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Reuters is reporting the Pentagon says it is making progress in developing weapons for its newest battleground - cyberspace - but still faces funding, technology and policy challenges. U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Michael Basla, vice commander of Air Force Space Command, told industry officials on Monday the service was approaching its work on cyber capability as it would any other major weapons system.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he regrets the cost to taxpayers of his weekend trips to his California home, which cost about $32,000.00. The Associated Press reports, Panetta says he is looking for ways to find savings, but also says it is healthy to get out of Washington to get some perspective at his Monterey farm. Panetta is required to travel on military aircraft so he can remain in constant, secure contact with the White House.
The White House has no intentions of ending CIA drone strikes against militant targets on Pakistani soil, U.S. officials say. The Associated Press says this could possibly set up the two countries up for diplomatic tensions after Pakistan's parliament unanimously approved new guidelines for the country's troubled relationship with the United States. U.S. officials say they will work in coming weeks and months to find common ground with Pakistan, but if a suspected terrorist target comes into the laser sights of a CIA drone's hellfire missiles, they will take the shot.
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is raising concerns about the U.S. deal with Afghanistan giving Afghans authority over raids of Afghan homes. The Associated Press reports, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday questioning the decision to grant authority to a panel of Afghan security officials to decide what raids will take place. The U.S. and Afghanistan reached a deal Sunday on the raids. A majority of these raids occur at night and involve U.S. and Afghan troops.
A Pennsylvania man is being awarded the Air Force's highest honor. Capt. Barry Crawford, Jr. will receive the Air Force Cross today at a Pentagon ceremony "extraordinary heroism". I happened 2010 during a fight with the Taliban. Crawford from Philadelphia, is a combat controller who calls in air strikes. During a14-hour operation, the Air Force says he fought insurgent, left his cover to save two wounded Afghans, all while controlling nearly three dozen aircraft and calling in more than 40 strikes.
The status of U.S. Pakistani military relations is still tied up in the Pakistani Parliament. Cooperation was suspended after a November incident during which 24 Pakistani troops were killed. Three weeks ago a preliminary review was approved by a Pakistani Parliamentary Committee, but the full Parliament rejected it and it was sent back to committee. In the meantime --U.S. troops are back in Pakistan at the Saichen Glacier to help out with rescue efforts, but Pakistani diplomatic sources say that won't affect the review.
Recent satellite images show North Korea is digging a new underground tunnel in what appears to be preparation for a third nuclear test. The Associated Press reports South Korean intelligence officials say the excavation at North Korea's northeast Punggye-ri site, where nuclear tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009, is in its final stages. This new development comes as North Korea prepares to launch a long-range rocket that Washington and others say is a cover for testing missile technology that could be used to fire on the United States.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka to discuss developments related to North Korea's announcement that it plans to conduct a missile launch in mid-April. The Pentagon says both reiterated their view that such a missile launch would directly violate North Korea's international obligations and UN Security Council Resolutions. Both leaders agreed to continue close contact leading up to and following a potential missile launch.
Argentina's president has asked the International Red Cross to persuade Britain to let its DNA experts identify unknown soldiers buried in the Falkland Islands. Thirty years after Argentina and Britain went to war over the remote South Atlantic archipelago, Cristina Fernandez says universal human rights demand that both countries work together to give those remains back to their families. Her remarks came in a speech on the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War.
The U.S. military is watching Mali very carefully. Five African presidents seeking to restore Mali's elected government are now meeting in Ivory Coast, after the planes carrying the heads of state to Bamako were forced to turn around because demonstrators supporting the military junta took over the tarmac, officials said. The presidents of Ivory Coast, Benin, Liberia, Niger and Burkina Faso were due to arrive in Mali on Thursday to press for the departure of the junior officers that grabbed power in a coup last week, reversing over two decades of democratic rule.