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3:22 pm, September 2, 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.

FAST Marine deployed to Libya

Marines have been sent to Libya to beef up security. Who are they? The Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) is capable of rapidly deploying to immediately improve security at United States Government installations worldwide. FAST Marines are deployed at the discretion of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps when the primary and auxiliary security forces of the Marines are unable to adequately respond to a security crisis.

Al Qaida leader eulogized

It's a long-time coming, but Al Qaida leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri has finally acknowledged the death of his deputy, Abu Yahya al-Libi, in a drone strike in Pakistan's northwest territories in June 2012. He did it in In a video recording posted on Tuesday to jihadist websites. He managed to escape from US custody in Afghanistan in 2005 and was appointed Al-Zawahiri's deputy in 2011.

Al Qaida leader in Yemen killed

An airstrike killed al-Qaida's No. 2 in Yemen along with six others traveling with him in one car yesteday. Saeed al-Shihri, a Saudi national who fought in Afghanistan and spent six years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, was killed by a missile after leaving a house in the southern province of Hadramawt. Yemeni officials say they believed to have been fired by a U.S.-operated, unmanned drone aircraft.

U.S. personnel headed to Syria

The Associated Press is reporting, the U.S. is ramping up its presence at Syria's Turkish border, sending more spies and diplomats to help advise the rebel forces in their mismatched fight against the better armed Syrian regime, and to watch for possible al-Qaida infiltration of rebel ranks. The AP says U.S. officials briefed on the plan said the modest surge in U.S. personnel in the past few weeks - estimated at fewer than a dozen people - has helped improve rebels' political organizing skills as well as their military organization. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly.

Afghan Soldiers kicked out

Afghan authorities have detained or removed hundreds of soldiers in an investigation into rising insider attacks against international service personnel. Lt. Gen. James Terry, commander of the U.S.-led coalition's joint command in Afghanistan, told Pentagon reporters Wednesday that he had heard 200 to 300 soldiers were removed in the re-vetting process, but that he had not yet confirmed those numbers with the Afghan government. Some were removed because of concerns about drug abuse.

Bin Laden book draws rebukes

Pentagon, press secretary George Little said that an official review of the book, "No Easy Day," determined that it reveals what he called "sensitive and classified" information. He didn't go any further, but said the author was required to submit the book to the Pentagon before publication for a formal review of potential disclosures of such information. Meantime the Admiral who runs the Navy Seals command said details in the book provide the U.S.'s enemies with dangerous insight into special operations.

NorthCom directing hurricane resources

U.S. Northern Command is coordinating Department of Defense's support to FEMA and state and local response activities in response to Tropical Storm Isaac. Northcom has pre-staged four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Fort Campbell, KY, and two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from Norfolk Naval Air Station, VA, to Fort Rucker, AL, to assess and support potential search and rescue efforts. A SAR planner also has been activated and deployed to Baton Rouge Emergency Operations Center, LA.

Local Female Soldier Dies in Kuwait

The Department of Defense has announced the death today of a local female soldier who was supporting the war in Afghanistan. Army Staff Sgt. Jessica M. Wing, 42, of Alexandria, Va., died Monday Aug. 27, in Kuwait City, Kuwait in a non-combat related incident. She was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Bangor, Maine. No other details on the cause of death are available at this time.

Marines expecting anxiety

The Marine Corps commandant says there may be some anxiety from male Marines as female officers work their way into infantry and other combat jobs that historically have been open only to men. The Associate Press reports Gen. James F. Amos told a National Press Club audience Tuesday that early steps have been successful, but some of the harder tests are yet to come. Two female Marine officers have volunteered to attend the grueling infantry officer school at the Marine Corps' Quantico, Va., base next month as military officials gauge whether women can handle the course's extreme physical and mental challenges.

US military denies concession claims

There are reports from Pakistan that the U.S. government is seeking some kind of truce with the Haqqani network. But the U.S. military denies there's any truth to it. Pakistan's Express tribune reports a "Senior American military official says the US would hand over the control of three Afghan provinces to the Haqqanis if they agreed to withdraw their support for the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan." This comes just days after the US allegedly killed Badruddin Haqanni in a drone strike. Brig. Gen. Stephen Twitty, a spokesman for United States Forces-Afghanistan said in a statement, "Assertions made in an article today in The Express Tribune that the United States is willing to cede Afghan territory as part of a rapprochement with the Haqqani network and that the U.S. sees the Haqqani Network playing an '...important role in the future political dispensation of Afghanistan,' are categorically false."

