military

Terrance Boult / University of Colorado Colorado Springs

A Colorado university professor took thousands of photos of students and faculty without their knowledge as part of research to improve facial recognition software for the U.S. military.

Updated at 7:13 p.m. ET

The U.S. Army issued a tweet ahead of Memorial Day weekend with a question for service members and veterans: "How has serving impacted you?"

Among the thousands of responses: harrowing tales of trauma, depression and sexual assault.

In a thread, an Army tweet that preceded the question featured a video by Pfc. Nathan Spencer, a scout with the Army's First Infantry Division.

Wesley Fryer / Flickr Creative Commons

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — The U.S. Air Force Academy has removed its commandant of cadets amid an investigation, but officials didn't release any details.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Monday that Brig. Gen. Kristin Goodwin was relieved from her duties as head of military training at the school.

She was the first openly gay general at the academy.

The move came a month before Goodwin was to be transferred to another job at the Pentagon. It was unclear if she would still take that position.

Lt. Col. Bree "B" Fram left a doctor's office on April 2. Presenting that day as Bryan, the name given to them at birth, B should have been relieved.

"Overall, it's a good thing," said B. "It just didn't feel great to have to do it on someone else's timeline other than my own."

"It" was an official diagnosis of gender dysphoria. As a transgender member of the military, B had to secure the diagnosis by April 12 in order to continue serving openly.

Abigail Beckman / 91.5 KRCC

The Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy has a spectacular presence both up close and from a distance. Seventeen gleaming aluminum spires reflect the sun and the sky, shining panels of stained glass cast a purple glow on the tile floor. Sound fills the space, creating a soul-stirring acoustic experience.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, one of the largest retailers in the United States which serves millions of active-duty military members and their families, is clarifying a memo sent this week which recommended that stores stop displaying the news on their televisions.

The message, obtained by NPR, told managers, "News channels should not be shown on common area TVs due to their divisive political nature."

Ed Andrieski / Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A renovation of the Air Force Academy chapel has been canceled after funds were transferred to a Florida base.

Updated March 27 at 5 p.m. ET

The Department of Defense is shifting $1 billion from a military personnel account to build a 57-mile fence at the southern U.S. border, saying the funds were freed up after some service branches fell short of their recruiting goals.

U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said in a letter to President Trump that she plans to resign from her post effective in late May.

Wilson has been named as the sole finalist to be the next president of the University of Texas at El Paso, a position that the system's regents will vote on after a state-required waiting period of 21 days. She said she will resign after getting the job.

Pfc. Anthony Blankenship points to mold on the grout of his bathroom and a greenish mildew stain around the tiles next to the toilet.

"That's kind of a mold pattern growing underneath," he says. "Workers at times just put new grout over the mold. At times, contractors wouldn't show up at all for problems ranging from clogged plumbing to faulty ventilation ducts."

New security measures at the Department of Defense that limit the release of military records about U.S. troops deployed abroad could put the accuracy of the 2020 census "at risk," according to a newly released internal Census Bureau document.

Requiring only men to register for the draft is unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled.

The Military Selective Service Act states that men in the U.S. ages 18 through 25 must register in case the country needs a military draft. Women face no such requirement. On Friday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that a males-only draft violates the equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

Updated at 4:34 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is changing the number of American troops that will remain in Syria.

Approximately 400 troops will stay there, a senior administration official has told NPR. That's double the number announced Thursday night by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Updated at 5:32 p.m. ET

President Trump pushed forward Tuesday with his plan to launch a space force as a new branch of the military. But it would at first be under the umbrella of the Air Force, and it requires approval of Congress — which is far from certain.

This represents at least a temporary shift. Trump had stated that he wanted a space force that is "separate but equal" from the Air Force.

Congress is keeping watch and the military has introduced prevention programs. Yet sexual assaults at military service academies keep rising. The leaders of those academies got an earful when they testified before a House Armed Services subcommittee on Wednesday.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has ordered the majority of National Guard troops deployed at her state's Southern border to withdraw, condemning what she called a "charade of border fear-mongering" by President Trump, who has warned of an immigration emergency in the region.

