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Sunday, Sep 14th

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Navy Gets Its First Female Four-Star Admiral

Michelle HowardThe Navy has promoted Vice Adm. Michelle Howard, making her the first female four-star admiral in its 236-year history and the service's new vice chief of naval operations.

Howard paid tribute to the nation's service members Tuesday morning at her promotion ceremony, held at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. In her brief remarks, she said that the "willingness to step up and contribute to a noble cause in your life is a sign of true selflessness."

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Independent panel releases report on ending military sexual assault

mkilkitary sexual assaultsThe number of reported cases of sexual assault in the military in 2013 went up by 50 percent from the year before. The Department of Defense says it’s because more people are comfortable coming forward, but many say the problem is only escalating.

For 2012, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 sexual assaults took place but that only 3,300 of them were reported to authorities.

An independent panel is due to give recommendations to Congress this week on how to deal with the growing number of incidents. Among dozens of suggestions, it says there should be no more limitations on the authority of commanders to refer charges to military courts, that commanding officers should have clemency authority and that Congress should improve and enhance the response to male-on-male sexual assault.

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Veterans not surprised Iraq's Army collapsed

Iraqi armyBuilt and trained by the U.S. at a cost of some $25 billion, the Iraqi Army quickly collapsed in the last few weeks against well-equipped rebel fighters. For the Americans tasked with helping to create the country’s security force, it’s a disturbing, though not unexpected, blow.

America Tonight asked three veterans who trained, advised and fought alongside the Iraqi Army about how such an enormous investment in blood and money could seemingly vanish so quickly.

“They weren’t soldiers because they wanted to be soldiers,” explained Marine First Lt. Dave Jackson, who fought with Iraqi forces during his two deployments to Iraq. “They were soldiers because they wanted a job.”

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No Evidence of Misconduct by Bergdahl While Captive, Army Says

Bowe BergdahlThe U.S. Army said Wednesday that there is no evidence that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl engaged in any misconduct during his five years in captivity.

Sgt. Bergdahl is the focus of a continuing Army investigation trying to determine whether he attempted to desert his unit on June 30, 2009 while stationed at a small U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan. If charged with desertion, Sgt. Bergdahl could face court-martial, prison time and, in the most extreme sentence, the death penalty.

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Report: Over 400 Military Drones Have Crashed Since 2001

Predator droneToday a Washington Post exclusive revealed that more than 400 "large" U.S. drones—costing millions of dollars each—have crashed since 2001 in serious accidents. The report raises concerns about commercial drone use and the use of drones in civilian airspace.

Agencies like the CIA had been flying unarmed drones over Afghanistan since 2000, but it wasn’t until after 9/11 that they started flying armed drones, according to The Nation.

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Guantanamo hearing to weigh accusations of FBI spying

GitmoA U.S. war crimes tribunal will hear arguments on Monday over a suspected FBI investigation that may have created a conflict of interest for lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay inmates accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Guantanamo Bay military commission is weighing a defense motion whether to abate, or modify, proceedings against the five inmates charged for their alleged involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks, which killed almost 3,000 people in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.

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Prosecutor: five traded Taliban could not be successfully prosecuted

BergdahlThe chief prosecutor in the military commission said Sunday that he had concluded that the five Taliban members released for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could not have been successfully prosecuted.

Brig. Gen. Mark Martins said he concurred with a study conducted a few years ago that found prosecutors were unlikely to win convictions against about 200 detainees, including the five traded for Bergdahl. Republicans such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have derided the swap, saying it will put U.S. troops at risk.

"I concluded there was not a successful prosecution to be made," Martins said.

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