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September 30, 2013

News Briefs September 30, 2013

No. 2 nuke commander suspended amid casino probe

Officials say the No. 2 officer at the military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces is suspected in a case involving counterfeit gambling chips at a western Iowa casino and has been suspended from his duties.

Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina has not been arrested or charged. Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent David Dales says the state investigation is ongoing.

Giardina has been the deputy commander at U.S. Strategic Command. A military spokeswoman says he was suspended on Sept. 3 and is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Strategic Command is located at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb.

Dales says that law enforcement agents stationed at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, located near Omaha, discovered the counterfeit chips. AP

Plan to add civilians to military housing on hold

Officials say a proposal to open Fort Gordon, Ga., housing to civilian employees and retired members of the military has been suspended.

The Augusta Chronicle reported Sept. 27 officials first want to search for ways to rent more homes on post to active-duty personnel and their families.

Fort Garrison Commander Col. Sam Anderson says an earlier announcement that retirees and civilian Department of Defense employees are now eligible to rent homes on post was premature.

Anderson says his office is working with the family housing provider at Fort Gordon to develop a plan that will generate a residential occupancy rate of 95 percent or higher on post without needing civilian or retiree tenants.

Officials estimate Fort Gordon has a residential population of 2,800 families, enough for a 94 percent occupancy rate. AP

Pentagon: Fresh look at stopping insider attacks

A top Pentagon official says the U.S.-led military command in Afghanistan is taking a fresh look at measures designed to prevent insider attacks in which Afghan troops turn their guns on their U.S. and coalition partners.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Friday that the preventive measures taken in 2012 are being re-examined after two recent insider attacks – one last Sept. 21 that killed three Americans and another Sept. 26 that killed one American.

Speaking in an interview with a small group of reporters, Carter said the top U.S. commander in Kabul, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, wants to determine whether this is a temporary spike in attacks or a lapse in protective measures. Last year, more than 60 coalition troops – mostly Americans – were killed in such attacks. AP

Lockheed Martin lifts buyback authorization

Lockheed Martin is raising its buyback authorization by $3 billion. The security and aerospace company is also increasing its quarterly dividend by 16 percent.

Lockheed Martin said Sept. 26 that the repurchase program does not have an expiration date.

The dividend of $1.33 per share will be paid on Dec. 27 to shareholders of record on Dec. 2.

The Bethesda, Md., company said that this is the 11th straight year of a double-digit increase in its quarterly dividend. AP

Norwegian Air Shuttle grounds Boeing 787

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA on Saturday became the latest airline to ground a Boeing 787 so that officials from the American company can examine what appears to be a technical problem.

Norwegian spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen said Sept. 28 that the plane has not been reliable enough and passengers have been subjected to too many delays. He declined to identify the technical glitches encountered.

In the meantime, the Scandinavian low-cost carrier will lease an Airbus A340 to fly on its two new long-haul destinations between Stockholm, Sweden, and New York and Bangkok.

In an email, Boeing said it had agreed to implement a number of enhancements to improve the airplane’s in-service reliability, and that the jet would be out of service for a matter of days.

We are working tirelessly to provide support to Norwegian, the statement said. We regret the inconvenience and disruption caused to the airline and its passengers as a result of this process.

Norwegian Air Shuttle has ordered eight 787s and received two. AP




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