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Marines Will Get More Norway Deployments, And Russia Will Not Be Happy
The Marine Corps is extending deployments in Norway, bolstering ties between the United States and its European allies, and needling Russia in the process.
Roughly 330 Marines have been supporting their NATO partners with training exercises in Vaernes, in central Norway, since January, but those rotations will now continue through 2018, according to a Department of Defense press release.
"Our Marines in Norway are demonstrating a high level of cooperation with our allies," Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Niel E. Nelson, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa said in the release. "The more we train together alongside one another the stronger our Alliance becomes."
The Marines at Vaernes are about 900 miles from the Russian border, but Norwegian and American defense officials downplayed any link between the January Marine deployment and rising tensions between NATO and Russia since the beginning of the year.
"It has nothing to do with Russia or the current situation," Rune Haarstad, a Norwegian Home Guard spokesman, told Reuters on in January 16, when the first Marines deployed. The training mission focuses on warfare and survival in an arctic environment, including participation in the Norwegians’ annual “Exercise Joint Viking,” because when you operate in the European cradle of death metal, your operations need a metal name.
However, Russian officials haven’t been pleased with the devil dogs’ winter-wonderland deployment.
"The relationship between Norway and Russia is put to a test now," Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, told an interviewer in January. "Instead of developing economic cooperation, Norway is choosing to deploy United States troops on Norwegian soil."
The Marines and Norway have a longstanding relationship stretching back to the Cold War, but the January deployment and the continuing rotations mark the first time foreign forces have been stationed in Norway since World War II, according to Business Insider.
The newly announced deployments will consist of two rotations a year, but the cap appears to be set at roughly 330 Marines, who will continue to train alongside Norwegian forces.
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Hackers could have breached US bioterrorism defenses for years, records show. We'll never know if they did
The Department of Homeland Security stored sensitive data from the nation's bioterrorism defense program on an insecure website where it was vulnerable to attacks by hackers for over a decade, according to government documents reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.
The data included the locations of at least some BioWatch air samplers, which are installed at subway stations and other public locations in more than 30 U.S. cities and are designed to detect anthrax or other airborne biological weapons, Homeland Security officials confirmed. It also included the results of tests for possible pathogens, a list of biological agents that could be detected and response plans that would be put in place in the event of an attack.
The information — housed on a dot-org website run by a private contractor — has been moved behind a secure federal government firewall, and the website was shut down in May. But Homeland Security officials acknowledge they do not know whether hackers ever gained access to the data.
The State Department doesn't really care if its human rights training for partner security forces is working or not
By law, the United States is required to promote "human rights and fundamental freedoms" when it trains foreign militaries. So it makes sense that if the U.S. government is going to spend billions on foreign security assistance every year, it should probably systematically track whether that human rights training is actually having an impact or not, right?
Apparently not. According to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office, both the Departments of Defense and State "have not assessed the effectiveness of human rights training for foreign security forces" — and while the Pentagon agreed to establish a process to do so, State simply can't be bothered.
A Kansas VA hospital police supervisor reported 'dangerous' deficiencies among his officers. Now he says he faced retaliation
The Kansas City VA Medical Center is still dealing with the fallout of a violent confrontation last year between one of its police officers and a patient, with the Kansas City Police Department launching a homicide investigation.
And now Topeka's VA hospital is dealing with an internal dispute between leaders of its Veterans Affairs police force that raises new questions about how the agency nationwide treats patients — and the officers who report misconduct by colleagues.
A New Mexico woman was charged Friday in the robbery and homicide of a Marine Corps veteran from Belen late last month after allegedly watching her boyfriend kill the man and torch his car to hide evidence.