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January 31, 2014

News Briefs January 31, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,169

As of Jan. 29, 2014, at least 2,169 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 1,792 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 133 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, 19,638 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

New sensors for JBLM for low-flying helicopters

The Army plans a $4.6 million system at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., to help monitor helicopters that fly below 500 feet – under the radar.

The system will improve safety for training flights at the base where four pilots were killed in a 2011 helicopter collision.

The News Tribune reports the Army hired Saab Defense and Security to build a Wide Area Multilateration system. It would place sensors around the training areas to give air traffic control at Gray Army Airfield a more complete picture of helicopters in flight.

The system has previously been installed at the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California and the home of Navy aviation, Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

Lewis-McChord has 140 helicopters. AP

Systemic personnel problems seen in nuclear corps

U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James says the number of nuclear force officers implicated in a proficiency test cheating scandal has grown to 92 out of a force of 500.

James spoke to reporters Jan. 30 after touring nuclear bases around the country, which The Associated Press has revealed suffer from such low morale and burnout that they have committed serious security lapses and other breakdowns.

James, who is new to the job, said the nuclear force is beset by undue stress and fear, and said the nuclear force suffers systemic problems.

The Air Force announced recently that initially 17 officers were believed to have been involved in cheating on a monthly proficiency test to ensure they know how to maintain, and launch, nuclear missiles. AP

Former Hill AFB worker to prison in bribery case

A 50-year-old Utah man has been sentenced to two years in prison for his role in a bribery scheme at Hill Air Force Base.

Jose Mendez of Farr West pleaded guilty in 2011 to conspiracy, bribery and procurement fraud. He was charged along with the two owners of the Florida-based Atlas International Trading Company.

Prosecutors say Mendez was working as procurement manager at the Ogden base when he was offered more than $1 million in cash and gifts in exchange for favorable treatment in the bidding process.

Mendez admitted to accepting more than $185,000 in cash and gifts, with promises of additional payments if Atlas received future government contracts.

Prosecutors say Mendez shared information about competitors’ bids to Atlas, allowing Atlas to win the contracts. AP




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