Navy’s nuclear reactor instructors cheated on certification exams
Robert Burns, Associated Press – February 5, 2014
About a fifth of the instructors who train Navy officers to work with nuclear reactors are now under investigation following allegations that they cheated on their certification exams. Unlike the recent Air Force cheating scandal, this story at least has no bearing on nuclear weapons. Rather, this news relates to the nuclear reactors used to power various ships used by the Navy. Several of those who train Naval officers on the operation of such nuclear reactors are being investigated for cheating on the exams required to become a trainer. This is perhaps not as disconcerting as the Air Force scandal in which members of ICBM launch crews cheated on routine proficiency exams, but it remains a story worth following.
Chemical weapons to be exported by March 1
Rick Gladstone, The New York Times – February 4, 2014
After US complaints that Syria has been slow to give up its chemical weapons, Russia offered assurances that the removal would be completed by March 1. They attributed the delays to security problems from Syria’s civil war.
Clapper estimates chemical weapons deal strengthened Assad, foresees more of the same in Syria
Warren Strobel, Reuters – February 4, 2014
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee that Assad is “in a strengthened position than when we discussed this last year, by virtue of his agreement to remove the chemical weapons,” though he did not add anything to that assessment. He also stated that the Intelligence Community expects the Syrian civil war to continue as a stalemate, so Assad has apparently not gained enough strength to break the deadlock.
Clapper says Iran is complying with interim deal
Kristina Wong, The Hill – February 4, 2014
In the same hearing, Clapper said that Iran is complying with the interim nuclear deal, as verified by IAEA inspections and US intelligence assessments. Moreover, he added that additional sanctions imposed by Congress as the negotiations are ongoing would derail the process.
Interoperability the new aim in missile defense
Jen Judson, Inside Defense – February 4, 2014
Due to recent budget cuts and the likelihood of constrained future budgets, the Department of Defense is now stressing interoperability in its Integrated Air and Missile Defense system–interoperability among the branches of the US military and possibly even among allies.
Obama meets with Pentagon brass on Afghanistan
Lesley Wroughton and Hamid Shalizi, Reuters – February 4, 2014
President Obama met with senior defense officials yesterday to discuss the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the status of the Bilateral Security Agreement, a pact that Afghanistan has not yet signed. The agreement is necessary to keep US troops in Afghanistan past 2014, though the Pentagon is increasingly preparing itself for the potential of the “zero option”, a complete withdrawal by the end of the year.