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Europe Ain't Getting Better: Defense Budgets, Personnel, R&D All Down, Says CSIS


Europe Ain't Getting Better: Defense Budgets, Personnel, R&D All Down, Says CSIS
By Otto Kreisher
Published: December 19, 2012

WASHINGTON: You think US defense spending is a mess? At least we're not Europe.

A study out Tuesday from the Center for Strategic and International Studies warned that a decade of shrinking forces and funding is likely to continue, threatening a European defense industrial base already burdened by inefficiencies, national rivalries, and governmental tendencies to treat defense spending as "a jobs program."

In order for that industrial base to survive, the European Union must implement already approved regulatory reforms that were intended to open the defense market to competition and promote better collaboration, and it must take advantage of growing opportunities for sales outside of Europe, the CSIS study said. (Currently, the US dominates the international arms trade).

While US defense spending is declining from its post-9/11 peak, Europe is already back down to pre-9/11 levels. The report showed a drop in total defense expenditures by the EU countries from 263.1 billion Euros in 2001 to $220 billion Euros in 2011, a decline of 1.8 percent over a decade. But the annual decline accelerated in the last three years of that period to 3.2 percent.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Dec 19, 2012, 09:23 AM (0 replies)

Army general to face court-martial in sex charges


Army general to face court-martial in sex charges
LOLITA C. BALDOR | December 18, 2012 06:57 PM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — An Army general will face court-martial on a series of sexual misconduct charges, including forcible sodomy, in connection with several illicit affairs, and could receive life in prison if convicted, the Army said Tuesday.


The case is the latest in a series of missteps by military leaders: At least five current and former generals at the rank of one-star or higher have been reprimanded or investigated for possible misconduct in recent months.

The five pages of allegations involved Sinclair's conduct with five women who were not his wife.

A 27-year Army veteran who served five combat tours, Sinclair is charged with eight crimes, including one count of forcible sodomy; two counts of wrongful sexual conduct; six counts of inappropriate sexual relationships, and eight counts of violating regulations. The charges involve activities when he was in Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany and at Fort Bragg, N.C., and they include violating what's known as General Order No. 1 – possessing alcohol in a war zone.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Dec 19, 2012, 08:36 AM (2 replies)

Military Abortion Amendment Is Included In Final Defense Bill


Military Abortion Amendment Is Included In Final Defense Bill
Laura Bassett
Posted: 12/18/2012 5:13 pm EST | Updated: 12/18/2012 6:05 pm EST

A bipartisan conference committee of House and Senate members approved an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill on Tuesday that will extend the insurance coverage of abortion to military women who have been raped.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's (D-N.H.) amendment to the defense bill lifts a decades-long ban on abortion coverage for military rape victims. Since 1981, military women have not had the same level of health coverage that civilian employees, Medicaid recipients, and even federal prisoners receive from their government-issued insurance plans. High-profile supporters of the amendment include former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The Senate unanimously passed the amendment in early December, but the House version of the defense bill did not include a similar amendment. A bipartisan conference committee that included Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), and ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) agreed on Tuesday to include the amendment in the final version of the bill approved by both chambers.

“With the inclusion of my amendment in the final defense bill, we’ve made an important step to restoring equity to military service women,” Shaheen said in a statement. “After three decades of a policy that discriminated against women who put their lives on the line for us, I’m proud of my colleagues in both Houses of Congress and of both parties who are going to allow us to right this wrong."
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Dec 19, 2012, 07:21 AM (0 replies)

Wax On, Wax Off


NDAA Indefinite Detention Provision Mysteriously Stripped From Bill
Michael McAuliff
Posted: 12/18/2012 9:03 pm EST | Updated: 12/18/2012 9:53 pm EST

WASHINGTON -- Congress stripped a provision Tuesday from a defense bill that aimed to shield Americans from the possibility of being imprisoned indefinitely without trial by the military. The provision was replaced with a passage that appears to give citizens little protection from indefinite detention.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 was added by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), but there was no similar language in the version of the bill that passed the House, and it was dumped from the final bill released Tuesday after a conference committee from both chambers worked out a unified measure.

