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NATO has taken over command of the No-Fly zone and other military efforts to stop Libyan leader Muamar Gadhafi's military and help the rebels gain steam. A U.s. intelligence source says the British and French have troops on the ground and supply guidance to the rebels while the a wealthy Middle Eastern government is bank rolling the effort to supply weapons to the rebels. As that effort continues, there are major concerns about possibly arming the rebels.
Muammar Gaddafi's army hasn't thrown in the towel yet. They set back the momentum of the rebels troops who were headed toward Tripoli. In the meantime Admiral James Stravridis, the U.S. head of NATO said there "flickers" of Al Qaida in Libya, waiting to fill the void left behind by Gadhafi, if he's ousted. But Stavridis added the is no evidence of a significant presence. The NATO-led aerial bombardment of Libyan forces is expected to continue until Gaddafi gives up or is defeated.
You can expect gradual movement of U.S. ships out of the Mediterranean. NATO is taking command of the international military campaign in Libya and is in charge of air strikes, an arms blockade and no-fly zone put in place to protect Libyan civilians from Muamar Ghadafi. The U.S. will still have a role, but it will not be leading the effort. At one point 11 U.S. vessels were stationed in the Mediterranean, including three submarines, two guided-missile destroyers and two amphibious assault ships
Two Virginia-based ships are being credited with thwarting a pirate attack on a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel in the Arabian Sea. The Pentagon says the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise and the guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf responded Thursday to the Falcon Trader II after the ship reported pirates in a skiff were attempting to board the vessel. The ships dispatched two helicopters to the Philippine vessel, and they fired warning shots. Men were seen jumping from the ship and speeding away in their skiff.
The Pentagon is stopping work on an new engine for the Air Force F-35 fighter jet. This engine was designed to be a back-up. The reason is because of money. The stoppage is expected to last for 90 days. There was no money included in President Obama's budget proposal for the next fiscal year for the project. But budget deliberations continue. Congress is split on the project. Some like, some don't. GE and Rolls Royce are the contractors.
The AP's Donna Cassata writes, "As of Tuesday, the coalition had fired at least 162 sea-launched Tomahawk missiles priced at $1 million to $1.5 million apiece and dispatched B-2 stealth bombers - round-trip from Missouri - to drop 2,000-pound bombs on Libyan sites. Total flying time: 25 hours. Operating cost for one hour: at least $10,000." And that's only a part of the cost.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others said the U.S. military's role will lessen in coming days as other countries take on more missions and the need declines for large-scale offensive action. Tomahawk cruise missiles fired by U.S. ships and submarines off Libya's coast were a part of that action. Senior Defense officials the attacks thus far had reduced Libya's air defense capabilities by more than 50 percent.
The head of U.S. Cyber Command says cloud computing is part of his plan for staying ahead of the cyber threats that face the Defense Department. “A year from now we should be well on our way to having a hardened architecture proven and in place, which provides a new level of cybersecurity,” said General [...]
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del) is chairing a hearing on weapons systems cost overruns this afternoon.
The Government Accountability Office said in findings announced to Congress Tuesday that the Nunn-McCurdy amendment, designed to curtail cost growth in Defense programs, has succeeded in bringing an end to only one overly costly military program in the last 14 years.