- The Washington Times - Monday, June 28, 2010

ARMY

General tells Army he will retire

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who was forced out last week as the top U.S. general in the stalemated Afghanistan war, has told the Army that he will retire.

Army spokesman Col. Tom Collins said Gen. McChrystal notified the service of his plans on Monday, but he has not yet submitted formal retirement papers. It is not clear when he will leave the service, but the process usually take a few months.

President Obama has praised Gen. McChrystal’s long Army career, but says his intemperate remarks in a magazine article that appeared last week could not be abided. Gen. McChrystal apologized for the remarks in Rolling Stone magazine and flew to Washington last week to resign as commanding general of the war.

WHITE HOUSE

Plans will double available air space

The Obama administration is backing a plan to nearly double the space available on the airwaves for wireless high-speed Internet traffic to keep up with ever-growing demand for video and other cutting-edge applications on laptops and mobile devices.

President Obama on Monday committed the federal government to freeing up an additional 500 megahertz of radio spectrum for broadband over the next 10 years, with much of that auctioned off to commercial wireless carriers. The wireless industry currently holds roughly 500 megahertz of spectrum, but hasn’t put all of it to use yet.

The White House memorandum marks an official endorsement of one of the key proposals in the Federal Communications Commission’s national broadband plan for bringing high-speed Internet access to all Americans. That plan, released in March, envisions wireless technology as a key way to make that happen - particularly in rural areas where it may be uneconomical to build landline networks.

VICE PRESIDENCY

Cheney exits hospital after treatment

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has been discharged from the hospital after his latest bout with heart-related trouble.

Mr. Cheney was admitted to George Washington University Hospital on Friday after reporting that he was not feeling well. He underwent testing and ultimately received medication to treat a fluid buildup related to his aggressive form of heart disease.

His office said on Sunday that the former vice president’s condition has improved considerably, and he left the hospital as expected on Monday. The 69-year-old Mr. Cheney has a long history of heart disease.

PENTAGON

$100 billion eyed in cost savings

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday he wants to trim some of the billions of dollars the Pentagon spends on weapons systems and contractor services, part of a Pentagon-wide effort to find $100 billion in savings in the next five years

Mr. Gates, who already plans to pare down the Pentagon’s huge bureaucracy to save money, said that the Defense Department will focus on unnecessary spending by defense contractors that provide the military with everything from fighter jets to janitors.

Mr. Gates said it is “a matter of principle and political reality to make sure every taxpayer dollar counts.” His goal is to shift money from overhead expenses to supporting U.S. troops spread around the globe.

The Pentagon will spend about $400 billion of its roughly $700 billion budget on weapons and services from defense contractors. The new plan calls for annual savings of about 2 percent to 3 percent through measures like contracts that require the defense companies to shoulder cost overruns and encouraging competition between contractors.

SENATE

Lautenberg says he’s cancer-free

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. | Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, who became the Senate’s oldest member when Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia died Monday, has announced that he is cancer-free.

Mr. Lautenberg made the announcement Saturday at the Garden State Equality Legends Dinner in Maplewood. The 86-year-old Democrat told the gay rights group that his doctor said to him Friday: “It’s gone, Frank.”

Mr. Lautenberg was hospitalized Feb. 15 after falling at his New Jersey home. He was treated for a bleeding ulcer, and it was announced Feb. 19 that B-cell lymphoma was found in his stomach. Mr. Lautenberg began chemotherapy treatment and returned to the Senate on March 2.

SENATE

Bank-regulation bill losing support

A sweeping overhaul of financial regulations faced new obstacles in the Senate on Monday — the loss of one and potentially two crucial votes to guarantee its passage.

The death of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, and new misgivings by Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts put the bill’s fate in doubt. The two men were among the 61 senators who had supported an original Senate version of the bill.

Mr. Brown said Monday that he could not support a provision added by House-Senate negotiators in the bill released Friday that would impose a $19 billion fee on large banks and hedge funds, which could get passed on to consumers.

Two Democrats — Sens. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Maria Cantwell of Washington — voted against the Senate version, saying it wasn’t tough enough on banks. Cantwell spokesman John Diamond said his boss was reviewing the new bill and had not taken a position, but Mr. Feingold on Monday left no doubt that he would continue to oppose the bill.

“My test for the financial regulatory reform bill is whether it will prevent another crisis,” he said in a statement. “The conference committee’s proposal fails that test and for that reason I will not vote to advance it.”

BORDER

Troop deployment called half-measure

PHOENIX | The Texas and Arizona governors criticized the Obama administration’s border security plans Monday, saying not enough National Guard troops are being deployed to their states.

“What we heard wasn’t anything what we hoped to hear,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer told reporters after a 90-minute briefing by federal officials sent by President Obama. Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the deployment to his state was “insufficient to meet the needs of securing the Texas-Mexico border.”

Both governors are Republicans.

Of the 1,200 additional National Guard soldiers being sent to the U.S.-Mexico border, Arizona would get 524, Texas would get 250, California 224 and New Mexico 72, officials said. Another 130 would be at a national liaison office.

Mrs. Brewer has said the deployment should total 6,000, including 3,000 in her state, which has the most illegal border crossings. Mr. Perry asked in January 2009 for 1,000 National Guard troops to help with border security in Texas alone.

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