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    (CNN)A group of Senate Democrats on the Armed Services Committee led by Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono wants Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to take immediate steps to ensure that military service members' access to abortion is protected no matter what state they are stationed in. In a new letter provided first to CNN, Democrats are requesting the Department of Defense outline a plan to guarantee that women seeking abortions in states where the procedure is severely restricted or no longer legal are given appropriate time off to travel out of state, guaranteed privacy protections and assured they will not be retaliated against for their decision. "Entrusted to your care are hundreds of thousands of troops, dependents, and Department of Defense civilians who have lost access to safe abortions and now face threats of criminal prosecution for seeking out those services. As the leader of our military services, it falls on you to preserve the health and welfare of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Guardians," the Democratic senators wrote. Signers of the letter include Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut,...
    People participate in a special Memorial Day naturalization ceremony at a government immigration office in Manhattan on June 1, 2022 in New York City. The Biden administration has said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must “consider” U.S. military service when looking at whether or not it will detain someone. It is simply reprehensible that someone who put their life at risk in service of their country could then be deported by it, so this policy represents a major step forward. “This shouldn't be news, but in a post-Trumpian world, an effort to not deport veterans is news,” tweeted America’s Voice communications director Douglas Rivlin.  RELATED STORY: ICE has no idea exactly how many veterans it has deported, watchdog report finds The Biden administration said that the policy, announced this week, “will provide agency-wide guidance to ensure service in the U.S. military by a noncitizen or their immediate family members is taken into consideration when deciding whether to take civil immigration enforcement actions against them and what enforcement action to take, if any.” The new policy officially formalizes the practice of recognizing “U.S. military service as...
    A South Korean government minister has suggested that laws could be changed to allow K-pop superstars BTS to avoid compulsory military service. All able-bodied Korean men between the ages of 18 and 28 must enlist for roughly two years of military service under the present Military Service Act. However pop stars like BTS could be reclassified as 'art personnel' and thereby avoid serving, according to Variety. Loophole: A South Korean government minister has suggested that laws could be changed to allow K-pop superstars BTS (pictured in May 2019) to avoid compulsory military service 'It's time to create a system for incorporating popular culture-art figures as art personnel,' announced Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Hwang Hee this week at a press briefing, according to reports by the Yonhap news agency. He said he aims to push a new law through parliament that would allow pop stars like BTS to serve their country outside the military. RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Justin Bieber holds hands with wife Hailey at Sushi Park in... 'I'll remember it for...
    A federal judge has blocked the firing of 35 members of the US Navy who refused to comply with the military's COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds, as the military branches began axing non-compliant soldiers and officers. On Monday, US District Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction saying there is 'no COVID-19 exception to the First Amendment' and that the pandemic doesn't give the government the license to 'abrogate those freedoms.' The troops sued the Department of Defense - along with President Joe Biden and top military officials - in November.  They argued that getting injected with vaccines developed 'with aborted fetal cell lines would force them to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by causing them to participate in the abortion enterprise,' according to the lawsuit. O'Connor, 56, a Republican, was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007.   Pentagon spokesman Charlie Dietz told DailyMail.com that they are 'studying the decision.' A judge has blocked the firing of 35 members of the Navy, including Navy SEALs, who did not want to get...
    DENVER (CBS4) — A group of Colorado veterans is working hard to make things easier on other veterans. The vets and volunteers offer free rides from the airport for all active military service members and retired veterans. (credit: CBS) It’s a Christmas tradition that started six years ago by Wes Love. He was a local veteran who passed away earlier this year. For one military couple coming back to Denver from a trip home for the holidays, it meant a lot to see veterans watching out for one another, especially for some who didn’t get the same treatment when they came home. “All these guys they didn’t get the benefits like what we have. They didn’t get their military discounts, they didn’t get free rides like we did. So their era — they saw how bad it was for them and they don’t want us to live like that,” said Jacob Doogan, Army National Guard Servicemember. (credit: CBS) “We are very grateful for it. I know it’s not something that’s expected, but for veterans to help other veterans and those...
    Shields of Strength, a small, family-owned, faith-based company, is suing the Pentagon after it blocked it from continuing to produce replica dog tags with Bible verses on them. First Liberty Institute, on behalf of the company, filed a lawsuit against the Pentagon on December 17, asking a federal court to review and reverse decisions that forbid the company to print inspirational Bible versus on replica dog tags. Mike Berry, general counsel for First Liberty, said in a statement, “It’s a cruel insult to our service members to deny them a source of inspiration, hope, and encouragement simply because it contains a religious message.” “DOD officials caved to the empty threats of those who make their living by being offended. There’s no legal reason for the military to discriminate against Shields of Strength,” he said. Shields of Strength has been making dog tag replicas with Bible verses for the past 20 years, including for military units at the request of commanders. According to Berry, now-Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had requested them once for his unit. Berry said after the military branches in...
