Marine Corps redefines its role

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  • The Marine Corps is redefining its role. Leaders there have launched a review of force structure after the Afghanistan war winds down. According to published reports, the Force Structure Review Group will outline the size and organization of the post-Afghanistan Marine Corps. A report is due by year’s end; and its findings could affect the Marine budget as early as 2013.
  • The question has been whether there are surface-to-air missiles at the Taliban’s disposal in Afghanistan. Now it looks like they might have access. Janes Defense Weekly reports that heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles, or SAMs, have been used by insurgents against coalition forces in Afghanistan. The information is included in the documents published by Wikileaks. The Department of Defense hasn’t confirmed the reports.
  • A former Army counterintelligence agent says he helped lead military authorities to a soldier being investigated for a massive leak of secret Afghanistan war records. The records were posted last week on a self-described whistle blower web site. The agent is Timothy Webster of California. Webster says, he was told by a hacker that the leak source might be private first class Bradley Manning. Manning, who had been online friend with the hacker, is already in military custody for an earlier leak of classified documents. Meanwhile, Senator Charles Schumer, who is drafting legislation to protect media sources from disclosure, says he will specifically exempt the site from shielding.
  • President Obama has reinstated the rank of a general who was forced into retirement — and stripped of two stars — for exceeding his bombing authority in North Vietnam. Turns out, General John D. Lavelle had in fact received permission for expanded bombing runs. And the permission originated with a secret decision by then President Richard Nixon. The story came to light in 2007 in an investigative Air Force Magazine article by Aloysius Casey, a retired Air Force general, and his son, Patrick Casey. Recently Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates endorsed an exoneration finding of an Air Force panel. And now the president has sent Lavelle’s name to the Senate for restoring his four-star rank. Lavelle died in 1979, but his widow expressed gratitude for the restoration.

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