Army

When the Pentagon said earlier this year that it would open ground combat jobs to women, it was cast in terms of giving women equal opportunities in the workplace — the military workplace.

But the move has practical considerations, too. The military needs qualified people to fill its ranks, and it's increasingly harder to find them among men.

Myla Haider took a roundabout route to becoming an agent in the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, or CID. Wars kept interrupting her training.

"My commander wanted to take me to Iraq as the intelligence analyst for the battalion, so I gave up my seat in CID school," Haider says.

She speaks in a steady, "just the facts ma'am" tone. Once a cop always a cop, the 37-year-old says.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has decided to lift a ban that prohibited women from serving in combat, a congressional source tells NPR's Tom Bowman. The move opens up thousands of front-line positions.

Panetta is expected to announce the decision along with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday.

Citing "senior defense officials," the AP adds:

The number of suicide deaths in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year — more than the 295 Americans who died fighting in Afghanistan in 2012. The numbers were first reported by the AP; NPR has confirmed them.

Feb. 19, 2013: See our note below about Gen. John Allen.

The resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, the retired four-star general who stepped down late Friday citing an extramarital affair, brings to an end one of the most storied careers in modern U.S. military history.

Petraeus left the Army in August 2011 after nearly four decades in uniform. Before his retirement ceremony had even begun, he walked up on the empty stage, went over to the podium and tapped on the microphone. The general was doing his own mic check.

The director of the Central Intelligence Agency David Petraeus submitted his resignation today, citing an extramarital affair.

"After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair," Petraeus, 60, said in a message sent to CIA staff. "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation."

Joy Diaz, KUT News.

The small home on Rundberg Lane where Juan Pantoja Navarro grew up smells of flowers. Red roses, purple azaleas and yellow daisies are piled on the floor of the front room alongside some candles and a Bible. On the wall above, a collage of pictures highlights cherished moments in the life of this 23 year-old soldier.

Sgt. Navarro was killed by an explosive device July 7 in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Family and well-wishers crowd the tiny room as a near-constant stream of well-wishers flows into the house. Sgt. Navarro was the second youngest of 11 children. His parents immigrated to Austin from Mexico. He was one of just three in the family born in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Midland County Sheriff's Office

A Green Beret trained in demolitions is scheduled to appear in a federal court in Midland today to face charges that he tried to smuggle more than two pounds of C-4 explosives onto a plane on New Year’s Eve.

According to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, Trey Scott Atwater told an FBI agent that his Special Forces Team was required to carry at least two blocks of C-4 on any operation.

Atwater said when he left Afghanistan, he forgot he left the C-4 in his bag. Then when he was packing for the holidays, he just grabbed the bag from his garage to use for his carry-on luggage.

Soldiers in Afghanistan
Image courtesy the U.S. Army

The Department of Defense released suicide data for October on Friday, reporting 25 potential suicides. That brings the total number of suicides so far this year to 172, meaning we've already surpassed the overall total for 2009, according to the National Journal.