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Shows & Panels
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.
A federal judge sentenced an Uzbek man living illegally in the United States to nearly 16 years in prison on Friday on terrorism and weapons charges stemming from his plot to kill President Barack Obama. Reuters reports, Ulugbek Kodirov, who arrived in the United States in 2009 to attend medical school but never enrolled, had plotted to shoot Obama while the President campaigned for re-election this year, according to federal authorities in Alabama.
Lawyers for an ex-Marine from Virginia facing 25 years in prison for firing shots at the Pentagon, the Marine Corps museum in Quantico and other targets in 2010 now say their client is mentally ill. According to the Associated Press, the Associated Press is reporting Yonathan Melaku (meh-LAH-koo) of Alexandria pleaded guilty earlier this year to a series of overnight shootings at various military buildings in northern Virginia. No one was injured. In the plea deal, he agreed to a 25-year sentence. In court papers filed Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria, Melaku's new lawyers ask for a court-ordered mental examination.
The Pentagon says it plans to establish a searchable database of military valor awards and medals. According to the Associated Press, the decision announced Tuesday by Pentagon press secretary George Little stems from a June 28 Supreme Court ruling that invalidated a law making it a crime to lie about receiving the Medal of Honor and other prized military awards. The idea of establishing a database is to make it easier to check on award claims, and perhaps to deter those who would make false claims. Little said details of how the database would be established have yet to be worked out. He said the hope is to include valor awards and medals going as far back in history as possible.
President Vladimir Putin said on Monday the West's influence was waning as its economy declines but warned Russian diplomats to be on their guard against a backlash from Moscow's former Cold War enemies. Reuters reports, that Putin, in a biennial speech to Russian ambassadors, also poked at the West by condemning any unilateral actions to solve international disputes and underlined the importance of resolving such conflicts through the United Nations.
Authorities at Ft. Bragg arrested a soldier from the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade on Thursday after he shot another member of the unit, then shot and wounded himself. A third soldier also was wounded. Sources say the soldier had been accused of stealing a tool box and was facing the possibility of a court martial. Ft. Bragg has been the scene of almost a have dozen suicides, and violent domestic disputes in recent years.
31 female victims have been identified so far. A senior Air Force commander says a sex scandal that has rocked the service's training command at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas appears to be localized. Gen. Edward Rice, commander of the Air Education and Training Command, told reporters at the Pentagon that a dozen male instructors are under investigation. Nine of them are from the same unit - the 331st Training Squadron.
U.S. officials say Syria's military remains loyal despite recent high-profile defections, while the opposition remains fragmented and unable to attack as a unified force, indicating a long, protracted conflict to come. The Associated Press reports, the Syrian regime is maintaining troop loyalty by keeping paychecks coming even as food and fuel run out for the rest of the country, according to U.S. intelligence officials who briefed reporters on the Syrian conflict Tuesday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to provide the sensitive information.
The Osama Bin Laden raid may not have been the last. The Associated Press is reporting, U.S. military and intelligence officials are so frustrated with Pakistan's failure to stop local militant groups from attacking Americans in neighboring Afghanistan that they have considered launching secret joint U.S.-Afghan commando raids into Pakistan to hunt them down, officials told The Associated Press. But the idea, which U.S. officials say comes up every couple of months, has been consistently rejected because the White House believes the chance of successfully rooting out the deadly Haqqani network would not be worth the intense diplomatic blowback from Pakistan that inevitably would ensue.
U.S. military officials are meeting with Japanese government representatives to discuss the safety of Osprey helicopters after one of the tilt-rotor aircraft crashed last week. The Associated Press is reporting, "plans to base some of the Ospreys in the city of Iwakuni were put on hold last week, as Japanese officials said they need more assurances the aircraft is safe. Opposition has been rising to putting Ospreys in Japan ever since one crashed during a training exercise in Morocco, killing two Marines and injuring two others."