    Washington (CNN)An hour after a suicide bomb exploded outside the Kabul airport on August 26, killing 13 US service members and scores of Afghan civilians, Fahim Masoud, a US military intelligence officer, made a frantic call to his sister. She, along with Masoud's parents and two other siblings, were in a CIA-organized bus navigating the crushing crowds and constant gunfire around the airport, desperately trying to escape Afghanistan. Masoud, a Second Lieutenant in the Illinois National Guard, had just seen classified information suggesting another attack might be imminent. From his home in Virginia, he told his sister to hand the phone to the bus driver. "I can't tell you where I'm getting this information," he told the driver. "But you need to get out of there." For weeks, Masoud, a native Afghan who became a US citizen in 2015, had been working furiously to get his family out of Afghanistan. He'd rented a safehouse for them to hide out in and cold-called senior US military officials asking for help. Now, even in a bus sent by the CIA to help...
    EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The Air Force Academy is vaccinating cadets to make sure the academy is in line with new guidance from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The renewed push to get cadets vaccinated began on Monday. (credit: CBS) The Secretary of Defense issued the mandate requiring the The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images) vaccine for service members now that it has FDA approval. The Department of Defense currently requires at least nine vaccines for people entering military service. Some military members get up to 17 vaccines, depending on their roles and duty locations.
    The American Civil Liberties Union is accusing the Department of Defense of failing to end unlawful minimum service requirements instituted under former President Donald Trump that ended the expedited path to citizenship for foreign-born members of the military. In 2017, Trump eliminated the policy granting expedited citizenship to noncitizens serving in the military. Under the Trump-era guidelines, which have continued under President Joe Biden, service members are required to serve at least six months before being eligible for the military service-based path to citizenship. The ACLU cited a previous court decision that found these minimum service requirements to be unlawful and is accusing the Department of Defense of noncompliance. DOD TO HOUSE UP TO 30,000 AFGHAN REFUGEES ON US MILITARY BASES "Our clients are deeply dismayed that the Pentagon continues to block military service members’ path to citizenship in direct defiance of the court’s order and in violation of federal law," Scarlet Kim, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said in a Wednesday statement . "We've repeatedly presented the Pentagon with evidence of...
    U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday he would work with Congress to shift prosecution of sexual assaults away from military commanders.  In a statement expressing support for recommendations made by an independent review commission, Austin said he also backs changing the prosecution process for related crimes such as domestic violence.  “I support this as well, given the strong correlation between these sorts of crimes and the prevalence of sexual assault,” Austin said.  The Pentagon leader is due to appear Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee for a hearing on the department’s budget.  Sexual assault in the U.S. military has long been a target for reform, including by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand who has put forth legislation that would put independent prosecutors in charge of handling sexual assault cases as well as other major crimes.  A 2018 Pentagon survey estimated that more than 20,000 U.S. service members experienced sexual assault that year. Reports of Sexual Assault in the US Military Spike The Pentagon says reports of military sexual assaults jumped by 13% last year, but an anonymous survey of...
    At least two national groups representing service members support the bill. While several states considering bills attacking transgender youth's access to hormone treatments and puberty blockers this year, it remained unclear how the federal government would handle this issue for military families. Now, members of Congress have decided to step in and offer a solution. On Tuesday, House Democrats introduced H.R. 3672, which ensures that service members' children will have access to the health care they need. In April, the executive director of the Modern Military Association, Jennifer Dane, told the American Independent Foundation that she was concerned about how state anti-trans bills targeting this health care would affect service members with transgender kids who are eligible for enrollment in what is known as the Exceptional Family Member Program. This program allows military kids who need specialized care of some kind to receive the health care they need, including for transgender youth. But a problem remained that there weren't clear protections and guidance for them in the program should state...
    Jill Biden thanked military spouses for their service and outlined her priorities for her Joining Forces initiative during a visit to Fort Carson on Thursday.  The first lady made her remarks ahead of Military Spouse Appreciation Day on Friday at the base near Colorado Springs as she wraps up a two-day West Coast tour that included stops at schools and a vaccination clinic.  'There's a saying, if you want to get something done, ask a busy person to do it. But after getting to know so many of you during the last, I don't know if so many, many years, I think we should change that saying to if you want to get something done, ask a military spouse,' said Biden, who is the daughter of a serviceman and whose son served in uniform.  The first lady, dressed purple skirt and blazer with a white blouse, addressed spouses at a USO event at the army post and stayed to speak with them after her remarks.  She praised them for the variety of tasks they handle so their spouse can serve in the...
