Pentagon Ordered To Expand Syria Target List

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has directed the Pentagon to develop an expanded list of potential targets in Syria in response to intelligence suggesting that President Bashar Assad’s government has been moving troops and equipment used to employ chemical weapons while Congress debates whether to authorize military action.

Mr. Obama, officials said, is determined to put more emphasis on the “degrade” part of what the administration has said is the goal of a military strike against Syria — to “deter and degrade” Mr. Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons.  That means expanding beyond the 50 or so major sites that were part of the target list developed with French forces before Mr. Obama delayed action Saturday to seek congressional approval.

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Pentagon: North Korea Could Launch Nuclear Missile

WASHINGTON – A U.S. intelligence report concludes that North Korea has advanced its nuclear knowhow to the point that it could arm a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead, a jarring revelation in the midst of bellicose threats from the unpredictable communist regime.

President Barack Obama urged calm, calling on Pyongyang to end its saber-rattling while sternly warning that he would “take all necessary steps” to protect American citizens.

The new American intelligence analysis, disclosed Thursday at a hearing on Capitol Hill, says the Pentagon’s intelligence wing has “moderate confidence” that North Korea has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles but that the weapon was unreliable.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., read aloud what he said was an unclassified paragraph from a secret Defense Intelligence Agency report that was supplied to some members of Congress.  The reading seemed to take Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by surprise, who said he hadn’t seen the report and declined to answer questions about it.

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Military Chiefs Cite Personal Encounters In Lifting Women’s Combat Ban

English: General Martin E. Dempsey, USA, 18thC...

English: General Martin E. Dempsey, USA, 18thChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — The historic decision to lift the military’s ban on women in combat had its roots in the personal experiences in war zones of Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both men said on Thursday.  For General Dempsey, it all began in Baghdad.

He had just arrived there in 2003 as a division commander, he said at a Pentagon news conference, when he clambered aboard a Humvee and asked the driver where he was from.  “And I slapped the turret gunner on the leg and I said, ‘Who are you?’ “ General Dempsey recalled.  “And she leaned down and said, ‘I’m Amanda.’ ”

As people chortled, General Dempsey continued: “And I said, ‘Oh, O.K.’ So a female turret gunner is protecting a division commander.  And it’s from that point on that I realized something had changed, and it was time to do something about it.”

Almost a decade later, General Dempsey and Mr. Panetta signed a document formally rescinding a 1994 ban that restricted women from infantry, artillery, armor and other such combat roles.  “Not everyone is going to be able to be a combat soldier,” Mr. Panetta said, “but everyone is entitled to a chance.”

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