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Defense Leaders Release Holiday Messages

Defense Department leaders and their spouses have released a series of holiday videos to thank service members and their families for their sacrifices. Story

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey

Chairman Commends Service Members In Year-end MessageThis story contains video.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the more than two million active and reserve members of the armed forces that he “couldn’t be prouder” of their service. Video

DoD Releases Military Pay, Compensation Rates

The Defense Department has announced the 2015 military pay and compensation rates for service members, with most service members receiving a one percent increase in basic pay. Story | Release

NORAD Tracks Santa’s Christmas Eve Journey

Now a 59-year tradition, the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs, Colo., will follow Santa Claus’s Christmas Eve travels using radar, satellites, jet fighters and special cameras, Story

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Lead Photos

Photo: INTREPID INNOVATION

Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., right, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald, center, receive a brief on a simulator for firearms training during a tour of the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, Dec. 19, 2014. Winnefeld brought McDonald, center professionals and researchers together to discuss innovative ways to improve the lives of wounded warriors. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder

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Special ReportsMore »

CFC is the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, with more than 150 CFC national and international campaigns raising millions of dollars each year. Defense Department employees nationwide have the opportunity to give to the DoD campaign from Sept. 1, 2014 to Dec. 15, 2014. In his memo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed his unwavering support for the campaign and strongly encouraged members of the workforce to participate in any way they can. The president authorized U.S. Central Command to conduct targeted airstrikes to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq. He also authorized a humanitarian effort to save thousands of Iraqi civilians on Mount Sinjar from the threat posed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists. The United States is demonstrating its continued commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region, in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine.The Defense Department announced the next unit rotation as the U.S. continues to demonstrate its commitment to reassuring NATO allies. The Defense Department named cyberspace a new domain of warfare in 2011. Today, U.S. Cyber Command, the services, and U.S. partners and allies are working together to make that inherently collaborative, adaptable environment a suitable place for military command and control.The Defense Department is taking a stand against sexual assault in the military in an effort to maintain the well-being of U.S. service members and their families. Check out American Forces Press Services' special coverage, which includes information about resources dedicated to preventing and appropriately responding to this crime. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has directed the Defense Department to conduct a comprehensive review of the Military Health System that will focus on access to care. The review also will assess the safety and quality of health care in military treatment facilities and the health care DOD purchases from civilian providers. The MHS provides health care for more than 9.6 million beneficiaries. The fiscal year 2015 defense budget request works to square priorities with resources, Defense Department officials said while calling for a 1 percent pay raise for the military.

Features

Face of Defense

Operation Christmas Drop Yokota Airmen Bring Holiday Cheer to Islanders

Operation Christmas Drop, which has come to be known as the longest humanitarian operation in U.S. history, continues this year in Micronesia. Story

In The Spotlight

Scientists Work to Improve Disease Diagnostics

Defense Department scientists are working around the world to improve disease diagnostics with many supporting the U.S. Ebola response in West Africa. Story | Special

Office of Personnel Management Explains Dismissal, Closure Procedures

The Office of Personnel Management explained its 2015 Washington metro area operating status dismissal and closure procedures and announced a leave and telework policy change. Story

Focus on the Forces

New Program Prepares Enlisted Troops for Medical School

A new program provides an opportunity for qualified enlisted members to complete preparatory coursework for their medical school application while maintaining active-duty status. Story

Guardsmen Recall Operation Just Cause

Three South Carolina Army National Guardsmen who deployed in support of Operation Just Cause a quarter-century ago marked the anniversary by reflecting on the mission in Panama and their roles in that operation. Story

