Headlines – August 30, 2019

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News

It’s too early to discuss pulling out all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, says Joint Chiefs chairman-
The top U.S. military officer said Aug. 28 it’s too early to talk about a full American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, injecting a cautionary note as U.S. peace talks with the Taliban appear to be near a final agreement.
 
Esper sets demand that might let Turkey rejoin F-35 program-
The Pentagon would consider allowing Turkey to rejoin the F-35 program only if the Russian-made S-400 air defense system is completely removed from Turkish soil, meaning the government in Ankara could not simply keep the systems deactivated in warehouses, the Pentagon’s top official said Aug. 28.
 
Trump slow-walks Ukraine military aid meant to contain Russia-
President Donald Trump asked his national security team to review the funding program, known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, in order to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the United States, a senior administration official told POLITICO on Aug. 28.
 
Afghan government expects update soon on U.S.-Taliban peace talks-
Afghanistan’s government expects the U.S. envoy negotiating with the Taliban on ending America’s longest war to visit Kabul “in one or two days” to share developments in the talks that continue in Qatar, a presidential spokesman said Aug. 28.
 
 

Business

U.S. Army picks 3 teams to build Infantry Squad Vehicle prototypes-
The U.S. Army has picked an Oshkosh Defense and Flyer Defense LLC team, an SAIC and Polaris team, and GM Defense to competitively build Infantry Squad Vehicles intended to provide ground mobility for infantry brigade combat teams.
 
Swiss seek package deal of ground-based weapons, combat aircraft-
The Swiss government plans to make the integration of combat aircraft and ground-based air defense assets a key benchmark in its planned $8 billion Air 2030 program, according to officials.
 
India-U.S. ‘tailoring’ Predator UAV for multi-service buy-
The Pentagon and India’s Ministry of Defense are working together to “tailor” a standardized version of the Predator B Reaper attack drone for use by all three Indian armed services, with officials actively discussing how to finalize the long-planned sale.
 
NGA re-ups Maxar imagery contract-
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has re-upped its contract with Maxar Industries for access to the company’s web-based platform that allows NGA to disseminate its high-resolution imagery to government customers.
 
 

Defense

Defense secretary declines to speculate whether military is going to build border wall itself-
Two days after Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved the use of Defense Department funds to build 20 more miles of barrier along the U.S. border with Mexico, the Pentagon boss declined to comment on the possibility that President Donald Trump’s border security project could end up completely funded and overseen by the military.
 
U.S. warship sails near South China Sea islands claimed by China-
A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Wednesday, the U.S. military said, a move likely to anger Beijing at a time of rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
 
Compass Call appears to take on new mission-
The Air Force’s EC-130H Compass Call electronic-attack plane has taken on a new role at the intersection of cyber and electronic warfare, according to Capitol Hill researchers.
 
 

Veterans

Authorities investigating ‘person of interest’ in suspicious deaths at VA, senator says-
Multiple investigations have focused on a “person of interest” and possible wrongful injections of insulin in the suspicious deaths of several veterans at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia, according to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va.
 
SecDef says he’ll work with VA on vets’ environmental health concerns-
In his first press conference as defense secretary, Mark Esper said Wednesday he wants to work with Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie to ensure that service members who are ill as a result of military environmental exposures get the support and care they need.
 
Wilkie promises no VA budget cuts in 2021 request-
The head of the Department of Veterans Affairs is promising a robust budget for fiscal 2021, claiming it’s the only Cabinet-level agency the Trump administration has not required to make cuts.
 
National Guard to offer vet center help during drill weekends-
Guardsmen could soon have access to on-site mental health help at their monthly drill weekends as part of a partnership between the National Guard Bureau and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
 
Lawmakers: VA’s main website—designed to be one-stop for vets—is missing critical links-
The newly revamped VA.gov—relaunched in November—was designed to be a one-stop shop, providing veterans with links to any and all information they would need.