U.S. military weighs cutbacks in drone programs
The Pentagon for the first time is considering scaling back the massive buildup of drones it has overseen in the past few years. It would be both to save money and to adapt to changing security threats and new areas of operation – such as east Asia – where drones are more likely to be detected and shot down.
If the Pentagon does slow the huge building and deployment program, it won’t affect CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere against terror suspects.
Air Force leaders are saying the military may already have enough unmanned aircraft systems to wage the wars of the future – and the current number may be more than the service can afford to maintain. AP
Obama moves to elevate status of Army in Pacific
The Obama administration is moving to elevate the status of the general who leads soldiers in the Pacific to four stars.
U.S. Army Pacific has been led by a three-star general for years.
The Pentagon said Feb. 11 that President Barack Obama is nominating Third Army commander Lt. Gen. Vincent Brooks to become the new Army Pacific commander and for a promotion to four stars.
Putting a four-star general in charge of U.S. soldiers in the Pacific would put the Army on par with the Navy and Air Force in the region. Both services are led by four-star commanders in the Pacific.
Brooks currently leads soldiers in the U.S. Central Command area.
Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, the current U.S. Army Pacific commander, plans to retire after 34 years of service. AP
Iran keeps door open to military site inspections
Iran’s Foreign Ministry says the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s demands to revisit a military site where Tehran is suspected of conducting nuclear-related experiments are still on the table.
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency arrived in Tehran for talks Feb. 13 in hopes of restarting a probe into Iran’s disputed nuclear program.
The agency in particular wants to visit Parchin, a military site southeast of Tehran, where Iran is suspected of testing components needed to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies any such activity.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that “the discussion over visiting Parchin could be part of a deal” with IAEA inspectors.
Iran and the West are at odds over Tehran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects it aimed at weapons development. Iran denies the charge. AP