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April 30, 2015 at 6:21am

Military changes a-plenty in bill proposal

Military Times is reporting this morning the following changes or unchanges proposed this morning by the House Armed Services Committee.  They include:

1. Rejection of the Defense Department pleas for another base closure round.

2. Full funding for commissary operations.

3. 2.3 percent pay raise (but not mandated so the White House could lower it - stand by).

4. Temporary war spending upped to more than $89 billion in fiscal 2016.

5. Make the current 20-years, all-or-nothing system to include a blended benefits package featuring 401(k) style investments for all troops (going 20 years or not).

The full House debates these mid-May

Filed under: Defense News,

October 7, 2013 at 2:14pm

Washington National Guard: Furloughed technicians recalled to duty

Around 700 full-time federal technicians with the Washington State National Guard have been recalled to work Tuesday, Oct. 8 after being furloughed Oct. 1 during the federal government shutdown, according to a release by Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the state's adjutant general.

The change was the result of Saturday's announcement by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the Pay Our Military Act allowed the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for certain employees whose responsibilities contribute to the "morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members."

Almost all furloughed full-time federal technicians in Washington state are being recalled though several furloughed technicians within the U.S. Property & Fiscal Office are ineligible for recall. Also, state employees who have been furloughed by the state are not recalled at this time.

October 5, 2013 at 1:41pm

Hagel announces recall of most DoD civilians

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2013 - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced today he is recalling most of the Defense Department civilians who were placed on furlough as a result of the government shutdown which began Oct. 1.

"Today, I am announcing that most DOD civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week," he said.

"Immediately after President [Barack] Obama signed the Pay Our Military Act into law, I directed DOD's acting general counsel to determine whether we could reduce the number of civilian personnel furloughed due to the shutdown," Hagel said.

The Defense Department, he said, consulted closely with the Department of Justice, which expressed its view that the law does not permit a blanket recall of all civilians.

"However, DOD and DOJ attorneys concluded that the law does allow the Department of Defense to eliminate furloughs for employees whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members," Hagel said.

"Consequently, I am now directing the military departments and other DOD components to move expeditiously to identify all employees whose activities fall under these categories," he said.

Hagel noted he expects the military departments to be able to "significantly reduce - but not eliminate - civilian furloughs under this process."

"Employees can expect to hear more information from their managers starting this weekend," he added.

The defense secretary said the department has tried to "exempt as many DOD civilian personnel as possible" from furloughs, and will continue to try to bring all civilian employees back to work as soon as possible.

"Ultimately, the surest way to end these damaging and irresponsible furloughs, and to enable us to fulfill our mission as a department, is for Congress to pass a budget and restore funds for the entire federal government," Hagel said.

"This has been a very disruptive year for our people - including active duty, National Guard and reserve personnel, and DOD civilians and contractors," he said. "Many important activities remain curtailed while the shutdown goes on."

Civilians under furlough, Hagel said, face the uncertainty of not knowing when they will receive their next paycheck.

"I strongly support efforts in Congress to enact legislation to retroactively compensate all furloughed employees," he said.

"And I will continue to urge Congress to fulfill its basic responsibilities to pass a budget and restore full funding for the Department of Defense and the rest of the government," Hagel said.

Written by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., a journalist with the American Forces Press Service.

Filed under: Defense News, Policy/Politics,

October 1, 2013 at 7:07am

Obama thanks DoD workforce, encourages budget resolution

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2013 - President Barack Obama thanked the Defense Department workforce today in a video message and expressed his disappointment in Congress' failure to approve a budget, resulting in a government shutdown.

"As president, and as your commander-in-chief, I've worked to make sure you have the strategy, the resources and the support you need to complete the missions our nation asks of you," he said.

"And every time you've met your responsibilities and performed with extraordinary professionalism, skill and courage," Obama said.

Unfortunately, the president said, Congress has not fulfilled its responsibility and failed to pass a budget.

"As a result, much of our government must now shut down until Congress funds it again," Obama said.

Read Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.'s full story on what this all means on the U.S. Department of Defence website.

LINK: Information for soldiers, civilians impacted by government shutdown

Filed under: Policy/Politics, Defense News,

July 26, 2013 at 7:49am

Morning Report: Bradley Manning court-martial, 2nd Cavalry Regiment takes lead, Pearl Jam app and more ...

