Headlines — November 19


Bill honoring 13 service members killed in Afghanistan heads to Biden’s desk
A bill awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the 13 service members who were killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan is headed to President Biden’s desk after the Senate passed the legislation Nov. 17.

On first Africa trip, Blinken confronts questions of US leverage in deepening crises
Speaking about Ethiopia at a news conference on Nov. 17 in Nairobi, he said, “We are deeply concerned about escalating violence, the expansion of fighting throughout the country and what we see as a growing risk to the unity of and integrity of the state.”

Taiwan commissions advanced new F-16s as China threat grows
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen lauded military cooperation with Washington on Nov. 18 as she commissioned the first combat wing of F-16 fighters upgraded with U.S. help to bolster the island’s defenses during rising tensions between Taipei and Beijing.




Protectionist instincts flare as venerable Italian cannon maker goes up for sale
A plan by Italy’s Leonardo to sell off its naval and terrestrial cannon business as well as its torpedo operation has sparked a political row over the rival merits of maintaining national sovereignty and encouraging European integration.

British Air Force hails first-ever test flight using only synthetic fuel
Britain’s Royal Air Force has taken a landmark step towards slashing carbon emissions from its aircraft, announcing Nov. 17 that the service had completed the world’s first flight using 100 percent synthetic fuel together with commercial partner Zero Petroleum.

Businesses worried about cyberattacks during the holidays, report finds
After a year of headline-grabbing ransomware attacks, businesses say they’re worried about the possibility they’ll face cyber intrusions this holiday season, a time when many of their cybersecurity operations rely on skeleton staffing.



Military food insecurity is getting a Pentagon-level review
Advocates and members of Congress have said for years that low military pay is threatening some troops’ ability to feed their families. On Nov. 17, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced a 90-day review to create a strategy for addressing it.

‘We must work harder,’ SECDEF says as Pentagon grapples with civilian casualties of airstrikes
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pledged to review strike procedures to better avoid casualties.

As Pentagon fails 4th audit, officials have ‘no doubt’ it will eventually pass
The inspector general and independent public accounting firms conducted this year’s audit of DOD’s $3.2 trillion in assets and $3 trillion in liabilities.

Navy holds ‘navigation stand-down’ for submarine force after undersea collision
The Navy’s submarine community began a “navigation stand-down” this week following the submarine Connecticut’s collision with an undersea mountain last month in the South China Sea.

Air Force Research Laboratory awards university $1 billion for space technology research
The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Utah State University a $1 billion contract to support space-related research and technology development at its Space Dynamics Laboratory.

Air Force’s B-21 bomber is seen costing $203 billion into 2050s
The U.S. Air Force’s next-generation B-21 stealth bomber program will likely cost taxpayers at least $203 billion to develop, purchase and operate 100 aircraft over 30 years, according to new service estimates.




Veterans military sexual trauma disability claims still not being handled properly: watchdog
Outside advocates say VA officials still need more reforms to ensure sexual assault victims feel comfortable filing cases.

Lawmakers seek to grant subpoena power to VA inspector general
Lawmakers on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee want to grant subpoena power to the federal watchdog for the Department of Veterans Affairs, allowing the office to force people to testify under oath.

VA to target military medics for open health care jobs under new bill
The Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act would create a path for departing military health care workers to be employed in VA hospitals.

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