It declared that "An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention."

The provision sparked a heated debate in the Senate, but ultimately passed by a wide majority with both supporters and opponents of U.S. terrorist detention practices voting for it, citing differing interpretations. Feinstein offered the amendment to clarify a part of the 2012 NDAA that for the first time codified the ability of the military and White House to detain terrorism suspects.

Wax is still off.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Dec 19, 2012, 06:55 AM (0 replies)

Afghan army beset by desertions as Nato pullout looms


Afghan army beset by desertions as Nato pullout looms
AFP | 11 hours ago

JALALABAD: Far from home, poorly paid and discriminated against, Mushtaq and Sefadullah are among thousands of Afghans who are deserting the army in a worrying trend two years before Nato troops leave.

It is not that they have joined the Taliban. Like many, they simply got fed up with life in the army, fighting a war. So they went back to the eastern city of Jalalabad, where they both have blossomed in new jobs.

Mushtaq, which is a fake name, says he served in the relatively peaceful western province of Herat but was discriminated against for coming from the same ethnic group as the majority of the Taliban.

A Pashtun from Tora Bora — where al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden hid after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan — Mushtaq said his officers treated him like a Talib.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Dec 18, 2012, 09:46 AM (0 replies)

Stealth Target of Defense Spending Cuts: America’s Highly Effective Socialized Medicine Provider, th


Stealth Target of Defense Spending Cuts: America’s Highly Effective Socialized Medicine Provider, the VA System, and Military Benefits Generally
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

One element of the coming budget pact that is not getting the attention it warrants is a covert effort to gut military benefits by privatizing them. Privitization has rarely delivered on its promise of delivering better performance and/or lower costs. Indeed, in the military, it has served as an egregious ground for looting. And curiously the officialdom has chosen to turn its eyes to it. In the Iraq war, for instance, contract drivers allege that trucks that were used for moving corpses and body parts, which decomposed rapidly in the desert heat, were, in violation of regulations, then used for transporting food, such as ice in bulk, without so much as a hosedown in between. The forms of war profiteering have been numerous as the traditional protections against abuses in contracting, such as not allowing the firm that designed a contract to bid on it, have either been eroded through a misguided vogue for deregulation or simply ignored. And in Iraq, the use of sub-contractors, with as many as five or six layers, each taking a cut, means that as much as 50% of the value of a contract ends up being fraudulent through one ruse or another.

The manufactured fiscal cliff crisis means that more profiteering is coming to the military, this by fundamentally changing the relationship of soldiers to the armed forces. An article in Open Democracy describes how servicemembers were once assured of a high level of benefits in return for the sacrifices made. But the military, which resisted the blandishments of neoliberals, started to succumb in the 1990s. Tellingly, the Army changed its logo from “The Army Takes Care of Its Own” to ““The Army Takes Care of its Own so that They Can Learn to Take Care of Themselves.” This reflected a basic change in attitude:

The contracting out of the Pentagon’s support coincided with neoliberal efforts to combat “dependency” in the military. Policies forcing recipients of public assistance programs to achieve “independence” – largely through mandating employment requirements – had been gaining ground in conservative and neoliberal policy debates in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They also took hold in the military, where in the early 1990s the military retrenched its support for soldiers and their families. As the Army pulled back on spending for support services and contracted out services, for example, it also instituted programs to teach soldiers and their spouses “self-sufficiency.”

The plum for privatizers is the healthcare and pension budgets:
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Dec 18, 2012, 08:45 AM (1 replies)

F-35 also contentious in Florida town


F-35 also contentious in Florida town
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 6:29 PM EST
By Kyle Midura

VALPARAISO, Fla. - The debate over the F-35 isn't over in the Florida town that's home to the prototype planes.

