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May 12, 2014

News Briefs May 12, 2014

Hagel: Military should review transgender ban

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the military should continually review its policy barring transgender individuals from serving in the military.

Hagel did not indicate whether he believes the policy should be overturned. However, Hagel says every qualified American who wants to serve the country should have that opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do the job.

Transgender individuals have a sexual identity that is not clearly male or female. A panel convened by a think tank at San Francisco State University recently estimated that about 15,450 transgender personnel serve in the military and in the National Guard and Reserves.

In 2010, Congress passed legislation allowing gays to serve openly. Hagel said the issue of transgender people serving in the military is more complicated.

Hagel spoke on ABC’s ìThis Week.î AP

Compromise in dispute between Marines, off-roaders

The Marine Corps and off-road vehicle enthusiasts will share a rugged patch of desert near the military base at Twentynine Palms under a compromise brokered by Congress.

The Los Angeles Times reported May 9 that neither side got all it wanted in the nearly decade-long dispute over 200,000 acres of Johnson Valley adjacent to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.

As included in the 2014 defense bill signed by President Obama, approximately 43,000 acres of Johnson Valley will be for recreational use only. Another 79,000 acres will be for the Marine Corps. And 53,000 acres will be shared between the off-roaders and the Marines.

The Times says just how that sharing will be accomplished has yet to be decided. AP

Former defense contractor sentenced, fined

A former Defense Department contractor escaped prison time after pleading guilty to charges related to the removal of classified materials.

Federal prosecutors say 50-year-old Bruce Schliemann of Virginia Beach was sentenced May 9 to three years of supervised release and was fined $10,000.

According to a statement of facts filed in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville, Va., the retired Navy SEAL was working for a Defense Department contractor in San Diego in 2010.

Officials say in April 2010, Schliemann downloaded classified information from a classified computer in a secure facility to a personal thumb drive. That information was then emailed to employees of another defense contractor in Virginia. The information was then subsequently transmitted to other unauthorized persons. AP




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