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Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday that U.S. strategic goals could include drawing down troops in Africa despite French pleas that American support is "critical" to countering the growing strength of terror groups in the region with links to the Islamic State and al Qaeda.
"My aim is to adjust our footprint in many places," including Africa, to free up forces for a "great power competition" against China and Russia, he said at a joint Pentagon news conference with French Defense Minister Florence Parly.
The U.S. already has overwhelming force in the Middle East to deal with any threat from Iran, as it has built up air, ground and naval assets steadily since last May, as well as recent preparations for a possible conflict.
By contrast, Iran has relied on "asymmetric" rather than conventional warfare by its own forces and proxies. But it possesses advanced missile and drone capabilities, according to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency.
After the U.S. executed a deadly strike on Iranian Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani Jan. 3, and Iran retaliated Jan. 7 by launching missiles at two bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, predictions are flying about what a possible conflict would look like.
Medal of Honor recipients and prisoners of war are entitled to burial with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery, regardless of rank, under the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act signed into law last week by President Donald Trump.
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.
The effort to build a National Desert Storm Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., passed a significant milestone last week with formal approval of a design concept granted by the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts.
For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.