The Intersect
July 12, 2011

House approves $649 billion defense budget bill
The Associated Press via The Boston Globe
The House overwhelmingly passed a $649 billion defense spending bill that boosts the Pentagon budget by $17 billion and covers the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The strong bipartisan vote was 336 to 87 and reflected lawmakers' intent to ensure national security, preserve defense jobs across the nation, and avoid deep cuts while the country is at war.More

US, allies' share of world military spending shrinking-study
Reuters
The share of world military spending by the United States and its closest allies is likely to plunge by 2015, but still account for nearly two-thirds of the total, a new study by a prominent research group said. The Council on Foreign Relations' survey, took into account outlays by the United States, NATO allies, Japan, South Korea, Israel and Saudi Arabia.More

At Mullen's side, Chinese general critiques US military spending
Miami Herald
China's top general publicly admonished the United States for a wide array of issues, ranging from spending too much on its military during an economic downturn to the timing of joint exercises with other nations in the South China Sea. The critique of the American military came during a news conference with Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, who's visiting China during a series of exchanges meant to boost relations.More

President considers tax credit to hire veterans
U.S. Department of Defense
A tax credit for companies that hire military veterans could be the next step in helping the acutely underemployed group, President Barack Obama suggested in his Twitter town hall meeting. The president addressed many economic issues surrounding his theme of how to reduce the federal deficit, and was asked about jobs for veterans while fielding questions submitted on Twitter. A Twitter user asked the president, "Can you give companies a tax break if they hire an honorably discharged veteran?" That, Obama said, is a subject he's discussing with his staff.More

Congressman unveils $3 billion jobs bill for vets
Military Times
A $3 billion veterans' employment bill was unveiled that is aimed at helping both new veterans and older veterans find jobs in a tough economy. Called the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act, or VOW Act, the bill mixes a combination of tweaking current programs and adding new ones in an effort that Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the bill's sponsor and the veterans' committee chairman since January, said he hopes will help 400,000 veterans find jobs over the next two years.More

Cost of mental health programs for soldiers high
The Tacoma News Tribune
A four-year-old Pentagon effort to improve psychological health services across the military is spending tens of millions – some of it at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington – without providing a clear picture of how the money is used, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.More

The Army sets its sights on its next carbine
Military Times
The Army has given gun makers that want to build your next carbine 90 days to throw their hats in the ring. The message is clear: The Army isn't looking for the lowest bidder, it's looking for the most accurate, efficient, quiet, lethal and reliable weapon available.More

No word when F-22s could fly again
DoD Buzz
The Air Force's fleet of F-22 super-jets has been grounded for more than two months now, but service officials have no details about when the F-22s may fly again or even when engineers could finish the investigation into the fighters' onboard oxygen systems.More

Army investigating National Guard helicopter crash that killed 2 Knoxville, Tenn., pilots
Knoxville News Sentinel
Army investigators are probing the cause of a National Guard helicopter crash that killed two Knoxville, Tenn., pilots. Tennessee Army National Guard 1st Lt. Thomas Joseph Williams Jr., 26, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Daniel Cole, 41, were killed when their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior went down near Exit 141 on Interstate 75 said Tennessee Military Department spokesman Randy Harris.More

As regular Army slims down, Guard and reserves may beef up
Colorado Springs Gazette
Everybody knows the Department of Defense budget is going on a diet. Political insiders predict sweeping cuts on top of a $76 billion slimming plan that's now underway. But some people in uniform are smiling.More

National Guard and Reserve 'citizen soldiers' continue to serve at home and around the globe
The Springfield Republican
Nearly 2,000 members of Massachusetts' National Guard are now on duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and crews from the Air Reserve's 439th Airlift Wing at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee continue weekly duty to help ship personnel, equipment and supplies for the war effort. More

New Mexico Guard secures Los Alamos during wildfire
National Guard
The New Mexico National Guard was activated June 26 by Gov. Susana Martinez to assist local law enforcement agencies within Los Alamos due to the Las Conchas fire. The Las Conchas fire started on private property in Los Alamos County and quickly spread due to the extreme drought conditions of the entire state of New Mexico. Soon after fire crews realized the severity of the fire, they requested the assistance of many state and county agencies, to include the New Mexico National Guard.More

National Guard (in federal status) and Reserve activated as of July 5
U.S. Department of Defense
This week the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Air Force announced an increase. The net collective result is no change from last week. At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease.More