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Search Tags: Pentagon & Beyond
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and others said the U.S. military's role will lessen in coming days as other countries take on more missions and the need declines for large-scale offensive action. Tomahawk cruise missiles fired by U.S. ships and submarines off Libya's coast were a part of that action. Senior Defense officials the attacks thus far had reduced Libya's air defense capabilities by more than 50 percent.
Al Qaida in Iraq has claimed responsibility for last week's car bomb attack on an Iraqi army unit that killed at least eight soldiers The bomb targeted an army headquarters in the northern area of Diyala province. 30 others were wounded when it exploded last Monday. Security forces stopped a second attack and defused a car bomb parked at the scene. The attacks in Iraq are a daily occurrence as insurgence continue to attack Iraqi forces knowing that U.S. troops are leaving Iraq totally at the end of this year.
The State Department's senior adviser for non-proliferation and arms control says Iran is approaching the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Robert Einhorn told the Arms Control Association yesterday in his own words, "We believe that at a minimum Iran is moving to the threshold of a nuclear weapons capability." But he clarified that he was referring to their intentions rather than their actual capabilities. Some have speculated Iran could reach the point where it could produce a nuke this year.
Iran wants more information from the U.S. on a former FBI agent who vanished in 2007 claiming they would make an attempt to find him. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week Washington had seen recent indications that Robert Levinson was being held in southwest Asia and appealed to Iran to help find him, despite past frustration that Tehran had ignored U.S. pleas for information about him.
Gulf Arab countries have been thinking about imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. That exercise requires more than just a blank declaration preventing Libya government jets from flying. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Congress in his own words, "let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses." The question that arises now is what are the Arab states willing to do that? The U.S. is said to be thinking about giving weapons to the rebels fighting the Gadhafi regime, but no firm decision has been made.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is not happy with the slow pace of using unmanned Predator drone aircraft. They've had great success in Afghanistan, dating back to early 2008. Gates told the Air Force Academy Friday that "it's been like pulling teeth" to get more of the planes "because people were stuck in old ways of doing business." Gates also clashed with Air Force leadership over production of the top-of-the-line, F-22 Raptor. He said pressure to build more than twice the number budgeted by the Defense Department is a problem.
According to the Pentagon, two soldiers assigned to the Aberdeen Proving Ground have been killed in Afghanistan. Twenty-five-year-old Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays of Cookville, Texas, and 22-year-old Spc. Christopher Stark of Monett, Mo., died Monday in Wardak province when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. They were assigned to the 63rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, 20th Support Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground.
There are reports from Iran that small pockets of protestors took to the streets yesterday, inspired by the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. Sources say the Iranian government has cleverly refrained from deadly force against the protesters publicly, instead injuring them and sending them to hospitals. Several sources reports however, men and women wearing doctors and nurses uniforms were roaming the hallways, but they are actually members of the notorious Basijee or auxiliary police who work for government. There are reports patients may have been attacked.
The Pentagon has moved some of its forces in the region near Libya into position, but won't say for what. Defense Department spokesman Col. Dave Lapan says Pentagon planners are working on various options and contingency plans as the violence aimed at overthrowing the government continues. As a part of that planning, the Pentagon is repositioning some naval and air forces. The U.S. has a regular military presence in the Mediterranean Sea and farther to the south has two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf area.
The Army has to get ready for the future, which includes complex threats from terrorists seeking weapons of mass destruction, hostile nation-states capable of nuclear warfare and the modern militaries being assembled in Russia and China. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told West Point cadets on Friday, they are joining a force that has been under pressure, but even though they've been stressed, they've been resilient. This is likely Gates last address to West Point. He's expected to leave the post this year.