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5:32 pm, September 2, 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.

Yemen is still a problem

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.

British send message to U.S. Government

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.

Airmen finally arrive home

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.

Another military building hit by gunfire

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.

U.S. and S. Korean drills canceled

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.

New Wikileaks release puts Iraqis at risk

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.

MDA fails to shoot down missile

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.

Attacks on Al Qaida intensifying

The government of Yemen is trying to put down a branch of al Qaida that has attacked Western and regional targets in the country next to oil giant Saudi Arabia. So Yemeni authorities offer a reward of $50,000 for information on the whereabouts of two Saudi "terrorists", Turki al-Shahrani and Ahmed al-Jasser. Yemeni aircraft bombed al Qaeda positions in southern Yemen.

Pentagon looking at gunfire detection system

"Shot spotter" is being considered for use at the Pentagon specifically to help in situations like the one that unfolded yesterday. "Two exterior windows had been hit by gunfire," says Pentagon Force Protection director Steven Calvery. Shot spotter is a gunfire location and detection tool that uses acoustic sensors to determine where gunshots came from, when they were fired and it can even determine whether an automatic weapon was used.

New approach to European security suggested

The European Union should establish a three-way dialogue on security with Russia and Turkey to tackle frozen conflicts and promote stability on its eastern flank, a leading think-tank says. In a report released today, the European Council on Foreign Relations said the 27-nation EU must take more responsibility for security in its own neighborhood because the United States has its hands full dealing with Afghanistan, Iran and China and is no longer focused on Europe. The study says the current system failed to prevent wars in Kosovo and Georgia, or disruption to Europe's gas supplies, or to resolve a string of legacy disputes on the fringes of the former Soviet Union.

Assange hit by more setbacks

Two major setbacks for Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange. He was denied a Swedish residency permit and his website had been dumped by a company that handled many of its donations. The Swedish government declined to say why he was denied residency saying the reason was confidential. As far as donations go, Moneybookers.com told Assange he'd been dropped because of concerns about risk management and his website had essentially been watch listed.

A yellow flag is waving

So far, the Pentagon has not reported any incidents of reprisals against Afghans named in the documents exposed by the Wikileaks website, but it has sparked new questions about how far to go in sharing sensitive information within the government, a practice that expanded after Sept. 11, 2001, in order to help prevent future terrorist attacks. In a speech recently, director of national intelligence, James Clapper, called the July leaks "a big yellow flag" for those concerned about protecting classified information.

More U.S. drone attacks suspected

The United States again appears to be relying on missile strikes by unmanned aircraft to target militants in Pakistan's tribal belt. According to the Associated Press, intelligence officials say suspected U.S. aircraft launched four missile strikes today at a house and two vehicles in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border. They say the victims included three foreigners. The attacks took place in an area dominated by militants who often attack U.S. and other foreign troops in Afghanistan. The U.S. is now suspected of carrying out 14 missile strikes in the region this month.

Iran blames "foreign enemies" for deadly explosion

Iran's English-language Press TV reports an explosion at an Iranian military training base killed and injured several servicemen on Tuesday. The report did not make clear how many people were killed or injured but said the explosion was caused an "by accident". It happened in western Iran. Last month a bomb blast killed 12 people and injured 80 in the city of Mahabad. Authorities blamed it on "anti-revolutionary" militants backed by Iran's foreign enemies.

Gates attends security meeting in Asia

Defense ministers from Asian and other nations have gathered in Hanoi, Vietnam for a regional security meeting. The Associated Press is reporting Defense Secretary Robert Gates is attending the two-day meeting of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, where he will hold military talks with Chinese Gen. Liang Guanglie - the first between the countries in eight months after China cut off contact to protest a U.S. arms package for Taiwan.

Drone targets escaped

The top two targets of the withering drone attacks in the tribal territories between Pakistan and Afghanistan --escaped. The News Online in Pakistan reports two al-Qaeda-linked terrorists of German origin , 27-year-old Mouneer Chouka alias Abu Adam and 25-year-old Yaseen Chouka alias Abu Ibrahim we're not killed in the attacks. Hailing from the suburb of Kessenich in Bonn, both are real brothers and believed to be leading a group of over 100 German militants who had traveled from Germany to the border areas of Pakistan in recent years, raising the latest security alert in Europe

Court Martial recommended

A court-martial has been recommended for Army Specialist Jeremy Morlock. He's the first of 12 American soldiers charged with murdering Afghan civilians for sport Investigators at Morlock's initial hearing in the case didn't find enough evidence for him stand trial on three counts of premeditated murder. Morlock and fellow soldiers are accused of taking photos of corpses and keeping body parts as war trophies.

Pakistan gets an apology

The U.S. apologized Wednesday for a recent helicopter attack that killed two Pakistani soldiers at an outpost near the Afghan border, saying American pilots mistook the soldiers for insurgents they were pursuing. The Associated Press reports the apology, which came after a joint investigation, could pave the way for Pakistan to reopen a key border crossing that NATO uses to ship goods into landlocked Afghanistan. Pakistan closed the crossing to NATO supply convoys in apparent reaction to the Sept. 30 incident.

Cyber Arms Race Begins

Are we witnessing the beginning of a cyber arms race? Seems like it. The Stuxnet computer virus is taking worries about cyber warfare to a new level. It's the first reported case of malicious software designed to sabotage industrial controls. Experts say it is a prototype of a cyber-weapon that will lead to a new global arms race. Computers will be the weapons. The program specifically targets control systems built by Siemens AG, a German equipment maker. Iran, the target of U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, has been hit hardest of any country.

Security companies in Afghanistan shutting down

Afghanistan has begun disbanding private security companies and confiscating their weapons. President Hamid Karzai said in August all private security companies had to close down within four months. It's part of part of a plan for the government to take over all security responsibilities beginning in 2014. Karzai says the firms are responsible for horrific accident and a series of killings, crimes and scandals.

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