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Russia building up troops on Ukraine border

Russia has moved more troops closer to Ukraine's borders in recent days despite assurances it will not invade, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday. Although Russia's defense minister Sergei Shoigu had told Hagel last week that Moscow would not send troops into eastern Ukraine, "the reality is that they continue to build up their forces," Hagel said. "So they need to make sure they stay committed to what Minister Shoigu told me," the Pentagon chief said at a joint news conference after meeting his British counterpart, Philip Hammond.

Malaysia asks US for undersea surveillance gear in jet search

Malaysia on Friday asked the United States to provide undersea surveillance technology to help in the search for the wreckage of a missing airliner, Pentagon officials said. The request came as a near two-week search failed to find any debris from the Boeing 777 that disappeared off the radar after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8.

Pentagon review says Navy Yard shooting could have been avoided

By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered steps to improve Pentagon security on Tuesday after reviews found the Navy Yard shooting that killed 12 people last year could have been averted if concerns about the gunman's mental health been properly handled.

Hagel to greet ASEAN defense chiefs, no news yet on Northeast Asia trip plan

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, March 13 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will greet his Southeast Asian counterparts in Hawaii early next month, the Pentagon announced Thursday but it kept media guessing about whether the secretary will head to South Korea following the session. Hagel plans to meet the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) defense ministers in Honolulu April 1-3.

U.S. defense chief to visit Japan in early April

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is set to visit Japan in early April to discuss security issues with his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera, people familiar with Japan-U.S. relations said Saturday. Hagel and Onodera are expected to discuss a planned revision to bilateral defense cooperation guidelines and how to implement the contentious relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture in line with a bilateral accord, the sources said.

Big budget cuts pose 'tough, tough choices' for Pentagon: Hagel

By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned on Thursday that "tough, tough choices are coming" if the Pentagon implements deep future spending cuts required by law, including whether to slash the Army to 420,000 soldiers and decommission an aircraft carrier. Hagel told a House of Representatives committee that a return to steep budget cuts in 2016 and beyond would force the Army to cut 20,000 to 30,000 soldiers more than currently planned and the Marine Corps to trim another 7,000 troops.

Americas News Agenda for March 6

Duty Editor: Jim Mannion Tel: +1 202 414 0541 What's happening in the Americas on Thursday: + Pentagon chief Hagel on Capitol Hill + US diplomats testify on Ukraine and Syria WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey testify before the House Armed Services Committee on the proposed 2015 fiscal year defense budget. 1500 GMT. Pictures. (US-DEFENSE-ECONOMY-POLITICS-BUDGET)

Hagel talks Ukraine with Russian counterpart

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by phone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Saturday after Moscow approved sending troops into Ukraine following a bloody three-month uprising there. "Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel spoke to his Russian counterpart this morning," a US defense official told AFP on condition of anonymity. Hagel then went to the White House for a meeting on the crisis. Officials said there was "no change" to the US military's presence in the region. oh/rcw

Obama national security aides discuss policy options for Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's national security team met on Saturday for an update on the situation in Ukraine and to discuss potential policy options, a senior Obama administration official said. The meeting came as Ukraine asked the United States and other key members of the U.N. Security Council to help safeguard its territorial integrity after Russia announced plans to send armed forces into the country's autonomous Crimea region.

Budget cuts to slash U.S. Army to smallest since before World War Two

) By David Alexander and Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Monday it would shrink the U.S. Army to pre-World War Two levels, eliminate the popular A-10 aircraft and reduce military benefits in order to meet 2015 spending caps, setting up an election-year fight with the Congress over national defense priorities.
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