WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates Tuesday signed a memorandum establishing for the first time a military command aimed at conducting cyber warfare, and defending the military's computer network.
The so-called Cyber Command - -also known as USCYBERCOM - is expected to be headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, and headed by the director of the National Security Agency, according to Pentagon officials. The new command will report to the U.S. Strategic Command, which has overall military responsibility for protecting military networks.
"We're increasingly dependent on cyberspace, and there's a growing array of cyber threats," said said Lt. Col. Eric Butterbaugh, a Department of Defense spokesman. To counter the risk, the department "requires a command possessing the required technical capability and which remains focused on streamlining cyberspace operations," he added.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Preliminary intelligence assessments show more than 14 percent of detainees released from Guantanamo Bay have returned or are suspected of having returned to terrorism activities, an administration official with knowledge of the Defense Department's information told CNN.
That number, which reflects data through the beginning of 2009, has gone up slightly from statistics compiled through the end of 2008, when the recidivism rate was considered to be 11 percent, according to the administration official. It had been at 7 percent in earlier years, but the Pentagon has not disclosed what time frame that encompasses.
The official emphasized the latest data is still being verified within the military intelligence community, but it appears likely to show that the rate of recidivism has now reached more than 14 percent.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr and photojournalist Peter Morris are traveling to southern Afghanistan with Gen. James Conway, Commandant of the Marines.
ADDIS ABABA (CNN) - When you are a CNN reporter out on the road, nothing is more important than the first task at hand every day - securing the morning's first cup of coffee. After that, you can handle just about anything, from the war zone to the flood zone.
No, I am not being silly. Any soldier will tell you the same thing. Morning coffee first. And nowhere is coffee a more serious business than in Ethiopia. (Did I mention? I am in Ethiopia on assignment.)
And after flying all night, I am up way too early because of jet lag. But yes, I have found a big, steaming, fantastic cup of Ethiopian coffee, so the day can begin now.
OK, now for the serious part. CNN cameraman Peter Morris and I left Andrews Air Force Base on the night of March 31 with Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Conway and a small group of Marines.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama and Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke by telephone Saturday morning about how the U.S. military can assist Mexico with growing violence by drug cartels - underscoring the growing concern with which the U.S. views the situation, according to a U.S. military official.
The president initiated the call within hours of Mullen returning to the U.S. from a visit to Mexico City to talk to top military officials there.
"The president was eager to get the chairman's observations on what he found out," the official told CNN.
(CNN) - The Pentagon on Thursday lifted its ban on media coverage of the coffins of war victims when they arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, according to a senior U.S. defense official with direct knowledge of the decision.
The coverage must be approved by families, however.
Sixty-seven percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday say they think the government should allow the public to see photos of caskets of U.S. troops at an air force base. Thirty-one percent of the those surveyed disagree with the decision to release photos of the event.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted February 18-19, with 1,046 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama has approved a significant troop increase for Afghanistan, Pentagon officials told CNN Tuesday.
The new troop deployment is expected to include 8,000 Marines headquartered from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as well as 4,000 additional Army troops from Fort Lewis, Washington. The troops will be equipped with Stryker vehicles able to operate in southern Afghanistan's tough terrain, according to the Pentagon officials.
The Obama administration has been conducting several reviews of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, including a review by Gen. David Petraeus, the commander in the region.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Decisions about withdrawing troops from Iraq and sending more troops to Afghanistan have been delayed until the Pentagon provides President Barack Obama with more detail about the risks and implications of the issues confronting him, according to two senior Pentagon officials.
Both officials, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, have a direct understanding of the discussion regarding troop withdrawals. They said the military is not concerned about the delays, but that there is concern about the deteriorating levels of security in Afghanistan.
The officials confirmed that the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command are now working on three Iraq combat troop withdrawal options for the president: 16 months, 19 months and 23 months.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Obama administration is drafting executive orders calling for the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, according to two administration officials.
Both officials say it is now expected the announcement about closure could come as soon as Wednesday in the form of one or more executive orders.
The officials said the White House is expected to call for:
–Closing the detention facility within a year;
–A systematic review of detention policies and procedures and a review
of all individual cases;
–A new policy requiring the Army field manual for interrogations to apply to all people in U.S. custody. This is aimed at closing any potential loophole that might allow the CIA to engage in what many say are coercive interrogations.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN has learned Gen. David Petraeus is returning to Washington to attend the meeting President Barack Obama is planning to have Wednesday with the Joint Chiefs and his wartime commanders.
That meeting is expected to involve discussion of troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan and the new president is expected to tell commanders he wants them to plan to have combat forces out of Iraq in sixteen months– as he promised in the election campaign.
Petreaus will have just arrived from Afghanistan and Pakistan and is expected to brief Obama on the latest developments in that troubled region.
[Editor’s Note: A photo caption published Wednesday morning with this report erroneously stated that Gen. David Petraeus and President-elect Barack Obama were unable to reach a consensus on future plans for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The caption was in error and does not reflect CNN’s reporting of the issue. CNN apologizes for the error.]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Although President-elect Barack Obama will become the next commander-in-chief in just two weeks, several key military issues remain to be resolved regarding the drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq and the buildup of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
A closed door meeting Monday at the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Gen. David Petraeus - who is in charge of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars - ended with no consensus on troop plans for either country, several top U.S. military officials told CNN.
The officials, who did not want to be identified because the meeting was private, all offered CNN similar accounts of the discussions. In addition, a review of the Afghanistan war strategy being conducted by Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Michael Mullen is still under review and has not been approved by the Joint Chiefs. That review, according to one official, will not be finished until the Obama administration is in office.
The Monday meeting was polite, one official said, but also interesting and intense. A second official described the discussion as lively, and said it ranged further than originally anticipated.