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US to delay withdrawal of 1,000 troops from Afghanistan

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has announced the US will delay the withdrawal of up to 1,000 troops from Afghanistan.

Speaking at a press conference in the Afghan capital Kabul, Hagel said:

US 'hasn't ruled anything in or out' on Syria air strikes

The US Defence Secretary has not ruled anything "in or out" when it comes to conducting air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, the Pentagon Press Secretary has said.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel speaking at a press conference yesterday. Credit: Olivier Douliery/ABACA USA/Empics Entertainment

Asked whether Chuck Hagel had not ruled out air strikes on Syria, Rear Admiral John Kirby said, "The Secretary didn't rule anything in or out. He said that all options remain available and they do."

"I'm not going to speculate about where that might take this ... and I think you can understand why we wouldn't do that," he added.


US Defence Secretary calls to thank Tim Howard

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has phoned goalkeeper Tim Howard to thank him for his heroics in last night's defeat against Belgium.

Chuck Hagel invited Tim Howard and his teammates to the Pentagon. Credit: Wiktor Dabkowski/DPA/Press Association Images

Everton's Howard broke the World Cup record for the number of saves in a match, repelling the Belgians a total of 16 times.

Tim Howard keeps out a shot from Belgium's Kevin Mirallas. Credit: P.Nuc/Gabriel Piko/Press Association Images

Mr Hagel invited Howard and his teammates to the Pentagon later this year and joked that with a bit more training the keeper "could someday become the real Secretary of Defense" .

US Defence Secretary orders aircraft carrier into Gulf

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered an aircraft carrier to move into the Gulf in case military action is required in Iraq.

The aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush will move into the Gulf. Credit: Reuters

The carrier USS George H.W. Bush will be accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the destroyer USS Truxtun.

Mr Hagel said the moving carrier will provide "additional flexibility" if military options are needed to deal with the crisis in order to "protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq".

The ships are expected to arrive in the Gulf later on Saturday.

Malaysia asks US for military undersea equipment

The Pentagon has said it was considering a request from Malaysia's defence minister to provide undersea surveillance equipment to help in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

It added the defence secretary Chuck Hagel would "assess the availability and utility of military undersea technology for such a task and provide him an update in the very near future."


US army to shrink to smallest size since before WWII

Chuck Hagel has said he wants to shrink the army to its smallest size since before the Second World War. Credit: Reuters

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has said he wants to shrink the army to its smallest size since before the Second World War.

Speaking at the Pentagon, Mr Hagel said forces must adjust to the reality of smaller budgets.

The active-duty army would shrink from its current 522,000 soldiers to between 440,000 and 450,000 while the Air Force's A-10 aircraft and spy plans could also be retired under the plans.

The cuts are expected to face opposition in Congress.

Defence Secretary getting 'regular updates' on shooting

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel is getting "regular updates" on the situation at the Washington Navy Yard, the Pentagon Press Secretary has said.

Diplomatic solution depends on 'real threat' of Syria strike

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has said that for a diplomatic solution in Syria to have any chance of succeeding, there is still a need for a "real threat" of US military action.

All of us are hopeful that this option might be a real solution to this crisis. Yet, we must be very clear-eyed and ensure that it's not a stalling tactic.

For this diplomatic option to have a chance of succeeding, the threat of a US

military action - the credible, real threat of US military action - must continue.

– chuck hagel, us defence secretary
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