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12 December 2003 Military News

Defense Policy / Programs
Defense Industry
Other Conflicts
News Reports

Current Operations

  • OIF/OEF Casualty Update 12 Dec 2003 [PDF]
  • Much-Deployed Guard, Reserve 'Doing A Superb Job,' Rumsfeld Says AFPS 12 Dec 2003 -- The Defense Department's top civilian today praised reserve and National Guard members serving in the global war on terrorism, while acknowledging some of that force is being stretched by multiple deployments.
  • Afghanistan's Kabul to Kandahar Highway Opens Officially December 16 Washington File 13 Dec 2003 -- The reconstruction of Afghanistan marks an important milestone December 16 with the official reopening of the 482-kilometer stretch of highway connecting the capital Kabul with the main southern city, Kandahar.
  • U.S. Congratulates Afghanistan on Eve of Constitutional Convention Washington File 13 Dec 2003 -- State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher December 12 congratulated Afghanistan on the convening of its first constitutional convention, or Loya Jirga, which opens December 14.
  • NATO Assists in Removal of Heavy Weapons in Afghanistan Washington File 13 Dec 2003 -- NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops are currently assisting the Afghan Ministry of Defense in removing heavy weapons belonging to armed factions inside Afghanistan from the Pansjher Valley to a government storage site near Kabul.
  • Afghanistan: Loya Jirga Convenes To Debate Draft Constitution Amid Tight Security RFE/RL 12 Dec 2003 -- Two years after the fall of the Taliban regime, 500 delegates from across Afghanistan are gathering in Kabul to attend a Constitutional Loya Jirga that will decide the form of an elected Afghan government. The Loya Jirga is due to open on 14 December under tight security with speeches by Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai and former King Mohammad Zahir Shah. The meeting has twice been postponed because of the difficulties delegates from remote regions have faced in reaching the capital.
  • AFGHANISTAN / CONSTITUTION VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- Five-hundred of Afghanistan's most prominent citizens are to meet Sunday to decide the nation's future form of government.
  • AFGHANISTAN: Eight thousand children under arms look for a future IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- Standing at a security checkpoint dressed in a battered combat jacket and leaking boots, Zaralam said he had joined the "army" because he had to earn some money for his family. "It’s tough working day and night, but I earn 2,000 afghanis [US $40] a month and get some food too," the 14-year old military policeman told IRIN in the Daman district of the southern city of Kandahar.
  • PAKISTAN: UNHCR to move Afghan refugees from camp by March IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- Just over 10,000 Afghan refugees sheltered in a remote refugee camp in the Khyber Agency, about 70 km from Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), are to be offered a choice between repatriation and or relocation to another camp in Pakistan by March, according to an official of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) official.

