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Anthrax Lab’s History of ‘F-ing Around’ With Explosives

Anthrax lab f*** upsThe same facility that accidentally shipped live samples of the deadly pathogen was mixing powerful bomb-making ingredients with everyday kitchen tools, investigators found.

It came as a shock when the U.S. military came clean about one of the worst biodefense screw-ups on American soil in decades -- the release of live, lethal anthrax to more than 85 unsuspecting labs. Perhaps it shouldn’t have been a complete surprise, given the anthrax’s source.

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Pentagon readying plan to lift transgender ban

PentagonPentagon leaders are finalizing plans aimed at lifting the ban on transgender individuals in the military, with the goal of formally ending one of the last gender- or sexuality-based barriers to military service, senior U.S. officials told The Associated Press.

An announcement is expected this week, and the services would have six months to assess the impact of the change and work out the details, the officials said Monday. Military chiefs wanted time to methodically work through the legal, medical and administrative issues and develop training to ease any transition, and senior leaders believed six months would be sufficient.

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Blowing the whistle in a war zone

John hatleyIn this month’s issue of Rolling Stone, alongside Caitlin Jenner’s dazzling new appearance, is the story of how my former 1st Sgt. John Hatley was found guilty of executing four bound and blindfolded prisoners during my first deployment in Iraq.

Hatley’s 2007 trial drew national attention because he was the highest-ranking service member at the time to be found guilty of premeditated murder. His investigation, arrest and conviction came to define military service for me. In the wake of the accusations, a kind of tribal mentality — “herd mentality” isn’t dynamic enough a phrase — connected many of the soldiers with whom I served. They came out strong in their defense of a leader who can best be described as a cross between legendary college football coach Bear Bryant and the Judge from Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian.” He’s huge, affable, violent, driven, competent and absolutely sure of himself.

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The Military Has a Man Problem

Military womenArmy Specialist Laura Naylor, a Wisconsin native, spent a year in Baghdad with the 32nd Military Police Company in 2003 and 2004. During that time, she—like all of the more than quarter-million women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan—was officially banned from ground combat.

That technicality didn’t slow down Naylor when an IED hit her convoy and it began to take fire from a nearby building. “We had to search this house nearby, thinking they were the ones doing the shooting, and I was the lead person the whole way. I had a flashlight in one hand, a pistol in the other, and I’d kick the door open with my foot, look both ways, give the all clear, go to the next room, do the same thing,” she recounted to me a few years later. “We were interchangeable with the infantry.”

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Veterans Affairs failed to give WW II vets medical benefits for participating in mustard gas experiments

VA failed WWII vetsThe U.S. military failed to compensate thousands of soldiers who were secretly exposed to mustard gas during its most toxic experiments as promised, according to an NPR investigation.

Exposure to the sulphur mustards left some gas masked participants like Charlie Cavell, then 19 years old, blistered and burned while trapped inside heated gas chambers during World War II.

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Pentagon reprimands Army general after 3-year misconduct investigation

Maj. Gen. Dana PittardFollowing a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Department of Defense, a key Army commander who was responsible for training Iraqis to fight the Islamic State was reprimanded earlier this year by the Pentagon for misconduct and will result in his retirement, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

According to Defense Department documents obtained by the Post through the Freedom of Information Act, Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard was the subject of a three-year probe that concluded he engaged in misconduct by steering a defense contract to a firm operated by two former West Point classmates.

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U.S. sues BAE Systems unit for overcharging for military trucks

BAQE systemsThe United States has sued a Texas-based subsidiary of global defense giant BAE Systems Inc for overcharging the U.S. Army in its contract to build 20,000 military trucks, the Department of Justice said on Friday.

BAE Systems Tactical Vehicle Systems LP is accused of inflating the cost of materials during contract negotiations, the department said.

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