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April 9, 2014

News Briefs April 9, 2014

New program would boost veterans in Hill jobs

Members of Congress often urge federal agencies and the private sector to hire military veterans, but a survey suggests they rarely follow that advice with their personal staff.

The survey says veterans made up less than 3 percent of the staff in the congressional offices that responded. The survey was conducted by HillVets, an organization of veterans serving in government.

To boost those numbers, lawmakers announce a new fellowship program. Under the program, veterans will be assigned to a lawmaker’s office, where they will learn about the legislative process and how to assist constituents. The fellows will earn a certificate upon completing the program, which lawmakers say could give them an advantage in finding permanent work. AP

U.S. will cut Air Force nuke missile force by 50

The Obama administration says the number of launch-ready Air Force land-based nuclear missiles will shrink to 400 – the lowest total since the early 1960s – as part of a plan for complying with a U.S.-Russia arms treaty.

The number of those deployed missiles will drop by 50 by February 2018. The Pentagon said Tuesday that the 50 missiles to be removed from their underground silos will be kept on standby rather than eliminated. The missile force has encountered numerous recent setbacks, including an exam-cheating scandal.

The Navy will shed 40 submarine-launched ballistic nuclear missiles, and the Air Force will cut its nuclear bomber force by six.

The reductions will put the U.S. in compliance with the 2011 New START treaty, which allows a maximum of 700 deployed strategic nuclear weapons. AP

Ex-NATO chief: Scottish exit would be cataclysmic’

A former NATO secretary-general says Scottish independence could be ìcataclysmicî for the Western military alliance at a dangerous time for the world.

George Robertson, an ex-British defense secretary and a Scot, said splitting up Britain ìwould rob the West of a serious partner just when solidity and cool nerves are going to be vital.

He told the Brookings Institution in Washington April 7 that ìthe loudest cheers for the break-up of Britain would be from our adversaries.

Robertson said plans by pro-independence politicians to remove Britain’s nuclear-armed submarines from their base in Scotland would make it hard for Scotland to remain a NATO member.

Scotland’s pro-independence Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, April 8 called the comments ìinsulting and offensive.

Scotland is holding a referendum on independence Sept. 18. AP

Iran starts joint naval drill with Pakistan

Iranian state television says Iran has started a joint naval drill with the Pakistani navy east of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which one fifth of the world’s oil supply passes.

The April 8 report did not say how the exercise in the Oman Sea would last.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency reported April 6 that the Pakistani vessels include a warship, a submarine and logistics vessels. It said the Pakistani fleet will leave after four days.

In the past, regional countries have had a presence at similar Iranian maneuvers as observers. AP

Veterans’ sentencing bill passes California Assembly

A bill moving through the state Legislature would urge judges to grant probation and give shorter prison terms to defendants who have mental health problems stemming from their military service.

AB2098 passed the Assembly April 7 on a 70-1 vote. It requires courts to consider post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues in sentencing.

The bill’s author, Democrat Marc Levine of San Rafael, says as many as one in five soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD and are more likely to commit crimes.

California law already requires judges to consider ordering treatment when granting probation for veterans with mental illness.
The bill is one of several that address how to deal with veterans in the criminal justice system. It now heads to the Senate. AP

Boeing expects $50 million Globemaster charge in 1Q

Boeing will take a $50 million charge as it ends production of its C-17 Globemaster III and closes its last assembly facility in Long Beach, California.

The C-17 made its first flight in 1991. It is used to airlift tanks, supplies and troops and perform medical evacuations. It quickly became a war and disaster workhorse, prized for its ability to take-off and land at Spartan airstrips and cover intercontinental distances with a full load and without refueling.

Based on market trends and the timing of orders, Boeing, based in Chicago, says it will finish production of the last Globemasters in mid-2015 instead of late 2015. As a result, the company said April 7 that its first-quarter results will include an inventory charge of about $50 million. AP




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