By Barbara Starr and Greg Botelho
Yemeni authorities working with the U.S. Navy intercepted a ship carrying a "substantial" cache of "illegal arms" such as surface-to-air missiles, potent explosives and rocket-propelled grenades, a U.S. official and Yemen's government said Monday.
The incident took place in Yemeni territorial waters in the Arabian Sea last Wednesday, according to a statement issued five days later from Yemen's embassy in Washington.FULL STORY
By Kevin Liptak
President Barack Obama is still grappling with what role the United States should play in Syria's bloody conflict, which began nearly two years ago and has claimed the lives of 60,000 people.
In interviews released Sunday, the president pushed back on criticism from political rivals that his administration has been overly detached from foreign unrest, including the ongoing Syrian civil war.
"Muammar Qaddafi probably does not agree with that assessment," Obama told "60 Minutes."
"Syria's a classic example of where our involvement, we want to make sure that not only does it enhance U.S. security, but also that it is doing right by the people of Syria and neighbors like Israel that are going to be profoundly affected by it," he explained later. "And so it's true sometimes that we don't just shoot from the hip."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, appearing alongside the president on "60 Minutes," called the situation in Syria a "wicked problem," but argued there was no clear blueprint for American involvement in the country. FULL POST
By Melissa Gray and Greg Botelho
The first of six Patriot missile batteries intended to protect Turkey from Syrian threats is operational along the countries' shared border, NATO said Saturday.
The other five batteries, which NATO says are to be for defensive purposes only, are expected to be in place in coming days.
NATO foreign ministers decided in December to deploy the batteries after Syria launched Scud missiles near the Turkish border. In October, errant Syrian artillery shells hit the Turkish border town of Akcakale.FULL STORY
By Ingrid Formanek and Dana Ford
The United States is intensifying its involvement in Mali, where local and French forces are battling Islamic militants.
It will support the French military by conducting aerial refueling missions, according to the Pentagon, which released a short statement Saturday following a call between Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
"The leaders also discussed plans for the United States to transport troops from African nations, including Chad and Togo, to support the international effort in Mali. Secretary Panetta and Minister Le Drian resolved to remain in close contact as aggressive operations against terrorist networks in Mali are ongoing," it read.
U.S. policy prohibits direct military aid to Mali because the fledgling government is the result of a coup. No support can go to the Malian military directly until leaders are chosen through an election.FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr
The Pentagon has begun laying off 46,000 contract and temporary civilian employees in an effort to cut back on military spending, the No. 2 Pentagon official said on Friday.
Full time civilian employees, which number in the hundreds of thousands, also will be furloughed for one day a week for 22 weeks, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in an interview with wire service reporters.
His comments were confirmed by a Pentagon spokesman.
President Barack Obama's incoming national security team of John Kerry, Chuck Hagel and John Brennan is far more aligned with the president's way of thinking than the outgoing team. So says retired general Michael Hayden, who is a former Director of National Intelligence and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Hayden appeared on CNN's State of the Union to talk about national security issues, along with retired general Stanley McChrystal. The similarity in outlook is a red flag to Hayden, especially compared to Obama's outgoing team of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta.
"I think the new team thinks more like the president thinks when it comes to foreign policy. This will be a team that might not push back as much with regard to cuts or withdrawals or smaller footprints or reluctant moves with new eras," Hayden said.
Asked about the opposition to Hagel, Hayden said Hagel should have few issues with the military should he get confirmed. Senator Hagel was on the intelligence oversight committee when Hayden worked in intelligence.
"He was a member you could talk to, but on a personal base have a candid exchange of views. You could always speak with him and frankly given my time in uniform, that's a tremendous attribute attribute. I think will work out well," Hayden told Candy Crowley on Sunday.
McChrystal said that Hagel's military experience will benefit the potential defense secretary.
"I don't think it's a prerequisite, but I think it's very helpful. And he'll build relationships as he goes. He has a lot of credibility. I don't think it will be a problem," McChrystal said.
A defiant North Korea is threatening both the United States and South Korea in response to the United Nations decision to invoke additional sanctions on Pyongyang for it's rocket launch late last year.
Calling the U.S. a sworn enemy of North Korea, the government of Kim Jong Un vowed to launch more missiles and conduct a nuclear test.
Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr looks into how dangerous the North's nuclear capability really is.
By Adam Aigner-Treworgy
Nearly three weeks after nominating chief White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, President Barack Obama on Friday announced a replacement.
Lisa Monaco will serve as the new assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism and deputy national security adviser - a long title for a job that up to this point has been filled by the president's closest adviser in the fight against foreign and domestic terrorism.
Monaco comes from the Justice Department, where she has served as assistant attorney general for national security since July 2011. Prior to that assignment, Monaco served as deputy attorney general, chief of staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller, special counsel at the FBI, and during an earlier stint at the Justice Department adviser to Attorney General Janet Reno on national security issues.
A graduate of Harvard University and University of Chicago Law School - where Obama was a professor before entering politics - Monaco spent many years as a prosecutor. FULL POST
By Carol Cratty and Mark Morgenstein
A former CIA officer who pleaded guilty to identifying a covert intelligence officer was sentenced on Friday to 30 months in prison.
John Kiriakou and prosecutors agreed on the term as part of the plea agreement he struck in October.
Kiriakou, 48, declined to make a statement at the Alexandria, Virginia, federal court prior to sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema.
"Alright, perhaps you've already said too much," Brinkema said.
She rejected defense attempts to characterize Kiriakou as a whistle-blower.
The judge was bound by the plea agreement, but said she would have handed down a tougher sentence had Kiriakou been convicted at trial.
"This case is not a case about a whistle-blower. It's about a person who betrayed a very solemn trust," Brinkema said. FULL POST
More than 200,000 women are in the active-duty military, including 69 generals and admirals. A quick look at women in the military, according to Pentagon figures:
- About 203,000 in 2011, or 14.5% of the active-duty force of nearly 1.4 million.
- That number comprises about 74,000 in the Army, 53,000 in the Navy, 62,000 in the Air Force and 14,000 in the Marine Corps.FULL STORY