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Top South Korean official says joint US military exercises to continue despite Pyongyang's threats
Joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises scheduled for next month are going ahead, a top Seoul official said Saturday, despite a threat by North Korea to boycott working-level talks with Washington and possibly restart nuclear and longer-range missile tests.
"As far as I know, President (Donald) Trump did not promise the cancellation of this upcoming joint military exercise," Choi Jong-kun, secretary for peace planning to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said at the Aspen Institute's annual strategic forum, according to a video of the event. "If he had ever done that … we would have (been) consulted and organized it and used it very strategically."
North Korea hinted Tuesday that long-stalled working-level nuclear talks with the U.S. due to be restarted soon could be halted if the U.S. goes ahead with the planned 19-2 Dong Maeng (alliance) exercise scheduled to take place in August.
In a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, a spokesman for the country's Foreign Ministry said that if the exercise is held, "it will affect DPRK-U.S. working-level negotiations."
DPRK is the acronym for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"We will make a decision regarding the working-level negotiations after watching the U.S.' upcoming moves," the spokesman added.
The North has long denounced the joint exercises as a rehearsal for invasion, a charge the U.S. and its allies have denied.
In a separate statement also carried by KCNA on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said that the North is rethinking whether to abide by its self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, as well as other steps aimed at improving ties with the United States, linking these to the scheduled military exercises.
Trump vowed to suspend military drills with South Korea during his first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The last Dong Maeng exercise was held in the spring, replacing much larger exercises the U.S. and South Korea agreed to cancel in recent years. Dong Maeng is largely computer-based and much smaller than traditional exercises such as Foal Eagle or Key Resolve, but has still drawn the ire of the North.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency, quoting unnamed sources, reported Sunday that the two allies could rename the drills, in apparent consideration of North Korea's demands.
Questioned about the preparedness of U.S. and South Korean forces, Choi said "combat readiness has never been compromised because while we have been suspending or canceling large-size exercises, small-scale exercises … have been continuing."
"For the record, military interoperability has never been compromised," he added.
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A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.