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Military News Briefs for the Week of Jan. 12, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2001 – (This is a summary of the American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending Jan. 12, 2001.)

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COHEN: HANDLED PROPERLY, DU POSES NO RISK

If handled properly, depleted uranium, known as DU, poses no risk to American or allied forces, according to Defense Secretary William S. Cohen.

"We have been using depleted uranium weapons for decades," he said Jan. 10 at the National Press Club here. "Depleted uranium is also used in most of our aircraft and most of our ships. It's used as ballast. So it's around us all the time and it doesn't pose an unreasonable risk."

Cohen responded to European claims that some allied troops have died after being exposed to DU used during NATO air operations in the Balkans.

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COMMISSION STRESSES BEEFING UP INTEL, CHANGING FOCUS

DoD must view terrorists as a "relentless enemy" and confront them "with the same intensity and discipline that we have used in the past to defeat conventional antagonists," Defense Secretary William Cohen said Jan. 9.

He was quoting from the USS Cole Commission Report co-authored by retired Army Gen. William W. Crouch and retired Navy Adm. Harold W. Gehman. Cohen requested the report following the Oct. 12, 2000, bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, that killed 17 sailors and injured 39.

The commission's report found ships in transit provide a weak point. Cohen said institutional changes and other improvements have to be made to prevent a similar attack in the future, "[But,] as good as we get or will get in the future ... terrorists are bound to examine other ways of finding vulnerabilities. ... No doubt they will look for other softer targets to go after."

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TROOPS GET NEW ALLOWANCE FOR ARDUOUS DUTY

Some service members in remote locations will receive an extra allowance in their January pay.

Hardship Duty Pay - Location will be paid in increments of $50, $100 or $150 per month to troops serving in certain overseas areas where "the quality of life is extraordinarily arduous," said Navy Capt. Chris Kopang, DoD director of military compensation.

The new allowance replaced Certain Places Pay on Jan. 1. CPP was paid to enlisted members in amounts ranging from $8 to $22.50 per month. HDP-L is payable to both officers and enlisted serving in eligible areas.

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BUSH TEAM VISITS PENTAGON

President-elect George W. Bush and his foreign policy team visited the Pentagon Jan. 10 for a briefing from outgoing Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Cohen said he briefed Bush on the overall strategic policies of the U.S. military and the state of DoD. He also told Bush that the budget for DoD has increased and that current projections call for $227 billion more money for defense over the next six years. Cohen, who spoke at the National Press Club later in the day, said the increase shows the importance both parties attach to national defense.

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