military

Republican Chris Christie says the U.S. needs to boost military spending and not back off on intelligence and surveillance programs. 

Speaking in Portsmouth’s Prescott Park, Chris Christie said the army needs more soldiers, the navy more ships, the air force more planes --and the government more intelligence.

Christie called for an extension to the Patriot act, and said concerns over data collection and privacy are overblown.

Carlos Mora

A gala in Danbury this weekend honors immigrants or children of immigrants in the state who’ve overcome tough challenges in life. One honoree – Carlos Mora, Jr. – grew up undocumented and is now a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps.

North Korea said on Saturday that it successfully launched an anti-ship cruise missile from a submarine — a development, if verified, that would mark a new technological achievement for Pyongyang.

KCNA, the official North Korean news agency, reports that leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test form a surface vessel as "a ballistic missile surfaced from the sea and soared into the air, leaving a fiery trail of blaze."

Peter Patau / Flickr Creative Commons

For over a decade now, when we've heard about military drones, we've likely been hearing about the Predator-- that peculiar, pilotless aircraft, patrolling the deserts and preying on its targets below. Indeed the iconic image of this modern day killer and tales of its near-autonomous deeds have been featured in the news, magazines and even Hollywood movies.

(Updated at 12:09 p.m. ET.)

President Obama has nominated Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. as the country's next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Speaking at the White House, Obama praised Dunford as one of the most admired officers in the military.

Dunford, 59, is currently the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. Previously, he served as the commander of the allied forces in Afghanistan and he commanded the 5th Marine Regiment during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Official U.S. Navy Page / Creative Commons

Military recruitment has long been a controversial issue in America's high schools and colleges. Dating all the way back to the days of the draft, there's been a tension between the nation's need to keep a military, and the desire - and fitness - of young people to serve.

Robert D. Ward / Public Domain

Former general and CIA director David Petraeus will not go to jail for leaking classified information to his biographer and mistress. Last week, he was sentenced to two years probation and a fine. Meanwhile, other leakers without the stars or stature are spending years behind bars. There are other discrepancies in military justice too. This hour, we talk to journalist Peter Maass from The Intercept.

Also we check in on local Nepalese residents who are grappling with this weekend's earthquake in their home country.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

President Obama offered his "grief and condolences" to the families of the American and Italian aid workers killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in January. Both men were held hostage by al-Qaida.

"I take full responsibility for a U.S. government counterterrorism operation that killed two innocent hostages held by al-Qaida," Obama said.

Office of Richard Blumenthal

A Vietnam veteran from New Haven has filed a lawsuit that seeks to force the government to quickly decide veterans' appeals for disability compensation. 

UTC

United Technologies Corp. has announced a change in leadership at Sikorsky Aircraft, less than a month after announcing it may spin off the helicopter-making subsidiary.

UTC on Thursday appointed Robert Leduc as president of Sikorsky, moving predecessor Mick Maurer to the newly created role of UTC senior vice president of strategic projects. 

New York National Guard

The Governor's proposal to cut state funding for honor guard details at veterans' funerals has drawn criticism. Now some legislative leaders have quickly stepped in to address the controversy. 

Connecticut National Guard Adjutant General Thaddeus J. Martin / Twitter

Two units of the Connecticut National Guard have been deployed for missions that will take them to Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

James McCauley / Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a newspaper column about the Brian Williams debacle, except it really wasn't about that. It's about the way a relatively small story about a lie told by a news anchor seems to be the only national conversation we can have about our role in Iraq.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET.

The head of Veterans Affairs has apologized for misrepresenting his military record, after telling a man that he had served in the U.S. Special Forces. Secretary Robert McDonald says he made a mistake.

The story drew attention late Monday, weeks after McDonald, an Army veteran and West Point graduate, made the claim during a conversation with a homeless man he met during a community outreach effort.

NPR's Quil Lawrence reports:

British fighter jets scrambled from their base on Wednesday after two Russian long-range bombers skirted the coast of Cornwall, in the southwest of England. The incident comes one day after British Foreign Secretary Michael Fallon warned about Russia's intentions in Europe.

John Narewski / U.S. Navy

The retired Navy admiral who served until last year as the top officer at the Groton base has been hired as an executive at submarine builder Electric Boat.

The company says Kenneth Perry will begin work next week as its Washington-based vice president of program integration and concept development.

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, speaking to NPR's Morning Edition, says he's concerned about retaining qualified U.S. military service members amid the "stress and strain" of more than 13 years of continuous warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Val Kerry / Creative Commons

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report released last December revealed that the CIA lied about the effectiveness of torture in gaining important information from terrorism suspects. But that didn't change America's opinion of using such tactics. 

Val Kerry / Creative Commons

Last month, the Senate Intelligence Committee Report released their report examining the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation after 9/11.

They found that the CIA was using harsher forms of torture that yielded less useful information than we were led to believe.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said, "Detainees were subjected to the most aggressive techniques immediately. They were stripped naked, diapered, physically struck, and put in various painful stress positions for long periods of time."  

U.S. Navy

The Department of Defense has created a new agency to better coordinate efforts to identify missing service members. 

Three years after the U.S. military officially withdrew from Iraq, 2,000 U.S. troops are back. They're restoring the old buildings they'd left behind and renewing contacts with Iraqi officers they knew before.

They're also taking incoming rocket fire at their bases.

This week began an ambitious training program to put 5,000 Iraqi soldiers through boot camp every six weeks.

This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.

Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

mitchell.alaska / Creative Commons

Connecticut's U.S. senators visited Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford on Thursday to highlight the impact the 2015 defense budget will have on the state. 

It's been a violent 24 hours in Afghanistan:

-- 12 workers clearing mines on Saturday were attacked by Taliban militants and another dozen were wounded, a police spokesman said.

lagereek/iStock / Thinkstock

An engineer who worked for defense contractor United Technologies in Connecticut has been charged with attempting to travel to China with stolen documents on the development of advanced titanium for U.S. military aircraft.

Updated at 11:19 a.m.

President Obama named Ashton Carter, a former No. 2 Pentagon official, as his pick to succeed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Obama described Carter today as one of the "nation's foremost national security leaders."

"He was at the table in the situation room. He was by my side navigating complex security challenges that we were confronting," Obama said. I relied on his expertise and I relied on his judgment."

Carter called the nomination an "honor and a privilege."

President Obama is likely to nominate Ashton Carter as his next secretary of defense, CNN, The Associated Press, The Washington Post and

(This post was last updated at 11:41 a.m. ET.)

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the highest-profile Republican on President Obama's Cabinet, will step down, once his successor is confirmed by the Senate.

Calling Hagel an "exemplary defense secretary," Obama made the announcement in the State Dining Room of the White House on Monday.

Hagel, a two-term Republican senator, came to the post in February of 2013, the first enlisted combat veteran to lead the Department of Defense.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

We're talking about cowardice today and it makes me think of two people - Hector and Dr. Bones McCoy.

We claim to despise cowardice and to exalt bravery but in real life, I think we value balance a little bit more.

Hector, in the Iliad, is a much debated figure. He seems on occasion to lose his nerve. He also on occasion seems to do something brave mainly because he could not live down the dishonor of not being brave. I've always liked Hector.

Updated at 10:25 a.m. ET

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today that the Pentagon is aiming to invest about 10 percent more over the next five years to upgrade the nation's nuclear deterrent, following reviews that uncovered "systemic problems" in the system.

Hagel said the U.S. was "probably looking at a 10 percent increase" in spending, according to Reuters, which said internal and external reviews have made some 100 recommendations on improving the nuclear forces.

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