Metro-East News

Roger That: Border Patrol seeks to hire more vets, women

When it comes to hiring veterans, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a great track record: Of its 21,000 agents, 28.8 percent are prior military, according to Military Times.

CBP, however, has a lousy history of hiring women, who make up just 5 percent of the workforce.

It's the same story at the Federal Air Marshal Service: Just 5.5 percent of the workforce is women. In the 2011 round of hiring, only 850 of 19,000 applicants identified themselves as female.

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The Washington Post reports President Obama’s most senior national security advisers have recommended measures that would move U.S. troops closer to the front lines in Iraq and Syria, officials said, a sign of mounting White House dissatisfaction with progress against the Islamic State and a renewed Pentagon push to expand military involvement in long-running conflicts overseas.

The debate over the proposed steps, which would for the first time position a limited number of Special Operations forces on the ground in Syria and put U.S. advisers closer to the firefights in Iraq, comes as Defense Secretary Ashton Carter presses the military to deliver new options for greater military involvement in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

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The U.S. Navy plans to deploy a squadron of underwater drones within the next four years, including the Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle, or LDUUV, a 10-foot, highly autonomous, and very, very yellow subdrone, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Tuesday, according to DefenseOne.

It’s not yet clear just what missions will be performed by the LDUUV, which resembles a giant robot canary fish crossed with a sausage. Some Navy watchers expect it to boost attack submarines’ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, but officials with the Office of Naval Research pushed back against such speculation.

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The Pentagon plans to send tiny spy planes originally purchased for Yemen to Jordan, according to official contract documents. In the face of threats from Islamic State and other militants, Jordanian forces “urgently” need the aircraft, the War Is Boring blog is reporting.

In June 2014, the U.S. Air Force approved plans to send four heavily modified AT-802 crop-dusters to Yemen. The 645th Aeronautical Systems Group – often referred to by its nickname Big Safari – and defense contractor L-3 Communications planned to fit powerful cameras and other gear onto the planes, turning them into aerial spies. The deal also included spare part and a training program for Yemeni crews.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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