Twitter Activity

RT @DoDNews: #DOD Releases 2015 Military Pay and Compensation Rates http://t.co/V6fZznFWl4
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's #holiday message to deployed troops. http://t.co/aDYUu2vgtN
A New Yorker abroad: Extraordinary memories of five decades in #Kabul. http://t.co/fh8mEUoza6 @USNATO @NATO
#SecDef Hagel and his wife deliver a holiday message to service members and their families. http://t.co/afi3oKcZ5r
Civil Air Patrol cadets carry a wreath during Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery. http://t.co/khxKZVhl7a
RT @DoDNews: Face of Defense: Guam Toys for Tots Delivers Cheer, http://t.co/dr5HkfcwqQ. @USMC
Holiday greetings from schools decorate the mess deck aboard of the USS Mitscher. #OperationInherentResolve http://t.co/Okkzd8we4o
RT @USNavyEurope: New York, New York, a helluva ship! Welcome to the U.S. 6th Fleet area of ops. #OpFwd http://t.co/mxirPiCLEc
RT @PacificCommand: #PNG defense force receives medical supplies and equipment from the US @USEmbassyPOM | http://t.co/eRijLLxOto
RT @DoDNews: NORAD makes Santa-tracking a global experience, http://t.co/5jSo4A24Ly.
#Soldiers unload Christmas trees as they arrive for the "Trees for Troops" program on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. http://t.co/3W3tbM1MvG
Follow us on Instagram @DeptofDefense to see dynamic images of the U. S. military around the world. #USA http://t.co/grTRdSOSBB
RT @USArmy: .@JFCUA #USArmy flight engineer conducts refuel ops at a forward arming refuel point 19 Dec 14 in Liberia http://t.co/z4twEs3HB9
RT @GENRayOdierno: Short visit to Afghanistan, @3rd_Infantry "Rock of the Marne" Soldiers doing a great job! #ArmyStrong! http://t.co/bwj2…
RT @uscoastguard: News: Coast Guard, Navy interdict, seize $331 million of cocaine (photos, video available) http://t.co/JJaXfWmF1Y
RT @uscoastguard: Coast Guard, Navy interdict, seize $331 million of cocaine (photos, video available) http://t.co/7eDogogxRi
#Marine watches 81mm illumination mortar rounds fall during a joint mortar range during exercise Red Reef 15. http://t.co/eG6Qsd6Jx3

Facebook Activity

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's #holiday message to deployed troops.


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and his wife Lilibet deliver a holiday message to service members and their families. http://youtu.be/haEyMvg8IKw
Honoring those who came before us
Civil Air Patrol cadets carry a wreath to be placed at a grave marker Dec. 13, 2014, during Wreaths Across America at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. Nearly 50,000 volunteers came together to place remembrance wreaths on the headstones of about 230,000 veterans during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./Released)


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
A Sailor hangs holiday decorations aboard USS Sterett.
GULF OF OMAN (Dec. 8, 2014) Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Matthew Wellington hangs holiday decorations aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104). Sterett is deployed as part of the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group supporting maritime security operations, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eric Coffer/Released)


ARABIAN GULF (Dec. 16, 2014) Holiday greetings from schools in Virginia decorate the mess deck aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57). Mitscher is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations, and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony R. Martinez/Released)


NORAD makes Santa-tracking a global experience for families everywhere. Read more here, http://oak.ctx.ly/r/287nd.


Soldiers work together to unload Christmas trees as they arrive at the Northwest Adventure Center during the "Trees for Troops" program on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Dec. 2, 2014. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Daniel Schroeder


U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronnie Smith grinds a weld in an arresting gear engine room aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the Persian Gulf, Dec. 14, 2014.

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class John Philip Wagner Jr.


Follow us on Instagram @DeptofDefense to see dynamic images of the U. S. military around the world. #USA


Staring at the Stars
A Marine with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), watches 81mm illumination mortar rounds fall during a joint mortar range with Royal Saudi Naval Forces Marines with the 3rd Marine Infantry Battalion during exercise Red Reef 15 in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, Dec 12, 2014. Red Reef is part of a routine theater security cooperation engagement plan between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and Royal Saudi Naval Forces that serves as an excellent opportunity to strengthen tactical proficiency in critical mission areas and support long-term regional security.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jonathan R. Waldman/Released)


Ready to go
Maj. Phillip Stein readies his F-16C Fighting Falcon for flight prior to a training mission Dec. 17, 2014, at Atlantic City Air National Guard Base, N.J. Stein is an F-16 pilot with the New Jersey Air National Guard's 177th Fighter Wing. (Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht/Released)


Army 2nd Lt. Stephen Smallwood, left, receives his first salute as an officer from Army Master Sgt. Jeramie Woodall on Clemson University's Military Heritage Plaza in Clemson, S.C., Dec. 17, 2014. The service members served together as noncommissioned officers assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar


Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Jheren Svoboda prepares to hoist a combat rescue officer out of an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter during a rescue training mission near Mount Susitna, Alaska, Dec. 16, 2014. Svoboda is a flight engineer assigned to the Alaska National Guard's 210th Rescue Squadron. Alaska National Guard photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Balinda O'Neal


#Marines from Marine Corps Activity Guam delivered approximately 4,700 toys to the Salvation Army and Catholic Social Service here yesterday.

http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=123861


The guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher lights up its mast during night-delayed landing qualifications with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 26 in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, Dec 15, 2014.

