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4:32 pm, September 19, 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.

Where will Bin Laden go?

CIA Director Leon Panetta told senators yesterday if the U.S. captures top al-Qaida leaders Osama Bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri, they would likely be sent to the Guantanamo Bay military prison. What does that say about President Obama's plan to close Gitmo? White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president remains committed to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Carney would not speculate on what would happen in the unlikely event Osama Bin Laden were captured alive.

Suicide bomb trainer released

It may comes as a surprise to some, but the man who helped train the London suicide bomber whose attacks killed 52 people in 2007 has been free for two years. According to court documents Mohammed Junaid Babar, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, faced a 70-year prison sentence, but he cooperated with British and U.S. authorities and was released after five years. Some experts say his level of cooperation since his agreement has been extraordinary.

Questions rise about Egypt's future

What kind of military relationship will the U.S. have with Egypt now that Hosni Mubarak is gone? President Barack Obama says the Egyptian military has served patriotically and responsibly and now must ensure a transition of power that is credible to the Egyptian people. For the next seven months the military will essentially be a caretaker of the Egyptian government. The ruling council has been charged with preparing the country for elections in September.

North Korea can produce nukes...but

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee, the United States believes North Korea has the capability to produce nuclear weapons, but is unlikely to use them unless the Pyongyang government is on the close to defeat.

He said the Obama administration regards North Korea as a "serious threat" to security in East Asia, and believes it may well have built other uranium enrichment facilities beyond the known Yongbyon nuclear complex.

Joint Forces Command will cut positions

It's going to happen. The head of the U.S. Joint Forces Command says that 2,300 people in Virginia will lose their jobs as part of the Pentagon's plan to cut costs. Another 36 positions in Nevada will be cut while an in Tampa, Fla., are going to be eliminated. Gen. Ray Odierno says the cuts are expected to save about $400 million a year. The command employs nearly 6,000 military and civilian personnel.

Pentagon urged to pay for traffic improvements

Fort Meade, the National Naval Medical Center in Maryland, Virginia's Fort Belvoir, Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, Florida's Eglin Air Force Base and Fort Bliss, Texas all need traffic management makeovers. That's what a new congressionally mandated traffic study says. It also says the Pentagon needs to pay for those traffic improvements. Traffic around those six locations are absorbing large numbers of personnel as a result of the Base Re-alignment Commission recommendations.

Asian countries edge toward war

Cambodian and Thai troops are engaging in some of the fiercest fighting in years over a disputed part of their shared border. Tensions between the neighbors have been exacerbated in recent days by pressure from powerful Thai nationalist groups, which have been staging protests in Bangkok urging the government to reclaim the land.

FBI scolded about Ft. Hood Shooter

A report from the Senate Homeland Security committee said the Defense Department did not inform or train commanders about how to recognize a radicalized Islamic extremist or how to see the difference between that and the peaceful practice of Islam. In addition, the FBI was harshly criticized for not totally sharing information with the military about Major Nidal Hasan and his views and beliefs. the FBI did not pass on some of the initial information up the chain about Hasan's connections because they said it wasn't clear he was connected to terrorists.

U.S. weapons sales may slow

Billions of dollars in weapons deals with Egypt are probably going to be put on hold until the situation clears up there. No one from the Pentagon has said things have been shutdown, but one thing is clear, U.S. arms firms may notice a downturn in the near term. Egypt is due to get $1.3 billion in military aid from the U.S this year. Experts say while the deals may not be on the fast track, they won't disappear, because regardless of who comes to power in North African and Middle Eastern countries facing crises, there will be a demand for U.S. weapons

Yemen joins the fray

The Arab world is consumed by protests demanding democracy and justice. Yemen's president, is hoping to shut-down unrest by offering concessions. But will they be enough? The changes sweeping the region may mean upheaval is not far away. Sporadic demonstrations have already struck the poor Arabian Peninsula state. And the protests are taking place with the understanding that Al Qaida sympathizer Anwar Al Awlaki has urged attacks there to deal with their discontent.