Col. D.A. Sims (left), commander of Combined Task Force Dragoon (2nd Cavalry Regiment), and Command Sgt. Maj. Wilbert E. Engram uncase the task force's colors during a transfer-of-authority ceremony, July 25 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Photo Credit

CLEANING UP A MESS: In coordination with the Australian Defense Force, the U.S. 7th Fleet will take the lead in the safe retrieval and disposal of four bombs which were jettisoned off the coast of Queensland, Australia, by two AV-8B Harrier aircraft in an emergency situation on July 16.

AFGHANISTAN: 2nd Cavalry Regiment takes lead.

TODAY: The defense gets the chance to sum up its case in the court-martial of Bradley Manning, the Army private who sent hundreds of thousands of U.S. government documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.

HUG A BLOGGER: The Defense Department is facing a once-in-a-generation change, and its public affairs practitioners around the world need to communicate that change clearly, the Pentagon's chief spokesman said today.

LEGAL MOTION: Commandant Gen. Jim Amos removed Lt. Gen. Thomas Walhauser as the consolidated disposition authority for prosecuting the cases against Marines involved in videotaping themselves urinating on dead Taliban fighters.

SEXUAL ASSAULT MEASURE: Opponents scramble to keep Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand from getting a majority on legislation removing sexual assault cases from the chain of command.

NINE INCH NAILS: The band is back onstage, with a vengeance.

HERE'S A STORY: Did you hear the one about the guy who spent all of his Kickstarter money and then canceled the project?

PEARL JAM: There's an app for that.

MEET THE NEWEST SUPERHERO IN TOWN: She kicks ass wearing a burka.

Keep It Together Today

July 25, 2013 at 8:12am

Morning Report: I Corps in Australia, military budget, female soldiers in combat, "Twilly" and more ...

Paratroopers move out after jumping into the Shoalwater Bay Training Area of Queensland, Australia, during Exercise Talisman Saber 2013. Photo Credit: Cpl. Max Bree

I CORPS IN AUSTRALIA: I Corps is playing a key role in Exercise Talisman Saber in Australia, demonstrating the Army's increasing influence in the Pacific, said one of the exercise planners.

MILITARY BUDGET: The U.S. House last night overwhelmingly approved a spending bill that would give the Pentagon about $600 billion next year, while narrowly killing a measure that targeted controversial NSA surveillance programs.

FEMALE SOLDIERS: How female soldiers mentally cope with the rigors of combat is creating more concern among Pentagon leaders than whether those troops can withstand the physical rigors of the battlefield.

PRISON PRICE: The cost to run the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in 2013 is $454 million - a figure significantly higher than previous estimates.

ASH IN AFRICA: Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with senior government and military leaders here to discuss the U.S.-Ethiopia security partnership and shared interests in East African security challenges.

ROCKET SCEINCE: Natick develops holster for M320 grenade launcher.

TODAY'S LIST: The 25 essential American indie films, 1988-2013.

WOULD YOU EAT THIS?: "Twilly" - a hot dog in a Twinkie bun!

COMIC-CON: The cool stuff you'd want to steal.

MAKING SCIENCE MATTER: Why Cosmos is more important than ever.

July 24, 2013 at 7:41am

Morning Report: Korean War armistice anniversary, military communications boost, sharkini and more ...

The Korean Demilitarized Zone and Joint Security Area were created by the armistice that was signed in 1953. U.S. Army photo: Sgt. Park Youngho

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: American and South Korean officials and veterans will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice agreement in the United States and South Korea this week.

HELLO? CAN ANYONE HEAR US?: The US Navy's next-generation military communications network is about to get a serious boost in capability, one that could dramatically improve field communications for the US military - and, perhaps in the future, international partners.

ASIA RE-BALANCE BALANCE: A bi-partisan group of lawmakers is calling upon newly appointed National Security Advisor Susan Rice to conduct a formal strategy review of the administration's Asia re-balance strategy, claiming the approach is in need of greater clarity.

FINAL FRONTIER TALKS: After years of grudging refusal to do much more than discuss the possibility of talks on a space code of conduct, China has begun discussions on a multilateral code as part of a larger UN effort.

THE FONZ: Henry Winkler has booked a guest turn on NBC's lone returning fall comedy series Parks and Recreation, playing Jean-Ralphio's father.

DO WE NEED THIS?: Carl's Jr. Pop-Tartice cream sandwich goes nationwide.

STARBUCKS: A horrifying journey across the globe.

FINALLY: Sharkini, a one-piece shark bite swimsuit.

