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John Vandiver

Strike kills two militants as US-backed forces push into ISIS territory in Somalia

The U.S. military said it killed two Islamic State fighters Wednesday in Somalia, where there has been an uptick in airstrikes against the militant group in the past month.

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The runway is ready, but flights still on hold at new US drone site in Niger

The U.S. military has finally completed runway work at a new air base in Agadez, Niger, but Air Force officials said Wednesday it will still be several months before flight operations can begin at what is anticipated to be a major intelligence gathering hub in western Africa.


Islamic State group emerges as a political force in western Africa

ISIS-West Africa, which broke away from the militant group Boko Haram three years ago, continues to launch high profile attacks that have placed the Nigerian military “under tremendous strain,” according to U.S. Africa Command.


europe quick trips

Tuscany well worth making an extended family trip destination

Rolling hills topped with cypress trees might be a Tuscan travel book cliche, but the old villages and romantic back roads are hard to top.


NATO fighters scrambled to intercept Russian jets during ‘professional’ encounter

NATO jets were scrambled twice in two days to intercept Russian aircraft flying along the Baltic coastline toward Moscow’s military hub in Kaliningrad, the British Defense Ministry said Thursday.


US warns Europe on defense contract bids that could exclude American companies

The Trump administration has issued a warning to European Union allies that a decadeslong partnership is at risk if the American defense industry isn’t allowed to compete for contracts on new EU military projects.


Trump: Report of US plans calling for up to 120,000 troops if conflict begins with Iran is 'fake news'

President Donald Trump dismissed a New York Times report that the Pentagon has drafted plans to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event Iran launches an attack on U.S. forces in the region or restarts its nuclear weapons program as “fake news,” but added, “Would I do that? Absolutely.” He insisted the White House has not signed off on a troop increase but if it does “we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that.”


US and allies deploy missile defense off Scotland in high-end sea battle drill

U.S. and allied warships were slated to begin live-fire drills off the coast of Scotland on Friday as part of an exercise designed to test NATO’s ability to coordinate missile defense during a fight at sea.


Trump bumps up Brazil to 'major non-NATO' ally

President Donald Trump informed Congress of his intent to make the South American state the 18th country to receive the designation.


US Army civilian in Germany is cleared in stabbing death of home invader

German authorities were required to investigate whether the American used reasonable or excessive force in defending himself during the attack on Feb. 10.


Reservist seeks to clear name in battle over Army housing benefits

Retired U.S. Army Col. Richard Gulley is suing the service for refusing to provide records that he said could help clear his name, which was tarnished after he endured a criminal investigation over housing allowance payments.


China tops agenda as military leaders from 11 nations mull Arctic security

China’s Arctic ambitions are expected to dominate the discussion later this week when U.S. military leaders convene with partners for security talks in Greenland, an economically vulnerable land where China is working to gain a foothold.


More US troops bound for Poland, defense minister says

U.S. military officials say the types of forces that could be stationed in Poland are still being considered, suggesting the final arrangement could be something less than a sprawling base.


Wolters looks to push 'competitive advantage' in Europe

Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters assumed command Thursday of U.S. troops in Europe, where the military has expanded its mission in recent years to counter a more aggressive Russia.


Big pizzas satisfy at L’Osteria in Stuttgart

The pizzas are too big for the plates at L’Osteria, an Italian restaurant chain in Europe that opened a new branch recently in Stuttgart’s newish Europaviertel section.


Documents reveal Turkey tracked US military because of coup connection suspicions

Turkish intelligence reports, which included information on U.S. drone operations, troop movements and counter Islamic State operations, were reviewed on the suspicion that Americans might have been involved in a failed coup, according to a group that monitors the Turkish government.


Cases of heat-related illnesses on the rise, especially among Marines

In 2018, there were 578 diagnoses of heatstroke and 2,214 diagnoses of heat exhaustion among active duty servicemembers, according to the Defense Health Agency’s April surveillance report.


US military spending up as global outlay hits 31-year high

The U.S. was by far the biggest spender with a 4.6% annual increase that added up to $649 billion — an amount nearly equal to the next eight largest defense budgets combined.


