Stars and Stripes reports that “after months of inaction, congressional negotiators moved with surprising speed in announcing a budget deal late Tuesday that would restore tens of billions of dollars to defense and non-defense programs removed by the cuts known as sequestration.”
“The deal was unexpectedly bold — not only is it a two-year deal, instead of only one, but also it proved wrong the conventional wisdom that the forced spending cuts were here to stay. Instead, it restores money that Pentagon leaders had said they desperately needed if the nation’s military was to maintain its readiness and capability.”
“Not all sequestration funds are restored; the deal puts back about half of sequestration’s cuts in 2014, and about a fourth of them in 2015.”
Reuters reports that “the Obama administration is ‘nowhere near’ deciding to pull out all troops from Afghanistan at the end of 2014, a top U.S. official said on Tuesday, despite mounting frustration President Hamid Karzai has not signed a security deal allowing the military to remain there after next year.”
“‘I have no doubt that the (bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan) ultimately will be concluded,’” Ambassador James Dobbins, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”
“The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans—and likely hundreds more—during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal. Besieged by psychologically damaged troops returning from the battlefields of North Africa, Europe and the Pacific, the Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals.”
“The VA’s practice, described in depth here for the first time, sometimes brought veterans relief from their inner demons. Often, however, the surgery left them little more than overgrown children, unable to care for themselves. Many suffered seizures, amnesia and loss of motor skills. Some died from the operation itself.”
The U.S. Navy last week announced that the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft had achieved initial operational capability (IOC) and the first two planes departed for deployment. That means the P-8A is ready to conduct operational missions, tasked with tracking and targeting enemy submarines and ships.
And this week, on December 4, the 13th production P-8A arrived at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. The aircraft is the eighth Poseidon Boeing has delivered to the Navy in 2013 – all on or ahead of schedule. It also is the last Lot 2 delivery.
Overall, the Navy plans to acquire 117 P-8As to replace its P-3 fleet. Currently, Boeing is building 37 aircraft as part of four low-rate initial production contracts. The first P-8A production aircraft arrived at NAS “Jax” in March 2012.
Based on its Next-Generation 737-800 commercial airliner, the P-8A is a breakthrough both in capability and production methods. Boeing is building this “military derivative” with an in-line process that’s an industry first. The result is that the Navy is receiving the maritime patrol aircraft it needs, on cost and on schedule.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said that “he might attempt to block the Senate from proceeding on a defense authorization agreement unless senators are allowed to offer amendments,” Roll Call reports.
“Managers of the National Defense Authorization Act are trying to push forward on a deal worked out between the House and the Senate without amendments so that an authorization could be signed into law before year’s end. Such a process, however, is not sitting well with all rank-and-file members, and particularly Coburn.”
Stars & Stripes reports that “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrapped up his five-country trip to the Middle East on Tuesday in a meeting with troops at a critical U.S. air hub that once dared not speak its name.”
“But the former ‘airbase in Southwest Asia,’ as Stars and Stripes and other publications for years referred to Al Udeid Airbase, Qatar, at the military’s request, is now being publicly acknowledged by Pentagon and Air Force officials.
“The shift is symbolic, officials said, of the immutability of the U.S. presence in the Middle East even as the Afghan war winds down and the United States focuses increasingly on the Asia-Pacific region. It’s a message Hagel conveyed repeatedly meetings over the past several days with officials in Bahrain, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.”
CNN reports that “American military aircraft will fly African and European peacekeepers to the Central African Republic, which is in the midst of a bloody internal conflict between various proclaimed Christian and Muslim militias and other rebel factions.
“The decision announced the Pentagon was followed by a statement from President Barack Obama, who called on the country’s citizens to reject violence and urged the transitional government to join ‘respected leaders’ in Muslim and Christian communities in calling for ‘calm and peace.’”
After 38 expeditions, more than 250 visitors, countless orbits and immeasurable benefits to humankind, the International Space Station is marking its 15th year of service as a one-of-its-kind destination for science, research, collaboration and exploration. As prime contractor for building and sustaining the ISS, Boeing celebrates the ISS as a model for international cooperation and engineering fortitude. President Ronald Reagan outlined the vision of the International Space Station in 1984 and the ISS became an orbiting reality in 1998 with the launch of the first module, the Zarya. ISS now spans the length of a football field and makes regular appearances during chats with schoolchildren, YouTube videos, and even cinema. The scientific benefits of the ISS as a national lab are improving lives on earth, through achievements in treating salmonella, Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy and osteoporosis. Ensuring generations to come benefit from the ISS is critically important to the inspiration and realization that is space exploration – visit Beyond Earth for more information.
Roll Call: “In a gambit to avoid the most controversial pitfalls that could end a 51-year streak of annual passage, the top defense lawmakers from the House and Senate announced a deal on a $632.8 billion National Defense Authorization Act on Monday, even before the Senate had passed its version of the Pentagon policy bill.”
“The plan laid out by the defense authorizers is for the House to pass the compromise bill this week and send it over to the Senate for speedy passage next week, possibly with a voice vote or under a unanimous consent agreement.”
Roll Call: “The fact that the Senate failed to pass its own defense authorization bill doesn’t seem to have kept Armed Services Committee leaders from hammering out an agreement with their House counterparts.”
“When senators left town for Thanksgiving, they were working on their chamber’s version of the fiscal 2014 edition of the defense policy bill, with no end in sight to an all-too-familiar dispute over amendments.”
“After the Senate turned back a motion to limit debate on the defense measure 51-44 (short of the required 60 votes), Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., expressed frustration that he could not even get an agreement to adopt cleared amendments that have no substantive objection on either side of the aisle. But now, senators are returning to the Capitol with a deal essentially in hand between House and Senate negotiators. It is set to be unveiled at a news conference on Monday afternoon, according to an aide familiar the schedule.”
Scheduled to open in 2017, the National Museum of the U. S. Army, located at Ft. Belvoir, Va., and will honor fourteen generations of American soldiers whose leadership, character and sacrifice has forged our nation. Since 2010 Boeing has partnered with the Army Historical Society to support the creation of the National Museum of the U.S. Army.
This year in support of that endeavor Boeing partnered with the Army Historical Society to create and online Soldiers’ Stories Video Gallery to build awareness of the museum project and to compliment Boeing’s sponsorship of the Soldiers’ Stories Gallery at the museum.
The Boeing sponsored Soldiers’ Stories gallery will tell the stories of ordinary soldiers that have served our country. In the same way, each Soldiers’ Stories video tells the personal experience of the soldier and also demonstrates one or more of the seven Army values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.
Click here to watch the story of Sergeant First Class Joe Bowser, a veteran who served in Balad, Iraq as he tells his story of personal courage and shares with us his current work with Wounded Warriors.
You can view the other nine Soldiers’ Stories videos here.
Wall Street Journal: “Washington isn’t the only place waiting to see if there is a budget deal. Troops in Afghanistan are also hoping a Congressional deal can come together this week to roll back, at least temporarily, the across the board spending cuts known as sequester.”
“Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is in Afghanistan this weekend to meet with troops—and what he heard were worries about budget cuts.”
“More than three years after an Army private stole more than 250,000 documents and leaked them to the media and more than two years after President Obama signed an executive order aimed at stopping internal security threats, the Pentagon is taking more steps to bolster its ability to identify and stop such breaches of security,” USA Today reports.
“Documents from the military’s Washington Headquarters Services office show the Pentagon is seeking information about contractors able to participate in its internal security threat program.”