deptofdefense   18

Trump Ally Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University Has Pentagon Contracts
Just months after President Donald Trump took office, the federal government signed a contract to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jet fuel from a university run by one of the president’s top political supporters.

The Pentagon’s energy procurement arm inked the contract, worth nearly $900,000, with a company called Freedom Aviation on May 9, 2017, and has purchased more than $400,000 in turbine fuel from the company since then. Freedom Aviation is wholly owned by Liberty University, a conservative school in Lynchburg, Virginia, led by high-profile Trump supporter Jerry Falwell Jr.
business  ethics  corruption  military  DeptOfDefense  DonaldTrump  JerryFalwellJr 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Patrick Shanahan: Pentagon chief's ties to Boeing investigated - BBC News
The Pentagon has launched an inquiry into acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan for alleged favouritism to his ex-employer, Boeing.

The Defence Department's inspector general will look into the matter following a complaint from a watchdog group.

Mr Shanahan is accused of frequently praising Boeing in meetings about government contracts and acquisitions.

Mr Shanahan, who denies any wrongdoing, spent 30 years at Boeing.

He rose through the ranks to become a senior executive at the world's biggest planemaker.

Last week Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Pentagon inspector general about Mr Shanahan.
military  DeptOfDefense  usa  politics  government  ethics  boeing  PatrickShanahan 
march 2019 by jtyost2
Funding for Creech, Nellis construction projects at risk if Congress fails to enact DOD budget on time
Congress could prevent funds marked for military construction, including up to $91 million for projects at Creech and Nellis Air Force Bases, from being diverted to the border wall if it approves the Pentagon’s budget before the start of the next fiscal year.

But approving the budget before Oct. 1 could prove difficult without an agreement between Republicans, Democrats and Trump on overall defense and nondefense spending.

“If the Department’s [fiscal year] 2020 budget is enacted on time as requested, no military construction project used to source [border wall] projects would be delayed or cancelled,” the Department of Defense (DOD) said in a release this week, which included a list of projects that could be affected by Trump’s decision in February to declare a national emergency allowing him to divert $3.6 billion of previously appropriated military construction funds to build a wall on the Mexican border.

The office of Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is working with the relevant agencies to get information about exactly which projects are at risk as the list gets winnowed down.

“Our office continues to reach out to the Department of Defense and the National Guard to determine the exact funding at risk in Nevada,” Ryan King, spokesman for Cortez Masto, said in an email Tuesday. “The Senator continues to engage with relevant agencies to understand the specific impacts, though we have no further details to share at this time.”

Rep. Steven Horsford, whose 4th Congressional District includes both Creech and Nellis, said that airmen at the two bases are performing key security operations that should not be cut.
usa  military  government  immigration  DonaldTrump  legal  congress  senate  nevada  DeptOfDefense  from instapaper
march 2019 by jtyost2
Scapegoating Of Africa Failure Underscores Pentagon Incompetence
“Even the former commander, ret. Gen. Don Bolduc, is having his name dragged in the dirt. He was known for outspokenly criticizing his superiors’ failure to properly resource his theater of operations while maintaining operational requirements. His career suffered for it. Nevertheless, he admits his shortcomings while pointing out Joint Staff and Combatant Commands’ failures to properly resource the numerous missions across the African continent.”
DeptOfDefense  NigerAmbush  SpecialForces  Scapegoating 
february 2019 by cbearden
Transgender troops could serve openly under US military plan - BBC News
The US military is considering a plan that would allow transgender people to serve openly in the armed forces.
"The Defence Department's current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty," US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said on Monday.
Transgender people now serve in the military, but their experiences vary.
Over the next six months, a group will study whether lifting the ban will adversely affect the military.
But Mr Carter said the group will begin with the presumption that transgender people should be able to serve openly.
"We have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines - real, patriotic Americans - who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach," Mr Carter said.
In 2011, the US military ended its policy of "don't ask, don't tell" allowing gay people to serve openly. Military officials cited that successful transition when discussing the transgender changes.
However, the repeal of ban raises questions about whether the military would conduct or pay for the medical costs of surgery and other treatment associated with any gender transition.
Military officials said the six-month evaluation period would allow the services to figure out health care and housing and provide training to troops to smooth the transition.
Guidelines require that transgender people be dismissed from the military, but many serve in secret or under supportive commanders.
usa  military  government  DeptOfDefense  legal  civilrights  humanrights  gender  lgbqt 
july 2015 by jtyost2
BBC News - Ukraine crisis: Pentagon 'chief' inclined to send weapons
The White House's pick for defence secretary has said he is "inclined" to send weapons to Ukraine to fight against Russian-backed rebels.

