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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 11:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

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Lockheed F-35 Said to Be Cut by 13 Planes in Pentagon’s Budget


Lockheed F-35 Said to Be Cut by 13 Planes in Pentagon’s Budget
By Tony Capaccio - Thu Jan 26 05:00:02 GMT 2012

The Pentagon will propose spending about $9.2 billion to buy 29 Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) F-35 jets in its fiscal 2013 budget, 13 fewer than previously planned, U.S. officials said.

The reduction is part of a decision to delay purchasing 179 of the Joint Strike Fighters beyond 2017 to continue development, testing and correction of deficiencies, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity yesterday in advance of a Defense Department announcement.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is scheduled to outline the Department of Defense budget proposal today at the Pentagon, part of an effort to cut $488 billion, or 8.5 percent, from $5.62 trillion in spending that had been planned for 2012-2021.

Beyond the next budget year, the Pentagon’s previous plan to purchase 62 F-35s in fiscal 2014 is being reduced to 29, according to budget data. The request for 2015 is dropping to 44 from 81, and the planned purchase for 2016 will decline to 61 from 108.

unhappycamper comment: $9.2 billion / 29 F-35 planes = $317,241,379 a pop for the F-35. Kind of expensive, eh?
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jan 26, 2012, 11:00 AM (1 replies)

Defense Health Coordinating Authority Needed for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Act


Defense Health - Coordinating Authority Needed for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Activities
GAO-12-154, Jan 25, 2012

What GAO Found

From fiscal year 2007 through fiscal year 2010, DOD activities for the treatment and research of PH and TBI received more than $2.7 billion. In fiscal year 2007, funding for these activities totaled $900 million; in fiscal year 2008, it was $573.8 million; in fiscal year 2009, $395 million; and in fiscal year 2010, $838.6 million. GAO found, however, that the reports DOD provided to Congress on these activities did not include expenditures, as required by law, and that the obligations data they contained were unreliable. Government wide policies call for agencies to have effective internal controls to assure accurate reporting of obligations and expenditures. However, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs has not developed quality control mechanisms to help ensure that data on PH and TBI activities are complete and accurate. Further, although DOD listed patient care among reported costs, it did not specify what those costs included, making it difficult for decisionmakers and Congress to fully understand the costs.

No one organization coordinates DOD’s PH and TBI activities. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 directed the Secretary of Defense to establish a Center for PTSD and a Center for TBI to, among other things, implement DOD’s comprehensive plans for these issues, disseminate best practices, provide guidance, and conduct research. Subsequently, a Senior Oversight Committee established by the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs reported in its plan to Congress that DOD had created a single Defense Center of Excellence for PH and TBI (DCOE) to lead efforts in practice standards, training, outreach, research, and direct care. The Committee tasked DCOE with acting as an information clearinghouse that would allow servicemembers and their families to navigate the system of care. In its own plan, DCOE stated that it would serve as a coordinating authority for DOD's PH and TBI issues and perform a gap analysis to identify needed programming. GAO found, however, as it had in prior reports, that DCOE’s strategic plan did not reflect a clear mission focusing the organization on its statutory responsibilities. Instead, those responsibilities are dispersed among the TRICARE Management Activity, the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, and others. While the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs has broad oversight for all of DOD’s medical missions, its global role prevents it from focusing on PH and TBI activities specifically. As a result, no single organization is devoted to ensuring that accurate and timely data are available on DOD’s PH and TBI activities or coordinating these activities. GAO, in conducting this review, had to obtain information from several different sources to compile a comprehensive list of DOD's PH and TBI activities. This finding was echoed in a recent RAND report that also noted that no single source in DOD tracked its PH and TBI programs or had appropriate resources to direct servicemembers to the full array of programs available. Without an entity to coordinate these activities, DOD will remain hampered in its efforts to ensure that resources are used effectively to meet goals, and Congress will be limited in its ability to obtain reliable information to guide decisionmaking.
Why GAO Did This Study

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which falls into the broader field of psychological health (PH), and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are recognized as the signature wounds of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. In two reports issued in 2011 (GAO-11-219 and GAO-11-611), GAO cited numerous management weaknesses at the Defense Center of Excellence for PH and TBI (DCOE). For the present report, GAO reviewed (1) funding for DOD's PH and TBI activities in fiscal years 2007 through 2010 and the accuracy of its reporting on these activities to Congress and (2) DOD's ability to coordinate its PH and TBI activities to help ensure that funds are used to support programs of the most benefit to service- members. GAO interviewed DOD officials, reviewed legislation and DOD’s annual reports, and obtained relevant documentation.
What GAO Recommends

GAO recommends that DOD direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs to (1) include expenditure data in annual reports to Congress, as required; (2) establish quality control mechanisms on PH and TBI data; (3) if patient care costs are provided in future annual reports, specify what they include; and (4) revisit DCOE’s role as DOD’s coordinating authority for issues concerning PH and TBI, as stated in DCOE’s campaign plan, and determine whether DCOE or another organization should perform this function. In written comments on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with all four recommendations.

