest the failure to resolve their fate after more than a decade of detention.

How did he escape

How did Congolese warlord Bosco Ntaganda, on the run and facing defeat and certain death at the hands of Rwandan troops, get out of Eastern Congo and into the U.S. Embassy in Kigali Rwanda? A U.N. report says he managed to slip away and used a small path and a single escort to make his way to the U.S. Embassy and turned himself in for arrest on international war crimes charges. He turned up at the embassy on March 18.

Hagel visits NORAD and NORTHCOM

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is in Colorado Springs, Colo., for his first visit to the area since being sworn in. While there Hagel will visit the headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. He'll be briefed by Gen. Chuck Jacoby and staff on a number of issues including homeland defense, integrated air and missile defense, US-Mexico military-to-military relations, and defense support of civil authorities. He will also visit Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station and Fort Carson.

Selective Service figure dies

Curtis Tarr, the former head of the Selective Service System who oversaw the lottery for the draft during the Vietnam War, has died. Tarr died of pneumonia on Friday at his home in Walnut Creek, Calif. He was 88. The nation had held its first lottery drawing for the draft in December 1969. Before the lottery, local draft boards had control over who was called and who was not.

Terror plot suspected in Europe

German authorities are investigating two men of Tunisian origin suspected of planning to use model airplanes for terrorist attacks, prosecutors said Tuesday. At the same time police in Germany and Belgium raided a series of sites searching for evidence of "possible attack plans and preparations." No one was arrested in Tuesday's raids, which were carried out by about 90 police in the Stuttgart and Munich areas of southern Germany and in Saxony in eastern Germany, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

Threat from Cyber terrorists grow

Law enforcement and first responder got a special bulletin recently warning them to be aware of and understand that terrorists frequent popular social media sites and Web blogs to gather pre-operational surveillance. Some cyber terrorists according to the bulletin are sophisticated enough to penetrate an organization's network and devices-and gather personal, sensitive, or proprietary data. Virtual tours, security procedures, even business hours are key sources of information for terrorists and criminal organizations. Authorities warn terrorists are getting better and could use this type of information launch both cyber and physical attack almost simultaneously.

Syrian aid remains in limbo

The U.S. government and military are still mulling over how to help Syrian rebels. Sources say the CIA and military are quietly training Syrian rebels on how to use anti-tank and anti-aircraft launchers, but one senior military official says no decisions have been made on what type of weapon support to provide or when to do it.

Pakistan and Afghanistan point fingers

There is a lot of back and forth at the U.N. as Afghanistan and Pakistan traded accusations in the U.N. Security Council on Thursday over the whereabouts of Islamist extremists. The United Nations called increased tensions between the two as "unfortunate and dangerous." Both sides blame the other for deadly terrorist attacks that take place almost on a daily basis.

Cyber thieves swipe Pentagon plans

Hackers stealing sensitive design data from programs like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter could limit the advantage the plane gives the U.S. Defense acquisitions chief Frank Kendall told a Senate hearing he was reasonably confident that classified information related to the development of the F-35 was well-protected. "But I'm not at all confident that our unclassified information is as well-protected," he said.

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