Defense Policy / Programs

  • Ballistic Missile Defense Test Successful AFPS 12 Dec 2003 -- A missile launched from the Navy Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie successfully intercepted a ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean, Navy and Missile Defense Agency officials said here Dec. 11. The target was fired from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Hawaii's oldest island, Kauai.
  • Army puts unit, organizational moves on hold Army News Service 12 Dec 2003-- Effective Jan. 1, the Army will suspend all new unit and organizational moves to permanent locations through May 2005, unless there are compelling operational reasons for such a move, officials said.
  • GAO gives National Guard clean bill of health Army News Service 12 Dec 2003-- The National Guard is keeping its own house in order.
  • V CORPS UNITS TAKE ON MISSION TO REBUILD, REVITALIZE CLINIC FOR IRAQI TOWN V Corps Release 12 Dec 2003-- After V Corps' 12th Aviation Brigade established itself on what became Balad Southeast Army Airfield here, unit leaders decided they wanted to take on a project to help the Iraqi community living in the nearby village of Yathrib.
  • USS Hampton Returns Home for the Holidays Navy Newsstand 12 Dec 2003-- The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) returned to Naval Station Norfolk Dec. 11 from a six-month deployment.
  • Expeditionary Strike Group 2 To Practice Amphibious Landing Navy Newsstand 12 Dec 2003-- The seven ships and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 2 arrived off the coast of Northwest Florida Dec. 10 in preparation for the next phase of the first East Coast ESG exercise.
  • Successful Kitty Hawk Cruise Concludes Navy Newsstand 12 Dec 2003-- As USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) pulled back into her permanently forward-deployed operating port of Yokosuka, Japan, Dec. 12, the aircraft carrier's leadership looked back with pride at what their personnel accomplished during the ship's six-week fall underway period.
  • Predator (Short Range Assault Weapon) passes First Article and Lot Acceptance Test NAVSEA News Wire 12 Dec 2003-- Under the sole technical direction of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), the next generation U.S. Marine Corps short-range assault weapon completed production first article and Lot 1 testing at Naval Air Weapons Center (NAWC) China Lake on November 8, 2003.
  • HMH-363 tops 20,000 mishap-free flying hours Marine Corps News 12 Dec 2003-- Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363, Marine Aircraft Group 24, reached a milestone this month in aviation safety by flying 20,000 hours without a Class "A" mishap.
  • Airmen keep water flowing at Tallil AFPN 12 Dec 2003-- When airmen here turn on a water faucet to brush their teeth or take a shower, they may not think about where the water comes from. But it takes six airmen working 12-hour shifts to keep the water flowing here around the clock.
  • Marines storm Eglin for exercise AFPN 12 Dec 2003-- Marines stormed the beaches of the Eglin Gulf Test Range here Dec. 12 for a weeklong training exercise. The exercise involves ships, a submarine, aircraft and about 1,600 troops from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit of Expeditionary Strike Group Two.
  • Eastern Europe: U.S. Plan To Redeploy Bases Stirs Mixed Feelings RFE/RL 12 Dec 2003 -- Washington has announced plans to realign its military forces in Europe. Reactions have been mixed. U.S. allies in Central and Eastern Europe are hoping to receive the political and economic benefits that would accompany the relocation of U.S. bases to their countries. But Russia has expressed concern about bases moving any closer to its border. Analysts, meanwhile, caution that a redeployment of U.S. forces farther east would be limited in size and bring only modest economic benefits to host countries.
  • PENTAGON/IRAQ VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- U-S Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is denying the Pentagon paid too much for work performed by a company in Iraq that has political connections to the White House. Correspondent Nick Simeone reports his comments follow a Defense Department audit, which found a subsidiary of the Halliburton oil services company may have overcharged the government by more than 60-million-dollars for fuel delivered to Iraq.
  • WASSENAAR/WEAPONS VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- Thirty-three nations have agreed on a code of conduct, aimed at controlling international trafficking in light weapons. The agreement was reached at a two-day meeting of signatories to the so-called Wassenaar agreement on international security.
  • Second Agosta submarine handed over to Pak Navy IRNA 12 Dec 2003 -- Pakistan Navy was Friday handed over its second Agosta submarine Sa`ad during a ceremony in the Karachi port city, local media reported.
  • Pakistan among 12 submarine building states: Musharraf IRNA 12 Dec 2003 -- President of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf said Friday his country has joined the list of 12 major countries which have the capability to manufacture submarines.
  • PAKISTAN/SUBMARINE VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- Pakistan has unveiled a locally built submarine in the southern port city of Karachi. But somewhat surprisingly, President Pervez Musharraf said the biggest threat to Pakistan comes not from outside, but from home-grown religious extremism.
  • EU: Leaders Agree On Defense Deal RFE/RL 12 Dec 2003 -- European Union leaders meeting in Brussels today have agreed on a defense deal that will boost the bloc's ability to mount military operations.
  • State Department Briefing, December 12, 2003 Washington File 13 Dec 2003 -- State Department Briefing, December 12, 2003

Defense Industry

  • U.S. Navy Awards General Dynamics $30M Contract Modification for SSGN Work General Dynamics 12 Dec 2003 -- The U.S. Navy has awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a $30 million contract modification for planning activities and manufacturing long-lead-time materials required for the conversion of Trident SSBN submarines to Trident SSGNs, multimission submarines optimized for tactical strike and special-operations support. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD).
  • General Dynamics Awarded $9.6M Ammunition Contract General Dynamics 12 Dec 2003 -- The Department of the Army Headquarters, Field Support Command, Rock Island, Ill. has awarded a $9.6 million contract to General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), for the production of 20mm PGU-27A/B Target Practice (TP) Cartridges.

