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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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Behind the Pentagon’s doctored ledgers, a running tally of epic waste

Pentagon waste

Linda Woodford spent the last 15 years of her career inserting phony numbers in the U.S. Department of Defense’s accounts.

Every month until she retired in 2011, she says, the day came when the Navy would start dumping numbers on the Cleveland, Ohio, office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon’s main accounting agency. Using the data they received, Woodford and her fellow DFAS accountants there set about preparing monthly reports to square the Navy’s books with the U.S. Treasury’s - a balancing-the-checkbook maneuver required of all the military services and other Pentagon agencies.

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Injured vet loses battle over 'combat-related' benefits

National GuardA National Guard veteran injured while training for combat has lost her battle to obtain the enhanced benefits provided to those injured while engaged in combat.

In a decision potentially important for other training-injured vets as well, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Edward J. Damich rejected the pleas of former New York National Guard soldier Tanya L. Towne.

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Nuclear officers napped with blast door left open

blast doorAir Force officers entrusted with the launch keys to long-range nuclear missiles have been caught twice this year leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post, Air Force officials said.

The blast doors are never to be left open if one of the crew members inside is asleep - as was the case in both these instances - out of concern for the trouble an intruder could cause, including the compromising of secret launch codes.

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