February 13th, 2013
07:29 AM ET

U.S. analyzing reports that Syrian government has moved chemical weapons

The United States and other countries near Syria are analyzing intelligence reports that the Bashar al-Assad government may have moved some of its chemical weapons in recent weeks, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

Over the last 10 days, the United States has been trying to ascertain the legitimacy of the reports but has been unable to make any firm conclusions, according to officials from a number of U.S. government agencies. The movement could be an attempt to consolidate storage because of deteriorating security across Syria, the official said.

February 11th, 2013
03:59 PM ET

Military extends some benefits to same-sex partners

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.

Navy moves destroyers ahead of possible North Korea missile launch
File photo of the USS Benfold. Photo/DVIDS
December 6th, 2012
10:24 AM ET

Navy moves destroyers ahead of possible North Korea missile launch

The Navy is moving some warships into position to monitor a possible upcoming North Korean launch of a long-range ballistic missile, Defense Department officials said Thursday.

The USS Benfold and the USS Fitzgerald - both guided missile destroyers - are moving into positions, although the Navy declined to give their exact location. They are being sent to monitor for a possible launch and "provide reassurance to allies," according two Defense Department officials.

It's possible two additional ships will be sent in the next few days, the officials added.

North Korea appears to be working toward its goal of launching a rocket later this month, with a recent satellite image showing preparations continuing around the site.

November 8th, 2012
02:11 PM ET

Iran fighter jets fired on U.S. drone, officials tell CNN

Two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired on an unarmed U.S. Air Force Predator drone in the Persian Gulf last week, CNN has learned.

The incident raises fresh concerns within the Obama administration about Iranian military aggression in crucial Gulf oil shipping lanes.

You can read more about the incident on our Security Clearance blog.

February 23rd, 2012
08:55 AM ET

Seven Marines dead after Arizona helicopters collide

[Updated at 10:12 a.m. ET] Seven U.S. Marines have been killed in the midair collision of two U.S. military helicopters in southern Arizona, officials said Thursday.

The crash occurred during routine training operations late Wednesday at the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Maj. Carl B. Redding, Jr. of the Marine Corps said in a statement.

The collision involved an AH-1W "Super Cobra" attack helicopter and a UH-1Y "Huey" utility chopper, which the military has long used for a variety of tasks. They were part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.

Authorities were investigating the collision, which occurred in a remote area of a training range complex.

December 6th, 2011
09:11 AM ET

Drone that crashed in Iran was on CIA recon mission, officials say

A U.S. stealth drone that crashed in Iran last week was part of a CIA reconnaissance mission which involved both the intelligence community and military personnel stationed in Afghanistan, two U.S. officials confirmed to CNN Tuesday.

The officials said they did not believe the mission involved flying the aircraft directly over Iran because the reconnaissance capability of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone would allow it to gather information from inside Iran while remaining on the Afghanistan side of the border. The officials also for the first time confirmed to CNN it was an RQ-170 drone that was lost.

A third U.S. official confirmed that when the drone crashed, the United States briefly considered all potential options for retrieving the aircraft or bombing the wreckage, but those ideas were quickly discarded as impractical. There was also satellite surveillance over the site, which helped confirm the location of the wreckage before the Iranians retrieved it.


December 6th, 2011
08:57 AM ET

Drone downed in Iran probably ours, U.S. says

Operators of a U.S. drone lost flight control of it along Afghanistan's western border with Iran, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the incident.

The crew operating the unmanned drone reported a loss of flight control just before the drone went down. U.S. officials are aware of reports out of Iran that they shot down a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel and believe this may be the drone the Iranians are talking about, according to this U.S. official.

However, the U.S. official said the U.S. government has not confirmed that Iran shot it down, although it may have gone down over Iranian territory.

Source: SEALs wore helmet-mounted cameras in bin Laden raid
Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden in this hideout compound in Pakistan.
May 13th, 2011
11:25 AM ET

Source: SEALs wore helmet-mounted cameras in bin Laden raid

Members of the U.S. Navy SEAL team that attacked Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound were wearing helmet-mounted digital cameras that recorded the mission, a U.S. military official told CNN Friday.

The official described the digital recording as hazy and fast-moving, and subject to poor lighting in the rooms. The source also said it is hard to get clear images from the footage.

"This is not movie-quality stuff," the source said.

Defense Official: Navy officer to be relieved of his command
Navy Capt. Owen Honors was second-in-command when the videos were shown.
January 4th, 2011
11:13 AM ET

Defense Official: Navy officer to be relieved of his command

Navy Capt. Owen Honors, who produced profanity- and slur-laden videos while second in command of the USS Enterprise, has been relieved of his command of the ship, a senior defense official told CNN Tuesday.

Excerpts from the videos and descriptions of their content were first published Saturday by The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia.

