The United States will deploy additional ground-based missile interceptors as part of efforts to enhance the nation's ability to defend itself from attack by North Korea or Iran, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday.
Still relatively new in his post, the Pentagon chief told reporters that 14 additional interceptors would bring the total to 44. He said the expansion should be completed by 2017.
Part of the move would involve reopening a missile field at Fort Greely, Alaska, Hagel said.FULL STORY
An explosion rocked Kabul Saturday during a press briefing in Afghanistan by newly appointed U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, according to a CNN correspondent present. Those attending the briefing were moved to a safer location.
The sound of other explosions could be heard a short time before the blast.
Three eye witnesses said there was an explosion near the Afghan defense ministry, which is about half a mile from the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force.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
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
[Updated at 1:13 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama, announcing Friday that "the rest of our troops will come home by the end of the year," said: "After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over."
The new partnership with Iraq will be "strong and enduring" after U.S. troops leave the country, Obama said in the White House briefing room. The United States will continue its interest in a strong, stable Iraq after U.S. troops leave, the president said.
"Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays," Obama said.
About 39,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, and the U.S. had wanted to keep from 3,000 to 5,000 troops in Iraq past 2011 to aid in training and security. But the current Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq dictates the U.S. troops leave by year's end, and the United States and Iraq had been unable to come to an agreement on key issues regarding legal immunity for U.S. troops who would remain in Iraq, effectively ending discussion of maintaining a significant American force presence beyond 2011.
Of the 39,000 troops in Iraq, only about 150, a negligible force, will remain to assist in arms sales.
The negotiations were strained following WikiLeaks' release of a diplomatic cable that alleged Iraqi civilians, including children, were killed in a 2006 raid by American troops rather than in an airstrike as initially reported by the U.S. military.
U.S. troops have already started the drawdown - a brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas, that was originally scheduled to be among the very last to leave Iraq was being pulled out of the country months ahead of its planned departure, military officials told CNN last week.
[Updated at 12:47 p.m. ET] The scheduled departure of virtually all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year will allow the United States to "say definitively that the Iraq war is over," a White House official said Friday.
[Initial post] Virtually all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of the year as the current Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq dictates, a U.S. official told CNN Friday.
A small number of U.S. troops will be attached to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
This month, the United States and Iraq had been unable to come to an agreement on key issues regarding legal immunity for U.S. troops who would remain in Iraq after the end of the year, effectively ending discussion of maintaining a significant American force presence beyond 2011.
About 39,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, and the U.S. wanted to keep from 3,000 to 5,000 troops in Iraq past 2011.
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to make a statement about Iraq around 12:45 p.m. Friday, according to a White House official.FULL STORY
A majority of U.S. service members surveyed do not care if the law banning openly gay and lesbian troops from serving is repealed, according to a source knowledgeable with the results of the Pentagon study.
Members of Congress are to get an advance look at the study Tuesday.