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Thursday, Aug 21st

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How US military plans to carry out Obama's 'pivot to Asia'

Pivot to AsiaThe Pentagon's No. 2 official, Ashton Carter, picked a telling time to discuss the US military's plans for its new strategic focus on the Asia-Pacific.

At Europe's premier security conference in Munich, Germany, this month, Mr. Carter took the opportunity to reassure concerned NATO allies, among others, that America's focus on Asia would not mean its abandonment of Europe. Some US partners have been concerned that even the phrase "pivot to Asia" implies that the United States would be turning its back on Europe.

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Guantanamo is used for mass-migration scenario training by U.S. military

Guantanamo The boat people trying to reach U.S. soil are imaginary and so is the Caribbean nation in crisis. But the Army general who flew in from Texas to take charge is the real deal for hundreds of troops rehearsing to get ready for a humanitarian crisis.

Guantánamo’s airstrip was abuzz this weekend as about 500 troops descended for an every-other-year drill whose name reflects how little the military wants to draw attention to it — Exercise Integrated Advance.

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Marine officials at Lejeune never tested water for pollution

Lejeune water never testedNo records can be found indicating that Marine officials at Camp Lejeune, N.C., ever tested the drinking water there for contaminants, authorities say.
Contamination of the drinking water at the base is believed to be the worst in U.S. history, the Tampa Bay Times reported Sunday.

Although the corps began requiring the testing at Marine bases in 1963, a check of more than 8,000 pages of documents have not found evidence the testing was done, said Corps spokeswoman Capt. Kendra Motz.

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US military struggling to stop suicide epidemic among war veterans

US militqary suicudes

Libby Busbee is pretty sure that her son William never sat through or read Shakespeare's Macbeth, even though he behaved as though he had. Soon after he got back from his final tour of Afghanistan, he began rubbing his hands over and over and constantly rinsing them under the tap.

"Mom, it won't wash off," he said. "What are you talking about?" she replied."The blood. It won't come off."

On 20 March last year, the soldier's striving for self-cleanliness came to a sudden end. That night he locked himself in his car and, with his mother and two sisters screaming just a few feet away and with Swat officers encircling the vehicle, he shot himself in the head.

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Health answers sought about burned-off war garbage

war garbageJ.D. Williams didn't think much about the smoke cloud that often shrouded his air base in Iraq. Not when it covered everything he owned with black soot or when his wheezing and coughing made it difficult to sleep at night.

"We just went about our business because there was a war going on," said Williams, a retired chief warrant officer who was responsible for maintaining some 250 aircraft for the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division.

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Sexual assault in crisis US military tempers euphoria over end of combat ban

Women in US militaryVictims of sexual assault and their advocates demand reform of culture in which most of thousands of cases are not prosecuted.

As many as one in three servicewomen report having been sexually assaulted, according to the defense department. In 2010, the latest year for which data is available, the Pentagon estimated that some 19,000 assaults occurred.

In the same week that the House armed services committee learned that sexual assault and rape at Lackland Air Base in San Antonio was almost commonplace – 59 victims of sexual assault have been identified and 32 drill sergeants and training inspectors have been charged with crimes or policy violations including rape – Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, who had served five tours of Afghanistan, was arraigned in Fort Bragg on a series of sexual misconduct charges, including forcible sodomy.

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Pentagon chief Leon Panetta lifting ban on women serving in combat

Us lifts ban on women in the militaryThe groundbreaking move overturns a 1994 rule preventing women from serving in ground combat units. The military has been given until 2016 to recommend any special exceptions to the new regulation.

Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military's ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war.

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