World

June 13, 2012

News Briefs June 12, 2012

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 1,875

As of June 12, 2012, at least 1,875 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.

At least 1,561 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

Outside of Afghanistan, the department reports at least 114 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 12 were the result of hostile action.

The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is one more than the department’s tally.

The Defense Department also counts three military civilian deaths.

Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 16,368 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

 

Iran begins designing nuclear submarine

A semiofficial Iranian news agency is reporting that the country has begun to design its first nuclear submarine.

The June 12 report by Fars quotes the deputy navy chief in charge of technical affairs, Admiral Abbas Zamini, as saying Iran has begun “initial stages” of designing the nuclear-powered craft.

Zamini says Iran has developed “peaceful nuclear technology” and has both the capability and the right to build a submarine.

Iran and the West are odds over Tehran’s nuclear program. The U.S. suspects it is aimed at developing weapons technology, a charge Iran denies.

Iran has domestically built several small submarines over the past years. It has recently overhauled one of the three non-nuclear Russian Kilo-class submarines it bought in 1990s. AP

 

British troops learning of job losses

Britain’s defense secretary says thousands of troops are being told if they will lose their jobs amid the country’s austerity measures.

Philip Hammond said June 12 that about 4,100 military staff would be lost as the defense ministry conducts a second round of job cuts.

Britain has announced that it will cut a total of 17,000 troops and 25,000 civilian staff. It means the country’s army will number about 82,000 by 2015.

A fleet of jets, an aging aircraft carrier and 40 nuclear warheads are also being lost amid an 8 percent cut to the military’s annual $58 billion defense budget over four years.

Prime Minister David Cameron is driving through a four-year program of about $126 billion of cuts to government spending. AP

 

Air Force ‘boneyard’ workers take early retirement

For the first time in several years, the U.S. Air Force’s “boneyard” in southern Arizona is cutting jobs.

The Arizona Daily Star reports 62 civil-service workers have accepted early-retirement offers as part of a plan to downsize a division of the U.S. Air Force that oversees aerospace maintenance.

The group is one of Tucson’s largest employers, accounting for more than 850 full-time jobs. Workers are responsible for maintaining or retiring old aircraft at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

The group added 245 positions in 2010.

Military officials say the amount of work typically fluctuates and two maintenance contracts are about to end. AP

 

Lackland ousts 35 instructors amid sex scandal

The Air Force has removed nearly three-dozen instructors in less than a year at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, including several accused of sexual misconduct with female cadets.

The San Antonio Express-News reported June 12 that the 35 instructors who lost their jobs make up about 8 percent of those responsible for training 36,000 recruits at Lackland. The newspaper obtained the number of removals through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Among those removed is SSgt. Luis Walker, who is accused of illicit conduct with 10 women on the base and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

Col. Polly Kenny, a staff judge advocate for the 2nd Air Force in Biloxi, Miss., said the majority of the 35 removals were for infractions other than sexual misconduct. AP

 

Consider tax hikes to spare military

The Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee says Republicans who want to spare the military from devastating across-the-board spending cuts must be willing to consider closing tax loopholes and raising rates to boost revenue.

Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan told reporters June 12 that Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, must abandon their no tax increase pledge. Levin said the only way to reduce the deficit and protect the military from the automatic cuts in January is with additional revenue.

Levin described several tax loopholes that could be closed to direct billions more dollars to the U.S. Treasury. The Democrat also was willing to consider changes in the entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare as part of any solution. AP




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