Today's Tip: Watch Out For Rollerbladers!

Filed under: Defense News, Morning Report,

July 23, 2013 at 7:53am

Morning Report: I Corps Down Under, Syria action preview, summer beers and more ...

Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Lt. Gen. Brown, I Corps commanding general, speak with personnel participating in the 2013 Talisman Saber exercise, July 20, 2013, Brisbane, Australia. Photo Credit: Spc. John G. Martinez

TALISMAN SABER 2013: Secretary of the Army John McHugh sees I Corps in action Down Under.

LESSON LEARNED: Building on the lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Special Operations Command is refocusing on helping partner militaries across the geographic commands build special operations capacity.

AFGHANISTAN: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff came away from a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday convinced that the United States and Afghanistan can sign a bilateral security agreement between now and October.

SYRIA PREVIEW?: A drill involving about 4,000 paratroopers and 95 tons of air-dropped gear offered a dramatic preview of one possible U.S. action to seize control of chemical warfare stocks in Syria.

CUTBACKS: The Navy has 10 fewer ships worldwide compared to just a few months ago.

TODAY'S LIST: Tasty summer beers.

TO EACH THEIR OWN: Wedding photo of newlyweds preparing to battle Star Wars AT-AT Walkers and the Death Star.

GOOD NEWS: Neil deGrasse Tyson says long-awaited Cosmos sequel tells "Greatest Story Ever Told."

Someone Has Too Much Free Time

July 22, 2013 at 7:47am

Morning Report: Furloughs 2014, Stryker audit, Great Barrier Reef bombed and more ...

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thanks service members after joining them for lunch at Regional Command-North in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, Jul 21. Photo credit: D. Myles Cullen

YIKES: Furloughs may continue next year for DoD employees.

YIKES AGAIN: A new Defense Department audit questions hundreds of millions of dollars of spending on Stryker infantry vehicles over the past six years because the Army could not verify that it paid for repairs out of the correct annual accounts.

YIKES THRICE: The United States military said today it had jettisoned four unarmed bombs on Australia's Great Barrier Reef during a training exercise only because civilian boats had strayed into the drop zone.

AFGHANISTAN: NATO and partner nations are heavily involved with training and advising Afghan National Army forces, Afghan uniformed police and Afghan local police.

TERROR LIST: European Union foreign ministers Monday added the military wing of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group and political party, to a list of terrorist organizations.

GREEN MILITARY: While the Defense Department is battling to maintain the nation's military readiness in an austere budget climate, its conservation efforts in communities across the country are quietly flourishing.

Top 100: Looking beyond defense.

OH YOU FANCY: Casa Sur is one of hundreds of high-end homes, villas and mansions where senior generals and admirals are billeted.

COMIC-CON 2013: A summary of what went down.

COMEDIANS IN CARS GETTING COFFEE: Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock are pulled over by the cops.

SUB POP: The label released 14 free downloads from Nirvana, Sebadoh and others to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

TODAY'S LIST: 25 hammocks for lazy summer days.

Filed under: Defense News, Morning Report,

July 19, 2013 at 7:43am

Morning Report: Drill Sergeants of the Year, McCain is hella mad, China gets aggressive, do you care about Spock? and more ...

Sgt. 1st Class Ryan McCaffrey gives instruction on how to properly inspect the ejection port of an M-16 rifle during the rifle drill manual stage of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant of the Year selection process. Photo Credit: Andrew R. McIntyre, Fort Jackson

WINNER ANNOUNCED: 2013 Drill Sergeants of the Year.

DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY ASH CARTER: DOD manages major strategic transition as budget shrinks.

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Asia-Pacific rebalance promotes prosperity, security.

OH CRAP: A U.S. intelligence-gathering ship was harassed by a Chinese security ship last month in an incident that analysts say indicates Beijing is stepping up aggressive maritime encounters toward the U.S. Navy in the Asia-Pacific.

AFGHANISTAN'S THANKS FOR U.S. GENEROSITY: Karzai's regime issues harsh exit levies.

NOT SATISFIED: Sen. John McCain says he will block U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey's nomination to a second term in the post.

MISSILE DEFENSE: Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. James Syring told a congressional panel that the agency plans to get back to flight testing "as soon as possible" after a failed test earlier this month.

DO YOU CARE?: What if Ned Stark and Tony stark were brothers?

COMIC-CON: Yes, there is a 400-pound robot there.

It's Spock. Do You Care?

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