World

August 6, 2012

News Briefs – August 6, 2012

Senator ends hold on Air Force chief nomination

A Republican senator has ended his hold on the White House pick for Air Force chief of staff over the service’s response to a widening sex scandal at a Texas base.

In a statement Aug. 2, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said he had met with Gen. Mark Welsh and was pleased with his commitment to investigate.

Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, is the site for basic training for all Air Force recruits. It has been rocked by scandal stemming from accusations of sexual assault.

Lackland has about 500 instructors for some 35,000 airmen who graduate every year. One in five recruits is female, while most instructors are male. AP

 

Southern California Marine base wants to claim off-road valley

A plan to expand a Mojave Desert Marine base would engulf a beloved off-road recreation area.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise says the Navy issued an environmental impact statement that recommends adding some 146,000 acres of Johnson Valley to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms.

That’s about two-thirds of the valley, which currently is the largest off-road vehicle recreation area in the nation.

The Marine Corps says it needs to expand to permit live-fire maneuvers to train larger forces.

Off-road enthusiasts say it would reduce access to an area that draws about 200,000 visitors a year and hosts the popular King of the Hammers race.

The California Off-Road Vehicle Association plans to protest the proposal. Congress will make the ultimate decision. AP

 

Australia rejects proposal to host U.S. carrier

Australia has rejected a proposal by a Washington think tank to base a nuclear aircraft carrier strike group on Australia’s west coast as part of a shift of U.S. military might to the Asia-Pacific region.

A Pentagon-commissioned report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on repositioning U.S. forces in the region suggested relocating an aircraft carrier from the U.S. East Coast to an Australian naval base south of the city of Perth.

But Defense Minister Stephen Smith said Aug. 2 that while negotiations were under way to increase U.S. navy access to Australia’s Indian Ocean base, HMAS Stirling, it would never become a U.S. military base. AP

 

Man pleads guilty in illegal China exports case

A man accused of trying to buy sophisticated military equipment to send to China has pleaded guilty to a federal charge in San Diego. Calif.

U-T San Diego reports Chi Tong Kuok entered a plea Tuesday to conspiracy to violate export laws. Under a plea deal, he’ll face no more than 46 months in prison.

A previous conviction and eight-year sentence were overturned. A federal appeals court said Kuok should have been allowed to put on a defense that the Chinese government forced him to seek the equipment.

Prosecutors claimed that Kuok tried for several years to obtain GPS, communications and other equipment used by the U.S. military that cannot be exported without a license. The investigation began in 2006 and involved a Carlsbad company. Kuok was arrested in 2009. AP




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Ukrainian officers join NATO drills in Bulgaria

NOVO SELO, Bulgaria – Lt. Col. Valeria Parada had a challenge. She and her team were responsible for rescuing people caught up in a dangerous situation around the Black Sea and making sure they received whatever humanitarian assistance they needed. To do that, she first had to learn how to coordinate among the air, navy...
 
 

Republic of Korea Selects Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II

The Republic of Korea has formally selected the Lockheed Martin ) F-35 Lightning II aircraft for its F-X fighter acquisition program.  “We are honored by and appreciate the trust and confidence the Republic of Korea has placed in the 5th Generation F-35 to meet its demanding security requirements. We look forward to supporting the discussions between...
 
 

U.S. will beef up air operations in Poland

More U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons will deploy to Poland in the coming days and weeks, a Pentagon official said March 10. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak spoke yesterday, and Siemoiniak thanked the secretary for looking at options for basing, said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman. “No decision [have been...
 

 

Six F-15s, KC-135 to augment NATO mission in Baltics

Following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s announcement March 5 during Senate testimony that the United States is augmenting its participation in NATO’s air policing mission in the Baltics and will increase joint training through its aviation detachment in Poland, a defense official provided additional information. In a statement provided on background, the official said the United...
 
 

Three U.S. military aircraft hit in S. Sudan, 4 wounded

Gunfire hit three U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate American citizens in a remote region of South Sudan that Dec. 21 became a battle ground between the country’s military and renegade troops, officials said. Four U.S. service members were wounded in the attack in the same region where gunfire downed a U.N. helicopter the day...
 
 

U.S. looks to Asia nations to build their militaries

Lawmakers voiced bipartisan support Oct. 29 for the Obama administration’s strategic pivot to Asia but stressed the need for partner nations to strengthen their military capabilities and contribute more to their own defense. Members of the House Armed Services Committee plan to step up scrutiny of U.S. military policy in the fast-growing region, where despite...
 




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