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Continued U.S. military presence in southern Afghanistan PDF Print E-mail
In the first official sign that the Pentagon plans to keep a U.S. military presence in southern Afghanistan after this year, the Army is sending the 7th Infantry Division headquarters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord on a year-long deployment to Kandahar Province this spring.

The deployment follows Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s weekend visit to Kandahar, where he acknowledged in a meeting with soldiers that the Obama administration was reconsidering the pace of its planned withdrawal of the 10,000 U.S. troops who remain in Afghanistan.

The deployment is small, fewer than 100 soldiers. But it’s significant because it shows that the U.S. military wants to maintain a presence in Afghanistan’s Pashtun heartland while continuing to reduce its footprint in the 14-year-old war.

The division’s deployment has been an open secret at the base for months. The Pentagon in December announced that it was adding staff to the headquarters to help it reach a deployable strength.

This month, the Army sent the division command team to the Joint Readiness Training Center in Louisiana, where it is carrying out an exercise to prepare for the mission. The Army has published photos from the exercise to its own social media accounts.

And, this week, the Army set up an interview with McClatchy’s News-Tribune newspaper to discuss the deployment. Late Tuesday, just before the interview, however, the Army canceled after officials in Washington, D.C. determined they had not given proper notification about the mission to Congress. The deployment is still going forward, officials said.
 
U.S. Army Medicine Leads In Infectious Disease Research PDF Print E-mail
In 2004, U.S. Army Col. Jerome Kim, an infectious disease physician, flew to Bangkok to oversee a massive HIV vaccine study.

It was the opportunity of a lifetime-and the stakes were high. If successful, it could be the first vaccine to show even moderate protection against HIV infection—a  critical milestone in the fight against HIV.

Sponsored by the U.S. Army in partnership with the government of Thailand, the Phase III clinical trial known as RV144 followed 16,000 Thai volunteers. The results announced in 2009 "showed an efficacy rate of 31.2 percent in vaccine recipients," said Dr. Kim, now the Deputy Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).

"This achievement paved the way for us to learn more about the HIV virus, refine the vaccine and boost the immune response so the next generation of the vaccines will be more effective," he said.
 
DoD audit readiness PDF Print E-mail
A bill proposed by four Senators would impose penalties on the Department of Defense if the department does not meet its goal of being audit ready by the end of 2017.

The Audit the Pentagon Act of 2015 (S. 327) was introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) last week.

In a press release, Sen. Manchin said “it is simply unacceptable that the Department of Defense is the only major federal agency that has not completed a financial audit. Our bill will help to solve that problem.” Noting that DoD has consistently expressed its commitment to achieving a full audit, Manchin said “Congress should hold them to that.” A similar press release was issued by Sen. Wyden.

Both Manchin and Wyden expressed frustration that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) continues to label “the Department of Defense “High Risk” for waste, fraud abuse and mismanagement due to the agency’s inability to adequately manage its funds.”

Under the proposed bill, if DoD does not meet its audit goal in 2017, congress will increase its oversight every year thereafter leading to the termination of reprogramming a transfer authority of funds. However, If DoD achieves an unqualified audit “which analyzes both the internal systems of control and the details in the agency’s financial records,” the department will get additional transfer authority to use in the following year.
 
 
Army Materiel Command Leadership Team Assesses Logistics Role in Pacific PDF Print E-mail

A leadership team from the U.S. Army Materiel Command, or AMC, recently assessed the organization's role in South Korea, a country where the United States has sustained a 60-plus year alliance touted as one of history's most successful partnerships.

AMC Commander Gen. Dennis L. Via led a team there in early February that included the organization's highest ranking civilian, most senior enlisted leader, and top logistician. The team evaluated the capabilities and requirements of the command to respond to the needs of commanders and forces in the Pacific region.

In his third command visit to South Korea as AMC commander, Via said he was impressed with recent modernizations and praised cost-sharing efforts that are providing support for labor, supplies, services and construction.

The United States invests about a $1 billion annually to station U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula, while South Korea contributed about $867 million to the effort in 2014, following a recent agreement spanning to 2018. That share stimulates the economy through salaries to host-nation workers and supply and service contracts.

Read more.. .

 
Ashton Carter sworn in as secretary of defense PDF Print E-mail
Ashton Carter was sworn in Tuesday as President Barack Obama's fourth secretary of defense.

The 25th defense chief was sworn in at the White House by Vice President Joe Biden. He replaces Chuck Hagel.

Biden called Carter a "profoundly capable manager" who has the "universal respect and affection" from the people he works with.

"If anyone is made for this job, if there's a job description that fit a person, this is the guy that fits the job description," Biden said.

Carter said the position is the "highest calling" and he wanted to make three commitments to the department, the Obama administration and the country's citizens.

He said he wants to "help our president make the best possible decisions about our security and the security of the world" and "make sure our department executes our decisions."

Carter said he's also committed to protecting the men and women of the Department of Defense, and "building a force for our future."

 Read more...

 
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