Metro-East News

Roger That: New Air Force ‘stop-loss’ provision to affect active-duty officers set to deploy

Active-duty and some reserve officers who are slated to deploy could have their retirements denied — or delayed — under a newly updated “stop loss” provision, according to a recent change to the Air Force's retirement rules, according to Air Force Times.

The Sept. 18 update to Air Force Instruction 36-3203, which governs retirements, changes the criteria by which the Air Force can stop airmen from retiring. A footnote to a rewritten section of Table 2.1 specifically invokes stop loss for some airmen who are officially tasked to deploy, or who have applied for retirement on or after their assignment selection date or notification of a 365-day extended deployment.

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USA Today is reporting that the U.S.-led bombing campaign has killed an estimated 20,000 Islamic State fighters, an increase from the 15,000 the Pentagon reported in July, according to a senior military officer.

Airstrikes from the American-led campaign, which began in August 2014, have rattled the militants from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, said the official and another Pentagon official familiar with intelligence. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The second official said intercepted communications show ISIL militants to be fearful of the allied air attacks, which have forced them to change their tactics.

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The Taliban insurgency has spread through more of Afghanistan than at any point since 2001, according to data compiled by the United Nations as well as interviews with numerous local officials in areas under threat, according to the New York Times.

In addition, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan over the past two weeks has evacuated four of its 13 provincial offices around the country — the most it has ever done for security reasons — according to local officials in the affected areas.

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The Pentagon will issue “condolence payments” to families of victims in the U.S. airstrike that destroyed a hospital and killed at least 22 people in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz last week, according to Military.com.

The compensation will be handled through the already existing Commanders' Emergency Response Program in Afghanistan, and if necessary additional authority will be sought from Congress, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.

“The Department of Defense believes it is important to address the consequences of the tragic incident,” Cook said. “One step the department can take is to make condolence payments to civilian noncombatants injured and the families of civilian noncombatants killed as a result of U.S. military operations.”

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Today marks the 240th birthday of the U.S. Navy.

The origins of the most powerful naval fighting force in history began humbly enough. On Oct. 13, 1775, the U.S. Navy entered the world when the Continental Congress authorized the arming of two sailing vessels with 80 men and 10 carriage guns to intercept British supply and munitions transports. The Declaration of Independence came nine months later, followed by the creation of the Department of the Navy in 1798.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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