By Larry Shaughnessy
The Pentagon launched a website Wednesday for American troops and family members who were near the Japanese nuclear reactors that were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011.
The website will allow Americans to enter a location where they were in Japan and get an estimation of how much radiation they were exposed to while there.
By Mike Mount, Senior National Security Producer
In what is shaping up to be a classic congressional right vs. left fight over defense and war funding, both the House and Senate are gearing up to battle over some expected and not-so-expected items in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.
On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version of the bill, showing its hand to members of the House of Representatives on what it felt should be authorized for military spending.
The act authorizes spending limits and sets defense policy, but it does not actually appropriate the funds.
The committee version must still pass a full Senate vote. The House signed off on its bill this month. While a date has yet to be announced, both the final House and Senate versions will go through extensive negotiations to hammer out a final version of the legislation, expected in the fall.
Both bills have numerous amendments that will be debated and fought over in the coming months. Keep an eye on these five if you like political fireworks.
By Larry Shaughnessy
U.S. military officials are anxiously awaiting North Korea's announced ballistic missile launch, which they described to Congress on Wednesday as part of the regime's "coercive strategy" to antagonize, provoke and then try to win concessions.
April 15 will mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Song, the founder of communist North Korea and the grandfather of the current North Korean leader, who has said there will be a missile launch around that date, in violation of numerous U.N. resolutions and the most recent agreement with the United States.
North Korea has designated the entire year of 2012 as a year of strength and prosperity in celebration of Kim Il Song's birthday.
President Barack Obama announced an agreement with Australia Wednesday that will expand military cooperation between the long-time allies and boost America's presence in the region, Dan Lothian and Lesa Jansen report from Canberra, Australia.
It is a continued effort by the U.S. to maintain a buffer against China, whose growing military capabilities has unsettled many American allies in the region.
As Charley Keyes reported on Security Clearance on Tuesday, the announcement a signal than a significant expansion for the U.S. military.
Under the agreement, up to 250 U.S. Marines will be sent to Darwin and the northern region of Australia for military exercises and training. Over the next several years their numbers are expected to climb to 2,500 - a full Marine ground task force.
At the news conference, Obama insisted fear wasn't driving the enhanced military initiatives.
"The notion that we fear China is mistaken," the president said at the Australian parliament building. China has a looming military presence in the region.
Read more details on the military plans on CNN's 1600 blog
By Senior National Security Producer Charley Keyes
How does a U.S. president faced with budget constraints at home travel halfway around the world and make new military promises to Australia? The answer - very carefully.
"This announcement may be less than advertized," says Patrick Cronin, of the Center for a New American Security in Washington.
So get ready for some polished diplomatic language when President Barack Obama talks in Australia this week about more U.S. warships and American troops coming to Australian ports and Australian bases.
Obama may be sending in the Marines to northern Australia but there aren't going to be very many of them and they will be living in Aussie barracks. As for American warships coming to call in Western Australia near Perth, they will be using already existing facilities.
So as Obama is careful to expand U.S.-Australian cooperation on the cheap, he will paint the picture of new military cooperation in broad strokes in case the details are classified or still being thrashed out. Too many specifics may rile up budget-cutters back in Washington, or incite Australian critics worried that cozying up to the U.S. military will offend the number-one customer for Australian products - China. FULL POST