August 6, 2013 |
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 |
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 |
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 |
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.
June 26, 2013 |
Stung by a downturn in drone sales to the military, AeroVironment Inc. saw its revenue drop in half during the fourth quarter from a year earlier. The Monrovia company had revenue of $54.1 million, compared with $110.7 million in last year's fourth quarter. AeroVironment depends largely on funding from the Pentagon, which is winding down its presence in the Middle East and preparing for budget cuts. The company is the Pentagon's top supplier of small drones - including the Raven, Wasp and Puma models - that give troops on the ground a bird's-eye view of what's happening over a ridge or around a bend.
June 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced Monday that it had chosen a longtime Washington attorney who has worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations to find a way to close down the prison at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The action comes three days after the Republican-led House overwhelmingly passed a defense measure to keep the prison running. The State Department made the announcement of Clifford Sloan as the new envoy charged with closing the prison that has held some of the top terrorism captives since the island fortress was built months after the Sept.
June 12, 2013 |
Where there's smoke arising from a free-speech matter, you're likely to find the fiery attorney Floyd Abrams. He's blazed a trail for freedom of the press from the Pentagon Papers case to protecting reporters' sources. He's just as incendiary when he's fighting forced warning labels on cigarettes and championing the Citizens United court decision. Abrams' memoir, " Friend of the Court ," arrives as news media and government are again at loggerheads over reporters' phone records and revelations-by-leak of widespread domestic surveillance - all burning issues for him. What do you think about the NSA leaks?
June 5, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - When screenwriter Mark Boal went seeking Pentagon and CIA help on last year's hit movie "Zero Dark Thirty," he wooed glamour-starved official Washington with the classic Hollywood pitch: Let's do lunch. Boal promised "a real L.A. lunch" to Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Douglas Wilson in a June 2011 email thanking Wilson for setting up a one-on-one meeting with a top Pentagon official who was involved in the CIA-led operation that killed Osama bin Laden at his hideout in Pakistan the previous month.
June 5, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Lawmakers from both major parties rebuked the Pentagon on Tuesday for failing to curtail sexual assaults in the military, arguing that the inability of commanders to solve the problem may mean they need to be stripped of the power to decide on prosecuting and punishing offenders. With an estimated 26,000 service members experiencing "unwanted sexual contact" last year - and evidence that many fear retaliation if they report an assault to a superior - Congress is preparing to take up a bill by Sens.
May 31, 2013 |
SINGAPORE - Chuck Hagel emerged from combat in the Vietnam War with two Purple Hearts and "a sense of how important it would be for America to engage wisely in Asia," as he put it to top defense officials gathered here. Now, more than a year after President Obama pledged to refocus America's security strategy toward Asia, Hagel is using his first visit to the region as Defense chief to reassure allies that the so-called pivot won't be derailed by Pentagon budget cuts or competing demands from the civil war in Syria, the nuclear stalemate with Iran and other high-priority issues.