Military officers need more frequent ethics training, review finds
December 7th, 2012
05:50 PM ET

Military officers need more frequent ethics training, review finds

By Morgan Hitzig

The Pentagon has sent President Barack Obama the initial findings of a review of ethics standards for officers, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conducted the review after recent scandals and ethical misconduct involving high-ranking military officers.

The review has found the current level of ethics training to be "appropriate," but training should start earlier and continue to be reinforced more frequently throughout officer's careers, Little said. Currently, ethics training, which is conducted in "ethics modules," varies by service. This training is usually led by the Pentagon's legal counsel.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who ordered the review, discussed these preliminary findings with Obama during a regularly scheduled meeting earlier this week.
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Filed under: Military
December 7th, 2012
04:09 PM ET

Intel chair warns U.S. must act if Syria moves to use chemical weapons

By Elise Labott reporting from Manama, Bahrain

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday warned the Obama administration it must act more urgently to prevent Syria's government from using chemical weapons.

Rep. Mike Rogers told attendees at the IISS Manama Dialogue conference in Bahrian that the United States has a moral obligation to act immediately if there is concrete proof chemical weapons are loaded and being readied for launch.

Recent U.S. intelligence suggests the Syrian government has started mixing chemical weapons compounds and loading them into bombs, though the bombs are not being moved to any delivery devices, CNN's Barbara Starr reported.

Visibly frustrated, Rogers argued the United States and the international community were way behind in acting to prevent use of chemical weapons, saying there was a robust debate in Washington on what constitutes a red line for military action - before Syrian President Bashar al-Assad moves to use weapons or after the weapons are launched.
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U.S. military updates options for potential Syria strike, source says
A wounded rebel fighter lies in the back of a pick up truck making it's way to a hospital through traffic in the northern Syrian city Aleppo on December 6, 2012.
December 7th, 2012
10:32 AM ET

U.S. military updates options for potential Syria strike, source says

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. military has updated its plans for a potential strike against Syria after intelligence showed that the regime has filled aerial bombs with deadly sarin gas in at least two locations near military airfields, a senior U.S. official said Friday.

A senior U.S. official confirmed the details but declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information. There has been no movement to put the bombs on aircraft and no significant additional movement of chemical materials as far as the U.S. knows, he said.

The updated options are being refined daily. "The more information and intelligence you have, the more clarity you can bring to options you may decide to use," the official said. "You would expect new information like this to drive an update of options."

"We are prepared for a full range of contingencies," said Pentagon spokesman George Little.

But there is much concern, the official said. It's not clear if President Bashar al-Assad's regime is pulling back after President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued statements condemning the action, or what al-Assad's future intentions may be.

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And the next secretary of defense will be ...
December 7th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

And the next secretary of defense will be ...

By Mike Mount, CNN

One of the worst-kept secrets in Washington is that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will soon leave his post for a calmer life at his beloved Northern California ranch.

Panetta and those close to him have given no public indication he will leave upon the start of the next Obama administration, but people close to the defense secretary say Panetta is more than ready to retire from his long public service life.

Four choices to replace Panetta seem to be getting the most buzz as the announcement day gets closer.

Security Clearance talked to people inside the Department of Defense, on Capitol Hill and in the defense community about what each potential nominee could bring to the table, and what issues might work against them being chosen by the president for the top job.

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