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Search Tags: Pentagon & Beyond
Despite vowing to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, President Barack Obama's quest to close it is still running into problems in Congress. So the White House may have to transfer some terror suspects back overseas. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a leading opponent of closure, responded to Obama's latest call by citing last year's administration report that 28 percent of the roughly 600 released detainees were either confirmed or suspected of later engaging in militant activity.
Russia's Rosaviatsiya aviation agency has banned its airlines from flying over Syria, after a plane with 160 passengers detoured to avoid danger from fighting on the ground. Syria's civil war has severely impacted airline traffic to and from the country. Reuters reports, most Russian airlines had heeded a recommendation issued in February not to cross Syrian territory but some had ignored the risk and continued to do so on flights to and from Egypt, among other destinations.
The Pentagon says one of four Air Force members killed in a plane crash in Afghanistan was a pilot from northern Virginia. Capt. The Associated Press reports Brandon Cyr, 28, of Woodbridge, Va., had been stationed at Scott Air Force Base in southwestern Illinois. Cyr died in Saturday's crash of an Air Force MC-12. The cause of the crash is under investigation. The Pentagon says there were no reports of enemy activity in the area at the time. Cyr was an instructor pilot and member of the 906th Air Refueling Squadron within the 375th Air Mobility Wing based at Scott. The base also says Cyr flew with members of the Illinois Air National Guard's 126th Air Refueling Wing.
An Army helicopter pilot from northern Virginia is one of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan by enemy fire. The Pentagon said Friday that 26-year-old 1st Lt. Robert J. Hess of Fairfax died Tuesday in the Pul-E-Alam district of Logar province in eastern Afghanistan, from wounds suffered as a result of indirect fire. Also killed was 32-year-old Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard of Selah, Wash. Both soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Drum, N.Y.
Some military chaplains trying to access the Southern Baptist Convention website this week were surprised to find it blocked with a message that it contained "hostile content." The problem left military officials having to explain to leaders of the nation's largest Protestant denomination that it was an unintentional software glitch. A Defense Department spokesman said the problem seemed to be with the commercial software the military uses to protect its network. The software blocks access to prohibited sites, like those for pornography or gambling, as well as sites that might have some type of malware associated them.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. effort to determine whether Syria has used chemical weapons is a "serious business" that cannot be decided in a rush just because several countries believe evidence supports that conclusion. Wrapping up a visit to Egypt, he told reporters, "I think we have to be very careful here before we make any conclusions (and) draw any conclusions based on real intelligence. That's not at all questioning other nations' intelligence. But the United States relies on its own intelligence."
Secretary of State John Kerry urged NATO to prepare for the possible use of chemical weapons by Syria. This came on Tuesday, the same day that a senior Israeli military intelligence official said Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad had used such weapons last month in his battle against insurgents. It was the first time Israel had accused the embattled Syrian leader of using his stockpile of nonconventional weapons. The assessment was based on visual evidence, could raise pressure on the U.S. and other Western countries to intervene in Syria. Britain and France recently announced that they had evidence that Assad's government had used chemical weapons.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declined to rule out the possibility of providing arms to Syrian rebel groups. Although he did not make a clear commitment, his comments on a BBC News program indicated that he is considering a shift away from two years of neutrality on the Syrian civil war. He said that the decision of whether to intervene in the neighboring civil war is a "complicated question." The U.S. is already assisting some Syrian rebel
President Barack Obama met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal yesterday. National Security Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden says they were joined by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. Hayden says during the meeting the President and Prince Saud Al-Faisal reaffirmed the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and discussed developments in the region, specifically Syria. Among their principle concerns is how to bring the conflict to a peaceful end.
Top officials from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps told lawmakers on Tuesday that across-the-board budget cuts in fiscal 2013 and 2014 would reduce readiness and cut heavily into their procurement and research and development programs. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert said budget requests required under sequestration had cut about $6.1 billion, or 8 percent, from the Navy's investment programs in fiscal year 2013, which ends Sept. 30.