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Mullen’s advice to Dempsey: Laugh at the president's jokes, but keep on Pakistan

WASHINGTON – Adm. Mike Mullen retired as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Friday and gave some parting advice for the new guy, Gen. Martin Dempsey. Make friends with the world’s military leaders. Thank your family. Look out for the troops. Laugh at the president’s jokes.

And don’t give up on Pakistan or the Afghanistan war strategy.

Arab-Kurd security cooperation looking possible in northern Iraq, U.S. commander says

WASHINGTON – Inter-ethnic security cooperation between Arabs and Kurds is up in northern Iraq as the U.S. drawdown continues toward its Dec. 31 deadline, the commander of U.S. troops in the area said Thursday.

U.S. troop presence in the region has dropped from about 10,000 when the 4th Infantry Division assumed command of headquarters there nearly a year ago, Maj. Gen. David Perkins, speaking to reporters at the Pentagon via a video uplink from Iraq. The number is 5,000 now, and will drop to a much smaller – but still unspecified – troop presence when the division leaves Iraq by the end of October.

Top U.S. military commanders in Washington for budget talks with Panetta

WASHINGTON – The top U.S. military leaders are meeting at the Pentagon on Wednesday and Thursday to learn where the Pentagon stands on its budget-cutting plans and give their ideas on what can be thrown overboard and what is essential to national security.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is hosting the meeting of the service chiefs, combatant commanders and senior civilian leaders. The Pentagon has dubbed it the “Large Group-Plus.”

Student veterans studying online to get GI Bill housing stipend next month

WASHINGTON — Student veterans attending online classes under the post-9/11 GI Bill will start receiving housing stipend checks next month for the first time, part of another slate of changes to the education benefit.

Late last year, Congress approved numerous reforms to the 2-year-old education benefit, including changes in the amount paid to students attending private schools and fixes to how certain National Guard members receive tuition money. Most of the changes went into effect Aug. 1, but a handful of less heralded but significant updates will take effect Oct. 1.

Not again: Pentagon urges China to keep military relations open

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