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Global Hawk: The drone the Pentagon couldn’t ground

Global HawkWith billions of dollars in spending reductions looming, Air Force officials looked around last year for a program they could cut that was underperforming, had busted its budget and wasn’t vital to immediate combat needs.

Eventually, they settled on the production line for a $223 million aircraft known as the Global Hawk, with the wingspan of a tanker but no pilot in the cockpit, built to fly over vast terrain for a little more than a day while sending back data to military commanders on the ground.

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'It was a kill mission': independent Bin Laden panel contradicts US claims

Bin Ladin death 'kill mission'Few secret US missions have been described to the public in as much detail as the one that killed Osama bin Laden. In the 26 months since the al-Qaida leader's death, a series of vivid accounts have emerged describing his final moments, including two relayed by men who claim to have shot him.

The latest came this week, in a newly released Pakistani intelligence report. But instead of clarifying, it has served only to complicate, and in some cases directly contradict, the most widely read accounts of the mission.

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A brand-new $34m U.S. military headquarters in Afghanistan. And nobody to use it.

Unused ilitary hq AfghanistanThe U.S. military has erected a 64,000-square-foot headquarters building on the dusty moonscape of southwestern Afghanistan that comes with all the tools to wage a modern war. A vast operations center with tiered seating. A briefing theater. Spacious offices. Fancy chairs. Powerful air conditioning.

Everything, that is, except troops.

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$ 7 billion in gear US sent to Afghan gone to waste

wasted US military equipmentRushing to wind down its role in Afghanistan by end of 2014, the US military has destroyed over USD 200 million worth of vehicles and other military equipment used by it in the war-torn country, in what has been described as "largest retrograde mission in history".

The massive disposal effort, which US military officials call unprecedented, has unfolded largely out of sight amid an ongoing debate inside the Pentagon about what to do with the heaps of equipment that won't be returning home, the Washington Post reported.

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Victims: Marines failed to safeguard Camp Lejeune water supply

Camp LejeuneA simple test could have alerted officials that the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated, long before authorities determined that as many as a million Marines and their families were exposed to a witch’s brew of cancer-causing chemicals.

But no one responsible for the lab at the base can recall that the procedure — mandated by the Navy — was ever conducted.

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How many thousands of Camp Lejeune babies died because of the base's toxic water?

Camp LejeuneStudies have linked the kinds of volatile organic compounds found at Lejeune to such birth defects and cancers as spina bifida, cleft lip and palate, anencephaly, childhood leukemia and childhood lymphoma. Blakely decided to make copies of every child and fetal death certificate she could find between the years 1950 and 1990 with a connection to the Marine base.

"What I was going to do with them, I didn't know," she says.

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Mild traumatic brain injuries increase military suicide risk

Military suicidesU.S. researchers say those in the military who suffer more than one mild traumatic brain injury face a significantly higher risk of suicide.

Lead author Craig J. Bryan of the University of Utah and associate director of the National Center for Veterans Studies and colleagues surveyed 161 military personnel stationed in Iraq and evaluated for a possible traumatic brain injury.

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