Tunisia showing signs of trouble

Carrying with knives and sticks gangs roam and rule the streets of the Tunisian town of Gessrine. Yesterday those gangs attacked government buildings and they threatened residents. The gangs burnt a youth center and attacked a number of other buildings in. Police were largely absent on the streets on Monday and the Army has had trouble restoring order in Gessrine. The uprising in Tunisia that led to the sacking of former President Ben Ali, is largely responsible for the revolution unfolding in Egypt.

Egyptian military cuts short Washington talks

Egypt's military chief of staff cut short a visit to the Pentagon because of anti-government. U.S. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright said that Egypt's Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Anan flew home, just two days into a planned week of meetings in Washington. Anan was in the U.S. for the highest level strategic talks each year between Washington and Cairo. Repeating the Obama administration's position on upheaval in Egypt, Cartwright urged the Egyptian government to show restraint in how it deals with protesters.

New terror alert system has arrived

So what will the new terror alert system look like? The National Terrorism Advisory System will be implemented over the next 90 days. Under the new system, DHS and other federal entities to issue formal, detailed alerts when the federal government receives information about a specific or credible terrorist threat. They'll provide a concise summary of the potential threat and actionable information.

Roadside bomb numbers are high

268 American troops were killed last year by roadside bombs in Afghanistan. The Pentagon says since the U.S. invasion in October 2001, 619 U.S. troops have been killed and another 5,764 have been wounded in improvised explosive device (IED) attacks. Overall, at least 1,370 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since the war began. Last year was, by far, the deadliest for all foreign troops, including Americans, with 702 killed, eclipsing the 2009 record of 504. While the number is high, it's about a third of what the number was in Iraq.

Did China steal a stealth fighter?

Did the Chinese pilfer the technology to build their stealth fighter. An official Chinese newspaper has dismissed a report that the country used technology taken from a downed U.S. airplane in its own stealth fighter program. But the concerns are not going away. The Chinese staged the first-known test flight of its J-20 prototype stealth fighter that could one day challenge American air superiority.

Terror suspect to be extradited

A British court on Friday approved the extradition of a terror suspect wanted in the United States over an alleged plot to detonate explosives aboard the New York City subway system. According to the Associated Press, Judge Quentin Purdy said that 24-year-old Abid Naseer can be sent for to the U.S. to stand trial for his alleged role in a terror campaign that would have struck at targets in Britain, Norway and the U.S. U.S. authorities say they aim to prove that Naseer collected bombing ingredients, conducted reconnaissance, and was in frequent contact with other al-Qaida operatives as part of the international plot, previously tied to a foiled plan to detonate explosives aboard the New York City subway and a suspected plot to bomb a busy shopping area in the northern England city of Manchester.

Chinese make stealthy move

Was Chinese Premiers Hu Jintao in the dark on their stealth fighter? Earlier this month during a visit from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a very public demonstration of the plane took place and Mr. Hu appeared to be unaware of it. But was he? Some military officials have raised the specter of a divide between the Hu and military, but observers suggest that it was probably a part of an orchestrated power play --complete with plausible deniability for the Chinese leader considering the big meeting with President Obama was coming up.

Army suicides drop and rise

For the first time in seven years suicides among active duty soldiers dropped, but according to the Army the dip was supplanted by a stark rise in suicides in the National Guard and Reserve ranks. The Associated Press reports Army Vice Chiefof Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said those victims, "are often geographically separated, removed from the support network provided by military installations." Chiarelli said. "They lack the ready camaraderie of fellow soldiers and the daily oversight and hands-on assistance from members of the chain of command.

Quake Hit Pakistan

How will a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan impact the Afghan war? A U.S. military outpost in Afghanistan is very close to the epicenter of the quake, but there have been no reports of significant damage. A Pakistani government spokesman said there was minimal loss of life and property damage. Considering that many insurgents hide in the mountains around the area where the quake took place, NATO coalition troops are watching the situation to see if any movement or changes in behavior by the militants result from the quake.

Plug pulled on border fence

Obama administration is going to shut down problematic "virtual fence" designed to guard parts of the U.S. border with Mexico. The project, being run by Boeing Co involving video cameras, radar, sensors and other technologies was supposed to catch smugglers trying to cross the porous border. Bennie Thompson, the senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee said, "The SBInet program has been a grave and expensive disappointment since its inception."

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