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Military News Briefs for the Week of May 4, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2001 – (This is a summary of the American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending May 4, 2001.)

 

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HELP COMING TO FILL PANTRIES FOR SOME JUNIOR-ENLISTED FAMILIES

 

Help is on the way for some junior-enlisted families who qualify for food stamps -- and some who wouldn't. As of May 1, they can apply for the armed forces' new nontaxable monthly Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance of up to $500.

 

Congress provided for the allowance in the fiscal 2001 National Defense Authorization Act. "It is intended to remove a household's eligibility from the food stamp program," said Coast Guard Cmdr. Kevin Harkins, a DoD assistant director of compensation in the Pentagon.

 

DoD officials estimate roughly 5,000 service members receive food stamps. Officials think perhaps 1,000 more people will be eligible for FSSA than currently use food stamps because the DoD program is available to military members serving overseas, while food stamps are not. Also, there are circumstances in which a service member could qualify for both the new allowance and food stamps.

 

Full story and income chart

 

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DoD MOBILIZES TO MITIGATE CALIFORNIA POWER SHORTAGE

 

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced plans May 3 to cut DoD's peak power usage in California to help mitigate the state's growing energy shortage.

 

Rumsfeld directed DoD installations in California to decrease their peak power draw from state commercial electricity grids through conservation, energy efficiency investments and power generation, department officials said. The secretary's actions follow initiatives announced earlier by President Bush to involve federal organizations in assisting California's search for more electric power.

 

"The situation in California and the surrounding states demands the full attention of all electricity consumers, public and private," Rumsfeld said. "We intend to do our part to mitigate the electricity shortage." He said he wants DoD's peak-hour electricity consumption in California this summer reduced by 10 percent from a year ago and by another average 15 percent by summer 2002.

 

Full story

 

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COLD WAR DETERRENTS 'NO LONGER ENOUGH,' BUSH SAYS

 

President Bush laid out his intention to field a national missile defense system in a speech May 1 at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. 

 

Cold War deterrents are "no longer enough" to maintain peace, he said. To maintain security the United States must "move beyond" the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense Treaty. Bush believes the treaty doesn't reflect today's realities. 

 

A new missile defense system is needed because challenges to democracy and peace once presented by the Soviet Union have been replaced by threats from several nations long unfriendly to U.S. and allied interests, Bush said. These nations have or seek nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, he continued, and some already have the ballistic missile technology to deliver them. 

 

Full story

 

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NO CHINESE BERETS FOR ARMY, FIELDING PHASED THROUGH FALL

 

Some soldiers will don black berets by June 14, but others won't receive them until November, Army officials announced May 2.

 

The officials said the delay is due to three companies defaulting on deliveries and a policy decision by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki not to issue berets made in China.

 

Originally, 4.8 million berets were contracted to seven companies for a total cost of $29.6 million. The three remaining contractors are Bancroft Cap Co. of Cabot, Ark., Dorothea Knitting of Canada, and C.W. Headdress, a British company with a factory in Sri Lanka.

 

Full story

 

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PILOT ERROR CAUSED BOMBING DEATHS AT KUWAITI RANGE

 

U.S. Central Command officials have determined pilot error was the main cause of the deadly March 12 bombing accident at Kuwait's Udairi Range.

 

Navy F/A-18 Hornet pilot Cmdr. David O. Zimmerman incorrectly identified an observation post as his target and dropped three 500-pound bombs that killed five Americans and a New Zealander and injured 11 others. Six Kuwaiti service members were among the injured.

 

The report identifies pilot error as the main cause of the accident, but noted the forward air controller airborne pilot contributed by using nonstandard terms; the ground forward air controller, whose loss of situational awareness at a critical point prevented him from ordering an abort; and range conditions that made the observation post and the actual target difficult to distinguish.

 

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