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony R. Martinez

For more DoD Imagery: http://oak.ctx.ly/r/27lwe


Wreaths Across America honored fallen service members Dec. 6, 2014 by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery, as well as veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states, ceremonies at sea, and 24 national cemeteries on foreign soil.

(Video by Cpl. Clayton Filipowicz)



Statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby on ISIL Leadership Killed:

I can confirm that since mid-November, targeted coalition airstrikes
successfully killed multiple senior and mid-level leaders within the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

We believe that the loss of these key leaders degrades ISIL's ability to command and control current operations against Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), including Kurdish and other local forces in Iraq.

While we do not discuss the intelligence and targeting details of our
operations, it is important to note that leadership, command and control nodes, facilities, and equipment are always part of our targeting calculus.

The success of these airstrikes demonstrates the coalition's resolve in enabling the ISF to disrupt and degrade ISIL as they continue to regain control of their territory.
Honor, respect and devotion to duty are the words of wisdom from the Coast Guard's Spirit of Hope recipient.

U.S. Coast Guard


Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Robert Powers | DoDLive
www.dodlive.mil
This one, powerful phrase has been carried throughout military bases since 2006 by American 300 Foundation creator, Robert Powers.
Marine Corps Pfc. Roberto Pena fires an M249 squad automatic weapon during a realistic urban training exercise on Camp Roberts, Calif., Dec. 9, 2014. Pena is assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jamean Berry

For more DoD Imagery: http://oak.ctx.ly/r/27lwe


U.S. Marines lead a foot patrol during exercise Forest Light 15-1 on Oyanohara Training Area in Yamato, Japan, Dec. 9, 2014. The Marines are assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Warren Peace

For more DoD Imagery: http://oak.ctx.ly/r/27lju


C-17 Globemaster IIIs deploy flares during the U.S. Air Force Weapons School's Joint Forcible Entry Exercise 14B over the Nevada Test and Training Range on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Dec. 6, 2014.

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler

For more DoD Imagery: http://oak.ctx.ly/r/27k9g


#SecDef Chuck Hagel Thanks Soldier for Confronting Unethical Behavior Online

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with a senior noncommissioned officer Dec. 15 to thank her for leading by example and defending Army values despite facing harassment after confronting service members who were behaving unethically online.


Defense.gov News Article: Hagel Thanks Soldier for Confronting Unethical Behavior Online
oak.ctx.ly
WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2014 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with a senior noncommissioned officer Dec. 15 to thank her for leading by example and defending Army values despite facing harassment after confronting service members who were behaving unethically online.
U.S. Stands With Pakistanis, Afghans Against Taliban

The United States condemns the deadly Taliban attack on a Pakistani school and remains committed to bringing stability to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today, emphasizing that the end of the NATO combat mission does not mean an end to U.S. involvement in the region.


Defense.gov News Article: U.S. Stands With Pakistanis, Afghans Against Taliban
oak.ctx.ly
WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2014 The United States condemns the deadly Taliban attack on a Pakistani school and remains committed to bringing stability to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today, emphasizing that the end of the NATO combat mission does not mean an end to U.S…
Pushing Dirt

Sailors conduct a flight deck wash down aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu in the Pacific Ocean, Dec. 13, 2014. Peleliu is on its final regularly-scheduled western Pacific deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan J. Batchelder



Wreaths Across America: Honor the Fallen

Wreaths Across America honored fallen service members Dec. 6, 2014 by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery, as well as veterans’ cemet...
Marines shake up the night during training.
----

U.S. Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 161 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, provide security during a tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel mission during realistic urban training aboard Camp Roberts, Calif., Dec. 7, 2014. RUT prepares the 15th MEU Marines for their upcoming deployment, enhancing their combat skills in environments similar to those they may find in future missions.

U.S. Marine Corps video by Cpl. Steve H. Lopez



There's still time to nominate children of military families for Operation Homefront’s Military Child of the Year Award! oak.ctx.ly/r/278kg


Blogs

Soldiers of the Future to Self-Generate Power
Wearable technologies may provide U.S. soldiers with on-the-move, portable energy and reduce the weight of gear they carry into combat.   More
Track Santa Claus With NORAD Website
The North American Aerospace Defense Command’s NORAD Tracks Santa website, http://www.noradsanta.org/, features a mobile version, a holiday countdown, new games and daily activities and more for children.    More

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