Other Conflicts

  • U-N / SECURITY VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- The recent rash of violence directed at U-N staff in Iraq and Afghanistan is forcing the United Nations to take a harsh look at itself, and at how others see it. Since its founding in 1945, the world body has viewed its mission as humanitarian, and assumed that its blue flag and symbols would act as a protective shield. But after August 19th, and other recent attacks on international aid workers, the rules are suddenly different. From U-N headquarters, Peter Heinlein reports the United Nations is struggling to adjust to a new reality in which its workers are increasingly being viewed not as humanitarians, but as targets.
  • Grassroots Initiative Defines Endgame to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Washington File 13 Dec 2003 -- Former chief of Israel's Shin Beth security forces Ami Ayalon spoke of the need for a "Destination Map" for peace as he and Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibeh presented their "People's Voice" initiative to a Washington audience December 12.
  • UN/Middle East VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- The U-N Middle East envoy is describing recent developments in the region as a window of opportunity for peace. However, the envoy is warning that another breakdown of peacemaking efforts could lead to chaos.
  • ISRAELI / PALESTINIAN PARENTS VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- As several official and unofficial peace plans compete for attention in the Middle East, one particularly noteworthy group -- The Parents' Circle -- is adding its voice to those pushing for some sort of solution. They are bereaved parents -- Israelis and Palestinians who have lost children to the conflict and are working together to try to end it. Organizers say the group has more than 500 families from both sides taking part in dialogue sessions and campaigning for peace.
  • Small window of opportunity for peace has opened - UN Middle East envoy UN News Centre 12 Dec 2003 -- A narrow window of opportunity has opened to re-start the Middle East peace process, but the situation remains fragile and the only viable solution is to follow the Road Map, the senior United Nations envoy for the Middle East told the Security Council today.
  • POWELL / ISRAEL VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- Secretary of State Colin Powell held talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom Friday after meeting the night before with the Palestinian co-author of an unofficial Middle East peace plan that has drawn Israeli criticism. Mr. Shalom says Bush administration support for the international road map to an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord has not diminished.
  • ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- Israelis and Palestinians have stepped up their rhetoric, with both sides insisting they want peace and blaming the other for lack of progress.

