By CNN Staff
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says his Afghan counterpart assured him that an important security pact will be reached with Kabul in a "timely manner," despite a failure so far to forge a deal.
Hagel made the remark during a visit to Afghanistan on Saturday. What is known as the bilateral security agreement - ready to be implemented but still unsigned - initially has been front and center in Hagel's visit.FULL STORY
By Dan Merica
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said Monday that if Israel were to strike Iran in an effort to damage the country's nuclear program, the United States would meet "some defined obligations" it has to the Middle East nation.
"I feel like we have a deep obligation to Israel," the military leader said. "That is why we are in constant contact and collaboration with them."
This fall, diplomats from the United States and other interested countries have met to deal with Iran's nuclear program and ways in which advancements could be halted.
The states whose National Guard units continue to deny military benefits to same-sex spouses were taken to task by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Thursday night, in a speech to the Anti-Defamation League.
Denying such benefits "causes division among the ranks, and it furthers prejudice, which DoD has fought to extinguish," Hagel said as he relayed a conversation he had earlier that day with Gen. Frank Grass, who is Chief of the National Guard Bureau.
By Jamie Crawford
The head of the largest U.S. government employer says there is still a long way to go to remove uncertainty for federal employees despite the end of the government shutdown.
"People have to have some confidence that they have a job that they can rely on," Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday. "We can't continue to do this to our people, having them live under this cloud of uncertainty."
With a $680 billion budget, the Pentagon has the highest payroll of any federal agency as it supports 7.4 million active duty forces and 718,000 civilian workers.
Hagel said the civilian defense workforce was hit hardest during the 16-day shutdown that ended on Thursday.
By CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Thursday approved a plan that would allow all military academy college sports, including high profile football games, to continue until the end of October, even as a partial government shutdown continues, according to a Defense Department official directly familiar with the plan.
The official tells CNN that all of the sports programs have been able to ensure they will pay their expenses with funds not appropriated by Congress, such as ticket and merchandise sales.
"The concept of the student athlete is important," said the official, adding that Hagel made the decision after consulting with the service secretaries. He said one factor playing into the decision is that if the Defense Department had halted sporting activities, such as the academy football games, it might have been in violation of broadcast contracts it has signed, and could have faced fines.
By Josh Levs and Tom Cohen
When Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visits Dover Air Force Base Wednesday, he won't just be honoring troops killed in Afghanistan. His presence will also send a message about the government shutdown.
Hagel will attend a ceremony for the return of soldiers' remains – at a time the families of those service members are not receiving the standard benefits typically given to them.
Due to the partial federal government shutdown, those benefits, which include a $100,000 payment, are being withheld.
It's the "worst nightmare" for military families, says Amy Neiberger-Miller of TAPS, a support network for families of the fallen.FULL STORY
By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Saturday that "most [Department of Defense] civilians placed on emergency furlough during the government shutdown will be asked to return to work beginning next week."
The ongoing government shutdown has left more than 800,000 workers furloughed for the past five days - roughly half of those are civilians working for the Pentagon.
By Barbara Starr
The Pentagon may announce as soon as this weekend a plan to bring up to 400,000 furloughed civilian employees back to work, according to two Defense Department officials.
CNN has learned the plan is in the final stages of being written and approved.
If all are returned to work, it would represent about half the number of government civilian and contract employees at risk of furloughs during the government shutdown that began on Tuesday.
The partisan congressional stalemate over spending for the current fiscal year shows no sign of ending anytime soon.
By Barbara Starr
Even as furloughed civilian Defense Department workers streamed out of the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel began working half a world away to get all 400,000 furloughed personnel globally back to work.
“Hagel is looking to get as many people back to work as soon as he can,” a senior defense official told CNN on Tuesday.
Hagel, who is traveling in Asia, hinted to reporters about what exactly he has in mind and it centers around a law quickly passed on Monday to keep troops and some essential civilian workers paid.
By Chris Lawrence, Jill Dougherty and Tom Cohen
With a flurry of diplomatic signals and activity, U.S. officials sought Tuesday to lay the groundwork for a possible military attack on Syria in response to last week's suspected chemical weapons attack that Washington blames on President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry both consulted allies and indicated potential imminent action by a coalition likely to include key NATO partners and regional powers.
Days after the United States moved warships armed with cruise missiles into the region, Hagel told the BBC on Tuesday that forces were ready to carry out a strike if ordered. A senior Defense Department official told CNN that any strike could be completed "within several days."
"We are ready to go, like that," Hagel told the BBC reporter.FULL STORY