Metro-East News

Roger That: Remaining male-only combat jobs in Air Force may soon disappear

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has submitted to Defense Secretary Ash Carter her recommendations on opening up the Air Force's last male-only combat jobs to women, according to Air Force Times.

Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Brooke Brzozowske on Sept. 30 — the day the recommendations were due — confirmed that they were submitted. But she said the Air Force will not release them publicly until Carter makes and releases his final decision on the issue. Carter's office also declined to release the recommendations.

The six remaining male-only jobs in the Air Force, encompassing about 4,000 special operations positions, are special tactics officers, combat rescue officers, special operations weather enlisted, combat control, Tactical Air Control Party and pararescue.

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Amid resurgent Taliban attacks, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan said American-trained local forces lack the ability to fully defend the country, raising more questions about the U.S. role and future security, according to Stars and Stripes.

Gen. John Campbell told the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning that the Afghan security forces’ fighting capabilities remain “uneven and inconsistent.” The poor assessment comes as President Barack Obama weighs his plan to begin a withdrawal to an embassy force in Afghanistan by the end of the year.

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The NFL might soon be pressured for a nearly $7 million donation to the military or veteran charity of its choice, according to

That is the money the league has reaped during the past three years from the Army National Guard for paid troop tributes during games — a practice that triggered outrage on Capitol Hill when it was revealed earlier this year.

The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on an annual defense policy bill that would ban the practice and also admonishes the NFL to tally up the taxpayer dollars it has collected and donate an “equivalent amount” to charities. The bill, called the National Defense Authorization Act, passed the House last week but still faces tough opposition from Democrats and a threatened White House veto.

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The Veterans Affairs Department was not aware that Prudential Insurance encouraged its counselors to keep casualty pay-out monies in-house as a way to boost company profits, or that its agents were schooled to try to change the minds of surviving family members who sought a traditional lump-sum payment, according to

Prudential's practices came to light last week with the court-ordered release of internal company documents to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which joined in a class-action lawsuit against Prudential in 2010.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000