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2:39 pm, October 24, 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.

Pre-screening approved for military

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces in good standing pose very little risk to aviation security. So as a part of its intelligence-driven, risk-based approach to security TSA will now offering expedited screening benefits to active duty service members at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). Eligible service members include U.S. Armed Forces service members including reservist and National Guard members, who possess a valid Common Access Card (CAC) and are traveling out of DCA.

Russia accuses Libya of help Syrian rebels

Russia's accusing Libya of running a training center for Syrian rebels and arming the fighters in their battle to overthrow the country's President Bashar al-Assad. Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, told the U.N. Security Council, "We have received information that in Libya, with the support of the authorities, there is a special training center for the Syrian revolutionaries and people are sent to Syria to attack the legal government."

U.S. intel officer attacked in Yemen

Al Qaida is claiming it attacked a U.S. intelligence officer after U.S. soldiers were sent to the country. A statement posted on the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula website said the attack happened last week in the southern city of Aden. The Pentagon confirms the attack but is disputing the group's claim that the officer was killed. The identify of the person attacked has not been made public.

Limbaugh program to remain on Pentagon radio network

A Pentagon spokesman says the military's network will continue to air Rush Limbaugh's radio program. According to the Associate Press, George Little says the American Forces Network offers a wide range of programming to reflect listeners' interests and he is unaware of any plans to review that decision. Limbaugh has come under fire for an outburst on his radio program last week when he called a 30-year-old law student a "slut" after she testified before Congress about birth control policies. He has since apologized.

Chinese to release military budget

The U.S is likely to take some cues from China when it releases its military spending budget for 2012 this weekend. The unveiling will also explain in part why the U.S. decided to change focus for the future. The swift buildup for the Chinese military is of great concern for U.S. intelligence, but also China's plans to go into space and eventually launch manned moon missions. There's concern they could deny others opportunities in space.

Air Force project mothballed

The Pentagon has shelved a laser-equipped jumbo jet after 15 years and more than $5 billion worth of research to develop an airborne missile defense system. The Airborne Laser Test Bed fell victim to budget cuts. Boeing 747 --with a high energy chemical laser attached has been sent into storage at Davis Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Ariz., serves as a boneyard for military aircraft. It's well known and the graveyard for military aircraft.

Pentagon extends apology at local Mosque

A senior Pentagon official apologized Friday to Washington-area Muslims for the burning of Qurans at a military base in Afghanistan. The Associated Press reports, Peter Lavoy, acting assistant secretary of defense for Asia and Pacific security affairs, said the military is investigating what occurred and that all 140,000 coalition troops in Afghanistan are being retrained in the handling of religious materials. Lavoy apologized multiple times during a brief speech during prayer services at the ADAMS Center in Sterling, one of the largest mosques in the country.

Marine Corps crash dampens a happy day

A bittersweet day for the Marines yesterday --More than 170 Marines who recently returned from a 7-month deployment to Afghanistan visited 16 wounded warriors from their unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. At the same time, Two Marine Corps helicopters collided over a remote section of the California desert during a nighttime exercise, killing seven Marines in one of the deadliest military training accidents in years. An investigation into what happened is underway.

Investigation underway in Koran burning incident

International Military authorities in Afghanistan are going through evidence from taken from Bagram Airbase to analyze and determine why religious material were burned --causing a firestorm of protest in Kabul. Several questions top their list of queries. They include: What kind of religious material was involved? Why was it removed from the Parwan detention facility? How much was destroyed -and what the chain of events that led to the destruction?

Iranian claims discounted

The Pentagon is disputing reports that Iranian ships docked at a Syrian port over the weekend. According to the Associated Press, Iranian state-run Press TV said Saturday that an Iranian navy destroyer and a supply ship had docked in the port of Tartus to provide training to ally Syria's naval forces, as Syria tries to crush the opposition movement. But Defense Department press secretary George Little said Tuesday the U.S. military saw no indication that the ships docked or delivered any cargo. Little said Tehran's ships went through the Suez Canal and now appear to be going back through the canal again.

