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Search Tags: Pentagon & Beyond
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the U.S. military is moving ahead with developing the Marine Corps version of the next-generation strike fighter jet, but warns the program is "not out of the woods yet." Those remarks came as the F-35B Lightning II was removed from "probation" and granted full status along the other two variants of the Joint Strike Fighter. He said the F-35, the Pentagon's most expensive weapons program, is "absolutely vital to maintaining America's air superiority".
Since Pakistan shut down U.S. supply lines in late 2011, the Pentagon has been spending more than six times what it normally does to get supplies to troops in Afghanistan. According to information obtained by the Associated Press, it now costs about $104 million per month to move the supplies through a longer northern route, $87 million more a month than when the cargo moved through Pakistan.
The Pentagon is preparing a series of new initiatives to try to curb sexual assaults in the military. "Sexual assault has no place in this department. It's is an affront to the basic American values we defend," said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta as laid out the first in a series of proposal. According to Panetta, the steps include extending victim services to military spouses as well as Pentagon civilians and contractors working abroad and more money to prosecute perpetrators.
A review of legally oriented mail to prisoners facing charges for war crimes at Guantanamo Bay prison has been ordered. Rear Adm. David Woods says it balances the need for defense attorneys to communicate with their clients with demands for security and safety on the base. Woods made the statement at a pre-trial hearing in a case against a Saudi man charged with orchestrating the deadly attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is considered one of al-Qaida's most senior leaders.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Attorney General Eric Holder are expressing their opposition to a move prevent terror suspects from being tried in Federal Court. The two of them sent a letter to Senate leaders saying the Republican measure would deprive them of a potent weapon in the fight against terrorism. They also claim it could lead increase the risk of terrorists escaping justice and putting other people in danger.
With the Space shuttle program going into hibernation, where will the U.S. turn if it needs a lift into Space? Well according to Wired magazine, it could be the Air Force's X-37B "space plane". Wired says Boeing is looking into plans could more than double the vehicle's size and make room for up to six astronauts. Boeing has unveiled plans for an "X-37C" that would be nearly twice as long as the current B-model.
Why were the roads shutdown around the Pentagon after last Friday's incident involving a Marine Corps Reserve Lance Corporal? "Based on the fact that he had fled from the Fort Meyers Police Department that he wasn't forthcoming with his information and as far as identifiers and what he was doing and he did have some products with him that were a little bit concerning initially. That's we felt it as appropriate to close these roadways down," says U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. David Schlosser. Yonathan Melaku was taken into custody after being caught on the grounds of Arlington Cemetery after dark. His car was found near the Pentagon.
Military health care premiums for retirees will be raised slightly starting Saturday and that more cost increases are on the way. According to the Associated Press, premiums haven't been raised since 1994 and still will be just a fraction of what civilians pay. Officials said Thursday that individual retirees will pay $260 annually, up from $230; and it will be $520 annually for a family, up from $460. Yearly hikes are expected in the future.
A 26-year-old Massachusetts man has been arrested and charged in connection with a plot to damage or destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. Rezwan Ferdaus, of Ashland, Mass. and a U.S. citizen, also was charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization -- specifically to al-Qaida -- in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.
Iraq is going to buy 18 F-16 warplanes from the U.S. This is a step forward in a still unclear discussion about what the U.S. role will be in Iraq after the U.S military drawdown is complete. U.S. military officials say Iraq is spending three billion dollars on the fighters. Iraqi and U.S. military officials contend that a more capable Air Force is a major priority. It's unclear yet whether the Lockheed Martin F-16s they are buying would be the standard A/B model or the more advanced C/D variant.