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Fort Hood Soldiers Killed and Wounded By Hasan to Get Purple Hearts PDF Print E-mail

The Army has approved the award of the Purple Heart and its civilian counterpart to the victims of Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas.

Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 wounded in the shootings that had been treated as an incident of "workplace violence" rather than a terrorist act.

Hasan, who was convicted in 2013 of 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder, has admitted to being influenced by the late Anwar Awlaki, chief propagandist for the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula terrorist group. A major at the time of the shooting, Hasan was stripped of his rank and dismissed from the Army after his conviction.

The Army had denied the Purple Heart awards and the benefits that go with them, but Congress passed an amendment included in the National Defense Authorization Act last year clearing the way for the award of the Purple Heart to soldiers killed and wounded by Hasan and the Defense of Freedom Medal to the civilians.

The amendment changed the rule to allow for an event to be deemed an attack by a "foreign terrorist organization" if the perpetrator "was in communication with the foreign terrorist organization before the attack" and "the attack was inspired or motivated by the foreign terrorist organization."

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The president's 2016 budget request: Defense Department PDF Print E-mail

DoD's IT budget numbers remain elusive, requests $5.5 billion for DoD cyber capabilities


The Defense Department requests $5.5 billion for "cyber capabilities enhancements" in fiscal 2016, according to a 29-page budget brief outlining the DoD's budget proposal. That's more than one-third of the $14 billion for cybersecurity governmentwide in the president's fiscal 2016 budget request.

What's included in cyber capabilites enhancements is unclear.

The only dollar amount linked to cyber in the DoD budget provided by the White House is a request for $8 million for "cyberspace" in the Pentagon Reservation Maintenance Revolving Fund.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, which through its labs takes assignments from the DoD and other agencies in arrangements called  "work for others," requests $160 million for "information technology and cybersecurity" in fiscal 2016  less than the fiscal 2015 level of $180 million. 

Gathering detailed information on the DoD's IT spending is difficult because the budget provides very little transparency into classified spending or spending on IT that is embedded in weapons systems or satellites. The budget also fails to carve out specific funds for U.S. Cybercommand.

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Department of Defense Doubles Cancer Research Funding in 2015 PDF Print E-mail

Doctors and researchers seeking a cure for mesothelioma will soon be able to tap into millions of dollars set aside by the U.S. Department of Defense for cancer research.

The Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) invested $50 million in the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) for 2015 an amount that doubles the money awarded to the program last year.

With the additional funding, asbestos-related cancer researchers can extend current studies and launch new ones to improve traditional treatments, introduce emerging therapies or test new cancer drugs. Funding in 2014 was $25 million.

Researchers hold out hope that their military-focused programs will develop the medical advancements that extend life expectancy or develop a cure for U.S. service members and families affected by mesothelioma. Former service members are a prime demographic for development of the rare and fatal cancer.

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DoD budget highlights technology for military's future PDF Print E-mail

In President Barack Obama's 2016 federal budget, Defense Department priorities include a number of tech-focused initiatives that officials hope will start to mold the military of the future.

DoD's $585 billion budget request looks to undo the damage of sequestration by modernizing the military and many of its aging systems, as well as by training and equipping a smaller, more agile force. The budget includes billions in science, technology, research and development spending, and outlines investments for improving acquisition and driving innovation.

"The budget finishes the job of reversing mindless austerity budgeting and makes needed investments in key priorities, even while setting the nation on a fiscally responsible course," the budget documents state. "The proposed increases in the discretionary budget caps make room for a range of domestic and security investments that will help move the nation forward."

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$70M sought for new sewage treatment plant at West Point PDF Print E-mail

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) - Sen. Charles Schumer says he'll fight to make sure $70 million in funding for a new wastewater treatment plant at West Point stays in President Barack Obama's proposed federal budget.

The Times Herald-Record of Middletown reports (http://bit.ly/18NlLvD ) the New York Democrat announced this week that the proposed funding was included in the spending plan that Congress will consider.

The money would be used to replace the U.S. Military Academy's aging sewage plant, built in 1956 and upgraded 16 years later.

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