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September 13, 2013

News Briefs September 13, 2013

Virginia senators: DOD should reconsider moving AFRICOM

Virginia’s U.S. senators hope a recent Government Accountability Report will reopen the possibility of moving the military’s Africa Command from Germany to Virginia.

Africa Command’s area of responsibility covers the African continent minus Egypt. When the Defense Department created AFRICOM in 2007, it temporarily located its headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Plans to move AFRICOM to Africa were later abandoned, and in January the Defense Department decided to keep AFRICOM in Germany.

A GAO report released Sept. 9 said that decision wasn’t supported by a comprehensive analysis balancing operational and cost benefits.

U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine sent Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel a letter urging him to revisit the decision on AFRICOM in light of the GAO report. In their letter, they said the military-heavy southeast Virginia could accommodate AFRICOM. AP

Czechs ready to extend deal to lease Gripen jets

Czech Defense Minister Vlastimil Picek says he will propose extending the contract to lease 14 JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets from Sweden by at least 12 years.

The Sept. 11 announcement followed tough negotiations. The Czechs were originally not satisfied with a Swedish offer but finally agreed on a proposal to pay 32 percent less. The exact value of the deal was not disclosed.

The lease of the planes for the Czech air force began in 2005 and is due to expire in 2015.

The Czech government originally agreed to buy 24 military jets made by Sweden’s Saab and Britain’s BAE Systems in 2002, but canceled that after devastating floods left the country with a staggering cleanup bill.

It later decided to lease 14 of the same jets in a $1 billion deal. AP

Russia may up Iran arms sales if U.S. strikes Syria

A senior Russian lawmaker says that Russia could expand arms sales to Iran and revise the terms of U.S. military transit to Afghanistan if Washington launches a strike on Syria.

Alexei Pushkov, the Kremlin-connected chief of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, told lawmakers that Russia hopes the U.S. will back Russia’s proposal for Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control for their subsequent dismantling.

During the Sept. 11 debate of a draft resolution on Syria, Communists called for an increase in Russian weapons supplies to Iran and a revision of conditions for transit via Russia of supplies for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Pushkov said action now would be premature, but warned that if the ìparty of warî prevails in Washington, Russia should consider those moves. AP




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