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Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen confer while briefing the news media Tuesday on the end of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Mr. Panetta said repealing the ban on openly gay military service was a "historic day." (Associated Press)

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen confer while briefing the news media Tuesday on the end of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Mr. Panetta said repealing the ban on openly gay military service was a "historic day." (Associated Press)

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Say hello, Assad: See the Navy warships off the coast of Syria

The Navy has sent four warships — USS Ramage, USS Mahan, USS Gravely and USS Barry — armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea amid violence in Syria. Navy ships are capable of a variety of military actions, including launching Tomahawk cruise missiles as they did against Libya in 2011.