Headlines – July 6, 2020

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White House tentatively agrees to leave some troops in Afghanistan past U.S. election-
Top U.S. commanders believe they have tentative White House approval to leave just over 4,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond November, delaying a full American pullout until after the presidential election.
 
Critics of U.S.-Taliban deal say militants can’t be trusted-
Intelligence that Afghan militants might have accepted Russian bounties for killing American troops did not scuttle the U.S.-Taliban agreement or President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw thousands more troops from the war.
 
 

Business

Space Force walks back stimulus contracts for small launch providers-
Less than two weeks after the U.S. Space Force invoked the Defense Production Act to prop up six small launch providers, those awards have been withdrawn.
 
Australian shipbuilder pushes back against reports of frigate design concerns-
The builder of the Royal Australian Navy’s new Hunter-class frigates has told Defense News that the ship’s design remains “within agreed weight and space envelopes,” despite a recent report in Australian media claiming recent changes have caused concern.
 
Airbus reveals H145M bid plan for Australian special forces helo competition-
Airbus will offer its H145M helicopter on July 11 for Australia’s special operations support helicopter program, the company’s Australia Pacific managing director confirmed July 2.
 
Boeing communications chief resigns over decades-old article on women in combat-
Boeing’s communications chief Niel Golightly has resigned his position, the company said on July 2, following an employee’s complaint over an article the former U.S. military pilot wrote 33 years ago arguing women should not serve in combat.
 
 

Defense

Troops, long-term residents exempt from EU coronavirus travel ban on Americans-
U.S. military personnel bound for assignments in Europe won’t be affected by a new European Union travel ban on Americans, officials said.
 
Troops could see small boost in hazardous duty pay next year-
Service members would see a 10 percent boost in hazardous duty pay next year under a plan approved by a House panel July 1.
 
These major military bases have been greenlit for travel-
As a next step in its gradual reopening strategy following a total travel shutdown due to COVID-19, the Pentagon on July 2 released a list of major bases for which travel restrictions have been lifted.
 
Congress pumps the brakes on Navy, demands answers from OSD-
A new class of unmanned ships proposed by the Navy as a bulwark against growing Chinese and Russian naval might is running into deep skepticism on Capitol Hill, reflecting larger and broad frustration in Congress over the Navy’s stalled modernization push.
 
House slides money into B-21 bomber procurement account-
An amendment to the House version of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill would move some funding for the secretive B-21 bomber program from its research and development account to procurement, a sign that production activities could be picking up.
 
 

Veterans

Veterans compensation, pension exams ramp up even as coronavirus cases rise-
Even as coronavirus cases surge around the country, Veterans Affairs officials are dramatically stepping up their efforts to resume compensation and pension exams to reduce the backlog of about 200,000 disability claims.
 
Veterans’ unemployment saw another small improvement in June-
The unemployment rate among veterans fell for the second consecutive month in June but still sits at more than double the number of jobless veterans reported in March, according to data released July 2 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
 
Will the VA’s hiring gains be maintained post-pandemic?-
Pay and hiring flexibilities established as the Department of Veterans Affairs grappled with providing treatment during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caused the agency to far exceed hiring goals set for 2020.
 
 
 

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