Read the whole GAO report here: http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/587931.txt

unhappycamper comment: This is the type of 'progress' Uncle Sam is making everywhere.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jan 26, 2012, 10:27 AM (1 replies)

Documentary examines how toxic water at the nation’s largest Marine base damaged lives

This 2007 photo shows some of the older base housing at Midway Park neighborhood at Camp Lejeune, N.C.


Documentary examines how toxic water at the nation’s largest Marine base damaged lives
By Darryl Fears, Published: January 21

Mike Partain didn’t believe the rumors about a place called Baby Heaven until he visited a Jacksonville, N.C., graveyard and wandered into a section where newborns were laid to rest.

Surrounded by hundreds of tiny marble headstones, he started to cry. A documentary film crew that followed him for a story about water contamination at Camp Lejeune heard his whimpers through a microphone clipped to his clothes. The crew dashed from another part of the graveyard and found him asking, “Why them and not me?”

The scene at Jacksonville City Cemetery is among the more poignant moments in the documentary “Semper Fi: Always Faithful,” about the men, women and children affected over three decades by contaminated water at the nation’s largest Marine base. The film made the short list of 15 documentary features being considered for an Oscar; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will cut the list to five Tuesday.

“Semper Fi” follows Partain and Jerome “Jerry” Ensminger, the men credited with uncovering records showing that the amount of leaked fuel that led to water contamination was many times greater than the Marine Corps acknowledged.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Jan 22, 2012, 08:10 AM (6 replies)

VA releases personal information of 2,200 vets

VA releases personal information of 2,200 vets
Published January 20, 2012
Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs says personal information for more than 2,200 veterans, including Social Security numbers, was posted on Ancestry.com after it mistakenly released the data through the Freedom of Information Act.

The department said Friday there is no indication the information was misused, but it is still notifying all potentially affected veterans and is offering free credit monitoring. The department also said that Ancestry.com removed the information as soon as the VA alerted it to the department's mistake.

While the VA was required to release the requested records under the Freedom of Information Act, somehow information about living veterans was released as part of a database about deceased veterans. The department said it is investigating how the mistake happened.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jan 21, 2012, 09:06 AM (0 replies)

Report: US Soldiers Bringing Their Violence Home from Overseas

Report: US Soldiers Bringing Their Violence Home from Overseas
Published on Friday, January 20, 2012 by Common Dreams
- Common Dreams staff

After more than ten years at war, soldiers in the US military are more prone to sexual violence, domestic abuse (including spousal and child abuse), and suicide, according to a report released by the Pentagon on Thursday.

Reuters sez:

Violent sex crimes committed by active U.S. Army soldiers have almost doubled over the past five years, due in part to the trauma of war, according to an Army report released on Thursday.

Reported violent sex crimes increased by 90 percent over the five-year period from 2006 to 2011. There were 2,811 violent felonies in 2011, nearly half of which were violent felony sex crimes. Most were committed in the United States.

One violent sex crime was committed by a soldier every six hours and 40 minutes in 2011, the Army said, serving as the main driver for an overall increase in violent felony crimes.

Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Jan 21, 2012, 08:00 AM (7 replies)

Afghanistan 'will take 30 years to develop into proper democratic state'

Sir Simon Gass said that 352,000 Afghan Security Forces would be left in place but added that would be a 'high water mark' and funding might not remain for that number

Afghanistan 'will take 30 years to develop into proper democratic state'
By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent
6:30AM GMT 16 Jan 2012

Sir Simon Gass, a British diplomat, said the country has gone through 30 years of disastrous conflict which has destroyed infrastructure and institutions.

"It will take decades to recover from the destruction that was wrought over that period of time," he added.

Referring to a World Bank report about countries emerging from prolonged conflict, Sir Simon said they do not have strong institutions, democratic values, rule of law or lack of corruption.

