Hagel: Most civilian DOD workers can return next week
October 5th, 2013
02:25 PM ET

Hagel: Most civilian DOD workers can return next week

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.

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U.S. seeks access to site of terror attack in Kenya
An image grab taken from AFP TV shows a member of the Kenyan security forces taking position inside a shopping mall following an attack by masked gunmen in Nairobi
September 25th, 2013
04:14 PM ET

U.S. seeks access to site of terror attack in Kenya

By Barbara Starr

U.S. security and law enforcement personnel are pressing for access to a Kenyan shopping mall where a terror attack and subsequent armed standoff killed at least 67 people.

A U.S. official with direct knowledge of the situation and the latest security assessment said authorities want to know whether any Americans were among the attackers in Nairobi as claimed by the Somali-based al-Shabaab terror group said to be behind the Westgate Mall attack.

“That is the million dollar question,” the official said. “We do not have much fidelity on this. We haven’t had access to the scene.”

Kenyan authorities have said the attackers were from a number of countries, but have not confirmed that any Americans were involved.
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Filed under: Al-Shabaab • Terrorism
First on CNN: US may call off military exercise with Egypt
Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy throw rocks while taking cover among debris during a violent crackdown by Egyptian Security Forces on a pro-Morsy sit-in demonstration at the Rabaa al-Adweya Mosque in the Nasr City district on August 14, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt.
August 14th, 2013
04:12 PM ET

First on CNN: US may call off military exercise with Egypt

By Barbara Starr

The United States may cancel a major military training exercise with Egypt due in part to worsening violence there, an Obama administration official told CNN.

Bright Star, planned for next month, would involve thousands of American air and ground forces.

Held every two years, it has long been considered vital for demonstrating U.S. military ability to deploy to the Middle East in the event of war.

Recent violence, especially the killing of protestors in Cairo on Wednesday, is factoring into new thinking on whether to participate, the official said.
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Filed under: Egypt • Military
Could be two years until women can train for elite combat
June 17th, 2013
05:43 PM ET

Could be two years until women can train for elite combat

By Barbara Starr

It may be another two years before women can start training for jobs in Army Ranger and Navy SEAL units under plans to be announced by the Pentagon on Tuesday, a Defense Department official familiar with the matter said.

The official declined to be named because the plans are not yet announced.

It is part of the next step in a longstanding effort to open as many combat jobs as possible to women.

The plan now is for jobs in special operations to be available to women possibly in mid-2015.

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Filed under: Military
April 1st, 2013
02:44 PM ET

U.S. Navy warship moving closer to North Korea

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. Navy is moving a warship and a sea-based radar platform closer to the North Korean coast in order to monitor that country's military moves, including possible new missile launches, a Defense Department official said Monday.

The decisions to move at least one ship and the oil rig-like SBX-1 are the first of what may be other naval deployments, CNN has learned.

They follow weeks of belligerent rhetoric from North Korea, including threats to use nuclear weapons.

The United States and South Korea have gone ahead with joint military exercises despite the threats, and South Korea warned Monday that any provocative moves from North Korea would trigger a strong response "without any political considerations."
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Filed under: Navy • North Korea