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February 12, 2014

News Briefs February 12, 2014

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

As of Feb. 11, 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 1,791 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, 19,639 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

Nuke reform drive features ideas tried 5 years ago

Five years ago the U.S. Air Force considered a series of proposals to boost morale and fix other problems in its nuclear missile corps, according to internal emails obtained by The Associated Press. But many fell short or died on the vine.

Now, with the force again in crisis, the Air Force is retracing those earlier steps.

The new effort is more far-reaching, on a tighter timetable and backed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

As a result, this new approach appears to hold more promise for an Air Force under scrutiny after a series of embarrassing nuclear setbacks and missteps.

The earlier effort was launched in 2008-09 and included some of the ideas being floated today by a new set of Air Force leaders, including bonus pay and other incentives. AP

Hundreds rally against Okinawa base move plan

Several hundred people rallied Feb. 11 against a plan to relocate a U.S. military base on the Japanese island of Okinawa ahead of a visit by U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy.

Kennedy was to arrive later Feb. 11 in Okinawa, home to more than half of the 47,000 American troops based in Japan under a bilateral defense pact. She is to meet with Okinawan officials and reportedly see the base relocation site during her three-day visit.

Holding signs that read, ìNo base!î and ìBring democracy to Okinawa,î more than 300 protesters, many of them families with children, marched on the main street of Naha to the sound of drums and music, urging authorities to remove the U.S. bases from the island altogether.

Many Okinawans feel unfairly burdened by hosting many U.S. military facilities on the island, which holds a strategic location in the East China Sea, relatively close to China and Taiwan.

The U.S. has proposed a broad plan to consolidate and reduce its troop presence in Okinawa, including a 1996 agreement to move the Marines Corps Futenma air station, which is in a populated area, to a more remote coastal area called Henoko in Nago City.

But many Okinawans want Futenma closed and moved completely off the island. Opponents filed a lawsuit last week seeking to invalidate the governor’s approval. AP




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