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In what could mark an escalation of tensions with the West, commercial satellite images suggest that Russia is moving a new generation of nuclear-capable missiles into Eastern Europe. Russia appears to be preparing to permanently base its Iskander missile system in Kaliningrad, a sliver of territory it controls along the Baltic coast between Lithuania and Poland. Arms control experts shared fresh satellite imagery with NPR, which they say provides evidence that the Iskander will soon be...

President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to become his secretary of homeland security, various news outlets are reporting. Trump's transition team has not confirmed the news to NPR, but the official announcement is expected next week . Kelly retired in January as the boss of U.S. Southern Command, the Pentagon's area of responsibility focused on the Caribbean and South America. It's one of the less "kinetic" combatant commands, as defense officials say —...

An Army review concludes that commanders did nothing wrong when they kicked out more than 22,000 soldiers for misconduct after they came back from Iraq or Afghanistan – even though all of those troops had been diagnosed with mental health problems or brain injuries. The Army's report, ordered by Secretary Eric Fanning , seeks to reassure members of Congress that it's treating wounded soldiers fairly. But senators and military specialists say the report troubles them. "I don't think the Army...

c_vincent/iStock / Thinkstock

It’s been nearly 70 years, and it’s still painful for Ed Spires to tell the story. In 1948, Spires received an undesirable discharge from the U.S. Air Force because he was gay. Now the 91-year old from Norwalk is suing to have his status upgraded to honorable.

U.S. Navy

First Lady Michelle Obama described herself as "beyond proud" as she commissioned the U.S.S. Illinois on Saturday at Naval Sub Base New London. Obama is the personal sponsor of the Virginia Class sub, which finished construction at Electric Boat in Groton.

The battle for the ISIS-held city of Mosul, now in its second day, is expected to drag on for weeks or months. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces approach the city, aid groups in the region are preparing for a humanitarian crisis. Fighting has lulled in some areas, but is continuing in others, and airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition continue, NPR's Alice Fordham reports from Kalak, Iraq. "The Iraqi army is fighting its way toward the city from the south: a spokesman said they are facing resistance...

An attack on a funeral hall killed 90 people and wounded more than 560 in Sanaa Saturday, Yemen's rebel government says. The Saudi-led coalition has promised to conduct an immediate investigation into the airstrikes. "We're mobilizing to support health facilities deal with the influx of dead and wounded," the Red Cross delegation in Yemen says, adding that it's sending 300 body bags and medical supplies to help cope with the violence's effects. News of the strike spread quickly online —...

Sikorsky Aircraft

The General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a bill giving a $220 million aid package to helicopter maker Sikorsky. Both chambers met in special session Wednesday for just one day to consider the legislation.

A Dutch-led team of international investigators has concluded that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which crashed in July 2014, was shot down by a Russian Buk missile that had been transferred into rebel-held eastern Ukraine. After the shooting, the surface-to-air missile launcher was transferred back to Russia. The crash of MH17 killed all 298 people aboard. The preliminary results of the international criminal investigation were announced on Wednesday in the Netherlands. Investigators said they...

In an interview with The Associated Press, Syrian President Bashar Assad blamed the U.S. for the collapse of a fragile cease-fire earlier this week and denied carrying out well-documented human rights abuses, such as besieging civilians or using chemical weapons against them. "I believe that the United States is not genuine regarding having a cessation of violence in Syria," Assad told the wire service. The Syrian government announced Monday that it was unilaterally ending the cease-fire, as...

At least five emergency medical workers were said to have been killed in airstrikes near the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday, following the collapse of a fragile cease-fire in Syria. The France-based Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations said the five were part of an emergency medical unit in Khan Touman near Aleppo. The group's vice president, Dr. Oubaida Al Moufti, told The Associated Press that "the mobile medical team was hit while responding to an earlier airstrike targeting...

