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Aerospace & Defense

The latest coverage of the Defense Department, State Department and aerospace industry.

U.S. trashes unwanted gear in Afghanistan, sells as scrap

- Associated Press

The twisted remains of several all-terrain vehicles leaned precariously inside Baba Mir’s sprawling scrapyard, alongside smashed shards that were once generators, tank tracks that have been dismantled into chunks of metal, and mountains of tents reduced to sliced up fabric.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley has expressed his support for changing how the military conducts investigations of sexual assault. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)  **FILE**

Momentum builds to change military rules on harassment in the ranks

- The Washington Times

The polarizing push to pull sexual assault cases from the chain of command — an idea that now appears inevitable amid openness from top Pentagon commanders and support from even some of the most outspoken pro-military conservatives on Capitol Hill — would represent a fundamental change to one of the core tenets of U.S. military practice.

Palau is one of the tiny Pacific players on the front lines of a high-stakes rivalry between the U.S. and China.. (Associated Press)

Deterrent against China: Palau invites U.S. military to build on remote islands

American troop deployments can spark tensions and resistance in other parts of the world, but the tiny nation of Palau has invited the U.S. military to build ports, bases and airfields on its Pacific islands in the face of rising Chinese economic intimidation, according to defiant President Surangel Whipps.

In this Jan. 15, 2018, file photo, U.S. Marines watch during the change of command ceremony at Task Force Southwest military field in Shorab military camp of Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini, File)  **FILE**

Pentagon offers first progress report on exit from Afghanistan

- The Washington Times

Kicking off President Biden’s withdrawal from operations in Afghanistan, the military reported Tuesday it has already moved the equivalent of 60 C-17 loads of material out of the country and turned over more than 1,300 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, is greeted by Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the start of the G-7 foreign ministers meeting in London Tuesday, May 4, 2021.  G7 foreign ministers meet in London Tuesday for their first face-to-face talks in more than two years. (Ben Stansall / Pool via AP)

Flurry of diplomatic contacts fuel Iran deal speculation

- Associated Press

A flurry of diplomatic contacts and reports of major progress suggest that indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran may be nearing an agreement. That’s despite efforts by U.S. officials to play down chances of an imminent deal that would bring Washington and Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

In this Jan. 6, 2020, file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping stands during a welcome ceremony for Kiribati's President Taneti Maamau at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

Xi claims ultimate authority, adopts Mao’s title ‘helmsman’

- The Washington Times

Chinese President and Communist Party General-Secretary Xi Jinping continues to consolidate power and has reached new status, adopting the title “helmsman,” a descriptor not used since Mao Zedong and denoting ultimate authority, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

In this Wednesday, April 17, 2019, file photo reviewed by U.S. military officials, the control tower is seen through the razor wire inside the Camp VI detention facility in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. A plan to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, which was halted earlier in 2021 amid a political backlash, is on again as health authorities on April 19, 2021, expanded the vaccination program on the Navy base in Cuba to the entire adult population of the remote facility. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Biden admin.’s ‘goal’ remains to close Guantanamo Bay prison

- The Washington Times

The Biden administration’s “goal” remains to close the Guantanamo Bay prison for suspected terrorists, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who says the White House is intent on moving the facility’s 40 remaining prisoners away from the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

In this Jan. 15, 2018, file photo, U.S. Marines watch during the change of command ceremony at Task Force Southwest military field in Shorab military camp of Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini, File)  **FILE**

U.S. base in Afghanistan hit by rocket fire as troops begin withdrawal

- The Washington Times

In an ominous kickoff to the mission to leave, U.S. forces returned fire over the weekend after rockets hit a key air base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, while America’s top general on Sunday warned of “bad possible outcomes” in the country after all U.S. and NATO troops complete their withdrawal.

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a closing speech at the Sixth Conference of Cell Secretaries of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, April 8, 2021. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korea warns U.S. of ‘very grave situation’ over Biden speech

- Associated Press

North Korea on Sunday warned the United States will face “a very grave situation” because President Biden “made a big blunder” in his recent speech by calling the North a security threat and revealing his intent to maintain a hostile policy toward it.

The ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations, Wang Qun, leaves the "Grand Hotel Wien" where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place in Vienna, Austria, Saturday, May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Lisa Leutner)

Progress noted at diplomats’ talks on Iran nuclear deal

- Associated Press

High-ranking diplomats from China, Germany, France, Russia and Britain made progress at talks Saturday focused on bringing the United States back into their landmark nuclear deal with Iran, but said they need more work and time to bring about a future agreement.

In this Oct. 1, 2019, file photo spectators wave Chinese flags as military vehicles carrying DF-41 ballistic missiles roll during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) **FILE**

China nuclear buildup faster than expected, U.S. now believes

- The Washington Times

China’s military is advancing its nuclear arsenal and delivery systems so fast the Defense Intelligence Agency has had to move up its estimate of when Beijing will double its warhead stockpile, the general in charge of military intelligence told Congress on Thursday.

In this Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at a conference in Tehran, Iran. Iran's top diplomat expressed regret Wednesday, April 28, 2021, that a recording leaked out of him making frank comments about the limits of his power in the Islamic Republic, while the country's president describing the incident as a means to derail ongoing talks with world powers over Tehran's tattered nuclear deal. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Shakeup in Iran’s presidential office after leaked tape

Associated Press

Iran’s president has replaced the head of a think tank that recorded an interview with the country’s foreign minister that leaked out this week, a tape that provided a rare glimpse into the theocracy’s power struggles and set off a firestorm in Iran.

In this April 23, 2019, file photo, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning participates in a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China's PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province. China says it is holding naval drills involving the battlegroup of the aircraft carrier Liaoning in waters near Taiwan. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool, File)

China says U.S. increasing military activity directed at it

Associated Press

Activity by U.S. military ships and surveillance planes directed at China has increased significantly under President Joe Biden’s administration, a spokesperson for the Chinese Defense Ministry said Thursday.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, the core module of China's space station, Tianhe, on the the Long March-5B Y2 rocket is moved to the launching area of the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in southern China's Hainan Province on April 23, 2021. (Guo Wenbin/Xinhua via AP) ** FILE **

China launches main part of its 1st permanent space station

- Associated Press

China on Thursday launched the main module of its first permanent space station that will host astronauts long term, the latest success for a program that has realized a number of its growing ambitions in recent years.

Judge sides with Amazon; court to consider whether Trump interfered in Pentagon ‘war cloud’ contract

- The Washington Times

Amazon Web Services won a major battle in the clash over the Pentagon’s massive $10 billion “war cloud” computing contract Wednesday, as a federal judge ruled its legal challenge citing interference by President Trump in the deal can go forward, opening the door to a potentially ugly fight and even a possible deposition of the former president.

This May 4, 2020, photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows SEAL candidates participating in "surf immersion" during Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training at the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Center in Coronado, Calif. U.S. Navy SEALs are undergoing a major transition to improve leadership and expand their commando capabilities. (MC1 Anthony Walker/U.S. Navy via AP)

Navy SEALs to shift from counterterrorism to global threats

- Associated Press

Ten years after they found and killed Osama bin Laden, U.S. Navy SEALs are undergoing a major transition to improve leadership and expand their commando capabilities to better battle threats from global powers like China and Russia.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ** FILE **

John Kerry pressed to resign after Iranian claims on Israeli data

- The Washington Times

John Kerry’s backroom conversations with foreign officials have sparked a fierce backlash in Washington again as the former secretary of state and President Biden’s point man on climate issues faced growing calls to resign Tuesday over reports that he fed Iran sensitive information about Israeli military strikes.