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Pentagon

The Takeaway

US and Other Countries Rely More on Drones

Monday, October 10, 2011

The United States military is increasingly relying upon remotely piloted drones to carry out tactical missions in the war in Afghanistan. Other countries, such as Pakistan and Yemen, are also using drones in battle more often. A drone killed the American-born, Yemen-based al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki last month, and before that the United States used them to gather intelligence on Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound. With the increasing prevelance of drones, and the fact that they have killed both militants and civilians, some people are worried that a dangerous global drone arms race may be beginning.

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The Takeaway

Boston Man Accused of Bomb Plot in Washington

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Law enforcement officials accused a 26-year-old man from a town west of Boston of plotting to blow up the Pentagon and the Capitol Building with a remote-controlled aircraft fitted with explosives. Officials said Rezwan Ferdaus, who has a physics degree from Northeastern University, has also provided resources to Al Qaida to aid in attacks on American soldiers overseas.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Backstory: Hollywood & The Pentagon

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Hollywood and the Pentagon have a long history of cooperation. On today’s Backstory segment David Sirota, a journalist radio host and author of Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now, examines how the Department of Defense leans on major studios to change their scripts in ways that promote militarism.

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The Takeaway

Pentagon Seeks Overhaul in Military Benefits

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

An influential Pentagon panel is eyeing the most radical overhaul of military retirement benefits in 50 years. In its plan the Defense Business Board proposes doing away with the traditional pension program for any members serving 20 years, and replacing it with a 401(k)-style account with government contributions. The DBB says the current pension system is unaffordable and, if the new plan were implemented, it would save the Pentagon a quarter of a trillion dollars over twenty years.

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The Takeaway

Two Weeks in the Job, Panetta Changes Tone at Pentagon

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leon Panetta began his term as defense secretary on July 1, 2011. In the less than two weeks since, he's already visited Iraq and Afghanistan and set a new tone — and agenda — for the Pentagon. Though he was friendly with his predecessor, Robert Gates, Panetta has not been shy about publicly changing the goals for America's two wars. 

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The Takeaway

What Does Cyber War Look Like and Who Stops It?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Pentagon has worked to streamline how the United States would engage in cyber warfare and to define the rules of cyberwar. At the same time, there is talk about how to protect the U.S. from cyber attack. Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies and former acting senior director for cyberspace at the National Security Council is familiar with this conversation. She looks deeper into what the rules of engagement are and how to protect a country from attack.

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The Takeaway

Pentagon Says Cyber Attack Can Be Cyber War

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Pentagon has said a cyber attack coming from another country can be interpreted as an act of war and that the U.S. might respond with military action, according to a new report in The Wall Street Journal. Unclassified portions of the new strategy are expected to be published next month. Siobhan Gorman, Intelligence Correspondent at the Wall Street Journal reported the story. She explains the challenges in this new policy and how you apply a policy of deterrence in cyber space.

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It's A Free Country ®

National Security Switch

Friday, April 29, 2011

WNYC
Petraeus is not popular with the Pakistani Armed Forces and intelligence services, there’s been a lot of friction between them… My assumption is that President Obama decided that was a cost he was willing to bear.

Stephen Walt, professor of international affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, on The Brian Lehrer Show.

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The Takeaway

Will Drones in Libya Help Overthrow Gadhafi?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Armed drones will soon fly in Libya in order to help enforce the no-fly zone in place there, the White House announced last week. Drones have been a controversial military weapon over the past few years, and a new study by the British Defense Ministry, believes new technologies, such as drones, may mean we resort to military conflict much sooner and easier than before. Are drones really a useful tool in military conflict or do they just serve to escalate the situation? 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Women in Combat

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rachel Martin, NPR national security correspondent, discusses the realities of women in combat and the debate over whether the Pentagon should officially integrate women into front line ground combat.

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The Takeaway

Gates, Rumsfeld and Pentagon Served Class-Action Suit

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor Donald Rumsefld are being accused of turning a blind eye to sexual harassment charges against women in the military, and they are now being sued. Seventeen current and former members of the military claim that this behavior by the Pentagon led to violence against women being tolerated. This meant that their Constitutional rights were violated. Jesse Ellison, writer and editor for Newsweek, and the author of blog Equality Myth, has the details of this lawsuit.

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The Takeaway

'The Great Game: Afghanistan' Performed for the Pentagon

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The audience at Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, D.C. usually buys tickets for Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde. But today’s performance — and the audience in line to see it — is completely different. In 2009, London’s Tricycle Theater performed “The Great Game: Afghanistan,” a seven-hour series of twelve plays commissioned by the theater’s director, Nicholas Kent. Last October, the Pentagon requested that Kent bring the play to Washington for two special performances. "The Great Game: Afghanistan" opens today for an audience that includes Pentagon staff, Afghan war veterans and President Obama’s advisers on Afghanistan

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Biden, LaHood to Tout Infrastructure In Philly Today, Pentagon Blamed For Traffic Congestion, and Miami Beach Looks At Sharrow Program

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Takeaway looks at why equal rights in public transit are still an issue in this country -- yes, I'm talking about TN's documentary Back of the Bus.

