April 23, 2018

News Briefs – April 23, 2018

U.S., Jordan troops practice response to hazardous materials

U.S. and Jordanian forces in protective suits have practiced how to handle chemical, biological and nuclear materials.
In the April 22 scenario, the materials were detected in a simulated smuggling incident. Mobile laboratory teams surveyed the area, collected samples and then went through decontamination.
The drill was part of the annual 12-day “Eager Lion” military exercise involving more than 7,000 troops, including 3,500 U.S. service members. It was held near the Jordanian town of Zarqa, east of the capital, Amman.
Jordan is a close U.S. ally in the region.
Eager Lion began a week ago, just a day after the U.S., France and Britain launched missiles at Syrian military targets in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus earlier this month. AP

Air Force moving additional space personnel to Colorado base

The military is moving nearly 150 personnel to a Colorado Air Force base as it streamlines its space operations.
The Colorado Springs Gazette reported April 20 the Joint Forces Space Command Component will move to Schriever Air Force Base about 20 miles east of downtown Colorado Springs.
Schriever is already home to the 50th Space Wing, which operates several military satellite systems. They include the Global Positioning System, which is has both military and civilian uses.
The Joint Forces Space Command Component was initially located in California, but the military determined Schriever was a better option.
The first personnel are expected to arrive at Schriever next month, with the rest moving by sometime next year.
Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner announced the move. AP

Air Force Thunderbirds resume flying after fatal crash

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilots have resumed practice flights two weeks after the death of a colleague during a training flight in Nevada.
Aerial demonstration team spokeswoman Staff Sgt. Stephanie Englar said April 20 that plans are still incomplete about the aerial demonstration team resuming public shows.
An air show appearance was canceled this weekend in Columbus, Miss., after Maj. Stephen Del Bagno died April 4 in the crash of his F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The Air Force is investigating the crash in the remote Nevada Test and Training Range north of Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas.
Thunderbirds commander Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh says practice flights resumed Wednesday while the team and its leaders take a hard look at training and safety.
Walsh says additional performance cancellations are possible. AP

U.S. Army won’t meet recruiting mission; Lowers 2017 goal

The U.S. Army will not meet its mission to recruit 80,000 active duty soldiers this year and has officially lowered the goal. Officials say the service has been able to encourage more experienced service members to stay on the job in order to satisfy the military’s growing demand for troops.
Army officials say the updated goal will be 76,500. Six months into the recruiting year the service has brought in just 28,000 new soldiers.
The struggle to meet this year’s higher numbers was expected, mainly due to the favorable American economy, increased competition from private sector employers who are able to pay graduates more money, and the inability of many youth to meet military fitness requirements. AP

Prime minister says Australia will sail in South China Sea

Australia’s prime minister says the Australian navy has a “perfect right” to traverse the South China Sea after a media report that the Chinese navy challenged three Australian warships in the hotly contested waterway.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported on April 20 the Chinese “challenged” two Australian frigates and an oil replenishment ship this month as the Australian ships were making their way to Vietnam. The report cited anonymous defense officials and did not detail the challenge.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did not comment on the specific incident.
But he told reporters Australia has a “perfect right in accordance with international law” to practice the right of freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.
The Defense Department declined to provide operational details about ships in the South China Sea. AP

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