Washington (CNN) - With a deadline just two days away, about one-quarter of all service members who were sent "don't ask, don't tell" surveys have returned them to the Department of Defense, a spokeswoman said Friday.
The survey seeks their opinions on the potential impact of changing the military ban on gay and lesbians serving openly in the military.
The Pentagon sent out 400,000 confidential surveys and set an August 15 deadline for their return. Spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said about 104,000 have been received.
Washington (CNN) – One of the key goals of the new commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, is to try to settle the debate on the significance of the July 2011 date, according to an International Security Assistance Force official familiar with Petraeus' thinking.
After a month in the job, during which he stayed mostly out of public view, the general is preparing a round of interviews with media outlets.
July 2011 is the date President Barack Obama has set to begin reducing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But just what that will mean continues to be a question that the administration is struggling to answer clearly.
Washington (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced some far-reaching proposals Monday for restructuring the massive budget at his agency, including getting rid of the U.S. Joint Forces Command (Usjfcom).
The cuts could mean a loss of up to 3,000 jobs.
The current Defense Department budget totals more than $530 billion a year, and defense officials believe they need increases of 2 to 3 percent a year to sustain the force structure and meet modernization needs.
However, the recession caused the department to propose a 1 percent budget increase for next year, and the cuts announced Monday were intended to help hold down overall costs.
(CNN) - The Army is investigating the circumstances that led to the Rolling Stone magazine article that effectively ended the career of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the United States' former top commander in Afghanistan, an Army spokesman told CNN Wednesday.
"A four-star commander was relieved ultimately due to this article. We want to understand what happened here," Col. Tom Collins said.
McChrystal retired in June, shortly after the publication of the article that included examples of his staff mocking senior White House officials, including Vice President Joe Biden.
Washington (CNN) - The Rolling Stone magazine journalist whose article about Gen. Stanley McChrystal helped end the Afghanistan commander's career has been denied permission to embed with a military unit in Afghanistan, a Pentagon spokesman told CNN Wednesday.
"Embeds are a privilege, not a right. The unit decided they didn't feel the trust necessary for an embed. They declined," Pentagon spokesman Col. David Lapan said, not specifying which unit was involved.
Michael Hastings, the reporter, said via Twitter that his embed had earlier been approved, then was "disapproved."
Washington (CNN) – Gay and lesbian members of the military should think twice before participating in a Pentagon survey on the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy, according to a key advocacy group pushing to overturn the current law.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network - an organization that supports gays and lesbians serving openly in the military - issued a statement Thursday saying it cannot recommend that lesbian, gay, or bisexual service members fill out the Defense Department questionnaire.
"There is no guarantee of privacy and (the Pentagon) has not agreed to provide immunity to service members whose privacy may be inadvertently violated or who inadvertently outs himself or herself," said Aubrey Sarvis, the group's executive director. "If a service member still wishes to participate, he or she should only do so in a manner that does not reveal sexual orientation."
Washington (CNN) – The Pentagon is out to save $100 billion over the next five years in a major push to cut overhead costs, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Gates officially unveiled his plan at a Pentagon news conference Monday, announcing he is putting department acquisition chief Ashton Carter in charge of finding where the $100 billion will come from in the budgets beginning in 2012.
"The department's leadership has already taken strong action in this area, and needs to do more," Gates said.
"Other savings can be found within programs and activities we do need, by conducting them more efficiently. ... I'm confident we'll succeed," he said.
Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama would veto a military bill that contains spending for programs he opposes, even if the measure also included a provision to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning openly gay and lesbian soldiers from military service, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview broadcast Sunday.
Asked on "FOX News Sunday" about the matter, Gates said Obama was opposed to any move by Congress to fund the C-17 cargo plane or an alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.
"It would be a very serious mistake to believe that the president would not veto a bill that has the C-17 or the alternative engine in it just because it had other provisions that the president and the administration want," Gates said.
When pushed on whether Obama would veto the bill even if it also included the repeal plan for "don't ask, don't tell," Gates said "I think so."
Washington (CNN) - New documents released Saturday may add new fuel to the debate over Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, a week before her Senate confirmation hearing begins.
The new documents focus on Kagan when she was dean of Harvard Law School. Pentagon officials had deep concerns whether she would cooperate with military recruiters, just days after the Supreme Court in 2006 allowed the recruiters back on campuses.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said Saturday that Kagan acted responsibly and allowed military recruiters at the Harvard Law School. "The materials produced by the Department of Defense provide further documentation that military recruiters were never barred from the campus of Harvard Law School, neither before Elena Kagan became Dean, nor during her tenure," Leahy said in a statement. "The unfair charge made by some that Elena Kagan broke the law as Dean continues to have no basis in law or fact."
Kagan's strong views on the recruiting issue have drawn conservative criticism.