A Pentagon investigation indicates poor judgment led to the teaching of anti-Islamic material at a U.S military school. Materials in a course at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va., portrayed the U.S. as being at war with Islam. U.S. officials say the war being fought by America is one against terrorists. The instructor, an Army officer, was relieved of teaching duties. Disciplinary action against two other officers is being considered. The course was suspended in April.
The U.S.S. has been hit by another fire. The small fire was reported about 7 p.m. Saturday in the dry dock at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The shipyard is investigating what caused the fire. The Los Angeles Class nuclear-powered submarine was hit by a fire that caused $400 million dollars on May 23rd. It is believed that the first fire was started when a vacuum cleaner ingested a heat source that ignited debris inside the vacuum. No word on what caused the latest fire.
A tactical move to stop Russia from sending weapons to Syria played out yesterday when a ship thought to be loaded with weapons lost its insurance. The British company that insured the MV Alaed said they did it when they discovered the nature of the cargo. U.S. officials have claimed the ship is heading for Syria with attack helicopters and munitions. There are reports that Russian advisors are on the ground in Syria helping to train Syrian troops to use the weapons being sent there.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is planning to thank gay and lesbian military members for their service, as the Pentagon prepares to mark June as gay pride month with an official salute. According to the Associated Press, "in a remarkable sign of a cultural change in the U.S. military, Panetta said that with the repeal last year of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law that prohibited gays from serving openly in the military, gays and lesbians can now be proud to be in uniform."
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has ordered all branches of the military to review mental health diagnoses as far back as 2001. An Army review of behavior diagnoses connected to a U.S. soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians apparently triggered new interest in how war affects the military. Panetta told a Senate committee he's asked other services to conduct a review similar to the Army's.
The United States is worried Russia may be sending Syria attack helicopters. Reuters reports it "views Russian claims that its arms transfers to Syria are unrelated to the conflict there as "patently untrue," U.S. Secretary Hillary Clinton said. The comments came as the Pentagon found itself on the defensive for doing business with Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, given concerns in Congress about the firm's role in arming the Syrian regime."
Space.com is reporting that after more than a year orbiting the earth during a secret mission, the U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane is due to return...soon. The Air Force won't say when the unmanned vehicle will land. It was expected to land on May 30th, But the time frame has been changed to mid-June. The space plane is about 29 feet long by 15 feet wide with a payload bay the size of a pickup truck bed.
According to a new book, Justice Department prosecutors were stunned to learn three years ago that the U.S. military had secretly tape recorded incriminating comments that alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikhs Mohammed made to fellow detainees during daily prison yard conversations but was not planning to use them at military tribunals. In "Kill or Capture: The War On Terror And The Soul Of The Obama Presidency," journalist Daniel Klaidman says Mohammed was caught on tape boasting to other detainees about the 9/11 attacks.
The U.S. Air Force on Tuesday awarded Lockheed Martin Corp a contract to retrofit 40 F-22 fighter aircraft with an automatic backup oxygen supply after some pilots experienced oxygen deprivation when flying the supersonic plane. Reuters reports the contract is worth $19 million, runs through April 2013, and includes retrofitting 10 spare aircraft. Currently oxygen supply requires manual activation by the F-22 Raptor pilot.
An American general has been replaced after reports quoted him as saying U.S. and South Korean special forces have been parachuting into North Korea on espionage missions. Brig. Gen. Neil Tolley was quoted as making the comments during a conference in Florida last month. Both he and the military later said that no special operation forces have been sent into North Korea. The U.S. military command in Seoul said Tuesday the departure of Tolley is a routine personnel change.
The United States and Vietnam have exchanged artifacts of war, including a U.S. soldier's written account of life under fire before his death and a Vietnam trooper's diary held for over 40 years by an American GI. At a ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnamese defense minister Phung Quang Thanh delivered the letters to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who in turn gave Thanh the small maroon diary taken from the body of the Vietnamese man by a U.S. service member who brought it home with him.