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9:19 am, October 20, 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.

The Arab League is watching Syria

This is a critical time for Syria --in 48 hours The Arab League is sending observers in to see how the "cease-fire" is going. If the it falls apart, the Arab League leadership has said they will go to the UN Security Council. But the question is if the UN is called upon, does it have what's necessary to put together a plan of intervention. And what will Iran do? Syria is a key ally for the Iranians when necessary. Another question is if the Assad regime falls, what will replace it?

The last American prisoner transferred

The last American prisoner in Iraq, a Hezbollah commander linked to the kidnapping deaths of four U.S. soldiers, was turned over to the Iraqi government Friday, the White House said. Republicans had wanted Daqduq prosecuted before a military tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba. The Obama administration had hoped a compromise would be to prosecute Daqduq in a first-of-its-kind military commission on U.S. soil. But the Iraqi government would not let the United States take Daqduq out of the country for trial, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

Air Force Investigates "noose" incident

The Air Force said Thursday it was investigating a photograph of a group of airmen posing with another airman pretending to be dead and lying in an open casket with a noose around his neck. An Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon, said the airmen in the photo are from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas and were attending training at Fort Lee, Va. In the photo, 15 airmen wearing military fatigues surround another airman in the casket has chains on his body and a noose around his neck.

Drone missions to continue

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday the U.S. will continue to conduct intelligence operations from Afghanistan like the recent mission that led to the loss of a drone over Iran, and he gave an upbeat assessment of the unpopular war. During a news conference with with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Panetta sidestepped questions about the lost drone. Secretive details about the U.S. intelligence and surveillance efforts aimed at Iran were exposed.

GPS upgrade coming

A $5.5 billion upgrade to the Global Positioning System is closer to reality. A new generation of GPS satellites, called Block III is being tested. It's going to make military and civilian receivers more accurate, powerful and reliable. The Air Force Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. over sees the US GPS system. The Block III satellites are expected to allow military and civilian users to determine their position within 3 feet.

Top female stepping down

Michele Flournoy, the most senior female Pentagon official in history, told The Associated Press on Monday she is stepping down as the chief policy adviser to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. In an interview in her Pentagon office, Flournoy said she feels compelled to "rebalance" her personal life after three years in one of the most demanding national security jobs in Washington. "By nature it is an all-consuming job and it does take a toll on the family," she said, adding that she considers her time as the undersecretary of defense for policy as "probably the highlight of my professional life."

Pakistani military distrusts U.S.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the Pakistani military, "believe we did this intentionally." General Martin Dempsey, speaking during a question and answer session sponsored by the Atlantic Council in Washington, was referring to the NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani troops two weeks ago. Dempsey said it's "incomprehensible"that they would believe that based on U.S. military relationship building efforts.

Haqqani allegedly betrayed

Former Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani could face death by hanging if an investigation into whether he committed "high treason" finds him guilty. He's been accused of sending a memo to U.S. military authorities asking them to intervene against the Pakistani military after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Pakistani media say Mansour Ijaz, the man who exposed the memo, was friends with Haqqani and allegedly betrayed his trust after the ISI discovered the memo.

NATO airstrike stories generate confusion

What was going on the Pakistani side of the border when a NATO airstrike? Exactly what happened in the attack is unclear. U.S officialshave said that Pakistani officials had cleared the NATO air strike, unaware they had troops in the area. A Pakistani official said that is not the case. The official said Pakistani troops fired illumination rounds into the sky to investigate ground movement. At that point the official said NATO began attacking and continued doing so for more than an hour after the Pakistani military notified them of what had happened.

New U.S. threat evolving

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence says Nigerian based radical Islamic group Boko Haram is a threat to the U.S. Homeland. They also say in Boko Haram - Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland, "U.S. Intelligence Community largely underestimated the potential for Al Qaeda affiliate groups to target the U.S. homeland. The report also says wrongly assessing they had only regional ambitions and threats against the U.S. homeland were merely aspirational."U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence says Nigerian based radical Islamic group Boko Haram is a threat to the U.S. Homeland. They also say in Boko Haram - Emerging Threat to the U.S. Homeland, "U.S. Intelligence Community largely underestimated the potential for Al Qaeda affiliate groups to target the U.S. homeland. The report also says wrongly assessing they had only regional ambitions and threats against the U.S. homeland were merely aspirational."