Ashton Carter's remarks came at his confirmation hearing before a Senate panel, as successor to Chuck Hagel.

The US has so far only provided "non-lethal" assistance to Ukraine, like night-vision goggles and radios.

But President Barack Obama is said to be reconsidering his position, accusing Russia of escalating the conflict.

Russia denies accusations by Ukraine and the West of arming the separatists and sending its regular troops across the border.

Fighting has intensified in recent weeks in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions - leaving a September ceasefire in tatters. On Wednesday, three people were killed and many wounded when a shell hits a hospital in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, local officials said.

Fighting also continued around the key government-held town of Deblatseve, north-east of Donetsk.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini appealed for a truce to allow civilians to leave the area
senate  DeptOfDefense  military  government  ukraine  russia  diplomacy  AshtonCarter  usa  congress 
february 2015 by jtyost2
BBC News - Obama nominates Ashton Carter as new US defence chief
US President Barack Obama has nominated former Pentagon official Ashton Carter as new defence secretary.

Mr Carter was previously the Pentagon's chief arms buyer and an assistant secretary of defence under former President Bill Clinton.

His appointment to the post, replacing outgoing Chuck Hagel who resigned last month, now requires approval from the Republican-led US Senate.

Mr Carter received a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford.
usa  military  DeptOfDefense  government  AshtonCarter  SecOfDefense 
december 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - Obama to nominate Ashton Carter as new US defence chief
US President Barack Obama is expected to nominate former Pentagon official Ashton Carter as new defence secretary.

Administration officials told the BBC that Mr Carter heads the White House shortlist to replace outgoing Chuck Hagel who resigned last month.

His appointment now requires approval from the Republican-led US Senate.

Mr Carter was previously the Pentagon's chief arms buyer and an assistant secretary of defense under former President Bill Clinton.

A Rhodes scholar, he received a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University.
usa  military  barackobama  AshtonCarter  DeptOfDefense  ChuckHagel 
december 2014 by jtyost2
Senators urge Pentagon to end systematic faking of its accounts
Four senators have called on the Defense Department to end a practice that involves deliberately inserting false numbers into the Pentagon’s accounting ledgers and financial reports.

The senators sent a letter to Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale urging the Pentagon to stop an accounting practice widely known as “plugging.” The letter, dated June 12, 2014, said that plugs are fictitious dollar amounts inserted into financial ledgers to make it appear that the Pentagon’s books balance.

The letter (1.usa.gov/1kwEY2X) was sent by Charles Grassley, Tom Coburn, Thomas Carper and Ron Johnson. The four senators have been pressing for a solution to severe accounting problems at the Pentagon, whose spending accounts for the largest chunk by far of the annual federal budget approved by Congress. Grassley is the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee; the others hold top positions on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The senators said that plugs, called “reconciling amounts” by the Pentagon, totaled $9.6 billion in 2013 - an 80% increase since 2008. The letter asked Hale and Pentagon Inspector General Jon Rymer to provide the senators with a plan to end the practice, including a specific timetable.

The legislators criticized the Office of the Inspector General - the internal Pentagon unit charged with policing the agency - for using more than $200 million worth of plugs to balance its own accounts. “In order to play a leadership role in financial management reform, the DoD OIG should start by ending the use of plugging in its own financial statements,” they wrote.

The Pentagon’s practice of faking its budget numbers was the subject of a Reuters investigation last year on accounting malpractice at the Defense Department. The Senate letter to Hale and Rymer cited the findings of the Reuters series. (here#article/part2)

“The department will respond to the letter in an appropriate manner,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

Michael Thiem, spokesman for the inspector general, said: “At the office of the inspector general, we are committed to accurate and transparent financial reporting.” He said the office would continue “aggressive oversight” of the Defense Department to improve accounting systems.
usa  DeptOfDefense  military  congress  politics  budget  economics 
june 2014 by jtyost2
Pentagon watchdog 'not aware' of NSA bulk phone data collection | World news | theguardian.com
The Pentagon’s intelligence watchdog said he was “not aware” of the National Security Agency’s bulk domestic phone records collection programs before the Guardian exposed it in June, nor does his office have investigations open into the controversial surveillance.

