April 2nd, 2013
07:02 PM ET

No Purple Heart for Ft. Hood victims

The Army has decided not to award Purple Hearts to the dead and wounded in that incident. The victims of the mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas

That has families, and some lawmakers outraged.

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Chris Lawrence looked in to this.

Filed under: Congress • Nidal Hasan
April 2nd, 2013
06:42 PM ET

Kerry: U.S. will not accept North Korea as nuclear state

By Jethro Mullen and Chelsea J. Carter

The United States will not accept North Korea as a "nuclear state," Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Tuesday, just hours after Pyongyang announced plans to restart a nuclear reactor it shut down five years ago.

North Korea's decision comes as tensions on the Korean peninsula escalate over Kim Jong Un's threats to wage war against the United States and South Korea.

"The bottom line is simply that what Kim Jong Un is choosing to do is provocative. It is dangerous, reckless. The United States will not accept the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) as a nuclear state," Kerry said during a joint briefing in Washington with South Korea Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.

"And I reiterate again the United States will do what is necessary to defend ourselves and defend our allies, Korea and Japan. We are fully prepared and capable of doing so, and I think the DPRK understands that."


Filed under: North Korea • Sec. State John Kerry • Yongbyon
U.S. Forces Korea website down
April 2nd, 2013
06:36 PM ET

U.S. Forces Korea website down

By CNN's Chris Lawrence

The website for U.S. Forces Korea is down and has been off-line all day.

A U.S. Defense Department official tells CNN, “This was a hardware crash. It could be awhile before they get back online, because they have to rebuild the system. Right now there’s no signs this had anything to do with a cyber attack or outside intrusion. These are initial indications, but right now it doesn’t appear to be caused by outside influence.”

But the official says they haven't completely ruled out an outside attack.

If you go to the site, you will see a message reading, "Network Error… The gateway may be temporarily unavailable, or there could be a network problem.”

Opinion: Kim Jong Un is not crazy
April 2nd, 2013
03:24 PM ET

Opinion: Kim Jong Un is not crazy

By Stephan Haggard, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Stephan Haggard is professor at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is the co-author of "Famine in North Korea" (2008) and "Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea" (2011) and co-editor with Marcus Noland of a blog about North Korea.

(CNN) - March brought us a series of what pundits like to call "provocations" by North Korea. On closer inspection, Pyongyang has opted for rhetoric over actual military actions.

While Kim Jong Un's pursuit of nuclear and missile capability remains worrisome, escalating signals of resolve could suggest nervousness as much as strength.

So, is the regime in trouble?

Read the full take on CNN's OPINION page.


Filed under: Kim Jong-un • North Korea
Hagel to give up furlough pay
April 2nd, 2013
02:27 PM ET

Hagel to give up furlough pay

By Barbara Starr

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will give up the portion of his salary that would have been cut if he had been subject to the same work furlough as thousands of department personnel under the mandatory federal budget cuts.  Hagel, who earns $199,700 annually, will write a check to the Treasury for up to 14 days of salary, according to Pentagon press secretary George Little.

As a Cabinet official confirmed by the Senate, Hagel is not subject to the furlough. But Little said Hagel decided to give the equivalent of his furloughed pay to show his support for his workforce. Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter had already announced he was doing the same thing in the weeks before Hagel was confirmed.


Filed under: Budget • Hagel
After Benghazi, Marines approved for crisis response force
April 2nd, 2013
02:15 PM ET

After Benghazi, Marines approved for crisis response force

By Barbara Starr

The Pentagon has approved a Marine crisis response force for North Africa with air transport and combat capabilities, Defense Department officials said, a response to criticism the military was unable to get any forces to the scene of last September's deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

The plan for a force of 500 Marines that can arrive at a crisis point within 12 hours has been in the works for weeks.

Details are being discussed with the Italian government and others in southern Europe, officials said.

The United States hopes to quickly reach a final agreement for a base of operations, most likely in Italy. For now, the force will be based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.


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Filed under: Africa • Benghazi • Libya • Marines
US officials: North Korea trying to assert itself as nuclear weapons state
April 2nd, 2013
12:17 PM ET

US officials: North Korea trying to assert itself as nuclear weapons state

By Elise Labott

Senior administration officials say North Korea's threats to restart its nuclear reactor is part of a pattern of North Korea asserting itself as a nuclear weapons state.   The North Koreans want the U.S. to deal with them as they dealt with the Soviets:  the U.S. accepted them as a nuclear power and then they held talks as two nuclear states.

North Korea has repeatedly said it would rather have "arms control" talks with the U.S. as opposed to talks about disarming its nuclear program.

"This is part of a premeditated campaign to force acceptance of their nuclear status," one of the officials said, who added, "it's not going to happen.  It would blow up the entire global non-proliferation regime."

Officials say they have not seen any signs the North has begun reconstituting facilities they've shut down.  But the officials say they do already have a uranium workshop up and running and are "within months" of completing construction of a small plutonium reactor.