New mini robot coming

Harvard scientists have built a new type of flexible robot that is limber enough to wiggle and worm through tight spaces. The project, funded by the Pentagon's research arm, was described by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. as 5 inches long. Its four legs can be separately controlled by pumping air into the limbs, either manually or via computer. This obot a range of motions including crawling and slithering.

Bail Denied for bomb plot suspect

No bail. That was the ruling by a federal judge in Massachussets who said Rezwan Ferdaus was a danger to the community. The 26-year-old U.S. citizen, has pleaded not guilty to charges he plotted to fly remote-control, explosives-laden aircraft into the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol and to follow up with a ground assault. Ferdaus also was accused of attempting to provide material support and resources to militant group al Qaeda. He was arrested after an undercover operation.

Budget angst rises

The "super committee" failed to find a way to reduce the deficit, what will the impact at Pentagon? Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says he's "terribly disappointed." Whitehouse spokesman Jay Carney. He said the automatic cuts that would fall on the Pentagon are "deeper than we think is wise. Failure of a special U.S. congressional committee to strike a deficit-reduction deal is expected to unleash desperate lobbying by U.S. arms makers to get lawmakers to block $600 billion in automatic cuts.

Afghan leaders remarks spark concern

The Afghan paradox continues, while the U.S. and other countries are pouring billions into the war effort the oust the Taliban, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Zafar Khan, told The Age newspaper that Australian troops should be withdrawn immediately. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard says that the Australian military training mission in Afghanistan could be completed before the 2014 target date.

Kenya seeking help with terrorists

Kenya is asking the international community for help. That country's prime minister is seeking Israel's support in stopping reprisal terror attacks by al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shababb. The Pentagon says it has not been directly asked for help. There is Kenya last month sent hundreds of troops into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab, whom it blames for attacks and kidnappings in Kenya. In response, al-Shabab has threatened to carry out terror attacks in Kenya's capital.

Budget angst rises

If the so called "super committee" fails to find a way to reduce the deficit, what will the impact at Pentagon? Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says he's "terribly disappointed." Whitehouse spokesman Jay Carney. He said the automatic cuts that would fall on the Pentagon are "deeper than we think is wise. Failure of a special U.S. congressional committee to strike a deficit-reduction deal is expected to unleash desperate lobbying by U.S. arms makers to get lawmakers to block $600 billion in automatic cuts.

New weapon tested

The Army on Thursday conducted its first flight test of a new weapon capable of traveling five times the speed of sound and hitting targets around the world in a short period of time. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon was launched from the military's Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai on Thursday. The weapon's "glide vehicle" traveled 2,300 miles in less than half an hour. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon is part of the military's program to develop weapons with global strike capability in as little as an hour.

Warship donated to the Philippines

The U.S. is donating second warship to Philippine military as it faces down the Chinese in the South China Sea over a territorial dispute. The face-offs are becoming much more tense. The State Department says the U.S. will give the Philippine military a second Coast Guard cutter for free sometime next year. This takes place against a back drop of U.S. calling out Chinese industrial espionage efforts for the first time, beefing up troop presence in Australia, and selling sophisticated fighter jets to Taiwan.

Commission suspects Chinese military build-up

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission is pushing the government to look more closely at China's massive military build-up and its overall aggressiveness. The group also pressed for a tougher U.S. stance against what it called anti-competitive Chinese trade policies. President Barack Obama announced a new security agreement with Australia aimed at China's growing military presence in Asia, The commission said Beijing's buildup is aimed squarely at countering America's defenses and exploiting weaknesses.

Panetta explains Iraq pull-out

"The bottom line is that this is not about us." Those were Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's words to the Senate Armed Services Committee as he explained the reasoning behind pulling completely out of Iraq by year's end. Panetta said, "It's about what the Iraqis want to do and the decisions that they want to make." In spite of the pull-out, the U.S. military will continue limited counterterrorism training with Iraqi forces beyond the end of the year. More than 4,400 Americans military personnel have died and more than 32,000 have been wounded in Iraq.

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