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Thursday, Jul 24th

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Air Force is reviewing rule that bars proselytizing by superiors

AF Gen. Mark Welsh IIIThe Air Force’s top general appeared to be losing his cool. But it wasn’t over a controversial plan to scrap an aircraft prized for protecting ground troops or billions of dollars in cuts that are straining a service striving to recover from the grind of 12 years of war.

“The single biggest frustration I’ve had in this job is the perception that somehow there is religious persecution inside the United States Air Force,” Gen. Mark Welsh III told a House Armed Services Committee hearing earlier this spring. “It’s not true.”

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Climate Change Is A Growing National Security Concern, Say Retired Military Leaders

Climate change threat to national securityA report released Tuesday from an advisory group of retired U.S. military leadership echoes the findings of other recent reports on climate change: It is real, it is already happening and it poses major threats to the U.S. and the rest of the world.

The federally funded Center for Naval Analyses and its Military Advisory Board, a group of 16 retired three- and four-star generals and admirals, affirm in the report that climate events like flooding, prolonged drought and rising sea levels, and the subsequent population dislocation and food insecurity, will serve as "catalysts for instability and conflict" in vulnerable regions of the world.

"We no longer have the option to wait and see," former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta write in a foreword to the report, which they describe as a "bipartisan call to action."

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Pentagon OKs Chelsea Manning transfer for gender treatment

Chelsea ManningIn an unprecedented move, the Pentagon is trying to transfer convicted national security leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison so she can get treatment for her gender disorder, defense officials said.

Manning, formerly named Bradley, was convicted of sending classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. The soldier has asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman.

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Price for new prison at Guantanamo rises to $69 million

GitmoThe proposed price of an exclusive new prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, rose by $20 million in a year because designers added meeting rooms and a medical clinic for 15 former CIA captives, including accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a military spokesman saidMonday.

Last year, the military estimated it would cost $49 million to build a new Camp 7, Guantanamo's name for its clandestine high-value detainee lockup. Last week, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee earmarked $69 million in its proposed budget for 2015 Defense Department spending to build the new prison.

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US air teams rescuing injured Chinese sailors

US aair team rescueA parachuting medical team and other U.S. Air Force rescuers are working to bring two badly burned Chinese sailors from a boat in the Pacific Ocean to a California hospital.

Officials said two other Chinese sailors died and six are believed to be missing after their boat sank.

Maj. Sarah Schwennesen, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, said Sunday that a Venezuelan fishing boat reported finding 11 sailors floating in a raft Friday afternoon.  She said the Venezuelan crew said four sailors were badly burned. Two later died of their injuries.

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Convicted of murder, soldier blames anti-smoking drug

soldier blames anti smoking drug for murderEarly one Sunday evening six years ago, Army Pfc. George D.B. MacDonald made his way through his Fort Benning barracks to the bunk where a 23-year-old recruit named Rick Bulmer lay sleeping. They were strangers.

Wielding a 3-inch, double-edged knife, MacDonald stabbed and slashed Bulmer more than 50 times. He started with the throat, but didn’t stop there. Bulmer, a Fresno, Calif. native, awoke and fought back, but he never had a chance.

With the May 18, 2008, homicide, MacDonald ended one life and tore apart many others. The 19-year-old onetime Eagle Scout created a widow and a fatherless child. He stole a son and took a beloved brother.

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Guantánamo Prosecutor Fights Handing Secrets Over to Defense

Gitmo trialsThe chief prosecutor at the Guantánamo Bay war-crimes court has asked a judge to set aside an order that requires the government to give defense lawyers sweeping amounts of classified details related to the Central Intelligence Agency’s treatment of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi detainee accused of orchestrating the 2000 bombing of the destroyer Cole.

In a pretrial motion declassified last week, the prosecutor, Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins, cited Obama administration efforts to declassify information related to a Senate Intelligence Committee report about the detention and interrogation program. That process, he said, should be allowed to play out.

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