Cyber spending to remain steady

Spending on cyber security and special operations forces, will probably remain steady or decline a bit in 2013 under the Pentagon's budget plan. The Associated Press is reporting, defense leaders have insisted that increased investments in these areas were needed to address future national security threats at home and abroad. They said last year that cyber spending would likely increase in 2013 because the threat is escalating at a dramatic rate. But demands to slash the military budget have made it difficult to boost spending. So defense officials are finding savings while still meeting the nation's war fighting needs.

Libyan town slipping into chaos

Hundreds of people have been killed since last week in clashes between rival tribes over control of territory in Libya. Libya's ruling National Transitional Council has not been able to pull the country together since a U.S. military and NATO led operation help to topple the dictator Muammar Gaddafi last October. Violence broke out late last week in the remote city of Al Kufra and has continued since. The challenge --policing the country's thinly populated desert.

Nuclear Submarine averts disaster

The Russian magazine Vlast says the Russia Navy came close to nuclear disaster in late December when a fire engulfed a nuclear-powered submarine carrying atomic weapons. Russian officials said at the time that all nuclear weapons aboard the Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine had been unloaded well before a fire engulfed the 167-metre (550 feet) vessel and there had been no risk of a radiation leak. But the respected Vlast weekly magazine quoted several sources in the Russian navy as saying that throughout the fire on Dec. 29 the submarine was carrying 16 R-29 intercontinental ballistic missiles, each armed with four nuclear warheads.

Utah soldiers training in Africa

Soldiers from the 807th Medical Deployment Support Command, Fort Douglas, Utah, are in North Africa this week --in Mali sharing their expertise with their Malian medical defense forces counterparts. The annual-joint-aerial-delivery exercise, hosted by U.S. Army Africa, brings together U.S. Army personnel with militaries in Africa to enhance air drop capabilities and ensure effective delivery of military resupply materials and humanitarian aid. Doctors and medics from both militaries are seizing this unique opportunity to expand on training.

Healthier food coming to military bases

Military bases will soon be serving more fruits, vegetables and low-fat dishes. This is a part of the first program in 20 years to improve nutrition standards across the armed services. First lady Michelle Obama announced the effort during a visit to Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, where the military has been experimenting with the idea through a pilot program designed to improve the quality and variety of foods served on base.

Afghan Security Forces not ready

A top U.S. commander says only 1 percent of Afghan police and soldiers are capable of working on their own. The comments raise doubts about whether Afghan forces will be able to deal with the still potent Taliban insurgency as the U.S. and the rest of the West withdraws. U.S. Lieutenant General Curtis Scarapotti told reporters that only 29 Afghan army units and seven Afghan police units are ready to work on their own.

Special Operators to be last out

Special operations forces in Afghanistan are preparing for a possible expanded role as overall --the Associated Press is reporting as U.S. forces begin to draw down after a decade of war. Adm. Bill McRaven, the special operations commander who led last year's Navy SEAL raid against Osama bin Laden, confirmed that special operations forces would be the last to leave under the Obama administration's current plan.

Iran hit again by sanctions

President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday imposing new, harsher sanctions on Iran and its central bank, because of concerns over Iran's nuclear program. Also at issue is whether or not there will be a military attack on Iran this spring. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, in his own words, he believed Israel would launch and attack sooner than later, but President Barack Obama said, Israel hasn't made up it's mind if or when it will attack.

Iran issues another threat

The stakes are growing as the war of words grows. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday Iran would retaliate over Western-backed oil sanctions and any threat of attack, after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was cited as saying he feared a possible Israeli strike as early as April. Khamenei's speech marked the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on Friday.

Al Qaida takes another hit

The Philippine military said it killed three of Southeast Asia's most-wanted terrorist leaders in a U.S.-backed airstrike that significantly weakens an al-Qaida-linked network that had used islands in the southern Philippines as a hideout and training base. The dawn strike targeting a militant camp on a remote island killed at least 15 people, including Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, a top leader of the regional Jemaah Islamiyah terror network.

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