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11:38 pm, December 18, 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.

Iranian terror hearing coming

The House Homeland Security Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee, and the Counterterrorism & Intelligence Subcommittee are going to conduct a hearing on Iranian terror operations in the United States. Among the topics the hearing will address: Threats from the Iranian government, Iran's intentions to carry out attacks inside the United States, Iran's ties to the Western Hemisphere and the impact of sanctions against Iran and consideration of more punitive actions.

US troops headed home from Iraq

It's over in Iraq. But now a new beginning is dawning. President Barack Obama has announced the war is over and all troops will be home by the holidays. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says a full U.S. troop withdrawal will allow the two countries to start a new strategic relationship in the interests of both governments. After the withdrawal is over al-Maliki says the two countries will begin talking about a "new phase" in strategic relations.

Officials oppose trying terrorist at Gitmo

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Attorney General Eric Holder are expressing their opposition to a move prevent terror suspects from being tried in Federal Court. The two of them sent a letter to Senate leaders saying the Republican measure would deprive them of a potent weapon in the fight against terrorism. They also claim it could lead increase the risk of terrorists escaping justice and putting other people in danger.

U.S. Delegation arrives in Pakistan

CIA chief David Petraeus will be among an army of high-level U.S. officials with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she arrives in Islamabad on Thursday to ramp up pressure on Pakistan to do more to stop militant infiltration across the border into Afghanistan, several U.S. officials in Washington and the region told The Associated Press. In a muscular show of diplomatic force, the U.S. dispatched most of its senior national security leaders to Pakistan with what several officials described as a combined message of support and pressure.

U.S. military will negotiate with North Korea

The Pentagon says it's going to re-open negotiations with North Korea. The focus is resuming efforts to recover the remains of some of the estimated 5,500 U.S. service members unaccounted for from the 1950-53 Korean War. The Bush Administration stopped the recovery in 2005 because of concern about the safety of recovery teams in North Korea. No indication has been given yet as to how the security situation will be addressed.

USS Cole anniversary marked

Survivors and relatives of those killed in the deadly attack on the USS Cole in Yemen marked the 11th anniversary of the bombing at the ship's home base in Norfolk. The ceremony comes after a Pentagon official recently approved charges that carry a possible death penalty for a Guantanamo prisoner accused of planning the attack. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is to be arraigned Nov. 9 at the U.S. military base in Cuba. The attack on the U.S. destroyer killed 17 sailors and wounded 37.

The US planning to return to Space

With the Space shuttle program going into hibernation, where will the U.S. turn if it needs a lift into Space? Well according to Wired magazine, it could be the Air Force's X-37B "space plane". Wired says Boeing is looking into plans could more than double the vehicle's size and make room for up to six astronauts. Boeing has unveiled plans for an "X-37C" that would be nearly twice as long as the current B-model.

Who gets custody of terrorists?

Who should have custody of suspected terrorists? It's being debated on the hill./The latest dispute centers on a provision that would require military custody of a suspect determined to be a member of al-Qaida or an affiliate and involved in the planning or carrying out of an attack on the United States. The administration says such a step would hamper efforts by the FBI or other law enforcement while requiring military custody for all terror suspects.

Capture list

How do American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki get on a kill or capture list? Reuters reports, it's a secret panel of Sr. U.S. government officials on the National Security Council that decide and then send their recommendations on to the President. Former National Security staffer Juan Zarate says, it's an important process. "You have Senior National staff along with counsel reviewing anything the U.S. does from a National Security perspective that touches on law of war, war of terror issues, he says." The National Security Council says no such panel exists.

Vietnamese military leader reminds US of history

The U.S. should have learned from its failures in Vietnam. Those words from a top Vietnamese military leader visiting the U.S. Lt. Gen. Vo Tien Trung speaking at the War College in Washington, said the US should have learned that military aggression is folly. He made the remarks during a question and answer session after a speech at the college. And he added in his own words that his message to Americans was that no matter how powerful your army, it is not legitimate to attack other countries.

Cartwright goes back to DoD

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is bring back former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. James Cartwright just weeks after he retired. he won't be in uniform though. Instead, he'll serve on the powerful Defense Policy Board. Other nominees to the board include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick and former Rep. Jane Harman. Their job is to provides advice and opinions to the defense secretary on policy matters.

Dempsey makes a personal statement

In a personal move, the new Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey invited members of the press in to see a large original oil painting of General George Marshall in his office. He pointed out that he identifies with certain of Marshall's approaches to dealing with war. He also displayed a small wooden box that sits on a desk that General Douglas Macarthur used. The box, belonging to Dempsey , contains what he calls casualty cards, small cards with the names and images on them of U.S. military personnel killed in action --so that he won't forget them.

The Joint Chiefs changes the guard

There's a new top military leader at the Pentagon, Army General Martin Dempsey. President Obama called Dempsey one of the military's most battle-tested officers. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Dempsey knows about people, "he knows about hard work, he knows about sacrifice." Dempsey said at his swearing in, "We'll change and we'll be challenged," He also said when his turn is up, he intends to be able to say the military is still strong.

Rate for retirees to rise

Military health care premiums for retirees will be raised slightly starting Saturday and that more cost increases are on the way. According to the Associated Press, premiums haven't been raised since 1994 and still will be just a fraction of what civilians pay. Officials said Thursday that individual retirees will pay $260 annually, up from $230; and it will be $520 annually for a family, up from $460. Yearly hikes are expected in the future.

Man plots to attack Capitol and Pentagon

A 26-year-old Massachusetts man has been arrested and charged in connection with a plot to damage or destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. Rezwan Ferdaus, of Ashland, Mass. and a U.S. citizen, also was charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization -- specifically to al-Qaida -- in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

Iraq buys F-16s

Iraq is going to buy 18 F-16 warplanes from the U.S. This is a step forward in a still unclear discussion about what the U.S. role will be in Iraq after the U.S military drawdown is complete. U.S. military officials say Iraq is spending three billion dollars on the fighters. Iraqi and U.S. military officials contend that a more capable Air Force is a major priority. It's unclear yet whether the Lockheed Martin F-16s they are buying would be the standard A/B model or the more advanced C/D variant.

Alleged shooter tried to escape

A former Marine accused of firing shots at the Pentagon, Marine Corps museum and other military buildings has been charged with damaging his jail cell in an apparent escape attempt. The Associated Press reports, Loudoun County sheriff's office says officials noticed damage Friday to a cinder block wall of Yonathan Melaku's holding cell. Officials say the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center is constructed as a maximum security facility.

Terror cell broken up

The Moroccan government says an al-Qaida-linked cell planning attacks inside that country has been dismantled. Morocco has been has been left alone in recent years by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African branch of the terror network, but the latest arrests suggest the group is trying to work its way into the country of 32 million. A three-man group with connections to Al Qaida were arrested.

Nuclear sub collides with boat

A fishing boat and a Russian nuclear-powered submarine collided off the country's Pacific coast, damaging the outer shell of the naval vessel but causing no radiation leak, Russian news agencies reported on Thursday. According to Reuters, "the nuclear reactor of the submarine St George the Conqueror was unaffected and radiation levels after Wednesday's incident in Avachin Bay off Kamchatka Peninsula were normal."

Chinese military upset with U.S.

China has condemned the United States for its latest arms sales offer to Taiwan, calling the decision "grave interference" in Chinese internal affairs and warning it will damage U.S. military and security ties with Beijing. On the other side of the matter, Taiwan is upset the U.S. won't sell them the advanced F-16 C and D version of the fighters they want. Instead the U.S. says it will only sell upgrades to the current A and B models.

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