The admission by Anthony C Thomas, the deputy Defense Department inspector general for intelligence and special program assessments – who has oversight responsibilities on the National Security Agency – comes despite months of public assurances that the NSA’s vast surveillance activities are thoroughly overseen, including by the Pentagon inspector general.

Soon after Thomas discussed his oversight over intelligence with reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday, the Washington Post published a story, based on Edward Snowden’s disclosures, reporting that the NSA can harvest every telephone call made in an unnamed foreign country and store them for up to a month.

Thomas, an Air Force and intelligence veteran who became deputy inspector general in March 2013, said he “can’t quantify” the amount of oversight he performs on the NSA.

“The bulk of that is in reviews that we have done, and in the collaborative work that we have done with the NSA IG,” Thomas said.

“From my own personal knowledge, those programs, in and of themselves, I was not personally aware,” Thomas said.

Thomas said that through access to forums set up with the various defense-related intelligence inspectors general, which include the NSA, “I see their plans” for reviews and investigations over the course of a given year.

“That doesn’t mean that the DOD IG is saying: ‘well, if you look at that, we won’t look at that.’ Certainly not, but it’s more of an ongoing relationship … a constant discussion,” Thomas said, although he does not currently have plans to investigate NSA bulk surveillance.

“If the NSA IG is looking into something and we feel that their reporting, their investigation is ongoing, we’ll wait to see what they find or what they don’t find, and that may dictate something that we may do. In the course of a planning process, we may get a hotline [call], or we may get some complaint that may dictate an action that we may or not take,” Thomas said.

Specifically on bulk NSA surveillance, Thomas said he was “waiting to see the information that the NSA IG brings forward with the investigations that are going on, and what we often do not want to do is conflict.”
nsa  legal  surveillance  privacy  civilrights  military  usa  government  DeptOfDefense 
march 2014 by jtyost2
BBC News - US shutdown: Defence staff told to return to work
Most of the 400,000 US defence department staff sent home amid the US government shutdown have been told to return to work next week.

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said the decision was based on an interpretation of the Pay Our Military Act.

A budget row between Republicans and Democrats has forced the closure of federal services for five days now.

But the sides have now voted to approve back-pay for the 800,000 federal workers sent home without salaries.

In a rare moment of bipartisan co-operation, the House of Representatives on Saturday approved by 407-0 a bill to pay the federal workers once the shutdown ends.

There remains no sign of any deal on the federal budget, however.

Republicans who control the House of Representatives have refused to approve the budget, saying they would only do so if President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law was delayed or stripped of funding.

Mr Obama and the Democrats have refused, noting the law was passed in 2010, subsequently approved by the Supreme Court, and was a central issue in the 2012 election which Mr Obama won.
politics  government  budget  congress  DeptOfDefense  military  usa  shutdown  democrats  republicans 
october 2013 by jtyost2
BBC News - Chuck Hagel: US must not dictate to the world
Shortly after his swearing-in as defence secretary, Chuck Hagel says the US should engage with the world rather than dictating to it.

Mr Hagel told Pentagon employees that the US must lead with its allies.

He made the remarks a day after the Senate approved his appointment following a bruising nomination battle.

Mr Hagel was confirmed by a 58-41 vote after Republicans stalled his nomination, questioning his past positions on Israel and Iran.

He replaces Leon Panetta, who was confirmed unanimously in June 2011.
ChuckHagel  politics  military  usa  diplomacy  DeptOfDefense 
february 2013 by jtyost2
Senate Republicans block vote on Hagel nomination - The Washington Post
Senate Republicans blocked a vote on Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense on Thursday, launching an unprecedented filibuster and a severe rebuke to the White House.

Falling one vote shy of the 60 needed to move forward on the nomination, the Hagel filibuster brought stark condemnations from President Obama and Senate Democrats for its precedent-setting nature -- the first time a defense secretary nominee had been filibustered. The setback came during what many believe is a critical period for the Pentagon as it winds down troops from Afghanistan and implements costly budget cuts.

