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Pentagon puts 8,500 troops on alert as Biden consults with European allies on Ukraine: What we know

Sec. of Defence AustinPresident Joe Biden consulted with European leaders on Monday afternoon, as pressure builds between Russia and NATO over Ukraine.

NATO said Monday it would move more military equipment and troops into countries on the alliance’s eastern front. Russia has built up at least 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, threatening that conflict may be necessary to preserve its national security.

Also on Monday, the Pentagon announced it is putting 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened alert" for possible deployment to Eastern Europe amid the crisis.

"No decisions have been made to deploy any forces from the United States at this time," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Monday during a briefing.

Kirby said many of the troops put on alert were ordered to prepare to mobilize within 10 days. That will be shortened to five days for some, but not all, of the notified service members.


'Forever chemical' blood levels near W.Va. National Guard base higher than US average

Forever chemical high in National Guard postBlood concentrations of a “forever chemical” for residents living near the Shepherd Field Air National Guard Base in Martinsburg, W.Va., exceed national averages, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) has found.

The report, released on Thursday by the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), found that the level of one such chemical — perfluorohexane sulfonic acid, or PFHxS — was higher in the blood of Martinsburg area residents than in national average samples.

PFHxS is one of thousands of types of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the umbrella group known as “forever chemicals,” due to their propensity to linger in the human body and in the environment.

TVNL Comment: This should be making headlines all over the US.  It's a highly dangerous situation when these chemicals are now in the blood of most Americans.


Celebrated Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee dies at 102

Tuskegee airman dies at 102

Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman who flew 409 fighter combat missions over three wars, has died. He was 102.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on Sunday announced his death on Twitter, both of them calling McGee an American hero.

"While I am saddened by his loss, I'm also incredibly grateful for his sacrifice, his legacy, and his character. Rest in peace, General," wrote Austin, who did not specify where McGee died.

The Tuskegee Airmen is the nickname of the first African American unit to fly combat airplanes in World War II.


Biden to send more military medics to U.S. hospitals in COVID-19 hotspots

Military  health workersPresident Joe Biden on Thursday said he was deploying more military health workers to hospitals in six U.S. states, and would give Americans free masks and more free tests to tackle the fast-spreading Omicron variant around the country.

The phased dispatch of 1,000 military health personnel beginning next week comes as U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations hit a record high with Omicron overtaking Delta as the dominant variant of the coronavirus and health facilities facing a staffing crunch.

The move is "part of a major deployment of our nation's armed forces to help hospitals across the country manage this surge of the Omicron virus," Biden said.

"I know we're all frustrated as we enter this new year," Biden said, while reiterating his message that COVID-19 continues to be a "pandemic of the unvaccinated."


Retired general warns the U.S. military could lead a coup after the 2024 election

Ret. General Paul Eaton

As the anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol approaches, three retired U.S. generals have warned that another insurrection could occur after the 2024 presidential election and the military could instigate it.

The generals – Paul Eaton, Antonio Taguba and Steven Anderson – made their case in a recent Washington Post Op-Ed. "In short: We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time," they wrote.

Paul Eaton, a retired U.S. Army major general and a senior adviser to VoteVets, spoke with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly earlier this week.

Below are the highlights of the conversation.


Biden signs $768B defense policy bill that supersized his original Pentagon request

Dept. of Defense
President Joe Biden signed a $768 billion defense policy bill on Monday, after Democrats and Republicans rejected his initial Pentagon plans and endorsed a major boost to military spending.

The enactment of the compromise National Defense Authorization Act — which was rolled out in its final form and passed the House and Senate overwhelmingly this month — marks the 61st consecutive year Pentagon policy legislation has become law.

The White House announced Biden signed the bill into law in a statement.

The bill rejects Biden's $715 billion Pentagon budget request and instead calls for $740 billion for the Defense Department.


Pentagon goes on offense vs GOP on vaccine mandates

Pentagon goes on offensive against GOPThe Pentagon is on the offensive after a cascade of Republican lawmakers have pushed back over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for service members.

The issue has quickly snowballed since early last month, when Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) tipped off the battle over who calls the shots in enforcing the requirement for National Guardsmen.

Now, with Texas becoming the seventh state to declare they will not impose the mandate on their National Guard, the Pentagon is grappling with how to make sure its mandate is followed and how to prevent further states from piling on and resisting it.


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