U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks during a joint news conference with Japan's Defense Minister Taro Kono at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 14, 2020. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

MIAMI (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper suggested on Thursday he could be ready to start a highly anticipated global force repositioning this year as part of an effort to refocus the Pentagon on challenges from China and Russia.

Esper said he did not want to put a firm timeline on the completion of his so-called "defense-wide review," which is expected to trigger those troop movements.

"If I had to put an end-date (on the review), I want to make sure we are in some type of better posture by the beginning of the next fiscal year," Esper told reporters, referring to the government's calendar year for spending, which begins on Oct. 1. "So I want to move fairly quickly."

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A combination of images depicts what the U.S. military says are bases of the Kataib Hezbollah militia group that were struck by U.S. forces, in the city of Al-Qa'im, Iraq December 29, 2019 (U.S. Department of Defense/Handout via REUTERS)

WASHINGTON/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. officials said on Sunday that air strikes in Iraq and Syria against an Iran-backed militia group were successful, but warned that "additional actions" may still be taken in the region to defend U.S. interests.

The U.S. military carried out the strikes on Sunday against the Kataib Hezbollah militia group in response to the killing of a U.S. civilian contractor in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base, officials said.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill/Released)

The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.

Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.

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The main gate at Naval Air Station Pensacola is seen on Navy Boulevard in Pensacola, Florida, U.S. March 16, 2016. Picture taken March 16, 2016. (U.S. Navy/Patrick Nichols/Handout via Reuters)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Navy pledged Friday to find ways to upgrade security procedures and prevent future attacks following two shootings and a fatal gate runner incident at naval bases in Virginia, Hawaii and Florida in the last week.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper also announced he is "considering several steps to ensure the security of our military installations and the safety of our service members and their families," although he did not give details.

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Wednesday he was open to new alterations in U.S. military activity on the Korean Peninsula if it helped enable diplomats, who are trying to jump-start stalled peace efforts with North Korea.

Esper did not predict whether he might end up "dialing up or dialing down" such activity, as he spoke to a small group of reporters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on his way to South Korea after North Korea threatened to retaliate if the United States goes ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korea.

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper was tightliped on Wednesday on what he recommended to President Donald Trump about possibly exonerating three service members accused or convicted of war crimes.

Trump could order the Army to dismiss charges against Maj. Matthew Golsteyn and former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance as well as tell the Navy to restore Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher's rank as a chief petty officer, Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth said on Monday's edition of Fox & Friends.

"I had a robust discussion with the president yesterday and I offered – as I do in all matters – the facts, the options, my advice, the recommendations and we'll see how things play out," Esper told reporters on Wednesday after meeting with a Qatari official.

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