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September 4, 2013

News Briefs September 4, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,133

As of Sept. 3, 2013, at least 2,133 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 1,770 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 128 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 11 were the result of hostile action.

The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is three 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, 19,200 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

Israel says it holds joint missile test with U.S.

Israel says it has carried out a joint missile test with the U.S. in the Mediterranean Sea amid heightened tensions as Washington weighs sea-launched strikes against Syria.

The Defense Ministry said Sept. 3 that it, together with the U.S. Defense Department, had carried out a ìsuccessful testî in the Mediterranean and on an air force base in central Israel.

Russian state-owned news agencies earlier said Russian radar systems had detected two ìballistic objectsî fired from the central Mediterranean toward the eastern part of the sea.

The United States, which has warships in the Mediterranean, is considering strikes against Syria for an Aug. 21 alleged chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb. AP

Japan’s military seeks big boost in defense budget

Japan’s defense minister says the country needs to boost its military spending to counter the potential threat from China’s increasingly powerful armed forces and North Korea’s long-range missiles.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Sept. 3 that Japan cannot afford to be complacent in the face of what he said were significant security issues in the region. His ministry announced last week it is seeking a 3 percent increase in defense spending for the coming year, the biggest increase it has requested in 22 years.

The increase reflects growing concern in Japan that it must move to counter a more assertive Chinese military amid territory disputes. Onodera also said North Korea’s missiles are believed to be capable of hitting targets in Japan and reach as far as the U.S. West Coast. AP

Wisconsin National Guard processing same-sex request

The Wisconsin National Guard has received its first request from a same-sex couple seeking benefits.
Sept. 3 was the first working day that gays in the military may apply for benefits.

Maj. Paul Rickert of the Wisconsin National Guard says one request has come in, and the Guard is processing it in full compliance with the Pentagon’s new rules.

That’s in contrast to what’s happening in Texas. The National Guard there is refusing to process such requests. The commanding general of Texas Military Forces sent a letter saying the Texas Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Wisconsin banned gay marriage in a constitutional amendment passed in 2006 but the state has a domestic partner registry that grants a host of legal rights to same-sex couples. AP

Texas Guard refuses to process same-sex benefits

The Texas National Guard is refusing to process requests for benefits submitted by same-sex couples because of the state constitution’s definition of marriage.

Pentagon officials say Texas is the only state they know of that is turning couples away. Sept. 3 was the first working day that gays in the military may apply for benefits.

Maj. Gen. John Nichols, the commanding general of Texas Military Forces, sent a letter saying that the Texas Constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Nichols says that means his state agency cannot process applications for benefits from gay and lesbian couples. He recommends service members go to a federal installation to apply.

Florida, Michigan and Oklahoma also have bans on gay marriage, but their national guard units are accepting same-sex couples’ applications. AP




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