The videos on the paper's website, reviewed by CNN, feature a man identified by two Navy officials and The Virginian-Pilot as Honors, who at the time was the executive officer, or second in command, of the aircraft carrier. He recently took command of the carrier, winning one of the most coveted assignments in the U.S. Navy, which has only 11 aircraft carriers.

Navy spokesman Cmdr. Chris Sims said the videos, which were shown to the crew of the Enterprise while on deployment supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, are "inappropriate."

Honors is shown cursing along with other members of his staff in an attempt to demonstrate humor, according to the videos.

Mullen to visit S. Korea as tensions rise
December 6th, 2010
10:54 AM ET

Mullen to visit S. Korea as tensions rise

Adm. Mike Mullen. the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, plans to depart Washington Monday night to go to South Korea in a hastily planned visit, according to Pentagon officials.

The goal is to reassure the South Korean military of U.S. support, American officials said.

"He is going to shore up support for the alliance," a senior US military official said. The official declined to be identified because the trip will not be publicly announced until later Monday.

"He is going to reinforce our strategic alliance and our commitment to the defense of their territory," the official said. A second Pentagon official described the trip as "relatively sudden."

The Mullen visit comes as the South Korean navy began live-fire exercises on the seas surrounding the Korean peninsula Monday in the midst of bristling tensions with the North, South Korean state media reported.


November 15th, 2010
12:52 PM ET

Official: Petraeus warns Karzai on Afghan exit timing

In what may be one of the most significant breaches between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Obama administration, Gen. David Petraeus personally warned Afghan officials over the weekend the U.S.-Afghan partnership could be "untenable" if Karzai wants U.S. troops out of Afghanistan prematurely.

A senior coalition military official confirmed details of what Petraeus said, but asked not to be identified so he could speak more candidly.

Petraeus made the statements Sunday in a meeting with Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan official in charge of planning the efforts to handle transition from coalition to Afghan control. A planned Sunday meeting with Karzai was rescheduled, but officials insisted it was not canceled due to the tensions.

Petraeus was reacting to a Karzai interview published Sunday in The Washington Post, in which the Afghan leader spoke extensively about reducing U.S. military operations and the number of American forces in Afghanistan.


July 1st, 2010
11:08 AM ET

Senior U.S. commander restricts Humvee use in Afghanistan

The once-ubiquitous Humvee may become a rare sight in some parts of Afghanistan following a decision by the senior U.S. commander in eastern Afghanistan to restrict the use of the vehicles in the field.

Maj. Gen. John Campbell, commander of Joint Task Force-101, ordered this week that the use of Humvee vehicles outside a military base would have to specifically be approved by a colonel - one of the most senior field grade positions in the military.

 Prior to this, the use of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV, or Humvee) had to be approved by a lower-ranking officer, according to Task Force spokesman Maj. Patrick Seiber. FULL POST

June 24th, 2010
07:58 AM ET

Gates advocated keeping McChrystal, source says

Defense Secretary Robert Gates backed keeping Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the job because he was vital to the war effort in Afghanistan, but he was overruled, a senior Pentagon official told CNN's Barbara Starr.

The official has direct knowledge of the events but declined to be identified because of the internal administration discussions.

President Barack Obama relieved McChrystal of command of the Afghan war on Wednesday, a day after Rolling Stone published critical comments about top White House officials by members of McChrystal's staff.

Gates was initially furious about the article, but said McChrystal had to stay in command because the war is at such a critical point, a second source - who also asked not to be named on internal administration discussions - told CNN.

But as it became clear the White House didn't feel same way and the issue was not going to fade, Gates shifted his position and agreed that keeping the general would be an untenable distraction.


June 23rd, 2010
03:30 PM ET

Security Brief: What happened at McChrystal, Obama meeting

A source close to Gen. Stanley McChrystal provided the first account of what happened in Wednesday's White House meeting between the general and President Barack Obama.

According to the source, McChrystal briefly explained the magazine article at the center of the controversy and took responsibility, then offered his resignation. Obama accepted the resignation, the source said.

The president "had no intention of keeping him," according to the source.

In addition, the source said McChrystal will not return to Afghanistan. His team will go back to pack up on his behalf.

June 8th, 2010
12:24 PM ET

Air Force suspends essential training in oil-marred Gulf

The oil disaster has prompted the Air Force to suspend its parachute water survival training in Florida, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The Air Force trains its air crews at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, according to David Smith, spokesman for the Air Education and Training Command. The program, which trains 55 students for 48 weeks a year, was suspended June 4.


May 20th, 2010
10:33 PM ET

Official: Bagram attackers wore U.S.-style uniforms

Insurgents who attacked Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Wednesday were wearing U.S. Army-style battle fatigue uniforms, according to a U.S. military official who has seen initial eyewitness accounts of the attack.