By Rick Rogers– Military Headline News
* A Florida lawyer has written Congress alleging that some veterans are falsifying Department of Veterans Affairs benefit claims for sleep apnea.
Attorney Michael Webster says the abuse is widespread.
Compensation for the disorder now tops $1.2 billion a year, according the VA, and goes to double the number of veterans it did of just three years ago.
* Orange County California agreed to pay the family of a Southern California service member killed by one of its police officers $4.4 million to settle an excessive-force case.
Camp Pendleton Marine Sgt. Manuel Loggins, Jr. was shot to death Feb. 7, 2012.
* Until now, troop cuts have focused on the lower ranks, but not for much longer.
Pentagon official say they plan to slash at least 144 generals and admirals in the coming years.
* A new State Department report says Iran is supporting terrorism at levels not seen in 20 years.
Other countries on the terrorism blacklist include: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.
* Three years in the making, the case of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning finally went to court-martial this week.
Manning is charged with the largest leak of classified documents in history. He is accused of sending some 700,000 Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports — as well as State Department cables — to the website WikiLeaks.
The 25-year-old former intelligence analyst, who has pled guilty to some charges, could be sentenced to life in prison.
* The Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program ever now has a start date.
Versions of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are scheduled to be combat-ready starting in 2015 and ending in 2019.
The cost of the program has jumped nearly 70 percent in the last decade and now stands at about $391 billion.
* TRICARE will remain a health insurance option for some adult children of service members and retirees up to the age of 26
* Trivia question: What country is benefiting the most from Iraq’s current oil boom?
Here’s a hint, it’s not the county that bled driving Saddam Hussein from power or that has spent more than $1 trillion there.
China – not the United States – gets more than 10 million barrels of oil a week from the Persian Gulf nation.
Ironically, the U.S. military ensures that the oil keeps flowing to its chief economic and military rival.
* The Defense Department might keep substantial numbers of U.S. troops in Afghanistan past the announced general pullout date of 2014 in order to give the Afghans more time to build their forces.
* It’s once more illegal to lie about military medals.
Last summer the Supreme Court struck down the original Stolen Valor Act for being too broadly worded.
This week President Barack Obama signed a revised Stolen Valor Act into law. Lying about military decorations for personal gain can now result in a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
* China, India and Pakistan have all added nukes to their arsenals in the past year, according to a Swiss research institute.
China now has about 250 nuclear weapons, while bitter enemies India and Pakistan have about 100 each. By comparison, the U.S. has about 7,700 nuclear weapons and Russia about 8,500.
* There’s a saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. Apparently there won’t be any in the military’s chaplain corps either.
Congressional lawmakers shot down an amendment that would have provided atheists serving in the military with their own chaplains.
* No more vehicle decals needed to enter Navy installations.
Starting next month, the Navy joins the Army and Air Force in doing away with windshield displays. ID cards, however, will still be checked at the gate.
* A House committee has voted to bar commanders from overturning convictions in rape and sexual assault cases.
The bill also requires those found guilty of sex-related crimes be – at a minimum — dismissed from military or dishonorably discharged.
The measure now goes before the full House for a vote.
* Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has pled guilty to killing 16 Afghan villagers in March 2012. The admission was made to avoid a possible death sentence.
The plea now goes to military review.
* Action film star Steven Segal has a new role.
Segal has reportedly agreed to star in commercials for a Russian arms maker.
Rick Rogers is an Army veteran and Northwestern University graduate who’s covered military and defense issues for nearly 30 years. Read more of his stuff by clicking here.
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