It was also a hard slap to a former colleague and member of the chamber.

Asked about the Senate vote during an online “fireside hangout,” Obama said that he expects that Hagel will be confirmed. But he slammed Senate Republicans for their “unprecedented filibuster” of a defense chief nominee.
republicans  senate  congress  usa  ChuckHagel  military  DeptOfDefense 
february 2013 by jtyost2
BBC News - Republicans delay Chuck Hagel's defence secretary vote
Republican senators have delayed a vote to confirm President Obama's nominee for US secretary of defense.

They say questions remain about Senator Chuck Hagel but have agreed to an up-or-down vote on 26 February.

Mr Hagel's backers say the US military needs a leader in place while troops remain in Afghanistan and North Korea has just tested a nuclear device.

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is to remain in his post until Mr Hagel is confirmed.

He was approved by the Senate armed services committee in a 14-11 vote along party lines on Tuesday.
ChuckHagel  politics  congress  senate  usa  barackobama  military  DeptOfDefense 
february 2013 by jtyost2
Senate committee approves Hagel bid
A US Senate committee has approved the nomination of ex-Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to be President Barack Obama’s secretary of defence.

The full Senate is expected to take up the nomination this week, though Republican critics have threatened to block a vote.

Mr Hagel’s critics say they are worried by his past remarks and voting record on Israel, Iran and other issues.

If confirmed, Mr Hagel will replace Leon Panetta at the Pentagon.

The 66-year-old former Nebraska senator would be the first Vietnam veteran to run the defence department.
usa  congress  republicans  politics  DeptOfDefense  ChuckHagel 
february 2013 by jtyost2
BBC News - Obama names Hagel and Brennan to lead Pentagon and CIA
US President Barack Obama has named Chuck Hagel to be his next defence secretary and counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the CIA, but the nominations may not go smoothly.

Former Nebraska Senator Hagel's fellow Republicans have accused him of being hostile to Israel and soft on Iran.

Mr Brennan is also under scrutiny over harsh interrogation techniques used at the CIA.

Both appointments must be confirmed by the Senate.

Mr Obama, who has just returned from a family holiday in Hawaii, said at a White House press conference that Mr Hagel was "the leader our troops deserve".
barackobama  politics  cia  military  DeptOfDefense  iran  israel  ChuckHagel  JohnBrennan 
january 2013 by jtyost2
BBC News - US Iraqi police funding condemned
A US government watchdog has criticised a programme to train Iraqi police, saying it could become a "bottomless pit" for American money.

The report said only some 12% of the money spent in 2011 would be spent directly helping Iraq's police.

It also pointed out that the programme had yet to gain the support of the Iraqi government.

President Barack Obama announced last week that all US troops would leave Iraq by the end of the year.

The programme for police training is run by the Department of State, which took over the role from the Department of Defense this month.

The report by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said the Department of State had failed to put a plan in place for assessing the current and future capabilities of the Iraqi police.

"Without specific goals, objectives and performance measures, the PDP (Police Development Program) could become a 'bottomless pit' for US dollars intended for mentoring, advising and training the Iraqi police forces," the report said.
usa  government  police  iraq  military  politics  diplomacy  barackobama  deptofstate  DeptOfDefense 
october 2011 by jtyost2
Senate Backs Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense - NYTimes.com
Leon E. Panetta was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on Tuesday as the new secretary of defense, placing him in charge of the final stage of the withdrawal in Iraq and the Obama administration’s military policy in Afghanistan.

The 100-to-0 vote in favor of Mr. Panetta, a former House member and White House official who most recently served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, showed strong Congressional confidence in his ability to hold what lawmakers described as one of the most demanding jobs in the capital.

“Leon Panetta heading up the Department of Defense is just a home-run choice,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, noting that the strong backing for Mr. Panetta was a rare bipartisan moment.

Mr. Panetta, a native of Monterey, Calif., will succeed Robert M. Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration who is also held in high regard by members of both parties on Capitol Hill.
LeonPanetta  DeptOfDefense  military  usa  congress  politics 
june 2011 by jtyost2

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