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Military News Briefs for the Week of June 1, 2001

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2001 – (This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending June 1, 2001.)

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SOFTWARE PROBLEM AFFECTS SOME SERVICE MEMBERS' PAY

Some 5,600 active duty soldiers, 9,000 sailors and 1,000 airmen will find less money in their paychecks for awhile because a software glitch that overpaid them since January.

Defense Finance and Accounting Service officials said the error underwithheld Social Security contributions. The error has been fixed, but the 8,100 troops who owed less than $120 should have seen a lump-sum deduction from their end-of-month pay for May. Those owing more than $120 will see partial deductions in their mid-June, July and August paychecks.

The officials said about 150 service members overpaid Social Security because of the software error and should have received refunds in their end-of-month pay for May.

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RUMSFELD REVIEW TAKES ADVANTAGE OF UNIQUE MOMENT IN HISTORY

The United States must take advantage of this moment in history to examine the state of the world and to review its defenses, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said May 29.

Rumsfeld said any changes to the National Security Strategy would have an enormous impact and therefore would have to be carefully considered and done in conjunction with many government agencies and the Congress. For the past decade, for instance, the basis for the U.S. military's size is a requirement to be able to fight and win two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts.

"An awful lot has changed in the intervening period," Rumsfeld said. "Will we change that? I don't know. We're looking at those kinds of things now."

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BUSH REMEMBERS SACRIFICES IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY

President Bush remembered service members who died in defense of America during a Memorial Day ceremony May 28 at Arlington National Cemetery, outside Washington.

Accompanied by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Bush said Memorial Day is a time when America tries to come to terms with the scope of the loss of those who died for America and the meaning of their sacrifice. "It always seems more than words can convey," he said. "All we can do is remember and always appreciate the price that was paid for our own lives and for our freedom."

Bush also pledged to continue America's effort to account for missing service members from Vietnam, Korea, the Cold War and World War II.

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NAVY EP-3 PLANE TO COME HOME DISASSEMBLED

Chinese officials have agreed to return the damaged Navy EP-3 plane they've held on Hainan Island -- in pieces. The Navy surveillance plane collided in mid-air with a Chinese fighter April 1 (March 31 in the United States) and made an emergency landing on Hainan shortly after. U.S. officials had sought to repair the plane and fly it home, but the Chinese rejected the idea.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. Craig Quigley told reporters May 29 that the United States will partially disassemble the plane and bring it home in a Russian-made AN-124 cargo plane to be leased from an unspecified country.

The large size of the AN-124 allows the EP-3 to remain intact enough that it can be repaired after it is back in the United States.

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COLE BOMBING INVESTIGATORS MOVE TO YEMENI CAPITAL

American officials in Yemen investigating the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole moved their operation May 31 from the port of Aden to the capital, Sana'a.

A State Department spokesman said the move had been considered "for some weeks now" and was not in response to increased security concerns in the Middle East. Investigators had been working out of a hotel in Aden since the October 2000 bombing of the Cole in the city harbor.

DoD spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said the people involved included State Department officials, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and members of a Marine security team.

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