By Jennifer Liberto
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday announced that he's trimming the budget for Pentagon headquarters by 20% starting in 2014, leading to jobs cuts and reduction in contracts with private companies.
The cuts will happen even if Congress ends sequester, according to the defense agency. Hagel said the time is right to "pare back overhead and streamline headquarters," after the fast growth of the agency in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
"These reductions are only a first step in DoD's efforts to realign defense spending to meet new fiscal realities and strategic priorities," Hagel said.
The cuts would trim $1 billion from 2014 through 2019. Hagel said the first jobs to be cut will about 200 workers from his own team of 2,400.FULL STORY
By Laura Koran
The inspiration for the leading female role in the 80s blockbuster movie “Top Gun,” has soared to new heights in real life.
Christine Fox has become the first woman appointed to the Pentagon’s No. 2 job, set to serve in an acting capacity until a permanent successor is named.
Her boss, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, called Fox, "a brilliant defense thinker and proven manager."
Fox most recently held a top-level defense post where she played a large role in determining budget priorities.
By Joe Sterling
In what a new Pentagon report calls "a fundamental shift in the course" of the Afghan conflict, local security forces are improving their performance and "successfully providing security for their own people."
But according to a report to Congress on Friday, the successes come with a cost: a sharp increase in security force casualties during this year's April to September fighting season and challenges remaining for the indigenous force after U.S. forces leave.
This snapshot of the security forces is all-important as the United States prepares to withdraw all of its troops from the country by the end of next year.
The report said the Afghan National Security Forces "have seen their capabilities expand rapidly since 2009, while insurgent territorial influence and kinetic capabilities have remained static." But the report also says more needs to be done.
By Larry Shaughnessy
A U.S. Special Operations soldier kicks in the door of a terrorist safe house. The bad guys open fire with AK-47s, but the bullets just bounce off the soldier as he fires back.
It’s a scene that easily could have been included in any of the hugely successful “Iron Man” movies, but the man who runs U.S. Special Forces Command, Adm. William McRaven, wants to make it reality, and soon.
McRaven gave the green light to what the Pentagon officially calls a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, but everyone refers to it colloquially as “The Iron Man suit.”
McRaven recently spoke about losing a special operator in Afghanistan. "I would like that last operator to be the last one we ever lose," he said.
By Bryan Koenig
The Defense Department's inspector general wants disciplinary action taken against the head of the Pentagon's civilian police force for misusing his power, according to a report released Monday.
Dated February 20, the report alleges that Stephen Calvery, director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, granted a relative access to the agency's firing range, complete with instructors and ammunition. It also alleges that Calvery sent underlings on lunch runs, improperly granted leave for employees to attend a golf tournament and misused his influence in promoting an underling who was not qualified for the post.
By Larry Shaughnessy
(CNN) - The Navy's newest warship slipped out of dry dock this week into the waters of Maine, marking a new era for war fighting at sea.
The USS Zumwalt, the first of the DDG-1000 class of destroyers, is longer, faster and carries state-of-the-art weapons that will allow it to destroy targets at more than 60 miles, according to the Navy.
At 610 feet long and 81 feet wide, the Zumwalt is longer and thinner than the USS Arizona, a battleship sunk at Pearl Harbor. But it weighs about half as much.
By Barbara Starr
When the government shutdown ended and thousands of civilians came back to work at the Pentagon, one employee’s return wasn’t surprising at all - he’s been coming to work for 40 years.
Andrew Marshall is 92 – yes, 92 years old, born in 1921. He is the Pentagon’s director of a group called the Office of Net Assessment, and the Pentagon is pretty sure he is the oldest civilian or military official at the Defense Department. Marshall’s influence is legendary, perhaps because he almost never speaks publicly, a rarity in Washington, let alone in Pentagon circles.
During the 16-day furlough, his entire office was shut down. But coming back may be bittersweet, because the Pentagon is thinking about shutting the office down in the coming months as part of a cost-saving measure, several Pentagon officials said. The office may be disbanded or folded into another part of the Pentagon bureaucracy.
When CNN asked for an official answer about the status of Marshall’s office, the answer was this: “The Department of Defense is currently assessing our missions, structure and programs in light of an evolving set of strategic challenges, as well as a constrained fiscal environment. At this time, it would be premature to comment on pre-decisional issues."
By Jamie Crawford
A lapse in benefits normally paid to the families of U.S. service members killed in combat is adding to the already existing anger over the partial federal government shutdown.
With a good majority of the Pentagon workforce returning to work despite large-scale furloughs hitting other federal agencies, the benefits typically paid to families of the fallen have yet to be restored during the current government shutdown.
"This particular situation is unthinkable," Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), said on the House floor Tuesday. "A great injustice is being done to our service members and their families."
Among the benefits being withheld are a $100,000 cash payment typically paid to a service member's family within three days of their death in the combat zone. Burial benefits, which include reimbursement for recovery, care, as well as the funeral and interment of remains are also included in those benefits.
By Jamie Crawford
The Pentagon issued guidance on Friday on how a potential government shutdown, which would begin on Tuesday absent a congressional agreement on spending, would impact its operations.
"All military personnel will continue in a normal duty status regardless of their affiliation" under a shutdown scenario, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter wrote in a memo to military commanders and other senior defense officials.
But continued service could present complications for the troops themselves, Carter added.
"Military personnel will not be paid until such time as Congress makes appropriated funds available to compensate them for this period of service," he wrote.
The Pentagon has "put a proposal on the table" for U.S. military forces to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces for the first time, two Obama administration officials told CNN.
If approved, it would dramatically increase the role of the U.S. military in Syria's civil war and would for the first time put American troops in direct contact with opposition forces.
The idea has been under consideration since the August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus, which the United States says was carried out by the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
There are few specifics on troops or other aspects of the military proposal, but both officials said the effort envisions training taking place in a country near Syria.FULL STORY