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November 27, 2013

Headlines November 27, 2013

News:

Rules of engagement limit the actions of U.S. troops, drones in Afghanistan -

The new U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement adds restrictions on already bureaucratic rules of engagement for American troops by making Afghan dwellings virtual safe havens for the enemy, combat veterans say.

NASA under fire for bonus payments to contractors -

The internal watchdog for NASA says the nation’s space agency has doled out tens of millions of dollars in bonus money to its contractors without even first making sure whether they had done the work well or not.

 

Business:

Pentagon approves BAE sale of F-16 upgrades to South Korea -

The Defense Department has approved a deal under which the U.S. unit of BAE Systems would upgrade 134 older F-16 fighter jets for South Korea, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Nov. 25.

German union threatens further industrial action at EADS -

Germany’s powerful IG Metall labor union warned it may call on workers at EADS to take further industrial action to protest the European aerospace company’s planned restructuring.

 

Defense:

Army releases RFP for new armored vehicle -

After releasing several draft request for proposal documents over the past year, on Tuesday the Army finally released the final specs for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle’s engineering and manufacturing development phase.

New agreement gets Pentagon closer to clearing airwaves for sale -

The Defense Department has reached an agreement with the broadcasting industry on sharing some radio airwaves, making progress toward President Obama’s goal of clearing more valuable spectrum for mobile networks.

Stars and Stripes forever? Pentagon may fold historic newspaper -

Stars and Stripes – the venerable military publication that has chronicled the heroism of America’s fighting men and women since the Civil War – could be on the budget-strapped Pentagon’s chopping block.

 

Space:

SpaceX postpones launch of SES TV satellite -

SpaceX had to postpone its latest launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Nov. 25.

Birth, death of stars captured by Very Large Telescope -

A new image has captured the birth and death of stars in one of our closest galactic neighbours – the Large Magellanic Cloud. It also shows the remnants a supernova explosion caused by the death of a massive star that has run out of fuel.

U.K.-built video camera launches to ISS -

A Russian Progress freighter has launched to the International Space Station carrying a pair of U.K.-built Earth observation cameras. One of the imagers is a high-resolution video unit that will return short snatches of the planet’s surface up to about 150 times a day.

China to land first Jade Rabbit Moon probe next month -

Chinese officials say they intend to land the country’s first unmanned probe on the Moon next month. The probe has been named Yutu or “Jade Rabbit”, after the character that Chinese folklore says lives on the Moon’s surface.

 

International:

China says it monitored defiant U.S. bomber flights -

China said Nov. 27 it monitored two unarmed U.S. bombers that flew over the East China Sea in defiance of Beijing’s declaration it is exercising greater military control over the area.

Afghanistan’s Karzai meets with U.S. security adviser Susan Rice following rebuff -

Susan E. Rice, the White House national security adviser, met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai Nov . 25 in Kabul, while the Pentagon urged the leader to change his mind and sign a security pact that would allow thousands of U.S. troops to stay in the country beyond a 2014 withdrawal deadline.

John Bolton: Iran deal an “abject surrender” for America -

John R. Bolton, ambassador to the United Nations in President George W. Bush’s administration, isn’t pulling punches about the United States’ forged agreement with Iran: It’s a poor deal.

China demands U.S. butt out of island dispute with Japan -

China said the United States has no business butting into a territorial dispute it’s having with Japan, and that America better back off making “inappropriate remarks,” Chinese authorities warned.

 

Viewpoint:

Is Pentagon defending the nation or its budget? -

“All warfare is based on deception.” – Sun Tzu. However, self-deception is not useful or desired – and yet that is what we see coming out of the Pentagon: a willful blindness on the need to reform and perform. And the mixed messages coming out of the Pentagon regarding readiness and the budget appear to me to be a symptom of self-deception.

DOD’s self-inflicted wound -

In the fall of 1996, when I was at the Naval Academy, we had been rocked by scandal after scandal. Car theft rings. Drug rings. Child molestation. High-profile midshipmen indicted for sexual assaults. Killer cheerleaders. Even the perpetually perky Katie Couric grilled our superintendent, Adm. Charles Larson, in a national TV interview. After six months of this, we were worn down and hated the media for misrepresenting us at every turn.




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Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

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