Appeals court halts Hasan case over beard
August 15th, 2012
07:00 PM ET

Appeals court halts Hasan case over beard

From Jennifer Rizzo

A military appeals court halted the murder case against Maj. Nidal Hasan on Wednesday over a judge's threat to shave the beard the Army psychiatrist grew while awaiting trial in the 2009 Fort Hood killings.

Hasan's court-martial had been scheduled to start Monday at Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas, where he is accused of killing 13 people and wounding another 32. The presiding judge, Col. Gregory Gross, had threatened to have him forcibly shaved unless he got rid of the beard, which is against Army regulations.

Wednesday's order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces now means the trial date is unknown. Gross has until August 22 to respond to the appeals court.

Hasan had been expected to enter a plea during a Wednesday hearing, but the proceedings were halted by the appellate court, . Hasan has previously expressed interest in pleading guilty, but military regulations bar a judge from accepting a guilty plea in a capital case.

Hasan is accused of opening fire at the post's processing center, where soldiers were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq, in November 2009. The stay came the same day he was expected to enter a plea to the charges against him.

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Filed under: Military • Nidal Hasan
Four-star general faces demotion over misspending allegations
August 15th, 2012
06:42 PM ET

Four-star general faces demotion over misspending allegations

By Barbara Starr

The first four-star general to command U.S. military operations in Africa is facing the possibility of being demoted after an investigation by the Pentagon inspector general found that Gen. William "Kip" Ward spent thousands of dollars on inappropriate travel expenses, according to several administration officials directly familiar with the case.

Ward had been known to be under investigation but this is the first indication of the results of the probe.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was presented with the findings this week and is expected to make a decision on the case within days, the officials said Wednesday.
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August 15th, 2012
02:41 PM ET

Air Force's hypersonic test fails

By Mike Mount

A hypersonic aircraft launched by the Air Force Tuesday spiraled out of control and was destroyed before it could reach its goal of speeding to 4,600 mph, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The third test of the X-51A Waverider was launched Tuesday off the California coast from a B-52 modified bomber aircraft and was to fly for 300 seconds, reaching hypersonic speeds of Mach 6, but only flew for 16 seconds, according to the Air Force.

Officials said a problem with a tail fin caused the missile-like vehicle to fly out of control before the main engine could be ignited, leading researchers to destroy it early. FULL POST

Can the military save America's ranchers?
August 15th, 2012
01:39 PM ET

Can the military save America's ranchers?

By Jennifer Rizzo

As the nation's ranches and farms endure one of the most severe droughts in decades, the Obama administration has ordered the Pentagon to look into purchasing a "second helping" of all things meat.

Economists and political analysts who spoke to CNN's Security Clearance, however, aren't optimistic that the administration's plan will bring much relief to the livestock industry, though it may help Obama politically.

The Defense Department is reviewing its purchases of beef, pork and lamb to see if room can be made to buy more now and freeze them for later.

The military already buys approximately 94 million pounds of beef, 64 million pounds of pork, and 500,000 pounds of lamb each year. That food gets eaten by troops around the world, even in combat zones like Afghanistan.

As part of the same directive, the Department of Agriculture will be buying up to $170 million worth of meat and poultry.
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Filed under: Budget • Military
For Syria's neighbors, impact is growing with each refugee
Taken at the Al-Zaatri camp for Syrian refugees in eastern Jordan
August 15th, 2012
01:00 AM ET

For Syria's neighbors, impact is growing with each refugee

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent

Just over a week ago, we visited the Al-Zaatri camp for Syrian refugees in eastern Jordan. It had only been open for a few days.

Blasting hot winds, blowing sand and thin plastic sheeting tents were making life miserable for those who had fled over the border.

On that day, more than 2,000 Syrians, including hundreds of young children and babies, faced extraordinarily tough circumstances. Leaving everything behind, they were now in the safety of a camp, but with restrictions.

The Jordanians maintained tight security and the Syrians could not leave to try to find jobs or homes in Jordan. Some of the refugees had just escaped hours before, some had been in Jordan for several days.

The camp has since tripled in size. The Jordanian government estimates that already 150,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Jordan since March 2011. The camp will be big large to take another 120,000.

What has happened at Al-Zaatri underscores how much the fighting in Syria has become a regional crisis, affecting the surrounding countries.
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Filed under: Security Brief
Will we be flying hypersonic jets one day?
August 15th, 2012
12:05 AM ET

Will we be flying hypersonic jets one day?

By Mike Mount

Who needs business class when your overseas flight will last less than an hour? Some of the first tests of such a technology happened Tuesday off the California coast as the Air Force tested its hypersonic X-51A Waverider vehicle.

At just 25 feet long and only a few inches in diameter, the Waverider is a far cry from an aircraft that can carry people anywhere. But the technology one day could send people or troops across the world in just minutes.

Hypersonic travel, meaning speeds of Mach 5 (3,800 miles per hour) and above, has been a focus of the military as it looks to perfect a technology that can become the new stealth. The Pentagon says that countries are becoming wiser to US stealth technology and it is increasingly becoming a less effective tool.

Hypersonic flight does away with stealth because its speeds allow for greater flexibility and control for missions that are not possible with current jet technology.

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Filed under: Air Force • Military • Technology