U.S. continues support for Israel's Iron Dome
An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome missile system in the city of Ashdod in response to a rocket launch from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip on March 11, 2012.
May 17th, 2012
06:04 PM ET

U.S. continues support for Israel's Iron Dome

By Jennifer Rizzo

The United States will provide an additional $70 million to support Israel's short-range missile defense system, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday.

Panetta issued a statement saying he was directed by President Barack Obama to fill Israel's request for the cash needed to run the Iron Dome system.

The United States has already provided Israel with $205 million for the system, in addition to the roughly $3 billion given to Israel annually for security assistance. The Defense Department plans to request extra funding for Iron Dome over the next three years. An exact figure of additional assistance was not given.

Israel's Iron Dome is a portable anti-rocket system built to take down short-range missiles. First deployed in April 2011, the system targets incoming rockets it identifies as possible threats to city centers and fires an interceptor missile to destroy them in the air.

In March, Iron Dome was responsible for taking down 80% of the several hundred rockets directed toward Israel, Pentagon spokesman George Little said at a Thursday news conference.

"It's a proven system," Little said. "Missile defense is important to Israel and we're committed to supporting the Israelis."

The announcement came after a meeting at the Pentagon between Panetta and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Post by:
Filed under: Israel • Military • Panetta • Secretary of Defense • weapons
U.S. drone intel led to deadly attack on civilians by Turkish military
Predator drone
May 17th, 2012
04:35 PM ET

U.S. drone intel led to deadly attack on civilians by Turkish military

By Mike Mount

Video surveillance provided by a U.S. drone and given to the Turkish military was used in a Turkish airstrike that killed 34 civilians late last year, according to Pentagon officials.

The airstrike, meant to hit rebel fighters, sent shockwaves and ignited protests throughout Turkey, which is a NATO ally of the U.S.

The airstrike also raises questions on how U.S. partners use information given to them by U.S. drones.

During a routine air patrol over northern Iraq last December, a U.S. military team monitoring a Predator drone video feed identified a number of people and pack animals moving suspiciously toward the Turkish border with Iraq where Turkey has been battling the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

The U.S. team, working jointly with Turkish military in Ankara, passed the information over to the Turkish officials for analysis, according to Pentagon officials.
FULL POST

Promotion for Navy Secretary Mabus courtesy Hollywood
May 17th, 2012
04:23 PM ET

Promotion for Navy Secretary Mabus courtesy Hollywood

By Larry Shaughnessy

Those who spend enough time around the military know promotions are important to folks in uniform. But one sailor has made the jump from a lieutenant (junior grade) to captain in one big leap, with help from Hollywood.

Ray Mabus served as a very junior officer on the USS Little Rock in the early 1970s. He left the Navy with the rank of a junior lieutenant and later became a successful businessman, diplomat and politician.

Now he's secretary of the Navy, the civilian in charge of the entire Navy and Marine Corps.

But he's donned the khaki uniform again. Only this time he's just one promotion short of an admiral. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Navy • Pop Culture
U.S. eases pressure on Myanmar but some restrictions remain
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a visit to Myanmar last December.
May 17th, 2012
03:57 PM ET

U.S. eases pressure on Myanmar but some restrictions remain

By Jill Dougherty and Jamie Crawford

Praising Myanmar for "significant progress along the path to democracy" President Barack Obama moved on several fronts Thursday to reward the country for historic changes it has instituted.

Obama announced he is nominating Derek Mitchell as the United States' first ambassador to Myanmar since 1990 and also said he is lifting economic sanctions the Southeast Asian nation, while maintaining U.S. laws on the books as an insurance policy for future progress.

The U.S., he said, will ease its bans on the exportation of financial services and new investment in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.

"Opening up greater economic engagement between our two countries is critical to supporting reformers in government and civil society," he said, "facilitating broad-based economic development, and bringing Burma out of isolation and into the international community."
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Myanmar • Sanctions
A user's guide to the Chicago NATO summit
May 17th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

A user's guide to the Chicago NATO summit

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago

By Mike Mount

This year's NATO summit in Chicago is the biggest one ever, with some 60 countries expected to be in attendance and a host of issues crammed into two short days of meetings.

It is coming at a time when the alliance is under stress, with pressure to wrap up a war in Afghanistan, member countries with dwindling money reserves trying to help finance Afghanistan as it prepares to stand on its own, and questions on how strong the alliance really is in terms of its capabilities.

Recommended: NATO's post-Afghanistan future unclear

While only two days long, the summit will entail a number of complex meetings and discussions that will not unfold in front of TV cameras for all to see.

The meetings will take place in a large, highly secured convention hall outside downtown Chicago. So to help you sift through the bureaucratic talk that will be coming, we here at Security Clearance have put together a handy guide to navigating the NATO summit.

FULL POST