  • IVORY COAST / FIGHTING VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- The government in Ivory Coast is investigating a series of attacks on police checkpoints in the commercial capital, Abidjan, that left at least a dozen people dead, including one soldier. AThe renewed violence comes as rebels who control half the country are about to begin a disarmament process.
  • COTE D'IVOIRE: 12 killed in gun battles with soldiers in Abidjan IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- Twelve gunmen, wearing black T-shirts, were killed in Abidjan on Thursday night in a gun battle that followed an attack on the main military barracks, national television reported on Friday morning.
  • West Africa is destabilized by border-crossing foreign troops, UN says UN News Centre 12 Dec 2003 -- Stability, good governance and development remain out of reach for four West African countries because of inadequate United Nations peacekeeping troop strength, the possible repatriation of ex-combatants, the cross-border movements of foreign fighters and a lack of urgent financial assistance.
  • 2003 & Beyond: In Russia, Putin Solidifies Power As Chechen Conflict Festers RFE/RL 12 Dec 2003 -- This past year brought steady economic growth to Russia, thanks largely to the high price of oil, as President Vladimir Putin skillfully managed a delicate period in international relations while strengthening his political power domestically.
  • SUDAN/FIGHTING VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- The United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, warns of a humanitarian catastrophe, if the Sudanese government continues to prevent humanitarian workers from going to the conflict-ridden Darfur region. Thousands of people have fled fighting in the region in western Sudan.
  • ERITREA-ETHIOPIA: UN confirms special envoy to be appointed IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- A special envoy is to be appointed to help “intensify” efforts to resolve the stalled peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the United Nations said on Friday.
  • MOZAMBIQUE-RWANDA: Governments and UNHCR sign agreement on refugee repatriation IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- The governments of Rwanda and Mozambique and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) signed a tripartite agreement on Thursday on the voluntary repatriation of an estimated 900 Rwandan refugees in Mozambique.
  • DRC: UN urges Kinshasa to speed DDR, police and military reform IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- The UN Security Council on Thursday urged the transitional national government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to adopt a national disarmament, demobilization, reintegration (DDR) programme, and to accelerate reform of the armed and police forces.
  • RWANDA: UNHCR gives special assistance to vulnerable returnees IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has donated some US $130,000 as extra assistance to vulnerable returnees settled in six of Rwanda's provinces, UNHCR said on Friday.
  • ANGOLA-SOUTH AFRICA: Refugee agreement to be signed with Pretoria IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- A voluntary repatriation agreement for Angolan refugees in South Africa will be signed in Pretoria on Sunday, allowing the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, to prepare for the 13,000-strong community to return home.

News Reports

  • SHAPE News Morning Update SHAPE 12 Dec 2003 -- Finland still not ready to enter NATO debate / UK armed forces to become more mobile and hi-tech / NATO welcomes proposal to end trans-Atlantic dispute over EU military headquarters / Kosovo's parliament proclaims past Serb laws / napplicable and invalid in a move rejected by the UN / Dutch extend Iraq mission by six months / Japanese military team to go to Iraq neighbours / U.S. troops begin stabilization drive in former Taliban stronghold
  • SHAPE News Summary & Analysis SHAPE 12 Dec 2003 -- EU leaders approve defense deal / EU's Solana views European Security Strategy / U.S. decision over Iraq contracts won't affect overall relations, says EU foreign affairs chief
  • E-U / CONSTITUTION VOA 12 Dec 2003 -- European Union leaders have agreed at a summit in Brussels to boost the bloc's ability to mount military operations when the U-S-led NATO alliance does not want to get involved. But, as V-O-A correspondent Roger Wilkison reports, they have made no progress so far on the major item on their agenda-securing an agreement on the union's first constitution.
  • EU: Redistribution Of Voting Power Key To Constitution Talks RFE/RL 12 Dec 2003 -- Today marks the opener in Brussels of a historic EU summit intended to provide the bloc with its first-ever constitution. However, the success of the summit is far from certain, with Germany and France threatening to block the constitution if Spain and Poland do not agree to cuts in their voting power.
  • EU: British, French, German Leaders Meet Ahead Of Key Summit RFE/RL 12 Dec 2003 -- The leaders of the European Union's three biggest countries met for talks this morning ahead of a key EU summit that will try to agree on the bloc's first constitution.
  • CENTRAL ASIA: Weekly news wrap IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on 6 December urged Kazakhstan, which has been enjoying one of the highest GDP growth rates among the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), to diversify its economy beyond the Caspian oil and gas sector in order to ensure long-term stability. "You have to provide Kazakhstan with the capacity to face future commodity price shocks, you have to provide new opportunities outside the oil sector," said Jean Lemierre, president of the EBRD.
  • ETHIOPIA: Chinese premier's visit aims to boost trade ties IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao flies into one of the poorest nations on earth on Sunday - marking the end of a four-nation tour that started with the world's richest.
  • ANGOLA: Oil - curse or cure-all? IRIN 12 Dec 2003 -- Two offshore Angolan oilfields came onstream this month, signifying the start of a raft of new projects that should spawn an unprecedented level of growth in oil revenues over the next five years.

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