Trump: Esper, ‘I think he will do very well’

President Donald Trump stopped to talk to reporters outside the White House about putting a new Acting Secretary of Defense in place, before heading to Florida for campaign event. (June 18)

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Pentagon chief: Iran not just a US problem

In response to attacks on oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Iran is not just a U.S. problem. He said the U.S. goal is to “build international consensus to this international problem.” (June 14)

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Pentagon proposing troop reinforcements in Mideast

The Pentagon was presenting proposals to the White House to send military reinforcements to the Middle East to beef up defenses against Iran amid heightened tensions in the region, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Thursday. (May 23)

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William Barr’s Been Accused Of Presidential Cover-Up Before (HBO)

Weeks before former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s criminal trial over his role in the 1980’s Iran-Contra scandal, then-Attorney General William Barr dropped a bomb on the prosecution.

“People in the Iran-Contra affair have been treated very unfairly,” Barr told USA Today in December 1992, blasting the charges as illegitimate. “People in this Iran-Contra matter have been prosecuted for the kind of conduct that would not have been considered criminal or prosecutable by the Justice Department.”

Weinberger faced charges of lying to Congress, brought by a special prosecutor, then known as an “independent counsel,” who accused him of withholding 1,700 pages of notes about high-level meetings that allegedly held “evidence of a conspiracy.”

Barr’s broadside alarmed the lead prosecutor handling the case against Weinberger, James J. Brosnahan, who warned the judge that Barr may have just unduly biased his jury pool. Later that month, when the White House pardoned six top Iran-Contra defendants on Christmas Eve 1992 at Barr’s urging, Brosnahan believed he’d just witnessed the completion of a successful cover-up.

Three decades on, Brosnahan fears Barr has returned to his old job to run the same scheme again.

“If you want a presidential cover-up, Barr is your guy,” Brosnahan, now 85, told VICE News. “And I think we’ve already seen that.”

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Sanders: Trump respects outgoing Defense Secretary

(20 Dec 2018) White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that President Donald Trump and outgoing Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis “have a good relationship, but sometimes they disagree.” Trump Tweeted Thursday that Mattis will retire in February. (Dec. 20)

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Trump: ‘Very happy’ with Mattis; Will stay on job

(5 Sep 2018) President Donald Trump insists he is “very happy” with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis despite allegations in Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, and says Mattis will stay on the job, adding he is “highly respected all over the world.” (Sept. 5)

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Trump’s Transgender Military Ban Is Stressing Out Deployed Soldiers (HBO)

The Trump Administration’s newly-released guidelines on banning transgender people from serving in the military may not be in effect yet — but some transgender troops currently serving say the policy is already taking its toll on their community.
Blake Dremann​, an active duty Navy Lieutenant Commander who also leads an association of LGBT service members called SPARTA, told VICE News he’s already heard from other transgender military personnel who’ve been discriminated against.

“My superiors have been very supportive. But we have had service members who have experienced discrimination — typically along the lines of, they don’t agree that we’re able to serve. They don’t like the policy and they refuse to follow the regulations,” Dremann​ said.

The Trump Administration’s ban, which President Trump announced via tweet last summer, has yet to take effect because it’s been blocked in the courts, after a handful of LGBTQ rights organizations challenged the proposal last year.

But the Administration is still moving forward with crafting guidelines and policy around the ban, and on Friday the White House released a new, more specific memo endorsing a handful of recommendations from a Department of Defense panel convened to study the issue. The panel recommended — and Defense Secretary James Mattis signed on to — banning individuals who’ve undergone gender confirmation surgery in the past, or plan to in the future, from enlisting.

Dremann​ said he fielded texts all weekend from transgender people currently serving in the military, confused about what the new policy means for them.

“We’re expected to be tough-minded,” Dremann​ told VICE News. “And while it is going to add stress to their deployment, the expectation is that they will be able to deal with that.”

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British-born ISIS jihadists must be killed by drone – UK defense secretary

Britain’s new Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson has taken a tough line on British-born members of Islamic State: Kill them and be done with it. His comments are the latest in an ongoing debate over whether disillusioned jihadists could be reintegrated.

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We Follow A New Generation Of Soldiers Headed To Afghanistan (HBO)

Yesterday afternoon, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson went to Capitol Hill to ask for an extension of the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the law that allows the U.S. to continue to wage wars against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

Meanwhile, more than 4,000 US troops will be deploying to Afghanistan this Fall, as the conflict enters its 17th year. The US already has around 8,500 troops on the ground in the region, but this new effort is a bid to boost a combat force tasked with destroying the Taliban.

And so, 16 years after the beginning of the Afghan conflict, VICE News joined the 3rd Infantry Division of Fort Stewart, Georgia, as a new generation of soldiers marches off to war.

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Use of tactical nukes would still spell full-blown nuclear war – ex-US Defense Sec

In a symbolic warning about how close the world stands to suffering a nuclear catastrophe, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight. The existential threat now poses a greater danger to humanity than at any time since the height of the Cold War. The standoff between Russia the US, the world’s biggest nuclear powers, as well as regional conflicts and the threat of terrorists getting their hands on nuclear material, can all lead to disastrous consequences. With global politics growing more unstable, are nuclear arms still the strongest deterrent to global war, or are they the biggest menace to the security of the world? And, with a new president in the White House, how will America’s nuclear arms policy evolve? We ask former US Secretary of Defense Dr. William Perry.

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