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Why Are US Special Operations Forces Deployed in Over 100 Countries?

military deployment“Dude, I don’t need to play these stupid games. I know what you’re trying to do.” With that, Major Matthew Robert Bockholt hung up on me.

More than a month before, I had called US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) with a series of basic questions: In how many countries were US Special Operations Forces deployed in 2013? Are manpower levels set to expand to 72,000 in 2014? Is SOCOM still aiming for growth rates of 3 percent to 5 percent per year? How many training exercises did the command carry out in 2013? Basic stuff.

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US Air Force copter crashes in England, killing 4

USAF helicopterA U.S. Air Force Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in the coastal marshes of eastern England during a training mission on Tuesday night, killing all four crew members aboard, officials said.

The helicopter crashed at about 6 p.m. local time near Salthouse on the Norfolk coast, a statement from the U.S. Air Force said. The aircraft was based at the nearby Royal Air Force station in Lakenheath, Suffolk County, which hosts USAF units and personnel.

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Obama signs defense bill, criticizes Congress' Guantanamo restrictions

Defense bill signedPresident Barack Obama Thursday signed legislation to fund the nation's defense, a measure that includes a small military pay raise and changes in how the military deals with sexual assault allegations.

Congress approved the legislation with bipartisan votes juse before ending its 2013 session last week.

The bill would provide about $625 billion for defense operations, slightly less than last year.

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Why the Pentagon’s many campaigns to clean up its accounts are failing

PentagonThe U.S. Air Force had great expectations for the Expeditionary Combat Support System when it launched the project in 2005. This accountants’ silver bullet, the Air Force predicted a year later, “will fundamentally revolutionize the way the Air Force provides logistics support.”

The new computer-based logistics technology would replace 420 obsolete, inefficient and largely incompatible “legacy” systems with a single, unified means of tracking the hardware of warfare. And it would be done for a mere $1.5 billion, combining three off-the-shelf products from Oracle Corp and modifying them only enough so that they could work together.

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Female sailors forced to march with buckets of human waste, Navy says

Female sailors mistreatedMore than a dozen female sailors were forced to march in formation with buckets of human waste in a hazing incident that led to the firing on Friday of a high-ranking officer and the top enlisted sailor of a destroyer, the Navy said.

Cmdr. Kenneth Rice, executive officer of the USS Jason Dunham, and Master Chief Petty Officer Stephen Vandergrifft were found guilty in non-judicial proceedings, the U.S. Fleet Forces Command said in a statement.

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USS Ronald Reagan sailors report cancers after Fukushima rescue mission

USS Ronald ReaganFifty-one crew members of the USS Ronald Reagan say they are suffering from a variety of cancers as a direct result of their involvement in Operation Tomodachi, a U.S. rescue mission in Fukushima after the nuclear disaster in March 2011.

The affected sailors are suing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), alleging that the utility mishandled the crisis and did not adequately warn the crew of the risk of participating in the earthquake relief efforts.

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CDC: Water at Marine base linked to birth defects

Camp LejeuneA long-awaited study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a link between tainted tap water at a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina and increased risk of serious birth defects and childhood cancers.

The authors of the study on Camp Lejeune released late Thursday by the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry warned it is based on a small sample size and cannot prove exposure to the chemicals caused specific individuals to become ill.

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