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December 11, 2013

News Briefs December 11, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,153

As of Dec. 10, 2013, at least 2,153 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 1,785 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 132 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 two 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, 19,514 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

Air Force: Bird strike caused wreck of $8 million jet

U.S. Air Force investigators have confirmed that a bird strike caused an $8 million jet to crash in Texas during a training flight in July.

Two pilots suffered minor injuries when they ejected from the T-38 Talon before it plummeted to the ground south of Sheppard Air Force Base and burst into flames.

Maj. Christopher Thompson was instructing a member of the German Air Force at the time. They were part of the base’s Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program. The program trains students from nine NATO countries.

Sheppard officials said Dec. 10 the bird struck the jet’s canopy, shattering it and sending fragments into an engine that then failed.

The incident was compounded by the pilots’ attempts to execute a turn that increased drag. The jet lost airspeed, then stalled. AP

Alabama governor creates military study commission

Alabama’s governor has established a commission to study ways to improve services for Alabama’s active military members, veterans and military families.

Bentley created the Alabama Executive Veterans Network by signing an executive order Dec. 10 at the Capitol.

The group will study and evaluate services directed at improving the wellbeing of service members, veterans and their families.

Among the areas it will address are education, employment, health care, homelessness and legal assistance.

Bentley says Alabama is a pro-military state and it is important to help military members whenever possible.

The new group is headed by state Veterans Affairs Commissioner Clyde Marsh, who’s a retired rear admiral, and state Mental Health Commissioner Jim Reddoch, who’s a Vietnam War veteran. AP

U.K. scraps outsourcing of military equipment buying

The British government has scrapped plans to outsource the buying of military equipment due to a lack of bidders for the contract.

Defense Secretary Philip Hammond had sought to privatize the defense ministry’s procurement wing, but it recently emerged that only one bidder was left in the process.

Hammond said Tuesday the plans for privatization were abandoned at a cost of 7.4 million pounds ($12 million) – but that he has not ruled out privatizing military procurement in the future.

He added that he planned to increase private-sector involvement in the defense procurement wing to improve efficiency. AP

Singapore officials to view F-35B at Arizona base

Singapore defense officials visiting an Air Force Base in Arizona will get a look at a type of U.S.-built fighters that the Asian nation may purchase.

Luke Air Force Base officials say at least one F-35B from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma will fly into Luke, a pilot-training base located in the Phoenix area, Dec. 10.

Luke officials say the Singapore officials are at Luke for a training exercise being conducted at Luke and at the Barry M. Goldwater Range in southwestern Arizona.

The F-35B is the short takeoff and vertical landing version of the F-35. It was developed for the Marine Corps and is configured differently than the F-35A version used by the Air Force.

F-35As to be assigned to Luke are expected to arrive in early 2014. AP

Putin vows to beef up Arctic military presence

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s armed forces to expand their presence in the Arctic region as part of efforts to revive the nation’s military might.

Putin, speaking Dec. 10 at a meeting with the top military brass, said beefing up the Arctic forces is among the top priorities for the military.

He emphasized the importance of the Soviet-era base at the New Siberian Islands, which the military started to overhaul this year. Putin also said that Russia will restore a number of Arctic military air bases that fell into neglect after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Putin said that a massive effort to modernize military arsenals will continue next year, when the military will commission 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles, more than 200 military aircraft and two nuclear submarines. AP

California among states vying for Boeing jet production

California is one of at least a half-dozen states vying for Boeing’s attention as the aircraft giant selects a production site for its new 777X jetliner.

Boeing spokesman Doug Alder Jr. said Dec. 10 that states must submit their bids to Boeing by mid-December. The company began receiving submissions this week.

California officials have been tight-lipped about what incentives they are offering to convince Boeing to build the new planes in the state.

Boeing has been turning out C-17s at its Long Beach plant but production is due to stop in 2015.
Supporters point out that Long Beach has easy rail, port and freeway access and a trained aviation workforce and facility.

The state faces competition from at least seven other states from Washington to Alabama. AP




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