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October 2, 2013 | By David S. Cloud, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Gays and lesbians in the military are running into widespread obstacles as they seek to take advantage of a new Obama administration policy designed to make it easier for same-sex couples in the armed services to get married. The policy, announced with great fanfare at the Pentagon in mid-August, was meant to give same-sex couples up to 10 days special leave to get married in the 13 states that allow it - and thus equal access to low-cost healthcare, base shopping and other benefits available to married couples in the military.
September 27, 2013 | By Evan Halper and Richard Simon, This post has been updated. See note below for details.
WASHINGTON -- About 400,000 civilian workers for the Department of Defense would be furloughed starting Tuesday if Congress is unable to reach a deal to fund the federal government, according to the Pentagon's top finance official. Military service members would continue to report to duty, but they, too, would not be paid during a shutdown. The first paychecks that would potentially not be issued would be the ones due Oct. 15, according to Undersecretary of Defense Robert F. Hale. In a shutdown, the department would also be forced to stop other payments, including death benefits for families of members of the armed services.
September 19, 2013 | By David S. Cloud
WASHINGTON - When Aaron Alexis received an access card to enter the Washington Navy Yard, the Pentagon relied on a 5-year-old background investigation completed before most of his brushes with police and signs of mental illness, a senior Defense Department official said Wednesday. But the 2008 investigation was considered recent enough under federal rules for Alexis to be granted permission to enter the Navy Yard, where he worked, merely by flashing his card to a guard at the gate.
September 11, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
Americans will return Wednesday to the grim task of commemorating the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history, the day Islamist fundamentalists seized four airliners and killed nearly 3,000 people in a disaster known simply as 9/11. Every year since then, the nation has mourned the victims of the Al Qaeda attacks, which felled both towers of New York's World Trade Center as well as the Pentagon. A fourth jetliner crashed into a Pennsylvania field when passengers tried to retake control from the hijackers.
September 7, 2013 | By David S. Cloud
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is preparing for a longer bombardment of Syria than it originally had planned, with a heavy barrage of missile strikes followed soon after by more attacks on targets that the opening salvos missed or failed to destroy, officials said. The planning for intense attacks over a three-day period reflects the growing belief in the White House and the Pentagon that the United States needs more firepower to inflict even minimal damage on Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, which have been widely dispersed over the last two weeks, the officials said.
August 27, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
The United States has naval and air forces massed in the Mediterranean Sea and poised to strike Syria if President Obama gives the order, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday. In an interview with BBC television during a trip to Southeast Asia, Hagel said Obama had asked the Pentagon for "all options for all contingencies," and that American and allied forces are in position to mete out any ordered punitive measures against Syrian President Bashar Assad. Hagel said the White House was waiting for final confirmation from U.N. inspectors of a rash of suspected poison gas attacks in rebel-held Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21. “I think the intelligence will conclude that it wasn't the rebels who used it, and there'll probably be pretty good intelligence to show that the Syria government was responsible - but we'll allow the time to come together to provide that information,” Hagel told the BBC during a visit to the sultanate of Brunei.
August 6, 2013 | By David S. Cloud
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon will furlough 650,000 civilian employees without pay for six days this year after months of warnings that mandatory budget cuts might idle defense workers for far longer, officials said Tuesday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has vowed to help furloughed defense workers since he took over the Pentagon in February, said fewer furlough days became possible after officials found savings elsewhere in the military budget. In addition, Hagel said the ongoing U.S. withdrawal of combat troops and equipment from Afghanistan was proving less costly than anticipated, and money was shifted from Pentagon weapons acquisition accounts to help pay for personnel.
August 1, 2013 | By David S. Cloud
WASHINGTON - Senior Pentagon officials pleaded with Congress on Thursday to halt or at least delay additional budget cuts, arguing that they would produce an undersized, ill-equipped military that would have to scale back its operations around the world. "It will be truly shameful if we allow this force to travel further down the path to becoming hollow," Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee. "We need your help in removing the risk of financial uncertainty.
July 22, 2013 | By W.J. Hennigan
Help wanted: At least 130 veteran military aviators for nine-year commitment to fly fighter jets. Salary: $34,500 to $97,400. Plus good benefits and a $225,000 signing bonus - guaranteed. Contact: U.S. Air Force by Sept. 30. That's the offer from the Pentagon, which is so short of Air Force fighter pilots that it's boosting its salary package to make the job more enticing. It may be hard to imagine that life as a high-flying fighter jock has lost its swagger, but the Air Force revealed it has a shortage of 200 fighter pilots this year.
July 21, 2013 | David S. Cloud
Marine Gen. John F. Kelly works in a fortress-like headquarters near the Miami airport. Starting this fall, he will live in Casa Sur, an elegant home with a pool and gardens on one of the area's swankiest streets. The five-bedroom residence, across the street from the famed Biltmore Golf Course, is provided rent-free to Kelly as head of U.S. Southern Command, which oversees military operations in most of Latin America and the Caribbean. The cost to taxpayers? $160,000 a year, plus $402,000 for renovations and security improvements that are now underway.
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