Military Headline News: Week In Review


Military Headline News – Rick Rogers

The name Edward Snowden became known around the world this week.
He is the self-admitted man behind what’s described as one of the largest leaks in American intelligence history.
The former contractor at the National Security Agency spilled the beans about the clandestine U.S. data-mining program known as PRISM that collects telephone and Internet data on millions of Americans. In the process he ignited a national debate over national security interests verse personal privacy.
He is reportedly living in Hong Kong and seeking asylum.
The Navy’s $34 billion Littoral Combat Ship program is drawing attention from Congress for its reported shortcomings.
In the last year, questions have arisen over the ship’s firepower, defenses and survivability in combat.
A draft GAO report suggests Congress should slow down buying the ship until more testing can be done.
The Obama administration is considering resettling Syrian refugees in the United States – just as government forces appear to winning the civil war there.
Historically, California has accepted the most refugees, but Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia are all top relocation destinations.
There’s a new and terrifying twist in suicide attacks: Bombers hiding explosives in their body cavities.
For airline passengers this might mean tighter screening to detect the bombs that can be missed by routine scanning.
The family of American POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said they received a letter they believe is from their son, who was captured nearly four years ago in Afghanistan.
The letter arrived through the International Red Cross and gives the family hope that Bergdahl might one day return home.
Last summer a judge ruled that Pentagon must pay for autism treatment for military dependents. Now the same judge has reversed himself in the case.
Federal judge Reggie Walton is now giving the military more time to rethink its policy on “applied behavior analysis.” In the meantime, the treatment will continue.
An estimated 22,000 military family members have autism.
American officials are denying they erred by posting plans for a secret Israeli base that recently went out for bid.
The project in question is for a $25 million anti-missile base that the United States is funding. Details such as its location and the thickness of its walls were divulged.
A Texas company is selling a high-tech rifle that allows even novice shooters to hit targets more than a 1,000 yards away.
The asking price for a TrackingPoint rifle starts at $17,000. There are concerns that these weapons could find their way into the hands of terrorists.
Prosecutors in the ongoing Bradley Manning case accused the Army private of helping the enemy by divulging code words and other sensitive military information.
Manning is on trial for giving the website WikiLeaks more than 700,000 battlefield reports and U.S. government cables.
If convicted of aiding the enemy, Manning could get life in prison.
For several years the military has turned to private contractors to handle its intelligence needs. In the wake of the Snowden scandal, that move is drawing attention.
Nearly 70 percent of the money spent by intelligence agencies now goes to these contractors, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The House and Senate have joined to oppose any Defense Department proposal to increase TRICARE healthcare fees for 2014.
Just how many U.S. and NATO troops will stay in Afghanistan past 2014 wont likely be known until this fall, said Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan
For months the numbers discussed ranged from 8,000 to 12,000 troops. But recently a higher number has been suggested.
The powerful Senate Armed Services Committee beat back a move to strip commanders of their authority to make decisions in serious crime cases, including military sexual assaults.
But legislators warned commanders to fix the military justice system or they might step in.
Public colleges and universities are fighting legislation to allow troops and veterans to pay in-state tuition rates instead of higher out-of-state rates. Such a law could save troops and veterans thousands of dollars, but cost the schools millions.
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Rick Rogers is an Army veteran and longtime military journalist. Read more of his stuff by clicking here.
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Rick Rogers is a defense reporter based in San Diego.