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May 13, 2013

News Briefs May 13, 2013

Gates: No to direct military involvement in Syria

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he thinks direct U.S. intervention in Syria’s civil war – particularly direct military involvement – would be a mistake.

Gates, who served both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, says he oversaw wars that began with quick regime change ìand we all know what happened after that.

He asks on CBS’ Face that Nation, ìHaven’t we learned that when you go to war, the outcomes are unpredictable?

To those who think intervention might be ìcleanî and ìneat,î Gates says ìmost wars aren’t that way.

He says that if the U.S. were to do anything in Syria, it might be picking opposition groups that the U.S. believes would have some degree of moderation, and providing them with intelligence and basic military equipment. AP

Ohio group to manage drone contest for NASA

NASA has selected an Ohio nonprofit organization to manage a contest aimed at helping unmanned aerial vehicles fly safely in civilian airspace.

NASA said May 10 that it picked Development Projects Inc. in Dayton to run the competition involving the vehicles commonly referred to as drones.

The Dayton Daily News reports the contest is expected to draw competing teams from across the country to fly robotic aircraft in restricted airspace above the Camp Atterbury military operating range in southern Indiana.

The program executive of the NASA Centennial Challenges Program in Washington says the first stage of the competition to start next year will test the unmanned vehicles’ capabilities to avoid aircraft broadcasting their location and direction.

Area officials say getting such a test zone could generate major economic benefits. AP

Former presidential aircraft to hit auction block

An airplane that was once part of the presidential fleet is going on the auction block.

The U.S. General Services Administration says the DC-9 was part of the Air Force Two fleet and at one point may have served as Air Force One, the plane reserved for the president’s use.

The plane is currently being stored at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Ariz.

While it still has the white and blue paint scheme, there is no presidential seal on the side.

The auction begins May 15. The starting bid will be $50,000.

Federal officials say serious buyers can schedule appointments to inspect the plane. AP

Navy to move five coastal patrol ships to Bahrain

The Navy will permanently move five Virginia Beach-based ships, a maintenance crew and the squadron’s command staff to Bahrain beginning next week, officials said May 10.

The movement of patrol coastal ships is being made to meet mission requirements set by the U.S. Fifth Fleet and Central Command, said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Badura, a U.S. Fleet Forces Command spokesman.

The speedy ships can operate in shallow water and perform interdiction surveillance. Each is armed with automatic grenade launchers and a variety of machine guns.

The U.S. possesses 13 of the ships and five of them are already based in Bahrain, home of the Fifth Fleet. The Navy had been manning those ships with different crews that rotated in every six months. But those ships will also be assigned crews that will be based in Bahrain year-round, allowing sailors to move their families there.

The shift alleviates the significant strain placed on the crews and their families while ensuring capacity and capability, the Navy said in a statement announcing the move.

The USS Tempest, USS Squall and USS Thunderbolt will leave Virginia Beach May 14 and arrive in Manama, Bahrain, this summer.

Two other ships are expected to transfer by the spring of 2014. The Navy says three patrol coastal ships will remain stationed in Virginia Beach.

Each ship has a crew of four officers and 24 enlisted personnel. Another 122 personnel attached to a maintenance support team and the staff of Patrol Coastal Squadron One will also relocate to Bahrain. AP

Boeing plans to shed 1,500 IT jobs in Wash.

Boeing plans to shed 1,500 information-technology jobs in Washington state over the next three years.

The Seattle Times reports May 10 that the cuts will affect nearly a third of 4,700 Boeing IT positions in the Puget Sound area, marking another wave of job reductions to hit several corners of the company since March. The IT positions include systems engineers, applications developers and database administrators. The nonunion workers are mostly highly trained, middle-aged and well-paid with good medical and pension benefits.

Boeing spokesman Andrew Favreau says said the cuts will come through a combination of layoffs, attrition from retirements, and relocation of some jobs to two new IT centers Boeing is establishing in St. Louis, Mo., and North Charleston, S.C. AP




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