By Larry Shaughnessy
The man in charge of the Air Force's main basic training facility has been relieved of command after a series of investigations of sexual misconduct by instructors at the base, according to a senior Air Force official.
Col. Glenn Palmer was commander of the 737th Training Group at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
The base has been rocked in recent months by accusations by Air Force recruits who accuse their instructors of sexual assault or other misconduct.
Six instructors under Palmer's command have been charged in connection with the accusations, and a seventh has pleaded guilty to a charge of having an improper relationship with a trainee.
At least 31 trainees have been victims of the misconduct.
By relieving Palmer of command, the Air Force has made it impossible for him to get any more promotions, which effectively ends his military career, the official said.
He will be replaced by Col. Eric Axelbank, who had been Palmer's superior at Lackland, according to an Air Force press release.
In the meantime Air Force Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward continues to investigate the problems at Lackland, and will issue recommendations when her investigation is complete.
By Jamie Crawford
Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based Shiite militant group, and its patron Iran continue to pose serious terror threats around the world, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.
"Our assessment is that Hezbollah and Iran will both continue to maintain a heightened level of terrorist activity and operations in the near future," and could launch attacks "with little or no warning," Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Benjamin, the State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, told reporters in a conference call Friday.
"We have not detected any operational activity of the group in the United States," Benjamin said of Hezbollah's activity. "They certainly have been the subject of law enforcement actions in the past primarily for fundraising and illicit activities related to that, but we do not have any information on operational targeting or anything like that in the U.S., but that said, it's a very ambitious group with global reach."
By Alicia Tarancon
The U.S. Army has launched the debut flight of its massive Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), a souped-up blimp designed to fly continuously for 21 days and provide full surveillance of an area.
The LEMV was launched Tuesday from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. The test flight lasted about 90 minutes.
The all-seeing airship is longer than football field and taller than a seven-story building, according to maker Northrop Grumman. Its shape separates the 21st-century "hybrid air vehicle," as Northrop Grumman calls it, from the blimps that have flown over sporting events for decades.
The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday announced an extension of sanctions against Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Shiite militant group, for its support of the Syrian government.
Hezbollah, which the United States has long designated a terrorist organization supported by Iran, has provided training, advice and extensive logistical support to President Bashar al-Assad's military campaign against an uprising that began last March, the department reported.
The agency accused the group of directly training Syrian government personnel inside Syria, and facilitating the training of Syrian forces by the Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.
"Hizballah's extensive support to the Syrian government's violent suppression of the Syrian people exposes the true nature of this terrorist organization and its destabilizing presence in the region," Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen said in a written statement announcing the sanctions.
By Jennifer Rizzo
A new robotic arm would give U.S. troops in Afghanistan the ability to feel the improvised explosive devices they are remotely trying to disarm, potentially allowing for greater precision than ever before.
The arm, called the RedHawk, gives its operator the sense of touch by using "haptic technology.” The perceptions of force, vibrations, and motion allow the operator to feel like they are touching the object.
"RedHawk's haptic control technology reduces operator workload, preserves forensic evidence, and provides such realistic, intuitive feedback that operators can pick out an individual wire in an IED," said Bill Gattle of Harris Government Communications Systems.
The system's precision will aid the operator in dismantling an IED’s triggering mechanism without destroying it, allowing the military to lift fingerprints or other clues to who made the bomb, according to the company.
By Chelsea J. Carter and Masoud Popalzai
A man in an Afghan military uniform killed three U.S. troops Friday in southern Afghanistan, a day after the United States condemned a suicide bomb attack that left four Americans dead.
The man opened fire on the troops in the volatile Helmand province, said Maj. Lori Hodge, a spokeswoman for the International Assistance Security Force.
It is the latest in a series of so-called "green on blue" attacks that has seen attackers dressed in Afghan security force uniforms turn their weapons on NATO soldiers.
Hodge did not immediately provide details about the attack, one of a handful of attacks in recent weeks to target NATO troops.