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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.
Even though senior NATO and Pentagon officials have expressed doubt that Afghan forces will be ready to take over security for the country in 2014, NATO leaders say thery will move ahead with step one of the plan to do just that. Britan, Canada and other allied countries say they do not want to be in a combat role in 2014 and are beginning to phase out their troops. The U.S. says it will begin it's withdrawal from Afghanistan next year.
How will the U.S withdrawal from Iraq next year affect security there? Colin Kahl, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee security remains strong and the pullout at the end of 2011 will not ignite a dramatic increase in violence. Al Qaida, while successful in pulling of several high profile attacks in recent weeks, killing hundreds has not succeeded in ingniting widespread sectarian violence.
A very curt message for Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday. Bolivian President Evo Morales said Latin American nations will pick their own friends and business partners, including Iran, regardless of U.S. opinion. The remarks came during a welcome ceremony for delegates at a regional defense conference Morales never mentioned Gates. But observers say most of the speech, and all of the applause lines, obviously aimed at Gates.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional advisory commission says in its annual report that lawmakers should require a Pentagon assessment of the military's capacity to withstand a Chinese air and missile assault on American regional bases and the implications of a similar assault on Taiwan's air defenses. The commission was set up by Congress in 2000 to advise, investigate and report on U.S.-China affairs.
Canada confirmed Tuesday that 950 soldiers and support staff will remain in Afghanistan in a training role after Canada's combat mission ends in 2011. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said they will be stationed in the Kabul area and will stay until 2014. The pledge of support may help plug a critical shortage of trainers for NATO's year-old mission to bolster Afghan security forces. The training mission would be confined to military bases.
It's the latest innovation by international drug traffickers. U.S. prosecutors say South American gangs are buying old jets and other planes, filling them with cocaine and flying them more than 3,000 miles across the ocean to Africa. At least three gangs have struck deals to fly drugs to West Africa and from there to Europe, according to U.S. indictments. Most of the cocaine flown to Africa is bound for Europe, where demand has been rising over the last decade.
Almost 100 years after his death, a black Union Civil War vet from South Carolina finally has a veterans marker on his grave. The Associated Press reports, the white gravestone for Henry Benjamin Noisette was dedicated Thursday during a Veterans Day ceremony at a small black cemetery near an interstate. Noisette's military past was not discovered until recently by a researcher with the African American Historical Alliance, a nonprofit working to increase awareness of the role of blacks in the war and Reconstruction in South Carolina. Noisette escaped slavery and joined the U.S. Navy in 1862.
More than 60 years after world war two, Germany is still very sensitve how it deploys it's troops in foreign countries. The government has announced it will extend three military deployments including its contribution to an EU naval force tracking pirates off Somalia. Germany has more than 300 troops participating in the anti-piracy force. There are 120 soldiers to Bosnia, and it's considering sending a ship with 220 soldiers to take part in NATO's Active Endeavour operation patrolling in the Mediterranean. Germany also has 4,900 troops in Afghanistan.
Missile launches off the coast of California are commonplace --but this one was a mystery. Military officials said early on it didn't represent a threat to the United States. They also said it was not a launch by a foreign power. The video captured by a news helicopter showed an object shooting across the sky and leaving a large vapor trail. DoD said it wasn't involved, and that it might have been created by something flown by a private company. Which could lead to big trouble for that company.
The U.S. government says it has removed nearly 132 pounds of spent nuclear fuel from a shuttered San Diego-area reactor that conducted research for nearly 40 years. The National Nuclear Security Administration disclosed the removal Monday in a press release without revealing the name of the research facility. The agency says nearly 60 kilograms of enriched uranium was moved during three weeks in August and September in three convoys to an unspecified secure federal facility nearly 1,000 miles from San Diego.
