News Briefs – February 26, 2016

House chairman: Military files, emails deleted amid probe

The House intelligence committee chairman says personnel at U.S. Central Command have deleted files and emails amid allegations that intelligence assessments were altered to exaggerate progress against Islamic State militants.
At a hearing Feb. 25, Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said he expects the Pentagon to provide the documents to the committee.
Nunes also says the Director of National Intelligence briefed the committee on a survey showing that more than 40 percent of Central Command analysts believe there are problems with the integrity of the intelligence analysis.
The Defense Intelligence Agency director agreed that 40 percent is an “unusually high” number.
Stewart and four other officials are testifying about national security threats.
Central Command oversees U.S. military action in the Middle East. AP

U.S. military leader says Okinawa base move delayed 2 years

A controversial plan to move a U.S. Marine Corps base within Okinawa in southern Japan has been pushed back by two years, America’s top military official in the Pacific said.
Adm. Harry Harris, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, said Feb. 23 that the shift of the Futenma air station to a less congested part of Okinawa island would not happen until 2025 because work on a new facility has been delayed.
“It’s slowed,” he told a congressional committee in Washington. “It’s a little over two years late. … Now we’re looking at 2025 before that’s done.”
The project faces stiff opposition from both protesters and the Okinawan prefectural government.
The Japanese government is building the air station, which will extend over the water from another Marine Corps base near the town of Henoko.
Survey work for the new facility is underway, but Japan suspended it for about two months last year in an unsuccessful attempt to work out a compromise with the Okinawan government.
The U.S. and Japan agreed to move the air station from crowded Ginowan city to reduce the burden of the heavy U.S. military presence on Okinawa residents.
Opponents want the base moved off Okinawa entirely.
The U.S. has agreed to shift 8,000 to 10,000 Marines off Okinawa in the 2020s, mainly to Guam and Hawaii, but Harris said that would happen as “a follow-on” to the move from Futenma to Henoko.
“`We have an obligation to defend Japan, and they have an obligation to provide us a place from which to defend them,” he said. “And Okinawa is one of those critical places where we must be in order to meet our treaty obligations to defend Japan.” AP

Airbus profit rises as aircraft deliveries grow

Airbus says earnings grew 15 percent last year as airlines’ demand for the European aerospace and defense giant’s A320 and A330 jets helped boost deliveries and top arch-rival Boeing in the race for new orders.
Airbus made 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion) last year, up from 2.3 billion euros in 2014, the company said Feb. 24.
The maker of the A380 super-jumbo says it expects to deliver more than 650 aircraft this year, up from 635 in 2015. It also forecast a growing order book in 2016, a year after it took in 1,080 orders, well over Boeing’s 768.
Airbus and Boeing have prospered in recent years as suddenly flush airlines ordered hundreds of planes. AP

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