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Search Tags: Pentagon
The Pentagon says it's time to trim down the size and the cost of its headquarters staff around the world. The Government Accountability Office says the size of the overall workforce at the Pentagon's combatant commands doubled over the past decade. Overall spending to support the command headquarters grew by almost $1 billion, too. John Pendleton is director of defense capabilities and management of the GAO. He explained DoD's reduction plan and recommended ways to shrink the workforce on In Depth with Francis Rose.
Ninety of the 300 U.S. military advisers and special operations forces going to Iraq are in Baghdad. The Pentagon says they will begin to do three things: assess the strength of Iraqi forces, gauge the skill of The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and determine if it's viable to send more US advisory teams to Iraq.
The Pentagon says Iraq has agreed to grant legal protection for the U.S. military advisors headed there to assess the state of Iraq's military and the threat from ISIL. That means they will be granted immunity from prosecution for any crimes they commit or legal trouble they might find themselves in during their deployment. Now that the agreement has been made, the first advisory teams will be established.
The Pentagon says Russia is not withdrawing its troops from the Ukraine border, despite Moscow's claim that the order to pull out has been given. Rear Adm. John Kirby says small numbers of Russian troops have gone back and forth to forward operating bases near the border, but the U.S. has seen no movement of Russian troops back to their home bases. NATO says Russia has 40,000 troops along the border.
The Pentagon has revealed the U.S. military fired or disciplined nearly 500 workers for sexual harassment. In a 12-month period, and nearly 13 percent of the complaints filed involved repeat offenders. The report on May 15th was the first such report on sexual harassment. It says there were 1,366 reports in the last year.
The Pentagon is using drones to help search in northeastern Nigeria for school girls kidnapped by the terror group Boko Haram, although they will not call them drones. Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren explains, "as a general rule we don't discuss our use of unmanned aircraft." He indicates there are security concerns, continuing, "there are sensitivities surrounding where they are based out of." Warren says they are being used to collect intelligence and conduct surveillance.
The House Armed Services Committee is rejecting many cost-savings proposals from the Pentagon including closing excess military bases and retiring aging aircraft. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is displeased about this budget bill, according to Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby. Hagel plans to talk to lawmakers again about the need for another round of base closings, which was also denied by the budget.
The Pentagon says if Russian troops were really pulling back from the border with Ukraine, then "we would know," a spokesman told the Associated Press. He says that doesn't seem to be happening. Russian President Vladimir Putin says his troops have been moved away from the border region. Putin has also called on Ukraine's military to stop its operations against pro-Russia activists who have seized government buildings and police stations in at least a dozen towns in eastern Ukraine.
The Pentagon sharply criticized Russia's latest announcement on Thursday, the Associated Press reports. DoD is concerned that Russia is, "starting military drills near the border with Ukraine and called on Moscow to take steps to lower, not escalate, tensions. Moscow has said the drills were a response to Ukrainian operations against pro-Russian separatists and NATO exercises in eastern Europe."
Defense officials say they are eagerly awaiting next year's report from a Congressionally-chartered commission that's currently examining military compensation. But officials say intense pressure on the top-line defense budget demands significant changes to personnel spending.