The Syrian military announced Monday it is no longer observing a cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Russia to allow food and medicine into besieged areas. Seven days after the agreement was reached by Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, and the U.S., which backs anti-Assad rebels, the regime blamed the truce's collapse on the rebels, and unilaterally declared that the cease-fire is over. NPR's Alice Fordham reports this about the cease-fire: "There was an initial lull in...

Women Warriors

Sep 13, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

There is still a debate about whether women belong in combat . It's been more than a year since Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered all branches of the military in 2015 to allow women on to the front lines of combat and generations since women silently fought alongside men in the Civil War.

A forum designed to test the leading presidential candidates' capacity for military leadership Wednesday night displayed as much unpredictability as the rest of this election, as questions and answers veered off-topic and both candidates were put on the defensive several times. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump participated in the town hall-style event, held aboard an aircraft carrier that is now the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City. The one-hour forum was co-hosted by NBC...

The Navy continues struggling to get its new class of warships to work right. When the USS Coronado set sail last week from Pearl Harbor for a planned deployment across the Pacific Ocean, it suffered engine problems and had to turn back. Before that, the Navy acknowledged that a diesel engine on another ship, the USS Freedom, was in such bad shape, it needs to be rebuilt or replaced. Both of these are littoral combat ships, known as LCS, which are intended for operations taking place close to...

A U.S. service member was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan's restive Helmand province Tuesday — the second U.S. combat death in Afghanistan since January. The service member was conducting "train, advise, assist activities" with Afghan forces when the explosive device went off, according to the U.S. Defense Department. Another American service member and six Afghan soldiers were wounded in the attack near the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. "We are deeply saddened by this loss, but...

The Pentagon says U.S. warplanes began attacking Islamic State targets in Libya today at the request of the U.N.-backed Libyan government. The airstrikes are in the city of Sirte, which is controlled by ISIS. American aircraft destroyed a tank and two ISIS vehicles that the Pentagon says posed a threat to Libyan fighters trying to retake the city. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook released a statement saying the strikes were requested by the Libyan Government of National Accord, known as...

Tony Bacewicz / C-HIT

Bianca Cruz’s Navy career started with a job she loved on a ship in Japan, but after she was sexually assaulted by a sailor, her military life spiraled downward, ending with a “bad paper” discharge after serving 20 months.

Updated at 10:00 am: A coup attempt by factions in the Turkish military crumbled Saturday as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made his way to Istanbul and his government began reestablishing control after a long night of widespread violence. "The people have taken to the streets and voiced their support for democracy," the acting head of the military, Gen. Umit Dundar, said at a news conference Saturday. "The nation will never forget this betrayal." The government and the military were focused...

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity. The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the...

Screenshot / White House

President Barack Obama announced an adjustment of how many troops he plans to leave in Afghanistan at the end of the year.

The Afghan army commander said the treacherous road to Marjah, in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand, was now safe. His forces had driven out the Taliban a few days earlier, he added. "The road is open, so no problem," said Lt. Gen. Moeen Faqir. "Of course I hope you go there and find the reality and reflect it." Photojournalist David Gilkey and I traveled to Afghanistan many times. In our trip to eastern Afghanistan last year, we found an Afghan army willing to fight, but it was...

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter says the military is lifting a ban on transgender service members. "Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender," he told reporters today at the Pentagon. The fundamental reason for the change, Carter said, is "that the Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are...

Thomas Hart / Wikimedia Commons

When you "pull a Benedict Arnold," you sell out your side to join the stronger side of a situation out of fear, not honor. Needless to say, that's not a compliment. More than 230 years after America secured independence from Britain, this skilled warrior and confidante of George Washington is remembered as a traitor and coward for defecting to the British side. But it's not that easy.

An attack on an intelligence office at the Baqaa refugee camp in Jordan today was an act of terrorism, says government spokesman Mohammed Momani. Jordan says five service members were killed: a staff sergeant, two corporals, a lance corporal and a private. The timing of the attack coincides with the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, which Momani called "a clear evidence of those terrorists' criminal behavior and extremism." He did not disclose details about the strike on the...

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