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 Congress & DoD

  1. Online tools expected to ease absentee voting

    If you plan to vote in the Nov. 4 elections, now is the time to request an absentee ballot, said the defense official who runs the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

    • Sep. 19, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    President Obama delivers a statement from the White House on Sept. 18 in Washington, D.C. Jim Watson / Getty Images

    Senate OKs plan to train Syrian rebels, avoid government shutdown

    Approval of a package that averts a government shutdown and green-lights a program to militarily prepare Syrian rebels netted a big win for several prominent politicians, including the president and the House Armed Services Committee chairman.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    Retired Gen. James Mattis, former head of U.S. Central Command, testifies during a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on the Islamic State group, al-Qaida and other Islamic extremists in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18. Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press

    Mattis: Boots on the ground must remain an option in Iraq

    The former Marine head of US Central Command said Thursday that a refusal to consider putting boots on the ground could weaken the allied military commitment to fight the Islamic State.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno. Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison / Army

    Odierno did not call for U.S. ground forces to fight Islamic State, spokeswoman says

    Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno believes that Iraqi ground forces, not U.S. troops, are needed to defeat Islamic State militants in Iraq, according to his spokeswoman.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., speaks with reporters on Tuesday during a news conference on Capitol Hill. House Select Committee on Benghazi Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D- Md., is at the rear. The effort to train and arm Syrian rebels is proving a tough sell with some Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in Congress. Wariness of the plan crossed party lines in a House vote on Wednesday. Cliff Owen/The Associated Press

    House Iraq, Afghanistan veterans divided on Syria rebel training

    The effort to train and arm Syrian rebels proved a tough sell with many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans now serving in the House.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow said that military planners were now 'working seven days a week' to finalize details of the force. Yuri Kadobnov / AFP

    NATO to fast-track rapid-reaction force

    NATO's new rapid-reaction 'spearhead' force, meant as a deterrent to Russian aggression, should be up and running with initial capabilities in less than a year, a top alliance official said Thursday.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
  2. Nevada congressman promoted to 1-star in Army Reserve

    Nevada congressman Joe Heck's promotion to one-star general now has the blessing of the U.S. Senate.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, joined by Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, right, and Vice President Joe Biden, left, acknowledges lawmakers' applause on Sept. 18 after addressing a joint meeting of Congress. J. Scott Applewhite / AP

    Ukraine's pleas for lethal aid from U.S. go unmet

    The United States will provide $46 million in new security assistance to the Ukraine's military but stop short of fulfilling an urgent request from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for lethal aid to help his country fight Russian-backed separatists.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
  3. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin Dempsey testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill Tuesday/ Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

    Dempsey: Syrian rebel training may take 12 months

    Moderate Syrian rebels, once they are made battle-ready by a U.S.-led coalition, may be asked to help restore the border between Syria and Iraq that Islamic State group militants have effectively wiped out, the top American military official said Thursday.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
     Jewel Samad / AFP

    Rare 'moment of stability' seen in 2015 budget

    No need for troops to worry about the beginning of the fiscal year approaching Oct. 1.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
  4. A group of US congressmen are urging President Obama to support funding to develop a rocket engine that can lift the Atlas V launch vehicle and replace the Russian-produced RD-180 engine. Roger McCann/United Launch Alliance

    Congressmen to Obama: Support new rocket engine

    A bipartisan group of congressmen have written a letter to President Obama asking him to back funding for a new American-made rocket engine.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    Assistant Inspector General for Healthcare Inspections John Daigh, Jr., from left, with Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Inspector General Richard Griffin; Retired Medical Director Samuel Foote, of the Diamond Community-Based Outpatient Center, Phoenix VA Health Care System, Veterans Health Administration; and Medical Director Katherine Mitchell of the Iraq and Afghanistan Post-Deployment Center, Phoenix VA Health Care System, Veterans Health Administration, testifies Wednesday during a House Committee on Veterans' Affairs hearing on 'Scheduling Manipulation and Veteran Deaths in Phoenix: Examination of the OIG's Final Report' on Capitol Hill in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

    Auditor ties Phoenix VA waits to deaths

    The Department of Veterans Affairs' internal watchdog testified Wednesday that delayed treatment for thousands of Arizona veterans may have contributed to some deaths, a strikingly different emphasis than in an August report on the Phoenix VA medical cent

    • Sep. 18, 2014
  5. U.S. to train veterans to install solar panels

    The U.S. will train at least 50,000 veterans to become solar panel installers in the next six years, the White House said Thursday.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
  6. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has ruled out cooperating with the United States in helping Iraq fight Islamic State militants and warned that the terrorist group poses a much broader global threat that needs new thinking to eradicate. Ahmed Saad / AP

    Iran rules out cooperating with US in Iraq

    Iran's foreign minister ruled out cooperating with the United States in helping Iraq fight Islamic State militants and warned that the terrorist group poses a much broader global threat that needs new thinking to eradicate.

