The commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan is warning his top commanders of new risks of attacks due to rising tensions between NATO forces and the Afghan President Hamid Karzai (pictured), an ISAF official told CNN Thursday.
The personal e-mail that Gen. Joseph Dunford sent Wednesday is not a formal threat advisory, said the official, who did not want to be identified.FULL STORY
Five coalition service members died after a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan on Monday, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said.
The chopper went down in the Daman district of southern Kandahar during a rain storm, said Jawid Faisal, a government spokesman for the province.
There was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident, ISAF said. It has not released the nationalities of the service members.FULL STORY
The first Vietnam veteran to be U.S. defense secretary is spending his first overseas trip on the job thanking soldiers and Marines.
At about 11 a.m. ET Friday, Chuck Hagel touched down in Kabul, Afghanistan. On the plane taking him there, he told reporters that the main reason for going was to thank the troops.FULL STORY
The top U.S. commander for the Afghanistan-Pakistan region has recommended to President Obama that 13,600 American troops stay in Afghanistan after 2014, a number that is potentially higher than what the administration wants to leave in the country.
At a NATO meeting in February, then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said up to 12,000 troops could stay behind, but not all of those would be American troops necessarily. But Gen. James Mattis, head of the U.S. Central Command, revealed the new recommendation to the Senate Armed Service Committee on Tuesday at a hearing.FULL STORY
A Japanese court Friday sentenced two American servicemen to prison for a rape committed last year while they were on duty at a U.S. military base in Okinawa.
The Naha District Court handed down a sentence of 10 years to Navy Seaman Christopher Daniel Browning and nine years to Petty Officer Skyler A Dozierwalker for raping a Japanese woman after attacking her in a parking lot.FULL STORY
[Updated at 1:35 p.m. ET] Pfc. Bradley Manning, after pleading guilty to half of the 22 charges against him in a case of document leaks to WikiLeaks, has explained in court why and how he leaked classified material.
In an hourlong statement in court, he said he passed on what "upset" or "disturbed" him but nothing he thought would harm the United States if it became public.
[Posted at 12:48 p.m. ET] Pfc. Bradley Manning pleaded guilty Thursday to half of the 22 charges against him, but not the major one, in what the government says is the largest leak of classified documents in the nation's history.
The Army intelligence analyst is accused of stealing thousands of classified documents while serving in Iraq. The material was then published online by WikiLeaks.
The group, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information through its website, has never confirmed that Manning was the source of its information.FULL STORY
One day after winning a bruising nomination battle, Chuck Hagel is in charge of the Pentagon.
Hagel, the former Republican U.S. senator from Nebraska, was sworn in as secretary of defense Wednesday morning. He took the oath in a private ceremony at the Pentagon on his first day at work and will make remarks to service members and civilian employees of the department later Wednesday morning.
The Senate confirmed him Tuesday following a long battle with Republican senators who opposed some of his previous statements and positions.FULL STORY
The embattled nomination of Chuck Hagel as U.S. defense secretary cleared a Senate test vote Tuesday, breaking Republican attempts to delay consideration further and setting up what is expected to be a final vote in favor of his confirmation later in the day.
Hagel's nomination has been subject to harsh criticism from some Republicans over past statements on sensitive political and national security matters. A shaky performance at his Senate confirmation hearing and subsequent political wrangling over his selection and on unrelated matters have not helped his case.FULL STORY
The U.S. Coast Guard is suspending its search off the California coast for a distressed 29-foot sailboat that was carrying a couple and two children, and explained the incident is "possibly a hoax," Cmdr. Don Montoro said Tuesday.
The mission's cost has reached hundreds of thousands of dollars since Sunday, he said.FULL STORY
The Pentagon's most expensive weapons system is going to spend some time on the bench.
The U.S. military on Friday grounded the F-35 fighter jet due to a crack in an engine component that was discovered during a routine inspection in California. The fighter is currently being tested.
The Pentagon said in a statement that it was too early to assess the impact on the nearly $400 billion fleet of jets designed for use by the Navy, Air Force and Marines.
