Headlines – November 18, 2020

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NATO chief raises alarm over possible US troop drawdown in Afghanistan-
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO would “face a difficult decision” should the U.S. decide to withdraw from Afghanistan.
 
German defense leaders have ‘feelers out’ on sudden US withdrawal from Afghanistan-
Governments in Germany and other NATO states are alarmed by reports of a significant U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan during the final weeks of the Trump administration.
 
Pentagon plan calls for pulling all troops from Somalia-
A White House plan to reduce the number of U.S. forces in conflict areas includes removing more than 700 troops based in Somalia, where the military in recent years has expanded operations against al Qaeda-linked fighters, news reports say.
 
 

Business

Spanish Army selected Elbit Systems to supply software-defined radios-
Israeli firm Elbit Systems will provide E-LynX software-defined radios to the Spanish Army after the service awarded a contract to Elbit’s partner Telefonica, according to a report in Spain confirmed by Elbit.
 
Lithuania signs for Black Hawk helos-
Lithuania signed for four Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk transport and utility helicopters on 13 November, the country’s Ministry of National Defence announced.
 
 
Defense

Formal NDAA talks to begin under shadow of Confederate renaming issue-
U.S. House and Senate conferees will meet Nov. 18 to wrangle over the massive 2021 defense authorization bill, but they still face potentially bill-derailing fights over whether to keep plans requiring the retitling of Confederate-named bases and regarding an Afghanistan drawdown.
 
U.S. Navy destroyer shoots down an ICBM in milestone test-
The U.S. Navy has shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean with an SM-3 Block IIA missile in a milestone test that demonstrated a potential scheme to defend Hawaii, the Missile Defense Agency announced Nov. 17.
 
U.S. Navy says hypersonic weapons coming to subs in 5 years-
The Navy is on track to field a hypersonic strike weapon on submarines by 2025, the head of the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs said Nov. 17.
 
U.S. Air Force chief’s top modernization priorities aren’t what you think they are-
The U.S. Air Force is spending tens of billions of dollars every year to buy new aircraft, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, KC-46 tankers, the T-7A trainer jet and more.
 
 

Veterans

Arlington National Cemetery canceled an event over virus concerns. Trump overrode them-
On Nov. 16, after evaluating plans to hold a large annual event in the midst of an escalating pandemic, Arlington National Cemetery canceled the event planned next month, saying it could not mitigate the risk to thousands of visitors and cemetery staff.
 
VA disability claims backlog spiked to 300,000 during pandemic-
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a backlog of about 300,000 new disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the head of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) said Nov. 17.
 
 
 

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