    • Sep. 18, 2014
  7. Airmen lift their right hand as they repeat the oath of enlistment at the Air Force Basic Training graduation ceremony, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The Air Force has withdrawn a requirement that all airmen who take the oath of enlistment and officer appointment conclude with 'so help me God,' the service announced Wednesday. Staff Sgt Vernon Young Jr. / Air Force

    Air Force nixes 'so help me God' requirement in oaths

    The Air Force has withdrawn a requirement that all airmen who take the oath of enlistment and officer appointment conclude with 'so help me God,' the service announced Wednesday.

    • Sep. 17, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    US Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and the Chief of US Air Force Gen. Mark A. Welsh III attend the 2014 Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition on Sept. 15 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. Alex Wong / Getty Images

    Air Force to Congress: Protect readiness, enact CR

    The leadership of the Air Force has a clear message for Congress: Help.

    • Sep. 17, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    A U.S. special operations forces soldier leads a group of soldiers from Iraqi Special Operations Force's 8th Regional Commando Battalion in July 2011. Department of Defense

    Analysis: U.S. officials parse term 'ground troops' when describing Iraq mission

    The question of whether the U.S. will send combat troops into Iraq has become a tortured debate over what terms such as 'ground troops' actually mean.

    • Sep. 17, 2014
  8. Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi listens to a question during a Sept. 17 with The Associated Press in Baghdad. Iraq's new prime minister says foreign ground troops are neither necessary nor wanted in his country's fight against the Islamic State group. Hadi Mizban / AP

    Iraq premier nixes U.S. ground troops

    Iraq's new prime minister ruled out stationing U.S. ground troops in his country, chiding the international community Wednesday for inaction in Syria and lamenting the '

    • Sep. 17, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    President Barack Obama on Sept. 17 speaks to the US Central Command (CENTCOM) at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. Mandel Ngan / Getty Images

    White House: U.S. troops in Iraq could call in airstrikes

    American troops on the ground in Iraq 'could be in a position to even call in air strikes' on ISIL targets White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One Wednesday afternoon.

    • Sep. 17, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    US Sen. Barbara Mikulski says Congress is moving in a positive direction toward adopting a continuing resolution. Mark Makela / Getty Images

    Senior senator: Both chambers should pass CR, Syrian rebels authorities before weekend

    A senior Senate Democrat is hopeful both chambers can pass a stopgap spending measure and approve presidential authorities to train and equip Syrian rebels by this weekend.

    • Sep. 17, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    The dome of the US Capitol is seen March 19, 2014 in Washington, DC. As work continues on the dome restoration, the last chance for ?scaffold-free? views of the Capitol is approaching, with the best opportunity within the next two weeks. AFP PHOTO/ Karen BLEIER KAREN BLEIER / AFP

    House passes bill to oversee VA hospital building

    The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.

    • Sep. 17, 2014
  9. President Obama, with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Commander of the US Central Command, before the start of a briefing at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., on Wednesday. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/The Associated Press

    Obama reaffirms opposition to U.S. combat in Iraq

    President Obama reaffirmed Wednesday that he does not intend to send U.S. troops into combat against the Islamic State group, despite doubts about the ability of Iraqi forces, Kurdish fighters and Syrian rebels to carry out the ground fight on their own.

    • Sep. 17, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    Iraqi soldiers brandish their weapons during a military training exercise Sunday in the mainly Shiite southern city of Basra. About half of Iraq's army is incapable of partnering effectively with the U.S. to roll back the Islamic State group's territorial gains in western and northern Iraq, and the other half needs to be partially rebuilt with U.S. training and additional equipment, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday. Haidar Mohammed Ali / AFP

    Dempsey: Half of Iraqi army not OK as U.S. partners

    About half of Iraq's army is incapable of partnering effectively with the U.S. to roll back the Islamic State group's territorial gains in western and northern Iraq, and the other half needs to be partially rebuilt with U.S.

    • Sep. 17, 2014
    • NEWS /
    • Congress & DOD
    About one-quarter of Americans ages 17 to 24 are considered too fat to serve in the military. A group of 450 retired generals and admirals see nutritional requirements as key to reversing that trend. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

    Stay the course on school lunches, retired brass say

    About seven in 10 young adults are ineligible for military service, according to a new report from a group that is pushing school nutrition standards as a way to improve that situation.

    • Sep. 17, 2014
  10. The Department of Veterans Affairs says investigators have found no proof that delays in care caused any deaths at a VA hospital in Phoenix. Dr. Samuel Foote, a former clinic director for the VA in Phoenix, said the report appears designed to 'minimize the scandal and protect its perpetrators rather than to provide the truth.' Ross D. Franklin / AP

    Ex-VA doctor: Phoenix report a 'whitewash'

    A doctor who first exposed serious problems at the troubled Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital said Wednesday that a report on patient deaths there is a 'whitewash' that minimizes life-threatening conduct by senior leaders at the hospital.

    • Sep. 17, 2014
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