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HAGEL HEARING GOES SOUTH

Obama’s Nominee for Secretary of Defense Stumbles Through Hearing
By Harold Hutchison

Former Senator Chuck Hagel, nominated to serve as Secretary of Defense, stumbled through his confirmation hearing earlier today. The Vietnam veteran is the first enlisted man to ever be nominated to serve as Secretary of Defense.

NEW SURVEILLANCE PLATFORM UNVEILED

ARGUS Takes to the Skies
By Harold Hutchison

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the United States Army revealed a new surveillance system – one that could see much more than systems currently in service. The new system, called ARGUS-IS, is capable of resolving objects as small as six inches across from 20,000 feet.

THE END FOR USS GUARDIAN

Grounded Minesweeper to be Dismantled
By Harold Hutchison

The minesweeper USS Guardian (MCM 5), which ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea, will likely be dismantled on the scene. The Navy’s decision likely spells the end for the Avenger-class minesweeper.

The decision was made after nearly two weeks, during which the minesweeper slid across the reef, causing more damage to the hull and more flooding. The Navy removed nearly 16,000 gallons of diesel fuel and lubricating oil, as well as the crew’s personal effects and paints, solvents, and dry food store.

NEW BRAIN SCAN OFFERS HOPE FOR PTSD AND DEPRESSION

The US military has just begun a trial in conjunction with CNS Response,
Inc. at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and several other
sites. The trial, which is partnering with military physicians to treat
2,000 patients including members from all branches of the service diagnosed
with PTSD, Depression and other mental health disorders using an Psychiatric
EEG Evaluation Registry (PEER) developed by CNS Response, Inc. (The registry
already contains the data from 35,000+ patients)

Presently, with over 100 possible medications for behavioral disorders to

MILITARY LEADERS OPPOSE CONFIRMATION OF SEN. CHUCK HAGEL FOR SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

A distinguished group of fourteen retired generals and admirals, representing all branches of the United States Armed Forces, has signed a letter opposing the nomination of Sen. Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.

The letter – addressed to Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), respectively, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee – raises several concerns about the nomination of Sen. Hagel, including:

KERRY CONFIRMED AS SECRETARY OF STATE

The United States Senate has confirmed Senator John F. Kerry as Secretary of State. The vote was 94-3.

Exercise Cobra Gold 2013

Video by III Marine Expeditionary Force Combat Camera

SEARCH FOR MISSING AIR FORCE PILOT

F-16 Went Down in Adriatic
By Harold Hutchison

A search-and-rescue mission is on for the pilot of a missing F-16 from the 31st Fighter Wing. The plane, assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, in believed to have gone down somewhere over the Adriatic Sea.

The plane went missing at eight P.M. local time on 28 January, while on a routine training mission. Italian ships and aircraft are taking part in the search for the missing pilot, who the Air Force has not identified.

A PERFECT FISCAL STORM?

Army Chief of Staff Raises Alarm
By Harold Hutchison

The United States military could become a “hollow force” if budgetary uncertainty is not addressed, Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno warned. The uncertainty stems from the sequestration slated to happen this March, and a growing fiscal standoff.

In a speech last week to the Association of U.S. Army, Odierno warned “[T]he continuing resolution will result in a shortfall of more than $6 billion in our operations and maintenance, or O and M, accounts” even as other areas would be over-funded.

Watch out for foreign agents: Authorities say spies eye U.S. troops in hopes of gleaning intelligence

It's a Friday night and a group of Soldiers are getting the weekend started at their favorite bar off post.

It's a place where the Soldiers feel comfortable, where they can unwind, talk smack, drink beer and where they and the bar employees know one another by first name. The Soldiers feel themselves among friends.

But according to U.S. Army intelligence authorities, friends aren't necessarily the only ones in the room.

Army eliminates Direct Ground Combat Definition, Assignment Rule

Joint statement on behalf of the Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh, and the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno.

Pentagon Lifts Ban on Combat Duty for Women

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the Pentagon has dropped its ban on women in combat positions.

Panetta says allowing women to serve in combat will strengthen the U.S. military's ability to win wars. He said they have "proven their ability to serve in an expanding number of roles."

Speaking at a Pentagon ceremony in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr., Panetta said the military is more capable, and more powerful "when we use all of the great diverse strengths of the American people.''

Navy Commander Expresses Regret Concerning USS Guardian Grounding

The U.S. 7th Fleet Commander on Saturday expressed regret over the grounding of USS Guardian (MCM 5) on Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea.

"As a protector of the sea and a Sailor myself, I greatly regret any damage this incident has caused to the Tubbataha Reef," said Vice Adm. Scott Swift. "We know the significance of the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and its importance as a World Heritage Site. Its protection is vital, and we take seriously our obligations to protect and preserve the maritime environment."

U.S. Navy Continues Operations to Free Grounded USS Guardian

While the U.S. Navy continues operations to free the grounded USS Guardian (MCM 5) from Tubbataha Reef, all 79 crew members were temporarily removed today and safely transferred by small boat to the nearby support vessels USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) and MSV C-Champion.

USS Guardian Runs Aground in the Sulu Sea

No one was hurt when the mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) ran aground on Tubbataha Reef at 2:25 a.m. local time, Jan. 17, while transiting the Sulu Sea.

The Avenger-class ship had just completed a port call in Subic Bay, Olongapo City and was en route to her next port of call when the grounding occurred. The ship is currently stuck on the reef, approximately 80 miles east-southeast of Palawan Island. The crew is currently working to determine the best method of safely extracting the ship.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.