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Pentagon is blocking U.S. cooperation with international investigations of war crimes in Ukraine


The Defense Department is blocking efforts by the U.S. government to share evidence of possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine with the International Criminal Court, a senior U.S. diplomat told lawmakers Wednesday.

Beth Van Schaack, the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice, said at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Pentagon continues to hold up U.S. cooperation with the Hague court in its investigations of suspected atrocities in Ukraine.


Colbert I. King: On this Memorial Day, take a moment to remember service and sacrifice

Memorial Day

I don’t know where I will find myself on Monday when taps are played at the National Memorial Day program at Arlington National Cemetery. But count on this: I won’t be partying it up at a backyard barbecue bash or dashing from store to store in a shopping mall catching doorbuster sales.

I also can’t say whether I will devote an hour or minutes to remembering the fallen. But I know with certainty that some time will be spent giving thanks for the men and women who shed their blood and sacrificed their lives in service to the United States. They were brothers and sisters in a military uniform that I proudly shared as a commissioned officer in the Army.

At his dedication of the battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln spoke of the sacrifice of the fallen troops as having given “the last full measure of devotion” to the nation. Generations have given their all. A few of them were college classmates and fellow ROTC graduates who returned home from Vietnam in flag-draped coffins. There will be no picnics for any of them. They won’t be joining any trips to the mall. Or family get-togethers. They, and the more than 65,000 U.S. service members who were killed in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, will never know what it’s like to get a day off the job, to gas up the car and hit the road.


Kamala Harris will become the first woman to give a West Point commencement speech

Kamala Hais to give WP speech

Vice President Kamala Harris will deliver the keynote speech at West Point's graduation ceremony on Saturday, making her the first woman to give a commencement address in the military academy's 221-year history.

"We are honored to have the Vice President as our commencement speaker," said West Point's superintendent, Lt. Gen. Steven W. Gilland, in a statement. "As an accomplished leader who has achieved significant milestones throughout her career, we look forward to her inspiring remarks to our cadets."

Traditionally, vice presidents have delivered the commencement speech to graduating classes at U.S. military academies.

Last year, Harris gave the commencement address to U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduates, and in 2021, she became the first female commencement speaker at the U.S. Naval Academy.


Leaders Let Problems Mount at Brutal SEAL Course, Navy Finds

Brutal Navy Seals Program Allowed to Continue

The notoriously grueling Navy SEAL selection course grew so tough in recent years that to attempt it became dangerous, even deadly. With little oversight, instructors pushed their classes to exhaustion. Students began dropping out in large numbers, or turning to illegal drugs to try to keep up.

Unprepared medical personnel often failed to step in when needed. And when the graduation rates plummeted, the commander in charge at the time blamed students, saying that the current generation was too soft.

Those are the findings of a lengthy, highly critical Navy report released on Thursday, detailing how “a near perfect storm” of problems at the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course, known as BUD/S, injured large numbers of students, sent some to the hospital and left one dead.


Biden picks history-making Air Force fighter pilot to serve as next Joint Chiefs chairman

AF Chair CQ Brown named head of Joint Chiefs of StaffPresident Joe Biden will announce Thursday that he is tapping Air Force Gen. CQ Brown Jr., a history-making fighter pilot with deep knowledge of China, to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Brown’s confirmation would mean that, for the first time, both the Pentagon’s top military and civilian positions would be held by African Americans. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first Black Pentagon chief, has been in the job since the beginning of the administration. The only other Black person to serve as Joint Chiefs chairman was Army Gen. Colin Powell.

The nomination has been long expected. If confirmed by the Senate, Brown would replace Army Gen. Mark Milley, whose term ends in October, as the nation’s next top military officer. The president plans to unveil Brown as his pick during a Rose Garden event Thursday afternoon.


Pentagon accounting error overvalued Ukraine military aid by $3B

Pentagon accounting error overstated Ukraine aid

The Pentagon on Thursday revealed that it has overcounted the value of the military aid the United States has sent Ukraine by at least $3 billion.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the mistake, in which the Defense Department overestimated the value of the missiles, vehicles, ammunition and other equipment it sent from U.S. stocks to Ukraine due to an accounting error.

Deputy Defense Press Secretary Sabrina Singh confirmed the overestimation to The Hill.

“During our regular oversight process of presidential drawdown packages, the Department discovered inconsistencies in equipment valuation for Ukraine,” Singh said in a statement, referring to the authority that allows the administration to pull directly from its military inventory.



Biden is expected to tap Air Force chief to be nation’s next top military officer

Gen C.Q. Brown

President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Gen. C.Q. Brown, the Air Force’s top officer and the first Black person to lead any branch of the military, to succeed Gen. Mark Milley as the next Joint Chiefs chair, three people familiar with the discussion said on Thursday.

If confirmed, Brown would become the second Black Joint Chiefs chair in the nation’s history, after the late Colin Powell.

Biden hasn’t given Brown the official stamp, and it’s unclear when he plans to make an announcement, said the people, a Democratic lawmaker, a congressional aide and a former Defense Department official familiar with the White House’s planning, all of whom were granted anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

“When President Biden makes a final decision, he will inform the person selected and then announce it publicly,” a spokesperson for the National Security Council said when asked for comment. “That hasn’t happened yet.”


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