"Those are not values that can be delivered in a short period of time. Typically they take 30 years or so in countries coming out of conflict," he added.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jan 17, 2012, 09:56 AM (7 replies)

Clandestine drones: Obama administration’s critical tool

And the story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/national-security/under-obama-an-emerging-global-apparatus-for-drone-killing/2011/12/13/gIQANPdILP_story.html
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jan 5, 2012, 08:58 AM (1 replies)

Afghanistan: US press withdraws

Afghanistan: US press withdraws
By Ben Schreiner
Jan 6, 2012

Lost amid the attention paid to the historic United States withdrawal from Iraq has been the fact that nearly 100,000 US troops (and a near equal number of private contractors) remain entrenched in Afghanistan. The 10-year-long war has indeed become what many in the US have deemed the "forgotten war". For just as American troops have withdrawn from Iraq, the American press has largely packed up and withdrawn from Afghanistan.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, coverage of the war in Afghanistan accounted for only 2% of all US press content in 2011.[1] That's down two points from 2010, and three points from 2009. To put this in context, American media coverage of Afghanistan was on par with that of sports in the last year, and only one percent greater than the coverage of celebrity and entertainment related news.

Declining US press coverage of the war has no doubt been hastened by withering resources devoted by major American media outlets to Afghanistan. According to the online press-watch organization, Nieman Watchdog, only five US newspapers now maintain bureaus in Afghanistan, while at any given time a maximum of only ten broadcast correspondents can be found in the country. [2]


Such explanations from the American media establishment, however, fail to illuminate the underlying reason behind the shortcomings of US press coverage of the war in Afghanistan. For the decay in coverage is attributable to a problem greater than that of a press corps prioritizing perceived audience preferences to the detriment of news. Instead, the main factor in the decline in war coverage is a systemic failure of the American press brought about by the internalization of an US imperial ideology.

Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Jan 5, 2012, 08:19 AM (2 replies)

Body of suspect found on Mount Rainier

Pierce County Sheriff's Dept. AP Photo
In this undated photo provided by the Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Benjamin Colton Barnes, is shown. Officials said Barnes, the suspected killer of ranger Margaret Anderson, was found dead in Paradise Creek at Mount Rainier on Monday.

Body of suspect found on Mount Rainier
Published: 01/02/12 9:55 pm | Updated: 01/02/12 10:11 pm

A man suspected of shooting a ranger to death was found dead Monday in Mount Rainier National Park, likely defeated by the mountain his victim worked to protect.

A day after 34-year-old ranger Margaret Anderson was shot by a driver who ran through a safety checkpoint, the suspect’s body was found partially submerged in Paradise Creek about a mile from the scene, authorities said.

Benjamin Colton Barnes, 24, appeared to have died of exposure to winter conditions, Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. The medical examiner was on hand to examine and remove the body and will make the final determination of cause of death. No determination had been made as of Monday night.


Barnes served two years, seven months in the Army before receiving a less than honorable discharge in November 2009, said Maj. Chris Ophardt, an Army spokesman.

Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jan 3, 2012, 07:56 AM (10 replies)

Panetta's plan for cuts will detail shrinking military

Panetta's plan for cuts will detail shrinking military
The New York Times
© January 3, 2012

By Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker


Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is set this week to reveal his strategy that will guide the Pentagon in cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from its budget, and with it the Obama administration's vision of the military that the United States needs to meet 21st century threats, senior officials said.

In a shift of doctrine, Panetta is expected to outline plans for carefully shrinking the military - and in so doing make it clear that the Pentagon will not maintain the ability to fight two sustained ground wars at once.

Instead, he will say that the military will be large enough to fight and win one major conflict, while also being able to "spoil" a second adversary's ambitions in another part of the world while conducting a number of other, smaller operations, like providing disaster relief or enforcing a no-fly zone.

Pentagon officials are in final deliberations about potential cuts to virtually every important area of Pentagon spending: the nuclear arsenal, warships, combat aircraft, salaries, and retirement and health benefits.


unhappycamper comment: Here's my suggestions:

* Stop spending $2+ billion dollars a week on the Afghanistan adventure.
* Stop building $5 billion dollar Zumwalt-class destroyers.
* Stop building $5~$7 billion dollar Virginia-class submarines each and every year.
* Stop building the $40 billion dollar Ford-class aircraft carriers.
* Stop building the not-ready-for-prime-time quarter of a billion dollar F-35.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Jan 3, 2012, 07:45 AM (0 replies)
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