The new fighter jet. What will it look like? Experts say it's going to have to deal with enemies equipped for electronic attack and with sophisticated air defenses, passive detection, integrated self-protection, directed energy weapons and cyber attack capabilities. The Air Force Materiel Command said in a notice to the Defense industry, the new aircraft must be able to operate in the "anti-access/area-denial environment that will exist in the 2030-2050 timeframe."
The Air Force is planning to develop more high-tech drones that can collect intelligence and better maneuver in the combat airspace. According to the Associated Press, the Air Force has already dramatically increased the number of armed and unarmed drones over Afghanistan and Iraq. But Air Force Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove says there are growing worries that the U.S. needs better aircraft to gather information and conduct electronic attacks in airspace.
Al Qaida's affiliate in Iraq is promising more attacks after 58 people were killed in an attck on a church this week. The Islamic State of Iraq launched an attack on a Catholic church during Mass in downtown Baghdad last Sunday said its deadline for Egypt's Coptic chruch, which allegedly is holding women hostage for converting to Islam must be released before the attacks stop. This attack was the deadliest ever recorded against Iraq's Christians, whose numbers have plummeted since the 2003.
Yemen has been a trouble spot for more than a decade and explosives have always been the problem and they've always been relatively small. It was in 1998 that the U.S.S. Cole, a Navy Destroyer was attack while in Yemen. 17 sailors were killed and 39 were injured. A small craft approached the port side of the destroyer, and an explosion occurred, leaving a 40-by-40-foot gash in the ship's port side. The toner cartridges with the explosive PETN in them that were discovered aboard planes in the UK and Dubai last week contained only a small amount, but had they gone off, they would've inflicted maximum damage.
Take down the websites used by extremists. British Minister of Security Pauline Neville-Jones called on the the U.S. to do that during a speech at the Brookings Institution. She also urged the U.S. to do more to stop militant threats without going to war. Neville-Jones pointed about Al Qaeda's leaders in Pakistan have shown "startling resilience" and their affiliates have both the intent and the capability to strike the West.
The remains of two servicemen, missing in action from World War II, including one from Maryland were laid to rest yesterday. Army Air Forces Staff Sgts. Claude G. Tyler of Landover, Md. and Claude A. Ray of Coffeyville, Kan were both 24. Tyler was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and Ray was buried in Fallbrook, Calif. They took off from an airfield near New Guinea on Oct. 27, 1943. They were to land near the Bismarck Sea, but the craft was lost. In August 2003 a Defense Department team received information on a crash site from a citizen in Papua New Guinea. That led to the identification of Tyler and Ray.
USMC recruiters in Chantilly discovered in the early morning hours yesterday that their office had been hit by gunfire overnight while the building was being renovated. The recruiters had been working out of their Sterling, Virginia office. This was the third military facility that had been shot at in the same two week time frame. The Pentagon and the Marine Corp Museum had been hit by gunfire from the same weapon. Authorities in an Illinois suburb are also looking into the stabbing of a Marine recruiter that happened within that time period.
Did the cancellation of joint military exercises between the U.S. and S. Korea in the Yellow Sea have anything to do with China. Not according to the Pentagon. A spokesman said the two navies couldn't agree on a timetable. He also said the exercises in international water should pose no problems for neither China nor North Korea The South Korean media reported the drills had been cancelled because of complaints from China.
A team of experts has been pouring over the latest release of documents from wiki leaks. Pentagon spokesman Dave Lapan said they didn't reveal anything that hadn't already been reported. Most of the material dealt with tactical intelligence and unit level reporting of events and incidents that took place during the Iraq War. What the Pentagon has said is that Iraqis whose names that do appear in the documents are understandably at risk.
The military's Missile Defense Agency plan to shoot down a fake ballistic missile of the coast of Central California was not successful. The objective of the mission was for the ALTB to destroy a solid-fuel, short-range ballistic missile while its rocket motors were still thrusting. A news release from the agency says, the Terrier Black Brant target missile was launched successfully, the system acquired and tracked the target, but never transitioned to active tracking.