Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald has apologized for making false claims about having served in the the U.S. military’s elite specials operations forces, the latest scandal to hit the besieged department.
The incident, first reported Monday by The Huffington Post, took place last month as the new secretary participated in an overnight count of homeless veterans in the Los Angeles area. The event is an annual survey of the homeless population, with volunteers engaging with individuals living on the streets to learn about their backgrounds and challenges.
“While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his Veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military,” McDonald said in a statement released to Military Times late Monday night. “He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.
The Defense Department released its proposed budget for fiscal 2016 on Monday, asking Congress for $585 billion as part of President Obama’s $4 trillion budget request. The Pentagon’s slice of the pie would amount to a $25 billion increase over this year.
Defense officials are casting that number in a different light, though. As shown in the chart above — included in budget documents released by the Pentagon — the new funding levels proposed by the administration are in line with spending levels in the 1980s, after President Reagan built up the military following steep cuts after the Vietnam War. The message: While the Defense Department doesn’t need to spend as much as it did during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it still needs the cash to prepare for a variety of crises.
“We have little margin left for error or strategic surprise,” Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters on Monday.
WILMINGTON: Female Veteran Shamed for Parking in Reserved Spot - WNCN: News, Weather, Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville
An Air Force veteran who served in Kuwait found a note on her car Friday criticizing her for parking in a veterans-only parking spot in Wilmington.
Mary Claire Caine told WECT-TV that she returned to her car from shopping at Harris Teeter to find a note plastered to her front window from a person identifying themselves as a “Wounded Vet.”
It read, “Maybe [you] can’t read the sign you parked in front of … This space is reserved for those who fought for America … not you. Thanks, Wounded Vet.”
Federal prosecutors recommended that David Petraeus face charges for providing classified documents to his biographer, raising the prospect of criminal proceedings against the retired four-star general and former CIA director.
The recommendation follows a federal probe into how the biographer, Paula Broadwell, apparently obtained classified records several years ago while working on a book about Petraeus. Broadwell also was his mistress, and the documents were discovered by investigators during the scandal that forced Petraeus’s resignation as CIA director in 2012.
Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. must decide whether to pursue charges against Petraeus, the former top U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
A U.S. Navy commander pleaded guilty Tuesday in a massive bribery scheme involving a longtime military contractor in Asia who allegedly offered luxury travel, prostitutes and other bribes to Navy officers in exchange for confidential information.
Jose Luis Sanchez, 42, is the highest-ranking official to plead the guilty in the case, which rocked the Navy when the first charges were filed in 2013. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced March 27.
Sanchez, who lives in San Diego and remains on active duty, was asked to silently read four passages of a 24-page plea agreement and say if the wrongdoing described was accurate.
Interesting new Wiki articles on the very high level Sigma Wargames run by the Pentagon in the 1960’s. The second of the series, the Sigma I-63 wargame, forecast the results of an intervention in Vietnam as:
Sigma I-63 was played in Spring 1963. It was held with senior level officials setting policy for the Red and Blue Teams. Working level officials were the actual players.
Ambassador William H. Sullivan was a participant. His recollection is that Sigma I-63 ended in a fictional 1970 with 500,000 American troops locked in a stalemate in Vietnam, and conscription riots in the United States.
The games in 64, 65 & so on didn’t get any more rosy. Sigma II-64 even predicted accurately that heavy use of air power would only stiffen the resolve of the North Vietnamese.
Sad how reality can be right there in our face yet we refuse to accept it…
Pakistani warplanes and ground forces killed 39 militants as part of an ongoing operation in a volatile tribal region near the Afghan border, the Pakistani military said.
The airstrikes were carried out Friday evening in the Datta Khel area of the North Waziristan tribal region, an army statement said Saturday, adding that an underground tunnel system and a large underground cache of weapons and ammunition were also destroyed.
The military claimed several important militant commanders were among the dead, but didn’t provide further details on the identities of the slain militants.
Also late Friday night, Pakistani troops ambushed a large assembly of militants on the border between the Orakzai and Khyber tribal regions, the statement said.
The U.S. Navy says its new laser weapon works and it will use it if it has to.
The Office of Naval Research reported Wednesday that its laser weapons system — dubbed LaWS — had performed flawlessly in tests aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce in the Arabian Gulf from September to November.
“Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations,” Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, said in a statement. “We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”
A team of U.S. special operations forces conducted a joint raid in a remote region of Yemen to rescue eight hostages being held in a cave by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Elements of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six participated in the daring pre-dawn raid Tuesday in a remote region near the border with Saudi Arabia.
A U.S. official confirmed that about two dozen U.S. special operations forces and a team of Yemeni counterterrorism troops conducted a raid early Tuesday morning near the border with Saudi Arabia that rescued six Yemenis, a Saudi and an Ethiopian. It was unclear how long the hostages had been held by the al Qaeda affiliate.
He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.