Defense Dept

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US Hasn't Shown Military Bands Are Worth the Bill

GAO demands performance measures, Pentagon to oblige

(Newser) - A $437 million annual budget is allotted for US military bands. While that's less than 0.1% of the Department of Defense's total budget, it's also about as much as Latvia's entire defense budget, reports Fox News . The funds pay for instruments—the Air Force requested... More »

Mattis Breaks From Trump on Key Iraq Issue

Defense secretary assures Iraq we want to help beat ISIS, not take its oil

(Newser) - President Trump has noted more than once he thinks we should've taken Iraq's oil when we had the chance (and suggests that option may still be on the table), but his secretary of defense is pushing a different message—what the New York Times characterizes as comments that... More »

China's Snagging Our Defensive Edge: Pentagon

Which is why we need to step it up, Robert Work says

(Newser) - The Pentagon is digging deeper in its push for new air and space technologies as China threatens to unseat the US as king of the skies. Speaking with aerospace experts at the China Aerospace Studies Initiative, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work says the US' rival is "quickly closing the... More »

15 of US' Benghazi Sources Have Been Killed

Senate report also concludes that consulate attack was 'preventable'

(Newser) - The US government didn't do enough to prevent the attack on the Benghazi consulate, a long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report concludes. The bipartisan report chastises the CIA for operating out of a different building than the State Department—a facility the military didn't even know about, the Washington ... More »

US to Fly Troops Into Central African Republic

American planes will transport Euro, African peacekeepers

(Newser) - Now the US is getting involved: Washington has agreed to fly European and African peacekeepers into the Central African Republic to help quell the bloody strife between various Muslim and Christian groups and other rebel militias, CNN reports. US military aircraft will fly troops—including a few French ones—from... More »

Military's Budget Plan: Cut Pay, Benefits

Defense Dept. looking at options as budget set to shrink

(Newser) - It's long seemed unthinkable, but US military personnel could soon see cuts to their pay and benefits. Top commanders are considering such cuts as they deal with a decreasing budget, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chair said this weekend. While acknowledging that "we can't pay [soldiers] enough,... More »

CIA's 'Inhumane' Torturers? Doctors

New report finds disturbing ethical violations

(Newser) - The doctor's ethical directive, "first do no harm," would seem to not-so-subtly indicate that medical professionals not engage in torture ... but an independent taskforce finds that the CIA and the Pentagon asked doctors and psychologists working at US detention facilities (including Guantanamo Bay) to do just that.... More »

Meltdowns Plague NSA's Giant New Data Center

Fast-tracking blamed for spy center's faulty wiring

(Newser) - For all its data gathering, there's something the National Security Agency seems unable to figure out: Why its gigantic new data center in Utah isn't working. The building meant to be at the center of the agency's spying operation has been plagued by electrical meltdowns that have... More »

Looks Like Syria Will Miss First Arms-Deal Deadline

Plus: Pentagon says US could train some rebels

(Newser) - Syria probably won't get a full inventory of its chemical weapons to international authorities by Saturday, as proposed—but the US, it seems, isn't panicking. "Our goal is to see forward momentum," rather than the whole inventory, by Saturday, says a State Department rep. "We'... More »

How US Kept bin Laden Raid Records Secret

They were shifted from Pentagon to CIA

(Newser) - US officials ensured that files from the Osama bin Laden raid would stay secret by slipping them into the hands of the CIA—which is allowed to keep its records quiet. Adm. William McRaven, the leading special ops director, had the files removed from Pentagon databases and handed over to... More »

White House's New Leak Villain: Former Top General

James Cartwright faces investigation over Stuxnet worm story

(Newser) - The Obama White House has prosecuted or charged eight people under the Espionage Act thus far—and another one is under investigation. Retired four-star Marine Gen. James "Hoss" Cartwright, former deputy chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, got a letter saying he was facing an inquiry over the... More »

Military's Latest Sex Scandal: Recruiters

Defense Dept. has promised to address

(Newser) - The latest sex crime scandal for the military involves recruiters, the Washington Post reports in a detailed look at some of the cases of sexual assault and rape found in its ranks recently. One example: An Air Force recruiter is charged with raping or committing other crimes over three years... More »

Obama to Take Drones Out of CIA's Hands: Report

Defense Department will eventually run sole program

(Newser) - A big scoop from the Daily Beast : President Obama is set to eighty-six the CIA's drone program, per three senior US officials. Daniel Klaidman reports that the plan, which the White House is "poised to sign off on," would instead centralize the drone program under the Pentagon;... More »

Pyongyang Threats Prompt US to Boost Missile Defense

Obama had halted program's expansion

(Newser) - North Korea's missile warnings have the US building up its defenses, insiders tell Fox News . The Pentagon is preparing 14 new ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California. The result—44 total interceptors—is in line with Bush administration plans. President Obama had halted deployment at 30 when he entered... More »

White House, GOP Upbeat on Avoiding Shutdown

Boehner cites agreement with Obama

(Newser) - The next big budget debate—over money to keep the government open—shouldn't be as fraught as the last one, leaders say. "The president agreed that we should not have any talk of a government shutdown," John Boehner told NBC in an interview broadcast yesterday. "So... More »

Chuck Hagel Hearing: What He'll Face

Unprecedented opposition campaign could make for an interesting vote

(Newser) - Chuck Hagel heads to Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearing today, and one thing we can say with confidence: It won't be a John Kerry-esque cakewalk . Hagel's facing skepticism and outright opposition from both sides of the aisle over past stances, particularly on Israel and nuclear proliferation. But... More »

Obama Will Tap John Brennan for CIA Director

Will nominate Brennan, Chuck Hagel today

(Newser) - President Obama will make two potentially controversial nominations this afternoon: Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and John Brennan as CIA director, the AP reports. Brennan, Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, has a close relationship with the president and was very involved in planning the Osama bin Laden raid. He was... More »

Is This Our First Female Defense Chief?

Michele Flournoy is on Obama's shortlist

(Newser) - It's possible the nation might have its first female defense secretary soon. With leading candidate Chuck Hagel running into stiff resistance , the name of Michele Flournoy is standing out on President Obama's shortlist, reports the Los Angeles Times . Its profile describes the 52-year-old Democrat as a policy wonk... More »

Source of Leak to Makers of Zero Dark Thirty Investigated

Vickers rumored to succeed Petraeus

(Newser) - Michael Vickers, a senior Defense official rumored to be a possible replacement for David Petraeus at the CIA, has been referred to the Justice Department after Pentagon investigators concluded that he leaked restricted information about the Osama bin Laden raid to Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers, two senior US officials tell... More »

Pentagon OKs Drone Sales to 66 Nations

But State Department, Congress still need to sign off

(Newser) - Soon, the US might not be the only country filling the sky with drones. The Pentagon has listed 66 countries to which it would be comfortable selling drones, military officials tell Reuters . But the sales haven't begun yet, because Congress and the State Department still have to sign off.... More »

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