The Intersect
Dec. 7, 2010

US hosts North Korea crisis talks in Washington, DC
Voice of America
President Barack Obama is asking China to send a "clear message" to North Korea, as Japanese and South Korean officials gather in Washington, D.C., to discuss the crisis on the Korean peninsula. The diplomatic activity comes as South Korea stages five days of live-fire artillery drills that Pyongyang has denounced as an effort to trigger a war. It was during a similar drill last month that North Korea launched an artillery barrage on a South Korean island, killing four people.More

Sen. Kyl: START won't get done in lame-duck
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the Senate's key skeptic on the START arms control treaty, said that he doesn't believe the treaty can be ratified during this lame-duck congressional session because of Democrats' desire to address other issues.More

DoD budget strategy shredded
DoD Buzz
Defense Secretary Robert Gates' budget strategy of deferring defense budget cuts by offering $100 billion in efficiencies looks to lie in tatters as pressure for Pentagon cuts rises to seemingly unstoppable levels. In the face of America's fiscal strains, the nation must choose a new global strategy that better conforms to our ability to spend, three top defense experts argue. And the nation's No. 2 uniformed officer says DoD is bracing for cuts and one of the top independent defense analysts has joined the defense cuts bandwagon, arguing the nation can afford to cut up to $60 billion annually even as we wage two wars.More

Soldiers in Iraq will get new body armor
Military Times
A better body armor that was shelved last year is now making its way to soldiers in Iraq — but not Afghanistan. All-Army Activities message 347, dated Nov. 17, outlined the limited fielding of the X Small Arms Protective Inserts, or XSAPI, as well as X Side Ballistic Inserts, or XSBI. Distribution will begin Dec. 15.More

XM25 'game changer' weapon now killing enemies behind walls in Afghanistan
CBS News
The future has arrived for the U.S. military: guns that kill enemies behind walls. Last week, the Army deployed in Afghanistan prototypes of its first-ever programmable "smart" grenade launcher, a shoulder-fired weapon called the XM25 that uses micro-chipped exploding ammunition to target and kill the enemy, Agence France Presse reports. What is it that makes this weapon special? The only way to be safe from it is inside a closed, concrete bunker.More

Army working on lightweight .50 cal
It's an iconic weapon whose guttural "thump-thump-thump" inspires confidence that whatever it's shooting at is going down – in a big way. But for the first time since World War II, the Army is working on a fundamental redesign of the venerable M2 .50cal machine gun, cutting its weight in half, increasing its accuracy and making it a lot easier to shoot for Soldiers on the move.More

Senate OKs US oversight of Arlington Cemetery
St. Louis Post-Dispatch via
Discovery of the remains of eight people in one grave at Arlington National Cemetery prompted passage of legislation requiring congressional oversight of America's iconic military burial ground. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has been leading a congressional investigation of Arlington and she used the new discovery to obtain unanimous approval of her bill during a special session of congress dealing with extending tax breaks.More

Gates pessimistic US Senate will end gay ban
Defense News
U.S. Defense Sec. Robert Gates said Dec. 6 he was pessimistic that Congress would act this month to lift a ban on openly gay troops in the U.S. military. "I'd have to say I'm not particularly optimistic that they're going to get this done, I would hope that they would," Gates said during a visit to an aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea.More

Military chaplains debate their role without 'don't ask, don't tell'
As Congress debates the repeal of the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, military chaplains are doing their own soul-searching. About 3,000 chaplains currently serve in the military, endorsed by a multitude of faiths, including Christian, evangelical Protestant, Jewish and Muslim denominations. It's a unique culture where chaplains of various beliefs serve alongside one another counseling and caring for an equally diverse congregation of armed service members.More

National Guard (in Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of Nov. 30, 2010
U.S. Department of Defense
This week the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard announced a decrease in activated reservists. The net collective result is 441 fewer reservists activated than 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