The government plans to release the findings of its investigation into reports of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles today. (AP via Boston Globe)

The Pentagon should foot more of the bill for fixing traffic problems around military bases that are receiving thousands of new workers under a national realignment plan, a report commissioned by Congress said yesterday. "Though the closings were nationwide, nowhere has the impact on transportation been more profound than in the Washington area. Citing security concerns, the Pentagon relocated thousands of the jobs from inner-hub locations served by public transit to areas accessible only by car." (Washington Post)

President Obama talks infrastructure with the US Chamber of Commerce: "We have ... outdated, inadequate infrastructure.  And any of you that have been traveling to other countries, you know it, you see it, and it affects your bottom lines.  That’s why I want to put more people to work rebuilding crumbling roads, rebuilding our bridges. That’s why I’ve proposed connecting 80 percent of the country ... to high-speed rail."

And VP Joe Biden will be in Philadelphia today with USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood to talk about roads and rail. (Times-Leader)  (See more TN coverage on this visit here.)

How'd you like this to be your morning commute? A zip line strung 1,200 feet over a Colombia ravine. But it saves several hours of hiking for the locals. (Slate)

A east side NYC Council member gives Manhattan's M15 Select Bus Service a "B-" on a report card. As in "needs improvement." (NY1)

Miami Beach is studying how effective their sharrow - shared road - program is, in hopes that it's made bicycling safer. (Miami Herald)

Winter's storms may have already cost airlines more than $6oo million, as tens of thousands of flights were cancelled from Boston all the way to Austin, Texas. Adding to their difficulties, airlines are also grappling with rising fuel costs. (NPR)

Boston says aging equipment is to blame for rail delays this winter: Their oldest cars, on the Orange and Green Lines, suffered the most delays. The Blue Line, with cars ordered just four or five years ago, had few delays in the cold. (WBUR)

As part of a study on how electric vehicles affect the grid, 300 homeowners and early adopters of EVs in the Carolinas will be receiving free charging stations from their local energy providers.(Inhabitat.com)

Good asks, with trepidation: Is the YikeBike the new Segway?

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: Initial reaction to the Gateway tunnel (think 'son of ARC') is positive. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he's not going to be leading the city's congestion pricing charge. And: we take a look at the psychological underpinnings of NY's bike lane battles.

Follow Transportation Nation on Twitter.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Anthony Shaffer: On the Frontlines of Afghanistan

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer was part of the “dark side of the force” in Afghanistan, the shadowy elements of the U.S. government that function outside the bounds of the normal system. In Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan and the Path to Victory, he tells the story of what really went on—and went wrong— in Afghanistan. He also addresses why the Pentagon has destroyed copies of the book.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Operation Dark Heart

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer was part of the “dark side of the force” in Afghanistan, the shadowy elements of the U.S. government that function outside the bounds of the normal system. In Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan and the Path to Victory, he tells the story of what really went on—and went wrong— in Afghanistan. He also addresses why the Pentagon has destroyed copies of the book.

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The Takeaway

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Hangs in the Balance

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today the Senate holds a procedural vote on whether a sweeping defense appropriations bill — which allocates money for conflicts overseas as well as program cuts at home — makes it to the floor. As any Lady Gaga fan likely knows, this morning, the legislation's most visible component is a proposed repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Gaga has been calling for a repeal of the policy on her Twitter account and elsewhere, and traveled to Maine yesterday to speak at a rally organized by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Why Maine? Maine's Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (as well as Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown) could play an important role in allowing the bill to move forward.

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The Takeaway

Federal Judge Rules 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Unconstitutional

Friday, September 10, 2010

A federal judge in California overturned the 17 year old policy that affects the ability of gay men and lesbians to serve in the military late on Thursday. Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled the policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" unconstitutional, saying the rule violates the rights of gay people and has a "direct and deleterious effect" on the military. Don't Ask, Don't Tell bars gay people in the armed services from disclosing their sexual orientations.

Judge Phillips said she would issue an injunction barring the government from enforcing the rule. Legal observers expect the decision to be stayed pending an appeal.

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The Takeaway

WikiLeaks Founder Defends Document Release

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

92,000 cryptic reports that offer an hour-by-hour, and sometimes a minute-by-minute, look at the U.S. Army’s actions in Afghanistan were leaked this Sunday by WikiLeaks, a European news organization devoted to uncovering secrets of all kinds. The documents were shared with The Guardian, The New York Times, and Der Spiegel weeks ago, and made public in those papers, and on the Internet, on Sunday.

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The Takeaway

Pentagon Policy Threatens Fragile Agreement with Journalists

Friday, July 09, 2010

John Burns of The New York Times set up a very disturbing notion of media dynamics in the wake of the Rolling Stone demise of Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Clearly Burns believes that McChrystal was a real asset in the Afghan military campaign and is being sacrificed because of the Michael Hastings story in Rolling Stone. Burns seems to think that Hastings took nuanced moments to create a portrait of military commanders contemptuous of their civilian colleagues. The piece challenged the principle of civilian control of the U.S. Military. Burns believes the piece may have ended a longstanding relationship between journalists and military leaders as a channel for much needed information over time. By taking what Burns seemed to suggest were “off-the-record” moments and using them to support the Rolling Stone “Runaway General” premise, Hastings has made it difficult for reporters to get the real story of what is going on in Afghanistan and Iraq or at the Pentagon generally, from here on out.

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The Takeaway

Pentagon Tightens Rules on Military Interaction with Media

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Pentagon has created new rules governing the military's interaction with the media, following Gen. Stanley McChrystal's loose-lipped appearance in Rolling Stone. Yesterday, for the first time since the controversial new rules were announced, Defense Secretary Robert Gates faced the press. 

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