African American Sailor Makes History

The Navy says a Virginia-based sailor has become the first black woman to earn a three-star-rank in the U.S. armed forces. Vice Adm. Michelle Janine Howard was promoted to deputy commander of U.S. Fleet Forces command in Norfolk on Friday. She's no stranger to making history. Howard was also the first black woman to command a U.S. Navy warship, the first female graduate of the Naval Academy to achieve the rank of rear admiral and the first black woman to command an expeditionary strike group at sea.

Bin Laden raid author identified

Fox News has identified the Navy Seal, who is the author of a book about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Matt Bissonnette retired from the Navy last summer, according to Fox's conversation with a former U.S. and current U.S. Navy official. The book is called "No Easy Day" and is scheduled to come out on September 11th. Bissonnette wrote the book under the pseudonym Mark Owen. The book is being published by the Penguin group. He could face legal trouble if it is determined that he revealed classified information.

Dunford gets the Nod

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has recommended General Joseph Dunford to lead the war effort in Afghanistan once the outgoing commander of U.S. and NATO troops rotates out of the post. The final decision is President Barack Obama's and his nomination would need to be approved by Congress. Dunford, who served in the Iraq war, would replace General John Allen, who took over command of the Afghan mission in July 2011. Allen is expected to become the next head of U.S. forces in Europe sometime this winter.

Joint Chiefs Chairman cites Taliban Failure

Joint Chief's Chairman, General Martin Dempsey on his visit to Afghanistan met with his Afghan commanders and his counterpart. In addition to talking about insider attacks, they discussed the state of the war. He said the Taliban started the fighting season with three objectives: discrediting Afghanistan's central government, impeding the development of the national security forces, and recapturing lost territory. He said in his own words..."In every one of those objectives they've failed."

Hezbollah Warns Israel

Hezbollah Political leader Hassan Nasrallah has sent a warning to Israel. He says they have precision rockets that could hit a small number of targets and kill "tens of thousands" of Israelis He said "Hitting these targets with a small number of rockets will turn ... the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zionists to real hell, and we can talk about tens of thousands of dead." This threat comes as Israel debates whether or not to attack Hezbollah's benefactor Iran.

Hypersonic Jet crashes

Why did the X-51 crash into the Pacific? The military is investigating why the Waverider, designed to fly at six times the speed of sound went down off the coast of Southern California on Tuesday after successfully separating from a B-52 bomber. What investigators have learned is that one of its cruiser control fins caused it to lose balance and crash. Four Waveriders were built, two have crashed. One flew three times the speed of sound in 2010 before being deliberately crashed. The Air Force has one more.

General facing disciplinary action

The Associated Press says "that a four-star Army general who was the first head of the new U.S. Africa Command is under investigation and facing demotion for possibly spending hundreds of thousands of dollars improperly on lavish travel, hotels and other items. Several defense officials said Wednesday that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected soon to decide the fate of Gen. William "Kip" Ward.

Morsi Questioned

A new question is being floated in Egypt. Is their new President another Mubarak? The Associated is reporting Egypt's Islamist president has given himself the right to legislate and control over the drafting of a new constitution. He has installed at the top of the powerful military a defense minister likely to be beholden to him. Under Mohammed Morsi's authority, officials have moved to silence influential critics in the media. And though a civilian, he declared himself in charge of military operations against militants in the Sinai peninsula.

US Destroyer Collides in the Persian Gulf

The USS Porter is being evaluated after it collided with an oil tanker on Sunday morning. The guided missile destroyer has a 10 foot by 10 foot hole on one side after banging into a Japanese owned tanker about 1:00AM local time. The USS Porter is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain. The vessel is there as a part of buildup in the Persian Gulf to pressure Iran and reassure U.S. allies concerned about Iran's influence and power.

Commander relieved of duties over sex scandal

More than a dozen military instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Austin, Texas have been investigated or charged with sexually assaulting recruits. The scandal has reached all the way to the top, claiming the job of Colonel Glen Palmer, who oversaw basic training. Investigators say more than three dozen female trainees were victimized. Lackland is home to more than 475 military training instructors --the equivalent of Army drill sergeants.

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