Navy making sure sailors helping with Sandy recovery get a chance to vote
ATLANTIC OCEAN Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Andre Nation signals an Coast Guard helicopter as it prepares to land on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp. The Wasp is one of three Navy warships providing assistance to the New York/New Jersey region have Hurricane Sandy.
November 5th, 2012
05:40 PM ET

Navy making sure sailors helping with Sandy recovery get a chance to vote

By Larry Shaughnessy

The U.S. military, both active duty and guardsmen, are helping the areas hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy, including making sure the residents can vote Tuesday.

But the U.S. Navy has to not only worry about helping civilians, but also about taking care of some sailors who find themselves at sea when it's time to vote.

The USS Wasp is a large helicopter carrier anchored off the coast of New Jersey. It was at sea for some short-term training when Sandy formed and headed toward the Wasp's home port of Norfolk, Virginia. FULL POST

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Marines • Military • Navy
U.S. targets militant group's chief of suicide operations
Weapons seized from a Haqqani network camp in Afghanistan
November 5th, 2012
02:31 PM ET

U.S. targets militant group's chief of suicide operations

By Jamie Crawford

The chief of suicide operations for a Pakistan-based terror organization has been officially listed as a "terrorist" by the United States, coinciding with a similar action by the United Nations on Monday.

Qari Zakir, chief of suicide operations for the Haqqani Network, was labeled a specially designated global terrorist under the authority of an executive order, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in a written statement. The designation blocks Zakir from all of his property that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits any U.S. nationals from engaging in any transactions on behalf, or for the benefit, of Zakir.

In addition to the designation by the United States, Zakir and the Haqqani Network were listed by the United Nations sanctions committee in actions that require all U.N. member states to implement a freeze of assets, a travel ban and an arms embargo against both entities.
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Pentagon prepares for changes, regardless of presidential election winner
U.S. Army band marches down Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, DC during a presidential inauguration parade
November 5th, 2012
01:19 PM ET

Pentagon prepares for changes, regardless of presidential election winner

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent

More than two months before the chief executive takes office, the Pentagon is preparing for the next presidential term - regardless of who wins.

The Defense Department has set up a task force of nearly 1,000 personnel to serve as the military liaison and support for the presidential inauguration in January.

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Bales to hear case against him in deadly Afghanistan spree
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales
November 5th, 2012
06:09 AM ET

Bales to hear case against him in deadly Afghanistan spree

By Larry Shaughnessy

(CNN) - Starting Monday, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will hear details of the military prosecutors' case against him regarding a deadly shooting spree in Afghanistan in March.

Sixteen civilian villagers died in the rampage, and six others were injured. The attack triggered protests in Afghanistan and Pakistan and condemnation from Afghan President Karzai and President Barack Obama. The Taliban threatened revenge.

On the night of the shooting, Bales was seen leaving a small base in Afghanistan's Kandahar province alone. He later returned and turned himself in to fellow soldiers. Bales allegedly told his roommate at the base that he'd been killing Afghan civilians, but his attorney, John Henry Browne, denies thi FULL POST

Who might serve on Romney's national security team?
November 5th, 2012
06:01 AM ET

Who might serve on Romney's national security team?

Economic issues might decide the winner of this week's Presidential election, but pressing national security issues–Iran, terrorism, the Arab spring, the Afghanistan troop withdrawal, to name a few–will require immediate attention. With just a few days to go, the campaigns are tight lipped about who might be in the cabinet to help the president make some weighty decisions. But here is what CNN's national security team is hearing through the grape vine on who President Obama or Governor Romney might be considering for some of the key national security positions:

Also: Who might serve in an Obama second term?

If Mitt Romney is elected the 45th President of the United States on Tuesday, he will have the task of filling an entire presidential cabinet as opposed to President Obama who will likely have less vacancies to fill. Foreign policy analysts say the national team is unique from other cabinet positions in that their agencies work closely together on a daily basis. Those who are picked to be members of the national security team will need to be consensus players with the entire national security team and able to confront difficult situations abroad, while the vast focus of the early days of the administration focused on rejuvenating the nascent economic recovery – a central theme of the Romney campaign. Jamie Fly, Executive Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative in Washington says it will be "very important" for Romney to pick a team capable to go out and "be effective advocates for America abroad" while Romney and his senior staff focus on the economy at the beginning of the term.

Here is a list of possible candidates for national security positions in a Romney administration that we are hearing from campaign advisors and analysts who are following the situation:

DEFENSE SECRETARY

Jim Talent
Currently a national security adviser for the Romney campaign, Talent's name has been floated for the top defense job. Outspoken against military spending cuts and an advocate for Romney's position to expand the military, Talent seems like a natural to lead a Romney agenda at the Pentagon. As a Republican in the House and Senate from 1993-2007, Talent was a member of the House and Senate Armed Services committees and chaired the Sea Power subcommittee in the Senate, another credential Romney would like as he plans to expand the Navy, if elected. Talent holds a fellowship position at the conservative Heritage Foundation policy analysis organization where he specializes in military and welfare reform issues.

Sen. Lindsey Graham
Graham is also a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and veteran of the active duty Air Force. He sits on some of the most powerful Senate committees and is hawkish on national defense issues. Graham has taken a keen interest in issues involving detainee interrogations. As a senator on the Armed Services panel, he has traveled to the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times to get what he calls on-the-ground assessments. There is little doubt Graham would hit the ground running if he got the job, but his selection could depend on whether Romney wants a self-starter as Graham would have many of his own ideas and agendas to push as defense secretary.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Security Brief
The real Iranian threat: Cyberattacks
A cyberattack believed to be backed by Iran brought down 75% of the PCs at Saudi oil company Aramco.
November 5th, 2012
05:34 AM ET

The real Iranian threat: Cyberattacks

By David Goldman

Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon has been the subject of much debate this election season, but the presidential candidates rarely discuss the most imminent danger Iran poses to the United States: cyberwarfare.

Iran is believed to be behind a slew of massive attacks in September that took down a string of U.S. banks' websites. The country is also thought to have launched a devastating cyber time bomb on Saudi Oil company Aramco in August and to have coordinated a similar attack on Qatar's RasGas, an Exxon Mobil subsidiary.

FULL STORY
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Filed under: Cybersecurity • Iran • Terrorism