Hard Line on Iran Places White House in a Bind
Mark Landler, Thom Shanker, and Helene Cooper, New York Times – March 29, 2012
As American and European diplomats prepare for crucial negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, the White House finds itself caught in a bind: for the diplomatic effort to work, American officials say, the Iranian government must believe that President Obama is ready and willing to take military action.
Japan will intercept NKorean rocket if threatened
Associated Press – March 30, 2012
Japan’s defense minister Friday ordered missile units to intercept a long-range rocket expected to be launched by North Korea if the rocket or its fragments threaten to hit Japan.
Afghan Local Police key to success against Taliban
Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times – March 29, 2012
A small, little-noticed counterinsurgency force that was created in the ninth year of the Afghanistan War is proving to be the key for U.S. troops to leave the country in victory.
Second Afghan Insurgent Group Suspends Peace Talks
Matthew Rosenberg and Rod Nordland, New York Times – March 29, 2012
Stalled peace efforts in Afghanistan suffered another setback on Thursday when a second insurgent faction — one that has squared off against both the American-led coalition and the Taliban — announced it was suspending formal peace negotiations with the Afghan government, as the Taliban did earlier this month.
Lockheed F-35 Aircraft Costs Rise About 4.3%, Pentagon Says
Tony Cappacio, Bloomberg – March 29, 2012
The cost to develop and buy 2,443 Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) (LMT) F-35 fighters with engines from United Technologies Corp. (UTX) (UTX) has increased about 4.3 percent since 2010, according to new Pentagon figures.
Pentagon sees mass layoffs if budget cuts prevail
Andrea Shalal-Esa and Gerald E. McCormick, Reuters – March 29, 2012
The Pentagon said on Thursday it would expect hundreds of thousands of layoffs across the defence industry if lawmakers did not take action to avert an additional $500 billion in defence budget cuts that could take effect in January 2013.
Ties Ease With Pakistan
Adam Entous, Wall Street Journal – March 29, 2012
The top U.S. military officer said Thursday that ties between the U.S. and Pakistan were on the “road to recovery” and that he hoped to resolve differences by mid-May to allow the reopening of supply lines for troops into neighboring Afghanistan.