Department of Defense

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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 »

We're Spending $9M a Day to Fight ISIS

Pentagon releases first detailed breakdown of costs

(Newser) - The US has spent more than $2.7 billion on the war against ISIS militants in Iraq and Syria since bombings began last August, and the average daily cost is now more than $9 million, the Pentagon said yesterday. Releasing a detailed breakdown of the costs for the first time,... More »

Military Lab Accidentally Ships Live Anthrax

Samples went from Utah to labs around country, plus one in South Korea

(Newser) - Workers at a commercial lab in Maryland got an unwelcome surprise upon receiving a sample of supposedly dead anthrax from the military. The spores were very much alive, reports CNN . It turns out that an Army lab in Dugway, Utah, shipped out samples to labs in nine states over the... More »

Report: Psych Group Helped Bush Justify Torture

APA propped up Bush administration's interrogation program, critics say

(Newser) - The Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA prisoner torture caused a massive stir in December, and now that pot is boiling over once more. A report by a group of what the New York Times calls "dissident health professionals and human rights activists" claims that the American Psychological... More »

Ex-Blackwater Firm Makes Millions in Futile Fight on Afghan Drugs

Guardian: Academi pulled in $569M to kill Afghan narcotics industry, which is thriving

(Newser) - The company formerly known as Blackwater has pulled in a pretty penny from US taxpayers in its Pentagon-supported drive to flush out the Afghan narcotics industry: Nearly $570 million from fiscal 2002 to September 2013 was funneled to the firm now known as Academi—about 32% of the $1.8... More »

These Troops Go Behind Enemy Lines to Check the Weather

Air Force's combat weathermen can make or break a critical mission

(Newser) - Before US special operations forces raided the Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden was hiding out in 2011, there was likely at least one other type of specialist with boots on the ground: a weatherman. The Air Force's SOWTs—special operations weather technicians—are some of the military's... More »

US Troops to Train Syrian Rebels for ISIS Takedown

Train-and-equip plan for moderate Syrian opposition designed to derail insurgents

(Newser) - In continuing efforts to thwart Islamic militants in Syria, the US Defense Department confirmed last night that it's sending 400 troops to train moderate Syrian opposition, Army Times reports. Trainers will set up shop in Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, with the six- to eight-week training sessions tentatively set... More »

Caterer Fined $389M in Years-Long Pentagon Scam

Supreme Group pleads guilty to $48M fraud

(Newser) - A firm that until last year provided food and water to 130,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan has pleaded guilty to fraud. Supreme Group, according to court papers, "devised and implemented a scheme to overcharge the United States" in an $8.8 billion contract, the Justice Department says in... More »

Pentagon Gifts Cops French Horns, Personal TVs

Defense Department also gave Calif. police ... snow gear

(Newser) - Just what Los Angeles County police need: 500 snowshoes and 1,600 parkas. Need aside, that's what they were handed by the Defense Department in March, according to a breakdown of $4.3 billion in surplus military supplies sent to police departments across the country since 1997. Think that'... More »

Obama Nominates Ashton Carter for Defense Secretary

Pentagon vet will 'hit the ground running,' president says

(Newser) - We're one step closer to finding Chuck Hagel' s replacement: President Obama announced today he's nominating Pentagon ace Ashton Carter to take over as secretary of defense, the AP reports. Although some fear that Carter's insider status may hamper his ability to come up with creative solutions... More »

Panetta: Obama 'Lost His Way,' 'Lacks Fire'

Ex-CIA, DoD head describes frustration in new memoir

(Newser) - The man who ran the CIA from 2009 to 2011 and the Pentagon from 2011 to 2013 has got some pretty scathing things to say about his old boss in his new memoir, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace, and in interviews with USA Today and... More »

US Blew Millions Shipping Military Trucks: Report

GAO report suggests it would have been cheaper to just blow them up

(Newser) - It would've been more financially prudent to blow up now-useless US military vehicles used in Afghanistan instead of what the Pentagon actually did: ship them back home. A GAO report released yesterday and cited in USA Today says that from October 2012 to October 2013, the Army and Marines... More »

Pentagon Aims to Train Small Syria Opposition Force

Program could start next year, slowly expand

(Newser) - The Pentagon has a plan to train some moderate opposition fighters in Syria, but it may struggle to win congressional approval. Administration officials want to start small, training just 2,300 people; the program would be "scalable" from there, a top defense official tells the Wall Street Journal . It... More »

Pentagon: Bergdahl Back on Active Duty

Set to meet with officer investigating his disappearance

(Newser) - After weeks of counseling , Bowe Bergdahl has returned to active duty, the Defense Department announced today, according to the AP . His exact duties haven't been disclosed yet, but according to the New York Times he'll live in barracks at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where his therapy... More »

Government Trying to Fix Our Memories

Pentagon invests $40M in research into implants

(Newser) - It sounds like something out of a sci-fi flick: Direct brain recording, a shorthand for probing the brain to listen to its chatter. But the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is dedicating $40 million to this high-tech field to help the estimated 270,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war... More »

Secret Tapes of Gitmo Force-Feedings Do Exist

Well, at least tapes of one detainee being force-fed

(Newser) - In an unprecedented ruling, non-government officials have been given the go-ahead to view secret recordings that depict force-feedings at Guantanamo Bay—a ruling that by its nature establishes the fact that these tapes actually do exist, reports the Guardian . A federal judge yesterday ruled that lawyers for Abu Wa’el... 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 »

Top Gun Inspiration Makes History at Pentagon

Christine Fox is acting No. 2, highest defense post ever held by a woman

(Newser) - For someone who has spent a chunk of her career in the wonky position of budget strategist for the Pentagon, Christine Fox now has two decidedly unwonky gems on her resume:
  • President Obama today appointed her as the acting No. 2 at the Pentagon, an "unprecedented move" that gives
... 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 »

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