The program has been beset by cost overruns and various technical problems during development.
Currently, there are 51 planes in the F-35 fleet.
Nearly 800,000 civilian workers would be forced to take one day of leave per week without pay if automatic spending cuts go into effect as scheduled, the Defense Department told Congress on Wednesday morning.
The furloughs would start in the last week of April and last for 22 weeks, according to the Pentagon plan. It's unclear what would happen after the 22 weeks.
The Pentagon's plan is in response to the looming mandatory, across-the-board federal budget cuts – known as sequestration – that are due to start March 1. The cuts, mandated by a 2011 agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling, will take effect unless lawmakers come up with another deficit reduction plan.FULL STORY
The Marines general who was in line to become NATO's supreme allied commander is retiring instead.
President Barack Obama announced the retirement of U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, the former leader of coalition forces in Afghanistan, on Tuesday.
"I met with General John Allen and accepted his request to retire from the military so that he can address health issues within his family," Obama said in a statement.
Allen was caught up in a scandal over embarrassing e-mails with Tampa socialite Jill Kelley that came to the public's attention during the same investigation into an extra-marital affair that brought down former CIA Director David Petraeus. Allen was cleared of wrongdoing, and the White House initially indicated that Obama would proceed with the nomination for the supreme commander spot.FULL STORY
Gen. John Allen is considering whether to retire rather than move forward with the nomination to become the supreme allied commander of NATO, a staff member said.
In a written statement, a member of his staff said, "After 19 months in command in Afghanistan, and many before that spent away from home, Gen. Allen has been offered time to rest and reunite with his family before he turns his attention to his next assignment."FULL STORY
The remains of two U.S. Navy sailors, recovered in 2002 from the wreck of the service's first ironclad warship, the USS Monitor, will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, the Navy said Tuesday.
"These may very well be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement. "It's important we honor these brave men and all they represent as we reflect upon the significant role Monitor and her crew had in setting the course for our modern Navy."
The Monitor sank during a storm on New Year's Eve 1862 off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with a loss of 16 sailors.
President Barack Obama will announce in tonight's State of the Union address that, by this time next year, 34,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan will have returned home, sources tell CNN's Jake Tapper.
The return of those troops will reduce the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan by one half.FULL STORY
President Obama will deliver his fourth State of the Union address before Congress tonight. Watch CNN.com Live for all of your political coverage.
Today's programming highlights...
Ongoing coverage: North Korea's nuclear test
9:30 am ET - Military sequestration hearing - What would threatened across-the-board budget cuts mean for the U.S. military and national defense? Top Pentagon and military officials discuss the matter before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced just days before leaving office that the Pentagon is extending some benefits to the same-sex partners of service members.
Same-sex partners who sign a military "Declaration of Domestic Partnership" form will be eligible for several benefits, including military identification cards as dependents.
This would allow them unescorted status on bases, access to commissaries, and the right to visit their partners in military hospitals.
They will also be able to receive many survivor benefits, including life insurance payments.FULL STORY
First it was monkeys in space (or not) and now it’s “GI Joe” fighter jets. Not the best of times for Iran’s aviation and aerospace programs, at least if you listen to the skeptics.
First there were doubts about Tehran’s claim it sent a monkey into space in late January. After photos of two different monkeys that were aboard the alleged one-monkey space shot surfaced, Iran media said there was a photo mix-up and, yes, there was just one Iranian monkey in space.
Then this week Iran unveiled what it said was its new high-tech stealth fighter plane. The jet shown in pictures on the website of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been the butt of jokes all week from aviation bloggers.
“This aircraft looks a lot like an old GI Joe toy,” wrote one blogger.
And from another, “This has to be a joke, right?”
Click through the gallery above to see the bloggers' comments and evidence in the photos.
Furloughed workers, reduced combat readiness, shrunken naval operations and cuts to Air Force flying hours and weapons maintenance.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta listed those consequences as he provided a stark warning Wednesday about the effects of impending budget cuts on the military. The result, he said, would be "the most serious readiness crisis" faced by the military in over a decade.FULL STORY