Defense

  • A former FBI analyst has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for keeping classified documents at her home in North Kansas City, Missouri. Kendra Kingsbury pleaded guilty in October to two counts of unlawfully retaining documents related to national defense. She was sentenced Wednesday to three years and 10 months in federal prison. Federal prosecutors said Kingsbury held a high level security clearance, which gave her access to national defense and classified information. During her employment from 2004 to December 2017, she took 386 sensitive government documents home. Prosecutors say she has declined to provide a motive. She was most recently living in Garden City, Kansas.

    June 22, 2023
  • The Pentagon says it overestimated the value of the weapons it has sent to Ukraine by $6.2 billion over the past two years, resulting in a surplus that will be used for future security packages. The total surplus is about double early estimates. Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh says a detailed review of the accounting error found that the military services used replacement costs rather than the book value of equipment that was pulled from Pentagon stocks and sent to Ukraine. As a result, the department has additional money to use to support Ukraine as it pursues its counteroffensive against Russia.

    June 20, 2023
  • A U.S. Army base in western Louisiana has been renamed in honor of Sgt. William Henry Johnson, a Black veteran of World War I and a Medal of Honor recipient. While serving in France in 1918, Johnson was wounded 21 times while he fought off a German night raid. His brave actions were recognized nearly a century later when he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2015. Fort Johnson was previously named after a Confederate commander, Leonidas Polk. The names of nine Army posts that commemorated Confederate officers are being changed as part of the military’s efforts to address historic racial injustice.

    June 13, 2023
  • Hopes have been dashed for an imminent end to a Senate standoff that has delayed the promotions of more than 200 military officers and could delay the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s pick for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has been blocking the nominations to pressure the Defense Department to rescind a policy that reimburses service members who have to travel out of state for abortions and other reproductive care. A proposal to hold a Senate debate over Pentagon abortion policies was seen by some senators as the best prospect for getting Tuberville to lift those holds, but his office said Monday that Tuberville was opposed.

    June 12, 2023
  • The Air Force has announced the permanent location for many more U.S. Space Force units — and none of them are in Huntsville, Alabama. This suggests the service may be moving ahead with at least part of the design it originally sought for the new force before it became entangled in politics. Four more Space Force missions will now be based in Colorado Springs, a notable choice during a larger and now politicized battle over where to locate the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command. Colorado Springs, which is housing Space Command’s temporary headquarters, was the Air Force’s preferred location. But Donald Trump, in the final days of his presidency, selected Alabama instead.

    May 31, 2023
  • The Air Force fighter pilot tapped to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff got his call sign by ejecting from a burning F-16 fighter jet high above the Florida Everglades and falling into the watery sludge below. It was January 1991, and then-Capt. CQ Brown Jr. had just enough time in his parachute above alligator-full wetlands. He landed in the muck, which coated his body. That's how the man nominated to be the country’s next top military officer got his call sign: “Swamp Thing.” President Joe Biden announced he was nominating Brown for the chairman's job during a Rose Garden event on Thursday.

    May 25, 2023
  • President Joe Biden is expected to announce Air Force Gen. CQ Brown Jr. to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Brown is a history-making fighter pilot with years of experience in shaping U.S. defenses to meet China's rise. If confirmed by the Senate, Brown would replace the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, whose term ends in October. It would be the first time that both the Pentagon’s top military and civilian positions were held by African Americans. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is the Pentagon’s current top civilian.

    May 05, 2023
  • One of the most important munitions of the Ukraine war comes from a historic factory in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Steel rods are brought in by train to the Scranton Army Ammunition Plant to be forged into the artillery shells Kyiv can’t get enough of. The plant is at the vanguard of a multibillion-dollar Pentagon plan to modernize and accelerate its production of ammunition and equipment. It is one of just two sites in the U.S. that make the steel bodies for the 155 mm howitzer rounds that the U.S. is rushing to Ukraine. The lack of 155 mm shells has alarmed U.S. military planners, who see it as a critical shortage.

    April 23, 2023
  • Defense officials are telling Congress that the military services are still reviewing possible discipline of troops who refused the order to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Officials provided few details on how many of those who were forced out of the military would like to return. During a congressional hearing Tuesday, lawmakers questioned why service members should still face discipline since the vaccine requirement has been rescinded. The undersecretary of defense for personnel, Gilbert Cisneros Jr., told a House Armed Services subcommittee that some service members who disobeyed the lawful order to get the vaccine — and did not seek any type of exemption — are still going through the review process.

    February 28, 2023
  • The Pentagon has formally dropped its COVID-19 vaccination mandate, but a new memo signed by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also gives commanders some discretion in how or whether to deploy troops who are not vaccinated.

    January 10, 2023
  • The COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the U.S. military would be rescinded under the annual defense bill heading for a vote this week in Congress. If the measure passes, it will end a policy that helped ensure the vast majority of troops were vaccinated but also raised concerns that it harmed recruitment and retention.

    December 06, 2022
  • House investigators say a federal contractor that provided identity verification services for the Internal Revenue Service overstated its capacity to perform its services. The investigators say ID.me also made false claims about the amount of money lost to pandemic fraud in an apparent effort to increase demand for its services. The investigation of firm ID.me began in April after critics said the facial recognition software could become a target of cyberthreats and presented privacy concerns. A company representative says “calling ID.me’s estimate too high or baseless is premature, and we welcome additional oversight on this important matter."

    November 17, 2022
  • The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection has resigned from his job leading the nation’s largest law enforcement agency as agents encounter record numbers of migrants entering the U.S. from Mexico. Chris Magnus submitted his resignation to President Joe Biden on Saturday, saying it had been “a privilege and honor” to be part of the administration. Two people who were briefed on the matter told The Associated Press on Friday that Magnus was told to resign or be fired less than a year after he was confirmed. His removal is part of a larger shakeup expected at Homeland Security as it struggles to manage migrants coming from a wider range of countries, including Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

    November 12, 2022
  • The head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection is being forced out of his job leading the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, according to two people familiar with the matter. Chris Magnus has been on the job less than a year. He was told to resign or be fired, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter who were not authorized to discuss it publicly and Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council. The ultimatum comes after Republican gains in midterm elections are likely to lead to more congressional scrutiny.

    November 11, 2022