"I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the Southern border," Lujan Grisham said, adding that the area has "some of the safest communities in the country."

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

An additional 3,750 troops will be sent to the Southern border to help install wire barriers and monitor crossings, officials said. The new deployment will bring the number of active-duty troops there to around 6,000.

In a tweet on Sunday, President Trump said that "STRONG Border Security" is necessary in the face of "Caravans marching through Mexico and toward our Country."

Navy veterans long denied VA benefits are declaring victory after a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The court sided with the plaintiff, a Vietnam vet with cancer who sued the Department of Veterans Affairs, demanding it recognize that his health conditions were caused by Agent Orange.

Updated Jan. 23 at 11 a.m. ET

The Supreme Court has reinstated President Trump's order placing restrictions on transgender persons enlisting and serving in the military by granting a stay of two lower court injunctions that had blocked the president's policy. The justices voted 5-4, reflecting the high court's conservative majority.

A decade-long fight ended at the Supreme Court this week, when justices refused to hear an appeal by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who say that toxic smoke from burn pits made them sick.

Uncle Sam may want Generation Z, but the feeling doesn't seem to be mutual.

That's the conclusion recruiters relayed to General Frank Muth, the head of Army Recruiting Command, last July when he spoke with them to figure out why the Army fell short of its recruiting goal by 6,500 people in the last fiscal year.

In an effort to ramp up recruitment, the Army this year is trying something different.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

More troops are expected to be deployed to the Southern border to construct or upgrade 160 miles of fencing and provide medical care to a steady stream of migrant families arriving from Central America, according to military sources.

The deployment and fence construction along the California and Arizona borders would be paid for by the Pentagon, from the Department of Defense's discretionary funding.

Defense Secretary James Mattis released a farewell message to all employees on Monday, in the waning hours of his job as Pentagon chief.

"I am confident that each of you remains undistracted from our sworn mission to support and defend the Constitution while protecting our way of life," he wrote.

He said that the Pentagon is at its best "when the times are most difficult," and told them to "keep the faith in our country and hold fast, alongside our allies, aligned against our foes."

U.S. military operations in space are back under a single unified command after President Trump ordered the Defense Department on Tuesday to revive the once-retired U.S. Space Command. Vice President Pence outlined the plan during a visit to Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

At a picturesque national cemetery inside a volcanic crater above Honolulu, crews with shovels and backhoes are digging up hundreds of long-nameless U.S. dead from the Korean War and turning them over to a nearby Pentagon lab for identification.

The massive disinterment project is giving hope to thousands of aging family members that they may finally know what happened to missing fathers, brothers, husbands, and uncles.

The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court on Friday to bypass lower courts and rule quickly on its ban of most transgender military members.

Now that the Democrats have won control of the House of Representatives, the question is this: Will there be more oversight of U.S. military operations?

One Capitol Hill aide told NPR that there likely will be greater focus by Democrats on the way ahead in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, where U.S. troops are on the ground, training local forces and going after terrorist enclaves.

Former Marine Lance Cpl. Josh Onan was in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006 when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb.

"I remember laying down in the truck," Onan said. "Waking up, there's dust, there's debris all over me, and there's an Iraqi colonel who's sitting in the truck with us, and he's just screaming, screaming. I don't understand what he's saying."

Onan suffered a head injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. During the next year, he was in and out of trouble with military officials, mainly for small infractions, which he chalks up to the medications he was taking.

The Air Force must expand its operational squadrons by some 25 percent in the coming years, officials say, to deal with the growing military might of China and Russia and to protect the homeland and continue to fight violent extremists.

"What we know now from analysis, what everyone in this room knows by experience," said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson at a military conference outside Washington on Monday, is that "the Air Force is too small for what the nation expects of us."

Your kid can grow up, even join the Army and go to war, and you'll still do dad things when he comes back. David Toombs would make his son lunch.

"I always made him extra, just in case he got hungry or he wanted a snack or he was running low on money. So I made his lunch like a typical dad," says Toombs.

Toombs worked right next to his son, John, at a steel die shop in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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