Defense Dept

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Flournoy May Not Be a Shoo-In for Defense After All

Sources tell Politico that Biden is still mulling his options for defense secretary

(Newser) - President-elect Joe Biden is hard at work making picks for his administration, with reports already circulating on his choices for secretary of state, Homeland Security chief, and director of national intelligence, among others. But one key role tied to national security is still up in the air: secretary of defense,... More »

Frontrunner for Biden Defense Chief Would Make History

Michele Flournoy, who served at Pentagon under Obama, would be first woman in role

(Newser) - As President-elect Biden starts to make picks for his administration, one name being floated for a Cabinet position would be a historic one. The Hill reports that a frontrunner to head the Defense Department is Michele Flournoy, who served as the department's undersecretary of defense for policy under President... More »

Under Fire, Trump Gives Reprieve to Military Paper

'Stars and Stripes' had been told to shut down this month

(Newser) - President Trump said Friday that he won't allow the Pentagon to cut funding for Stars and Stripes, effectively halting the plan to shut the military paper down this month. "The United States of America will NOT be cutting funding to @starsandstripes magazine under my watch," Trump tweeted... More »

Stars and Stripes Newspaper Is Ordered to Shut Down

Members of Congress are trying to keep independent military paper going

(Newser) - Stars and Stripes, the independent military newspaper that's informed the troops while sometimes being a thorn in the side of the brass since the Civil War, has been told to close up shop. The Trump administration proposed slashing its $15.5 million funding in February, Axios reports, but the... More »

Congress May Make Exception to Honor an Iraqi War Hero

Alwyn Cashe died after pulling others from burning vehicle in Iraq

(Newser) - Fifteen years after his act of heroism in Iraq, time has officially run out to posthumously award Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor. But the Defense Department hopes to make that happen anyway, assuming Congress grants a waiver of the five-year time limit, the Washington Post reports.... More »

Pentagon Bans Confederate Flag, but Not in a Typical Way

New policy lists what flags can be shown at military installations, not which ones can't

(Newser) - After weeks of wrangling, the Pentagon on Friday will ban displays of the Confederate flag on military installations, in a carefully worded policy that doesn't mention the word "ban" or that specific flag. The policy, laid out in a memo obtained by the AP , was described by officials... More »

Pentagon Takes Steps Toward Racial Equity in the Services

Esper wants military to recapture leadership on diversity

(Newser) - Recognizing the harm of systemic racism to individuals and the military, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has announced an effort to ensure equity for US service members. Esper made the announcement Thursday in a video, the Washington Post reports, saying the military is "not immune to the forces of bias... More »

Pentagon Will Rethink Giant Contract After Amazon Suit

Bezos says Trump gave huge deal to Microsoft because of personal vendetta

(Newser) - Amazon has gotten another indication that something might come of its lawsuit against the Defense Department over its handling of a cloud contract worth billions. The Pentagon told a court in a filing Thursday that it "wishes to reconsider its award decision." The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract... More »

Amazon to File for Restraining Order in Microsoft-DOD Deal

Former says latter was only awarded $10B contract after 'behind-the-scenes attacks' from Trump

(Newser) - Amazon has long been suspicious that it lost out to Microsoft on a lucrative $10 billion cloud computing deal with the US military only because of President Trump's intervention, and now Jeff Bezos' behemoth has taken its latest step to stymie the latter from proceeding with that project. CNN... More »

Judge Rules Against Trump Administration in Border Wall Case

Federal judge says $3.6B in Pentagon funds can't be diverted to wall construction

(Newser) - The secretary of defense in September authorized the diverting of $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds to build the border wall, but on Tuesday, a federal judge in Texas blocked the Trump administration from doing that, CNN reports. El Paso County, Texas, and Border Network for Human Rights had sued... More »

Pentagon Trying to Plan for Trump's Next Sudden Move

If president suddenly decides to pull troops out of Afghanistan, DOD officials want to be ready

(Newser) - There's no current instruction from the White House to yank troops out of Afghanistan. But amid recent developments in Syria , the Pentagon is taking no chances and has been setting up a contingency plan in anticipation of any surprise directives from President Trump on Afghanistan. Current and former Defense... More »

Pentagon: We're Sending Jets, Other Air Defense to Saudis

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announces move after Iran claims 2 missiles struck its tanker

(Newser) - The US will send fighter jets and additional air defenses to Saudi Arabia to defend the kingdom against Iran amid heightened tensions between the two Middle Eastern adversaries, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday. Esper announced the deployment of several dozen fighter jets, along with other aircraft and additional air... More »

US Sending Troops to Saudi Arabia, UAE

No military strike against Iran yet, though

(Newser) - The Pentagon on Friday announced it will deploy additional US troops and missile defense equipment to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as President Trump has at least for now put off any immediate military strike on Iran in response to the attack on the Saudi oil industry. Defense... More »

Supreme Court: Border Wall Can Be Built With DOD Funds

$2.5B in Defense Department money can now be tapped by Trump administration for sections of wall

(Newser) - The Supreme Court cleared the way Friday for the Trump administration to tap billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to build sections of a border wall with Mexico. The court's five conservative justices gave the administration the green light to begin work on four contracts it has awarded using... More »

Trump Officially Names Defense Nominee

Says he'll nominate acting secretary Patrick Shanahan

(Newser) - President Trump on Thursday said he will nominate Patrick Shanahan to be his second secretary of defense. Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, has been leading the Pentagon as acting secretary since Jan. 1, a highly unusual arrangement for arguably the most sensitive Cabinet position, the AP reports. "Acting Secretary... More »

Mattis Stepping Down as Defense Secretary

Resignation letter implies criticism of Trump's Syria decision

(Newser) - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is stepping down from his post, President Trump announced Thursday, after the retired Marine general clashed with the president over a troop drawdown in Syria and Trump's go-it-alone stance in world affairs. Mattis, perhaps the most respected foreign policy official in Trump's administration, will... More »

The $7M Legwear to Turn US Troops Into 'Super Soldiers'

ONYX exoskeleton being developed by Lockheed Martin to reduce weight, help troops move better

(Newser) - The Army is pushing for a new generation of "super soldiers," and critical in that effort is a cutting-edge technology first used to help people with serious medical conditions (e.g., multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis) stay on the move. Reuters reports the Pentagon is pumping nearly $7 million into... More »

Audit: 'Nearly All' of DOD's New Weapons Systems Are Vulnerable

GAO analysis finds rampant cybersecurity issues at the Pentagon

(Newser) - A new report out of the Government Accountability Office says the Department of Defense is "just beginning to grapple" with vulnerabilities in most of its new weapons systems. The upshot of the 50-page GAO analysis , per NPR : that, based on five years' worth of tests, "nearly all" of... More »

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 »

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