Headlines – April 19, 2021

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Rockets hit Balad air base, 2 Iraqi security forces wounded-
Multiple rockets hit an Iraqi airbase just north of the capital Baghdad April 18, wounding two Iraqi security forces, an Iraqi military commander said.
 
U.S. senators propose roadblock for F-35 sale to UAE-
A duo of Democratic senators offered a bill Friday that could block the U.S. sale of F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates after the Biden administration acknowledged it is advancing the Trump-era deal.
 
U.S. can build military facilities in Norway under new defense cooperation pact-
The U.S. and Norway signed a revised defense cooperation agreement April 16 that will allow the Americans to build facilities at three airfields and one naval base in the country.
 
 

Afghanistan

Afghanistan withdrawal plan could involve small troop surge-
The Pentagon is pulling out its old Afghanistan drawdown plans and reworking them for a Sept. 11 deadline, per President Joe Biden’s announcement of the end of Operation Resolute Support on April 14.
 
Afghanistan war cost more than $2T and 240,000 lives, report finds-
When you add up the cost of Defense and State Department funds sunk into Operations Enduring Freedom and Resolute Support, then throw in the cost of caring for the conflicts’ veterans and the interest on the money borrowed to cover it all, you’re looking at over $2 trillion, according to a report released April 16.
 
After troops leave Afghanistan, U.S. will face challenges maintaining counterterrorism capability-
The military and intelligence agencies are racing to refine plans for countering extremist groups in Afghanistan following President Biden’s planned troop withdrawal, but current and former officials warn it will be far more difficult to head off threats to U.S. security from afar.
 
Afghan towns brace for economic, security upheaval as U.S. bases prepare to close-
Over the last 20 years, Bagram and other towns in Afghanistan became dependent on the sprawling U.S. military bases nearby for their economy and their security.
 
No guarantees on Afghanistan after troop pullout, says top Biden aide-
No one can say with any certainty what will happen in Afghanistan once U.S. President Joe Biden withdraws the remaining 2,500 to 3,500 U.S. troops by September 11 to end the country’s longest war, a top White House official said April 18.
 
 

Business

Naval Group delivers French frigate with bolstered capabilities-
Naval Group has delivered the FREMM Alsace, the first multimission frigate with enhanced air defense capabilities, to the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation, which received it April 16 in the Mediterranean port of Toulon on behalf of the French Navy.
 
 

Defense

Eight cadets at West Point expelled for cheating, over 50 set back a year-
West Point officials have expelled eight cadets and required more than 50 others to repeat a year of instruction after the most extensive cheating scandal in more than 40 years at the Army’s renowned academy with a reputation for moral rectitude.
 
Biden wants Congress, not courts, to decide on adding women to military draft-
The Biden administration has asked the Supreme Court to let Congress resolve the potential constitutional problem of a male-only draft.
 
SOCOM keeps pushing for new ‘armed overwatch’ aircraft-
Despite hurdles, Air Force Special Operations Command is still gung-ho about purchasing a replacement for its U-28A Draco manned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform that will also be able to offer air support to commandos on the ground in austere regions.
 
Navy, Marines push plans to transform how they fight-
The Navy and Marine Corps are testing radically new ways of operating in the Pacific by sending experimental unmanned ships into an ambitious exercise next week. Underpinning that exercise is an ambitious new plan for island-hopping that demands a fast implementation timeline.
 
 

Veterans

Ceremony heralds opening of WWI Memorial in Washington-
The new World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., opened to the public April 17, and its launch was marked by a ceremony and flag-raising in honor of the 4.7 million veterans who served in what’s known as America’s Great War.
 
Bill would give U.S. vets of 1966 Spain hydrogen bomb accident benefits-
U.S. veterans who were exposed to radiation while responding to a 1966 hydrogen bomb accident in Spain would be made eligible for disability benefits that have been denied to them for decades by the Department of Veterans Affairs, under legislation introduced in Congress on April 15.
 
 
 

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