(Washington, DC-AP) — House lawmakers are rejecting the Pentagon’s new policy on transgender troops. The Democrat-controlled body voted 243-183 Tuesday to block funding to enact the policy, which critics argue is discriminatory.
President Trump says banning transgender troops will improve military readiness and unit cohesion, but as Maryland Democrat Anthony Brown noted, those were the same arguments used to keep the military racially segregated.
The policy requires soldiers with gender dysphoria to serve as their biological sex and bans people with a history of dysphoria from joining unless they have been stable in their gender for 36 months.
(Washington, DC) — The Pentagon is reportedly planning to send 15-hundred additional troops to the Middle East. The move is seen as a response to growing tensions with Iran.
The U.S. has long-accused Iran of being a leading state sponsor of terrorism and of causing trouble in the volatile Middle East.
President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the multi-nation Iran nuclear accord last year.
(Pyongyang-AP) — North Korean state media says the country’s military has tested a new “tactical guided weapon.” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly supervised what he called an event of “very weighty significance.”
The country’s state media says the new weapon system will boost the defense capabilities of the North Korean military. There’s no word on the exact type of weapon that was tested.
(AP) – The U.S. military pullout from Syria has started. A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq said today that the withdrawal of troops and equipment is now underway. However, Colonel Sean Ryan did not give any specific details about troop movements and timing.
This comes just days after White House national security adviser John Bolton seemed to contradict President Trump’s order last month for two-thousand U.S. troops to leave Syria. Bolton said this week that the withdrawal wouldn’t be immediate and wouldn’t happen until ISIS is completely defeated. Bolton said it also would require Turkey’s pledge not to attack America’s Kurdish allies in Syria.
(AP) – The Ukrainian government is concerned Russia maybe preparing to launch a large-scale ground invasion. President Petro Poroshenko declared martial law in parts of Ukraine yesterday, a day after Russian ships attacked and seized Ukrainian vessels near the coast of Crimea. Petroshenko said Russia moved to a new state of aggression in what he called a fifth year of a hybrid war against Ukraine.
He said intelligence services have evidence Russia is preparing for a massive invasion. Russian forces moved into eastern Ukraine in early 2014 and Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the Crimean Peninsula in March of that year. n.
(Washington, DC-AP) – A decorated Special Forces soldier is being charged with trying to smuggle almost 90 lbs of Cocaine from Colombia to Florida. Defense officials say Army Master Sergeant Daniel Gould was arrested after the DEA found the drugs in two backpacks on a military plane.
Gould was apparently on vacation in Cali, Colombia the week before the bust and was already back in the U.S. when the drugs were put on the plane. Officials are trying to determine if the proxy Gould used to load the bags on the plane is complicit or not.
An Army spokesman says they are fully cooperating with law enforcement.
(Tehran) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his country will remain in the 2015 nuclear deal if it can protect its interests. The deal, originally made between the U.S., Iran and five other world powers, offered sanctions relief in exchange for checks on Iran’s nuclear program.
President Trump pulled out of the deal this month, after months of calling it broken.
Rouhani said that Tehran will stay in if the remaining five nations, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K., stick to the agreement.
(SL) – Defense officials are saying two Russian long-range bombers were intercepted by U.S. F-22 stealth fighter jets in international airspace off the coast of Alaska. NORAD says the Russian planes flew yesterday into the Air Defense Identification Zone, which reaches approximately 200 miles off Alaska’s western coast.
A NORAD spokesman says the Russian aircraft were intercepted and monitored by the F-22s until they left the identification zone along the Aleutian Islands. The bombers never entered U.S. airspace.
(SL) – The U.S. is “locked and loaded” if Syria chooses to use chemical weapons again. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley delivered the promise from President Trump at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. The council met today over the joint airstrikes launched against targets in Syria last night. Haley insisted that the strikes were a justified and proportionate reaction to a chemical weapons attack attributed to Syria’s government. She also accused Russia of aiding and abetting the Syria regime, enabling it to use chemical weapons with impunity.
Russia’s ambassador blasted the U.S. and its allies for what he called a complete disregard for international law. He raised doubts on whether the reported chemical weapons attack that prompted the airstrikes actually took place. He added that the U.S. is pandering to terrorists who have kept Syria in the grip of chaos for years.