March 12, 2018

News Briefs – March 12, 2018

Turkey’s president slams NATO for lack of support in Syria

Turkey’s president has criticized NATO for not supporting his country’s ongoing military operation against Syrian Kurdish fighters in Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking to reporters March 10, asked, “Hey NATO, where are you?” and accused the military alliance of double standards.

Erdogan said NATO member Turkey sent troops to conflict zones when requested, but did not receive support in return.

Turkey launched a solo military offensive against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG on Jan. 20 to clear them from Afrin in northwestern Syria.

The country considers the YPG a terror organization, but its NATO ally, the United States, backs the fighters to combat the Islamic State group.

Erdogan urged NATO to come to Turkey’s aid, saying its borders are “under threat right now.” AP

Airbus gets $273 million deal to make helicopters in Mississippi

The U.S. Army is awarding a $273 million contract to a Mississippi helicopter maker for 35 aircraft.

The Army announced the contract with Airbus Helicopters March 8 for more UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopters.

French-based Airbus has more than 200 employees in Columbus assembling helicopters.

The Army says Airbus was the only bidder, and the work is projected to be completed in March 2021. The Army is paying $136.6 million for work in the 2017 and 2018 budget years.

Mississippi’s two U.S. senators, Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, as well as U.S. Rep Trent Kelly, say in a statement that Congress is negotiating funding for the helicopters. The House has approved $167 million, while the Senate currently calls for $196 million. Negotiations could conclude in the next two weeks. AP

Trump pardons Navy man who took illegal submarine photos

The White House announced March 9 that President Donald Trump has pardoned a Navy sailor who took photos of classified areas inside a submarine and served a year in federal prison.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Kristian Saucier was pardoned by Trump and the president was “appreciative” of his service to the nation. “He has been recognized by his fellow service members for his dedication skill and patriotic spirit,” Sanders said.

Trump has referenced Saucier’s case often when criticizing Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server. In a January tweet, he referred to the “Deep State Justice Dept” and criticized the federal system for going after a sailor instead of a top Clinton aide.

It was Trump’s second pardon as president. He pardoned Joe Arpaio, a former six-term sheriff of metro Phoenix, in August.

Saucier’s attorney, Ronald Daigle Jr., said his client was “ecstatic. He’s so grateful that the president saw there was an injustice in this matter and he took action on it.”

Saucier pleaded guilty in 2016 to unauthorized detention of defense information for taking photos inside the USS Alexandria while it was stationed in Groton, Connecticut, in 2009.

Saucier had said previously that he had only wanted service mementos. But federal prosecutors argued he was a disgruntled sailor who had put national security at risk by taking photos showing the submarine’s propulsion system and reactor compartment and then obstructed justice by destroying a laptop and camera. Saucier claimed his prosecution was driven by sensitivity about classified information amid the scandal involving Clinton’s emails.

Saucier, of Arlington, Vt., was a 22-year-old machinist mate on the nuclear-powered attack submarine when he took the photos. His lawyers said he knew the photos would be classified but he wanted to show his family what he did in the Navy. He denied sharing the photos with any unauthorized recipient.

After Trump won election, Daigle discussed the case at Trump Tower with Michael Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser, who encouraged a formal pardon request. Trump was later asked about the case during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity and said it was “very unfair.” AP

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.



Headlines – March 19, 2018

News U.S. helicopter crashes in western Iraq – A U.S. military helicopter has crashed in western Iraq with seven service members on board, U.S. officials said March 15.   Navy identifies aviators killed in Super Hornet crash – Navy officials have identified the two aviators killed March 14 when their F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed on...

News Briefs – March 19, 2018

Pentagon: No survivors in American helicopter crash in Iraq All seven service members aboard a U.S. helicopter that crashed in Iraq were killed, the Pentagon said March 16 in a written statement. The aircraft crashed in western Iraq a day earlier, said the officials, who insisted on speaking anonymously to release details of the crash...
Lockheed Martin photograph

New Lockheed Martin readiness contract strengthens sustainment industry

Lockheed Martin photograph A Lockheed Martin engineer uses a mobile device with an advanced management information system to help perform maintenance inside a gunnery combat training simulator. Lockheed Martin has been awarded ...