    Space Force, the U.S. government's outer-space military branch, took a victory lap this week. On Thursday, members of the Air Force gaming team presented Space Force Chief Security Officer Jay Raymond and Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman with the winner's trophy from the 2020 Call of Duty Endowment (CODE) Bowl. The December 11 tourney was the second ever held, but the first for the Armed Forces' newest branch. The tournament was also the first to go transatlantic, pitting teams from Space Force, Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps against the United Kingdom's Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and Royal Marines. The event raised over $900,000, more than double the inaugural 2019 event, with proceeds benefiting Call of Duty Endowment, a nonprofit that helps veterans and troops transitioning out of the service find employment. Scroll down for video A members of the Air Force gaming team presents Space Force Chief Security Officer Jay Raymond (center) and Chief Master Sergeant Roger Towberman with the winner's trophy from the 2020 Call of Duty Endowment (CODE) Bowl 'Space Force isn't even a...
    As Americans honor the sacrifices of those who served the country on Veteran’s Day, a retired Army chaplain is helping lead the effort to reach military service members through Scripture amid the struggles and mental health challenges that many veterans face. Gordon Groseclose served as an army chaplain for more than three decades, exposing service members to Scripture that he says can assure soldiers they “are in the image of God” and have immense purpose, even while experiencing bouts of loneliness or suffering. SHA-WALI-KOT, AFGHANISTAN – MARCH 05: U.S. Army chaplain Carl Subler celebrates a Catholic Mass for soldiers on March 5, 2010 at a small American combat outpost in Sha-Wali-Kot in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) The American Bible Society (ABS), which Groseclose works with through the Armed Services Ministry, is trying to engage 500,000 military members and veterans with the Bible as part of the Military Bible Challenge Operation 500 throughout 2021. ABS provided Scripture resources and Bibles to service members “in a language that they understand,” Groseclose told the Daily Caller. “It’s...
    Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden recently overstated by massive proportions the number of U.S. military service members who have died as a result of the coronavirus. Speaking at a campaign rally Wednesday in Warren, Michigan, Biden said, "Military COVID infected: 118,984. Military COVID deaths: 6,114. Folks, every one of these lives mattered." But according to the Department of Defense's website, as of Wednesday, the number of service men and women who have died from the virus was seven — meaning the former vice president was off by 6,107. Biden also inflated the number of military infections by a whopping 79,000. His statement was so wildly inaccurate that even CNN had to fact-check the number:This is wrong — and not just by a little. Biden overstated the number of military Covid deaths by 6,107 and infections by nearly 79,000. There have been seven deaths in the military due to Covid-19 and 40,026 cases as of September 9, according to the Defense Department.Before making the statement, Biden told the audience that he carries a schedule with him that shows updated...
    A new report from the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on Thursday night revealed new and galling details about President Donald Trump’s stunning level of contempt for members of the military — particularly those who have died or been injured in battle. While there’s plenty of reason to be critical of the military and even those who serve in it, the comments reported in the Atlantic are remarkable and revealing about Trump’s lack of character for several reasons. First, while Trump wraps himself in patriotism and militarism for electoral purposes, it’s a sham; he has little understanding or respect for the military’s values or its people. Second, it shows Trump’s fundamental indecency. The incidents described show little concern or thought for the people and lives involved, including people close to him. And third, the reporting shows Trump has a dark and shallow view of the world, one in which self-interest rules all, and he believes there’s no reason to sacrifice oneself for greater values. It’s a frightening perspective for a political leader to hold. Here are seven of the most notable details...
    U.S. military service member. The Trump administration’s despicable attempt to block immigrant U.S. military service members from an expedited path to citizenship was handed a well-deserved court defeat this week thanks to a class-action lawsuit launched by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and two affiliates on behalf of eight noncitizen U.S. military service members, including a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient.  “As a result of the Trump administration policy, non-citizen service members have been denied the rights and privileges that accompany citizenship, including the right to vote, the right to sponsor non-citizen family members, and the right to travel with a passport,” the organization said in a statement. All unjustly denied by the federal government while they also served their country in uniform. “Through the Immigration and Nationality Act, Congress has for decades granted non-citizen service members the right to naturalize through an expedited process, waiving many of the typical requirements for citizenship,” the ACLU said. Since 9/11, over 100,000 immigrants have accessed this path to citizenship. But the administration in 2017 “introduced several onerous requirements that have effectively deprived service members of the...
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