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Search Tags: Pentagon & Beyond
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday that four members of Army special forces in Tripoli were never told to stand down after last year's deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, disputing a former top diplomat's claim that the unit might have helped Americans under siege. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said timing and the need for the unit to help with casualties from Benghazi resulted in orders for the special forces to remain in Tripoli.
The Associated Press says it's recovered a 26 page document in Arabic from a building that was occupied by Al Qaida in Timbuktu Mali that strongly suggest they have acquired surface-to-air missiles. The recovery also seems to confirm that the al-Qaida cell is actively training its fighters to use the weapons, also called man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS. It's believed they came from the arms depots of ex-Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
Should the President and Congress take a second look at using the military in the war against terrorism? Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence committee, plans to introduce legislation today to repeal Authorization for the Use of Military Force. He's suggesting the law is outdated. He says, "A lot of troops that we have on the battlefield now were on playgrounds" when the law was passed. He linked the timing to when U.S. combat forces will be out of Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
China's rolling out its digital army. Xinhua, the official state news agency says next month they're going to conduct their first "digital" technology military exercise. It'll take place in north China's remote Inner Mongolia region. They're going to focus on digitalized combat, special operations forces, army aviation and electronic counter forces.
The Pentagon is responding to a Washington Post article claiming key weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese espionage. Spokesman George Little says, "We maintain full confidence in our weapons platforms." Little also says, "The Department of Defense takes the threat of cyber espionage and cyber security very seriously, which is why we have taken a number of steps to increase funding to strengthen our capabilities, harden our networks, and work with the defense industrial base to achieve greater visibility into the threats our industrial partners are facing." He says, "suggestions that cyber intrusions have somehow led to the erosion of our capabilities or technological edge are incorrect."
After the President's major speech on drones and GITMO, the intelligence community responded. DNI James Clapper welcomed "the effort to strengthen the process for reviewing and approving counterterrorism operations." He said "a consistent and regularized interagency coordination process that involves policymakers, intelligence professionals and the legal community is essential to preventing and responding to terrorism while ensuring the freedoms that are the bedrock of our democracy."
The Pentagon is buying a new computerized health records system to be able to better share and merge its data with the Department of Veterans Affairs. But the Associated Press is reporting, "officials cautioned that it was part of a "long-term modernization" effort and would not help ease the current backlog in VA disability claims." Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering DoD to seek bids for development of the new system.
Brig. Gen. Bryan T. Roberts, Commanding General, U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson, in Fort Jackson, S.C. has been suspended. The Pentagon says the suspension is due to allegations that include adultery and a physical altercation. Military authorities say the charges are being thoroughly investigated. While the investigation is ongoing, Brig. Gen. Peggy C. Combs, Commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., will serve as the interim commander until the investigation is complete and the issue resolved.
The Obama administration is denouncing Russia's decision to equip the Syrian government military with anti-ship missiles, saying the weapons would only worsen a war that Washington and Moscow have been promising to work together on stopping. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, criticized what he called an "unfortunate decision that will embolden the regime and prolong the suffering."
Another decade or two, that at least how long Senior Pentagon officials say the U.S. war against Al Qaida and its affiliates will last. Acting General Counsel Robert Taylor and Michael Sheehan, an assistant secretary of defense for special operations, made the point before the Senate Armed Services Committee, while arguing to prevent changes to a law that allows for the broad use of military force in the war against terrorism.