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Ash Carter suspends California Guard bonus repayments

Ashton CarterDefense Secretary Ash Carter has suspended collections and ordered a review of the process that's forcing members of the California National Guard to repay enlistment bonuses that may have been paid improperly.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the Pentagon chief called the process "unfair to service members and to taxpayers."

"First, I have ordered the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to suspend all efforts to collect reimbursement from affected California National Guard members, effective as soon as is practical," Carter said. "This suspension will continue until I am satisfied that our process is working effectively."


California Guard vets told to repay millions in enlistment bonuses

Natl Guard CaliforniaTen years after the Pentagon enticed soldiers to reenlist by offering hefty bonuses, officials are demanding thousands of those veterans pay the money back.

Christopher Van Meter is one of the affected veterans in California. He earned a Purple Heart after he was hurled from an armored vehicle in Iraq. By 2007, he had already served 15 years in the Army and was about to retire -- until the military encouraged him to reenlist.


Dozens of Afghans Missing From U.S. Military Training

Afghan trainees AWOL in USForty-four Afghan troops visiting the United States for military training have gone missing in less than two years, presumably in an effort to live and work illegally in America, Pentagon officials said.

Although the number of disappearances is relatively small -- some 2,200 Afghan troops have received military training in the United States since 2007 -- the incidents raise questions about security and screening procedures for the programs.


Joint Staff general's girlfriend problem grounds career

michael BobeckAn Army National Guard general on the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been fired from his job following an extramarital affair, and interviews and records show that he had also negotiated a job and lived rent-free in the home of a defense contractor, USA TODAY has found.

Brig. Gen. Michael Bobeck has been the focus of an internal investigation into an extramarital affair — a violation of military law — and misuse of government resources, according to Defense Department officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation. The probe remains open, and Bobeck has been reassigned pending its outcome.


2nd wildfire breaks out on California military base

Military base firesAnother wildfire, possibly sparked by a downed powerline, broke out Wednesday and forced the evacuation of buildings on a large central California military base where another blaze has been burning all week, officials said.

The new blaze broke out at 2 p.m. on the north side of the coastal, mostly undeveloped Vandenberg Air Force Base is unrelated to the other fire that's on the south side, base officials said.


Chelsea Manning readies for disciplinary hearing over suicide attempt

Chelsea Manning faces indefinite isolationChelsea Manning goes before a three-member disciplinary board of the US army on Thursday charged with interfering with the “good order” of the military prison in which she is held by attempting suicide, an offence that could lead to indefinite solitary confinement.

Manning, who is serving 35 years at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas for leaking a vast trove of secret documents on the US war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan, required hospital treatment after she attempted to kill herself in July. The military authorities generated outrage by responding to the army private’s act of despair by charging her with a number of serious disciplinary counts.


U.S. tests for mustard agent after rocket attack near Iraq base

Mustard gas investigated at US baseThe U.S. military is testing to see if a chemical agent may have been used in a rocket attack in Iraq by Islamic State that came within hundreds of yards (meters) of U.S. forces but injured no one, a U.S. military official said on Wednesday.

The rocket fell on Tuesday in an unpopulated area near the Qayyara West base, where hundreds of U.S. forces are working to prepare an airfield ahead of Iraq's offensive to retake the city of Mosul from the radical group Islamic State, said the official, who spoke with Pentagon reporters on condition of anonymity.


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