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News Briefs – May 2, 2016

Navy commander sentenced to 78 months in bribery scandal

A Navy commander who fled Cambodia’s killing fields as a boy to grow up to become a decorated U.S. military officer was sentenced April 29 to 78 months in prison for providing classified ship schedules in exchange for the services of prostitutes, theater tickets and other gifts from a Malaysian defense contractor.
A federal judge in San Diego gave Captain-select Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 48, the longest sentence handed out so far in one of the worst bribery scandals to rock the Navy. The contractor overbilled the Navy by more than $34 million.
U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino told the court this offense was “one of the most serious I’ve had on my time on the bench.”
In his plea agreement, Misiewicz acknowledged providing classified information to Leonard Glenn Francis, whose Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA, supplied ships in the Pacific for more than 25 years. Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard” because of his wide girth, used the schedules and inside information to beat out competitors and overbill the Navy by submitting fake tariffs and port fees, according to prosecutors.
Misiewicz and Francis moved Navy vessels like chess pieces, diverting aircraft carriers, destroyers and other ships to Asian ports with lax oversight where Francis could inflate costs, the criminal complaint alleges.
Misiewicz is among 10 people charged in the case, including numerous Naval officials. AP Senate confirms first female officer for warfighting command
 

General Robinson approved for Northern Command

The Senate has confirmed an Air Force general to be the first female officer to lead one of the military’s warfighting commands.
By voice vote late April 28, the Senate approved Gen. Lori Robinson to be commander of U.S. Northern Command. The command is responsible for preventing attacks against the United States.
She has been serving as commander of Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii. She joined the Air Force in 1982 after graduating from the University of New Hampshire.
Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire says Robinson is a trailblazer with the dedication and experience to succeed at Northern Command.
The Senate also confirmed Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti to be the top American commander in Europe and Army Gen. Vincent Brooks to lead U.S. forces in Korea. AP
 

Military disciplines about 16 in Afghanistan hospital attack

About 16 U.S. military personnel, including one general officer, have been disciplined for mistakes that led to the bombing of a civilian hospital in Afghanistan last year that killed 42 people, a senior U.S. official said April 28.
According to officials, no criminal charges were filed and the service members received administrative punishments in connection with the U.S. airstrike in the northern city of Kunduz. A number of those punished are U.S. special operations forces.
And while none was sent to court martial, in many cases a nonjudicial punishment, such as a letter of reprimand or suspension, can effectively end a military career. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Pentagon is expected to release the full report on the investigation April 29.
The hospital, run by the medical charity Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz, was attacked by a U.S. Air Force special operations AC-130 gunship, one of the most lethal in the U.S. arsenal. Doctors Without Borders has called the attack “relentless and brutal.”
Last November, the U.S. military said the crew of the AC-130, which is armed with side-firing cannons and guns, had been dispatched to hit a Taliban command center in a different building, 450 yards away from the hospital. However, hampered by problems with their targeting sensors, the crew relied on a physical description that led them to begin firing at the hospital even though they saw no hostile activity there.
Officials have said the accident was caused by human error, and that many chances to avert the incident were missed.
A separate U.S. report on the incident, obtained last fall by The Associated Press, said the AC-130 aircraft fired 211 shells at the hospital compound over 29 minutes before commanders realized the mistake and ordered a halt. Doctors Without Borders officials contacted coalition military personnel during the attack to say the hospital was “being `bombed’ from the air,” and the word finally was relayed to the AC-130 crew, the report said.
The attack came as U.S. military advisers were helping Afghan forces retake Kunduz, which had fallen to the Taliban on Sept. 28. It was the first major city to fall since the Taliban were expelled from Kabul in 2001.
Afghan officials claimed the hospital had been overrun by the Taliban, but no evidence of that has surfaced. The hospital was destroyed and Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French acronym, MSF, ceased operations in Kunduz. AP

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