THAAD anti-missile system to deploy to Romania

The deployment came at the request of NATO and is needed while maintenance is done on the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System in Romania, U.S. European Command said.


WWII bomb leads to evacuations near Wiesbaden base housing area

A World War II-era bomb discovered near an Army housing area in Wiesbaden has prompted local evacuations, but base facilities are not affected, the military said Thursday.


Turkish president rejects US ultimatum, says missile deal with Moscow final

The president of Turkey said Wednesday that his country’s plan to acquire a Russian air defense system has been finalized, marking the latest rejection of a demand by Washington that the NATO ally abandon its deal with Moscow or face consequences.


AFRICOM evacuates US forces from Libya as fighting intensifies

U.S. forces in Libya have been evacuated for their safety in connection with the deteriorating security situation in the country, which now has U.S. Africa Command conducting “prudent military planning” as it assesses the situation, the military said Sunday.


Civilian deaths in Somalia airstrike weren’t reported properly, AFRICOM says

A U.S. counterterrorism unit inaccurately reported the deaths of two civilians in Somalia following an airstrike, U.S. Africa Command said Friday, marking the first public acknowledgement that noncombatants have been killed in the military’s expanded bombing campaign in the country.


US leaders say China is an emerging threat for NATO

The U.S.-led NATO pact must adapt to face an increased threat posed by China even as European allies work to counter Russia’s activities, America’s top diplomat said Thursday at a meeting of alliance foreign ministers.


With Lithuania pact, US signals increased military role near Russia

The United States will continue to deploy troops to Lithuania and help the country develop anti-tank and missile systems, according to a comprehensive defense agreement the two countries signed this week to boost cooperation in a region set on edge by Russia’s military resurgence.


Safer together: NATO chief tells Congress that pact must endure amid global threats

The United States is stronger with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization than it would be without it, the head of the 29-nation alliance said Wednesday in Washington, marking the first time the leader of the security pact addressed a joint session of Congress.


Trump praises NATO allies for spending but says Germany not contributing enough

President Donald Trump took credit Tuesday for an increase in defense spending among NATO members, suggesting that an alliance he has harshly criticized has turned a corner. But Germany did not escape criticism.


AFRICOM, EUCOM nominees eye Russia, China as major concerns

Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters and Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend faced questioning Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, following their nominations to head the European Command and Africa Command respectively.


ANALYSIS

NATO 70th anniversary comes with celebrations and an undercurrent of uncertainty

Even as NATO leaders tout generations of solidarity, analysts wonder whether the pact’s close ties will last.


Military relief efforts in Mozambique in full swing

U.S. Africa Command is delivering food and supplies after Cyclone Idai spurred widespread flooding in Mozambique, causing more than 700 deaths and displacing thousands of people.


NATO approves spending at US forces support site in Poland, eyes expanded presence in Black Sea

NATO said construction on the site near Powidz, Poland, will begin this summer and is expected to take about two years to complete.


US veterans face trial after peace protest in Ireland

The Irish Times reported that the two breached security in an effort to reach an aircraft they believed was used to transport U.S. troops. The men did not reach the aircraft and were detained by authorities.


Army Gen. Stephen Townsend is nominated to lead AFRICOM

For the past year, Gen. Stephen J. Townsend has been the commander in charge of Army training. If confirmed, he will replace Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, who has commanded AFRICOM since 2016.


‘We got zero notice’: Army resumes Cold War-era snap deployments to Europe

The Army is relearning the art of snap deployments as it adapts to a new Pentagon strategy — known as Dynamic Force Employment — that calls upon the military as a whole to keep adversaries off balance with more unpredictable troop movements.


Pompeo wants NATO to take ‘actions’ to help Ukraine

The U.S. and its allies in Europe could agree at an upcoming NATO meeting to provide more support to Ukraine in its efforts to resist Russian aggression in the region, America’s top diplomat said Wednesday.


Airfield assessments underway as military readies for Mozambique mission

A U.S. military team dispatched to Mozambique to help with disaster relief efforts is assessing airfields in the country as it prepares to deliver supplies into areas where floods have forced thousands from their homes.