About half of Eglin Air Force Base, which currently has more than a dozen F-35s, sits in the small city of Valparaiso. Noise has been a turbulent issue there, leading the city to level two lawsuits at the Air Force.

Bruce Arnold, the city's mayor of more than 50 years, said it's important that the two entities find a middle ground, as the area's main industry is defense. He and others have suggested measures that may abate some of the jets' noise, but says he won't know if officials listened until a revised Environmental Impact Statement is released.

"Until we read that and have an opportunity to comment we really have no position," Arnold said.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Dec 17, 2012, 10:37 AM (0 replies)

F-35 mess puts a hole in Harper’s credibility


F-35 mess puts a hole in Harper’s credibility
Mon Dec 17 2012 06:00:00

What a gong show. The F-35 stealth fighter debacle is the biggest mess the Harper Conservatives have stepped in. Some are already predicting it will hurt them in the next election. It certainly calls into question their reputation as astute fiscal stewards.

It’s probably a mortal wound to the political career of Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who has been slavish in his devotion to and praise of the program now unravelling before his eyes.

But even more disturbing is this: Credible warnings from credible sources have been sounding for months, both about the aircraft itself and about the single-source method of choosing it, in the absence of a competitive bidding process. MacKay, the ultrapowerful Prime Minister’s Office and Stephen Harper himself have heard them time and again.

But the warnings were treated with casual indifference, until the recently released KPMG audit exposed skyrocketing costs that could top $40 billion.
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Dec 17, 2012, 10:34 AM (0 replies)

Pentagon's Global Strike Weapon Stuck In Limbo; Congress Fears Accidental WWIII


Pentagon's Global Strike Weapon Stuck In Limbo; Congress Fears Accidental WWIII
By David Axe
Published: December 17, 2012

Pentagon's Global Strike Weapon Stuck In Limbo; Congress Fears Accidental WWIII

As part of its ongoing strategic "pivot" towards the Pacific, early this year the Defense Department announced it would design a new missile able to quickly cross long distances and penetrate sophisticated air defenses, of the kind rapidly proliferating across Asia. The so-called "conventional prompt strike option" would be submarine-launched, the Pentagon said in its January Defense Budget Priorities and Choices release.

The department placed great emphasis on the new weapon, declaring that "we had to invest in capabilities required to maintain our military's continued freedom of action."

But 11 months later, the Pentagon has yet to take meaningful, practical steps towards developing the prompt strike option, casting into doubt the department's ability to solve the kind of anti-access, area-denial problem posed by, for example, China's fast-modernizing navy and air force.

"The department is investigating the technologies that would be required for a conventional prompt global strike weapon," Lt. Col. Melinda Morgan, a spokesman for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told AOL Defense. But, she went on, "the department has not made any specific concept decisions at this time."
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Dec 17, 2012, 10:08 AM (0 replies)

Capital Investigation: Drug use, party culture at Naval Academy


Capital Investigation: Drug use, party culture at Naval Academy
By EARL KELLY and TINA REED Staff Writers
Posted: Sunday, December 16, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 9:58 am, Sun Dec 16, 2012.

When the Naval Academy closed its 11-month investigation last year into the use of synthetic marijuana by midshipmen, officials said they’d dismissed 16 mids — but found no evidence of drug dealing.

What the academy’s account didn’t reveal was just how significant a drug culture Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents found.

The investigation ended the military careers of at least 27 midshipmen, including those allowed to resign while being investigated for drug use and an undetermined number suspected of drug use who were dismissed for collateral reasons.


“If I had to estimate the number of mids who are actively smoking spice or doing other drugs,” a midshipman and lead informant told NCIS, “I’d say it’s about 300 to 500 mids.”

Read on: http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/naval_academy/capital-investigation-drug-use-party-culture-at-naval-academy/article_530ffa90-be06-5bc8-a15e-802663e52307.html
Posted by unhappycamper | Mon Dec 17, 2012, 09:28 AM (0 replies)
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