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Search Tags: Pentagon & Beyond
The leaders of Ukraine's protest movement that's all but shut-down the government for more than two months say they will seek constitutional changes to weaken the president's powers. The changes are expected to be discussed in parliament as the country wades through a stalemate. Protesters are refusing to leave their encampment in downtown Kiev or vacate buildings they occupy, but they say they will abide by a truce they agreed to.
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine, flight crew put down a CBP unmanned aircraft system in the Pacific Ocean 20 miles southwest of San Diego, at about 1:15 a.m. PST Monday. While on patrol off the Southern California coast, the unmanned aircraft, a maritime variant of the Predator B, experienced a mechanical failure. The crew determined that the UAS would be unable to return to where it originated in Sierra Vista, Ariz., and put the aircraft down in the water. The cause of the failure is unknown. There were no injuries as a result of this emergency landing.
Department of Defense announced the deployment of M/V Cape Ray from Portsmouth, Va. M/V Cape Ray is the primary contribution of the Department of Defense toward international efforts to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons material program. Over the last several months, hundreds of government and contract personnel have worked tirelessly to prepare the vessel to neutralize Syrian chemical materials and precursors using proven hydrolysis technology. This achievement could not have been possible without these remarkable contributions.
The Pentagon says it's sending Iraq another installment of small arms and ammunition requested by Baghdad as it battles al-Qaida militants for control of Fallujah and other key cities in Anbar province. A Pentagon spokesman said Friday that Iraq will be receiving the extra arms and ammunition "very shortly." Army Col. Steve Warren declined to say whether Washington is considering using U.S. troops to train Iraqi forces.
The European Union is expected soon send up to 1,000 soldiers to help stabilize Central African Republic. It would be the EU's first major army operation in six years. Reuters says, "the intervention by the 28-nation bloc comes after a senior U.N. official warned on Thursday of the risk of genocide in Central African Republic without a more robust international response to communal bloodshed."
34 Air Force nuclear missile launch officers have been implicated in a cheating scandal and have been stripped of their certification in what is believed to be the largest such breach of integrity in the nuclear force. The Associated Press reports, some of the officers shared answers to a monthly test on their knowledge of how to operate the missiles via text message. Others may have known about it but did not report it. The cheating was discovered during a drug investigation that involves 11 Air Force officers at several bases in the U.S. and the U.K.
President Barack Obama says former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is a good friend and he did an outstanding job while at the Pentagon. He's was responding to questions about Gates' book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War," saying that his administration's policy in Afghanistan was the right one. In his book, Gates questions Obama's commitment to his war policy and talks about discontent among the team that made key decisions about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama says that part of his job as commander in chief is to, quote, "sweat the details" on policies that send men and women into harms' way.
Responding to criticism of NSA surveillance by the New America Foundation, ODNI spokesman Mike Birmingham says "As intelligence officials and congressional intelligence overseers have said, the bulk metadata program is a valuable tool for discovering potential links between terrorists abroad and those in the U.S. with whom they collaborate." But Birmingham says, "it's important to keep the program in perspective. This is one of many programs the Intelligence Community uses to identify, track, and disrupt the activities of our adversaries, including terrorists."
The U.S. Army announced Thursday a restructuring of its Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) as the service prepares for a scheduled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and a continued decline in the number of combat wounded. According to Brig. Gen. David Bishop, commander, Warrior Transition Command and Assistant Surgeon General for Warrior Care and Transition, "These changes will improve the care and transition of soldiers through increased standardization, increased cadre to soldier ratios, improved access to resources on installations, and reduced delays in care. They are not related to budget cuts, sequestration or furloughs." As part of the restructuring, the Army will inactivate five WTUs and establish more than a dozen community care units (CCUs) across 11 installations by September 30, 2014.
An Air Force investigation into illicit drug use has expanded to include 10 officers at six bases in the U.S. and Britain. The Associated Press reports, "Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Brett Ashworth says nine lieutenants and one captain are being investigated for illegal possession of recreational drugs. He said the case began with the investigation of two officers at Edwards Air Force Base in California and expanded based on their contacts with others."