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Military News Briefs for the Week of July 14, 2000

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2000 – Prepared by the American Forces Press Service

(This is the a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending July 14, 2000.)

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SHORT SUPPLY FORCES ANTHRAX VACCINATION SLOWDOWN

DoD's dwindling supply of anthrax vaccine has forced a temporary slowdown in inoculations, except to those personnel serving or about to serve in high-threat areas of Southwest Asia and South Korea, defense officials said July 11.

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Randy L. West, senior adviser to the deputy secretary of defense for chemical and biological protection, said DoD has about 160,000 doses of the vaccine on hand. During the slowdown, dosing will fall from about 75,000 vaccinations monthly to around 14,000. At that rate, DoD has enough vaccine to last up to 10 months, he estimated.

So far, 455,378 people have started vaccinations and have received a total of about 1.8 million shots. Some 56,725 have received all six shots, West said.

West attributed the slowdown to the inability of the contractor to gain Food and Drug Administration approval for its production facility. He said shots will resume at full speed when the FDA approves and certifies a sufficient supply of vaccine as safe and effective -- possibly by year's end.

Full story

See also:

July 11 Pentagon press conference transcript

Text of July 10 video announcement by Defense Secretary

William S. Cohen, includes video clip hyperlink

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MISSING BOOSTER SIGNAL FOILS MISSILE DEFENSE TEST

The fifth test flight of the prototype National Missile Defense system interceptor ended in failure early July 8 when its "bullet" and booster rocket stages didn't separate.

A modified Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile with a target warhead was launched at 12:19 a.m. Eastern Time from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The prototype interceptor launched about 20 minutes later from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, said the second-stage booster rocket didn't send a required signal that activates the third-stage kill vehicle, or "bullet." The kill vehicle, which would destroy a target by hitting it, never attempted an intercept. Government and industry officials will review test data to trace the failure and didn't estimate when the review would be complete.

Full story

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TAIWAN, MISSILE DEFENSE TOP COHEN'S CHINA TALKS

Chinese National Defense Minister Gen. Chi Haotian told Defense Secretary William Cohen July 12 in Beijing that China wants to reunify peacefully with Taiwan -- it does not intend to use military force, but reserves that right.

Cohen described his meeting as positive. "It was very open, and I thought as good as it gets in terms of engaging one another," he said. He said Chi also indicated China's willingness to cooperate on humanitarian initiatives, possibly including training exercises, and to participate in the Asia-Pacific Centers for Security Studies in Hawaii.

On the Taiwan issue, Cohen said he reaffirmed the U.S. support of the one China policy and its commitment to Taiwan's self defense. He said he mentioned that the Chinese could reduce tensions by reducing the threat of their missiles along the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese were noncommittal, he noted.

Cohen said the Chinese leaders oppose a U.S. national missile defense system because they believe it would upset the strategic balance. He said he pointed out that NMD is not directed against China, but at the need to protect America against the threat or use of a long-range missile attack.

Full story

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PACIFIC COMMAND CHIEF CAUTIONS U.S. PERSONNEL

The 37,000 U.S. personnel stationed in South Korea need to be wary of anti-American sentiments that might flare there because of the excitement of the recent reunification summit between North and South Korea.

U.S. Pacific Command chief Adm. Dennis Blair, traveling with Defense Secretary William S. Cohen in China, told reporters July 12 that the summit "seems to have stirred up the level of and combination of resentment against the American presence which has always been held by some very small part of Korean society."

Blair noted that a U.S. officer was recently killed outside a popular shopping area in Seoul by "an unbalanced person," and a "local issue" regarding a target range near some villages sparked demonstrations near Osan.

"We haven't buttoned up the bases or any of that, but we still told people to watch out for each other, to be more careful because there's more disturbances in the area and some prudent measures are being taken," Blair said.

Full story

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RECRUITERS DISCUSS PROBLEMS WITH TOP DOD OFFICIALS

The department's top recruiters spoke their minds about the good and bad of their business and made powerful pitches to officials during a recent roundtable discussion at the Pentagon.

The recruiters exchanged ideas and information on what DoD calls its five most pressing recruiting issues: access to high schools, spouses' quality of life program, youth attitudes toward the military, recruiting on college campuses, and the value of local vs. national media advertising.

Pentagon panelists included Charles L. Cragin, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs; Alphonso Maldon Jr., assistant secretary of defense for forces management policy; Navy Vice Adm. Patricia A. Tracey, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy; and Carol DiBattiste, undersecretary of the Air Force.

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