By Barbara Starr
The Marine Corps general in charge of U.S. military aid efforts for victims of Typhoon Haiyan is asking the Pentagon to urgently send a number of amphibious warships to the Philippines.
Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy tells CNN he needs the Marine Corps amphibious ships specifically because they can carry a variety of small boats, trucks, equipment and supplies needed, as well as making potable water. "They are the Swiss army knife of the U.S. military," Kennedy told CNN in a telephone interview from the Philippines. Kennedy says he believes his request will be approved by the Pentagon in the coming hours. As many as four of the warships could be headed to the Philippines.
The amphibious ships can also carry helicopters and tracked vehicles known as "assault amphibious vehicles." These vehicles can carry supplies and move over and through piles of debris to distribution points where aid is needed most.
The U.S. military will take supplies to distribution points, but it will be then handed out by Philippines forces, Kennedy said. Local forces are in the best position to know community leaders and make sure those in the most need are getting the help, he added.FULL STORY
By Greg Botelho
A U.S. Navy minesweeper remained stuck in a reef teeming with endangered marine life off the Philippines on Sunday, prompting an American commander to apologize and promise stepped-up efforts to prevent further damage.
The USS Guardian ran aground early Thursday in the Tubbataha Reef, about 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island in the Sulu Sea, the U.S. Navy reported.FULL STORY
By Larry Shaughnessy
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta leaves Wednesday on a nine-day trip to Asia to bring allies there up to speed on the United States' new Pacific-orientated defense strategy.
"Basically the core of what we are trying to do with the swing through Asia, is to give a comprehensive account to partners and everyone in the region about what the rebalance to the Asia/Pacific will mean in practice," a senior defense official said while briefing reporters about the trip.
The trip starts in Honolulu where Panetta will meet with Adm. Sam Locklear, head of U.S. Pacific Command, who will join Panetta for much of the trip.
By Elise Labott
It's what administration officials refer to as the North Korean "two-step," in which one daring act by Pyongyang is followed by another. This time, Washington and its allies are expecting North Korea to conduct a third nuclear bomb test shortly after the launch.
In April 2009, North Korea followed up a long-range missile test with a nuclear test. Then, after North Korea sunk the South Korean navy warship Cheonan in March 2010, it topped itself later that year by shelling South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea off the countries' west coast.
By Jamie Crawford
As an agreement for the United States to resume food aid to North Korea lies in tatters over the North's upcoming launch of a long-range rocket, there is a palpable sense of apprehension and anger over the launch in the reclusive regime's own backyard.
From South Korea to Japan and China, the Philippines, Russia and Australia, a varying chorus of anger and disappointment is being directed toward the Stalinist state in advance of the launch, expected later this month. The question now is what happens after the rocket leaves the launching pad.
By Barbara Starr
The U.S. military is sending its most advanced radar system to the Pacific region ahead of North Korea's expected launch of a long-range missile in mid-April, according to a senior U.S. Navy official.
The Sea-Based X-Band Radar sits atop a floating platform and has the ability to search and track targets. In addition, the system can communicate with potential U.S. interceptor missiles at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, that could shoot down a target missile. But the North Koreans have said they plan to launch their missile in a southerly direction, which would mean it is highly doubtful the intercept capability would be needed or used. FULL POST