May 17, 2012

News Briefs May 17, 2012

Court shoots down $1.4 million tort judgment against Navy

Federal prosecutors say the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated a $1.4 million judgment against the Navy for allegedly disclosing trade secrets on the design of a military craft to a rival.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten says the appellate court ruled May 11 against United States Marine Inc. and VT Halter Marine Inc., Gulf Coast shipbuilders that charged the Navy disclosed designs for a high-speed military vessel to a competitor.

The Justice Department argued the federal Court of Federal Claims should take the case, not a federal district court. The matter nonetheless went to trial in district court and the plaintiffs were awarded $1.4 million.

But the 5th Circuit now says the case needs to be heard by the Court of Federal Claims in Washington and vacated the award. AP


Germany pledges $193 million annual Afghan support

Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany will give Afghanistan $193 million a year to help support its police and military forces after troops from the NATO-led mission leave the country in 2014.

Speaking in Berlin May 16 after signing a partnership agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Merkel said Germany was committed to helping Afghanistan after its forces take sole responsibility for the country’s security.

Karzai said he estimates Afghanistan will need $4.1 billion annually to run its security services, of which it could pay $500 million itself and possibly more as its economy strengthens.

Further pledges are expected at a NATO summit in Chicago May 20 and 21.

Germany currently has some 4,700 troops in Afghanistan. AP


Two Navy ships collide in Pacific; no injuries

The U.S. Navy says an amphibious assault ship and a replenishment tanker collided in the Pacific Ocean but there were no injuries and no fuel spills.

A Third Fleet public affairs statement says the collision between the assault ship USS Essex and the oiler USNS Yukon occurred at midmorning May 16 approximately 120 miles off southern California.

The Navy says an apparent steering malfunction occurred as Essex approached the Yukon for replenishment while under way.

Neither ships’ fuel tanks or systems were compromised, but the Navy says a full assessment of any damage is continuing.

The Essex is due to return to San Diego May 18 after 12 years based in Sasebo, Japan. AP


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Defense cuts could hit civilian workforce

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Air Force photograph by SSgt. William P. Coleman

Training exercises enhance international relations

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Courtesy photograph

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News Briefs – July 30, 2012

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