March 10th, 2014
09:21 AM ET

What time is it really?

Currently, the source for precision time is GPS satellites which contain an atomic clock used to synchronize clocks on the ground. But the Pentagon worries the satellites could somehow be jammed. So they want an even more accurate alternative.

Barbara Starr reports.

Filed under: DARPA • Pentagon
February 24th, 2014
10:00 AM ET

Defense Department to cut Army to pre-WW II size

By Halimah Abdullah

The Department of Defense plans to scale down the nation's Army to its pre-World War II size and do away with an entire class of Air Force attack jets in an attempt to cut military spending, which mushroomed after the attacks of September 11, 2001, according to reports.

The plan, backed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, as first reported by The New York Times, positions the military to handle any enemy but will leave the armed forces with much fewer resources to take on lengthy missions abroad. The dwindled budget also reflects the current political climate, with a President who has pledged to pull back from extended and expensive wars abroad in an era of federal funding cutbacks.

The budget is to be presented Monday.

Hagel proposes cutting the Army to 440,000-450,000 troops, according to the Times. Army troop levels already were supposed to go down to 490,000, from their height of 570,000 after the 9/11 attacks.

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Filed under: Army • Pentagon
Source: Pentagon considers training Iraqi forces in counterterrorism
January 10th, 2014
05:23 PM ET

Source: Pentagon considers training Iraqi forces in counterterrorism

By Barbara Starr

The Pentagon is considering a proposal to train Iraqi forces in counterterrorism operations, a senior U.S. defense official tells CNN. It would be the U.S. military's most significant involvement with Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew from that country two years ago.

If the White House and the Iraqis approved the proposal, U.S. troops would not enter Iraq, but instead would train Iraqi forces in a third country, most likely Jordan, the official said. The idea had been considered and rejected by the Iraqis in the past. But the U.S. Central Command basically has dusted off the idea and is trying to see if it can gain traction in light of growing violence in Iraq, especially in Fallujah and Ramadi.


Pentagon to cut jobs, contracts by $1 billion
December 4th, 2013
03:14 PM ET

Pentagon to cut jobs, contracts by $1 billion

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.


Filed under: Budget • Pentagon
December 3rd, 2013
05:00 PM ET

Inspiration for ‘Top Gun’ character gets top-level Pentagon post

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.

Filed under: Pentagon
Report: Strides, challenges for Afghan security forces
November 9th, 2013
01:10 PM ET

Report: Strides, challenges for Afghan security forces

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.


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Filed under: Afghan Security Force • Afghanistan • ISAF • Pentagon
November 5th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Iron Man suit, from the silver screen to the battlefield

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.

Pentagon police chief misused his power, report finds
November 4th, 2013
07:17 PM ET

Pentagon police chief misused his power, report finds

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.


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Filed under: Pentagon
October 29th, 2013
01:44 PM ET

Bigger, Lighter, Deadlier! Navy launches new stealth destroyer

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.

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Filed under: Contractors • drones • Navy • Pentagon • weapons
Pentagon employee, 92, is back after shutdown, but job is on shaky ground
Andrew Marshall is is the Pentagon’s director of the Office of Net Assessment.
October 21st, 2013
08:36 AM ET

Pentagon employee, 92, is back after shutdown, but job is on shaky ground

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."

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