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The Marine Corps has said goodbye to Romania as it doubles down on its footprint in Norway.
“U.S. European Command re-deployed the Marines from Romania and put in place a joint and multi-domain force that brings unique and appropriate capabilities to complement Romania’s military forces,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joe Hontz, a spokesman for U.S. European Command.
The last Black See Rotational Force left Romania in September as part of its regularly scheduled deployment, Hontz told Task & Purpose. Meanwhile, the number of Marines rotating through Norway increased from 330 to 700 this year.
“U.S. Marines and sailors from 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, deployed in September to Norway as Marine Rotational Force-Europe,” Hontz said in an email. “This was the first deployment of the expanded Marine Corps rotational presence of approximately 700 Marines in Norway.”
Marine Corps Times’ Shawn Snow first reported on Nov. 30 that the Black Sea Rotational Force had come to an end after eight years of rotations. The Defense Department regularly adjusts where U.S. troops are in Europe based on regional security challenges, Hontz told Task & Purpose.
Hontz stressed that the U.S. military still has a presence in Romania, including a battalion from an Army armored brigade combat team and a ballistic missile defense site. Both the U.S. and Romanian militaries continue to carry out military exercises on land, such as Saber Guardian, and in the Black Sea.
“The U.S. also has shown commitment to Romania with the planned or executed investments of $83 million for upgrades and enhancements to Camp Turzii and Mihail Kogalaniceanu through the European Deterrence Initiative.”
The European Deterrence Initiative is the Defense Department’s response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and continued support to separatists in eastern Ukraine. Since then, the U.S. military has rotated units and aircraft through NATO members that border or are near Russia.
NASA is reportedly investigating one of its astronauts in a case that appears to involve the first allegations of criminal activity from space.
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.