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June 16, 2014

News Briefs June 16, 2014

Drone training on the rise in New Mexico

Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., is devoting more and more time to training pilots in the use of drones.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the number of students learning how to operate remotely piloted aircraft at the Alamogordo base has multiplied.

Holloman officials say more than 700 people are enrolled in the training program this fiscal year.

That is a significant increase from 136 graduates when the program first began in 2009.

Lt. Col. Calvin Powell, a training squadron commander, says the base still cannot meet the demand from the drones while maintaining enough air crew.

The use of drones in combat missions in Afghanistan and elsewhere continue to draw criticism.

Human rights groups say U.S.-operated drones led to civilians getting killed in two recent attacks in Yemen. AP

Hagel orders U.S. aircraft carrier to Persian Gulf

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered an aircraft carrier – the USS George H.W. Bush – to move from the northern Arabian Sea to the Persian Gulf as President Barack Obama considers possible military options for Iraq.

Hagel’s press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the order will give the president added flexibility if military action is required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq.

Accompany the carrier will be the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun. The ships were expected to complete their move into the Gulf June 14.

The ships carry Tomahawk missiles, which could reach Iraq. The Bush is carrying fighter jets that could also easily get to Iraq, where a fast-moving Islamic insurgency is gaining territory. AP

German president: don’t always rule out military

Germany’s president says his compatriots shouldn’t always reject deploying the military to help resolve conflicts as he underlines calls for the country to take more international responsibility.

German officials have advocated a more active diplomatic role over recent months but remain cautious about military deployments, which are broadly unpopular at home.

President Joachim Gauck told Deutschlandfunk radio in an interview broadcast June 14 that he understands Germans’ longstanding reluctance to take a leading international role but the country is now a solid and reliable democracy. He said that in defending human rights and innocent lives it is sometimes necessary to take up arms.

Gauck, whose position carries moral authority but little day-to-day power, says a military response shouldn’t be ruled out in advance as a last resort in facing aggression. AP




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