Spice crackdown: Commanders get police powers for drug tests

Life just got tougher for soldiers who use spice, bath salts and other synthetic drugs.

Company commanders now have authority to order urine tests for these drugs, power once limited to law enforcement officials.

Army Secretary John McHugh approved the new policy, which allows company commanders to order a soldier to be tested to ensure he is fit for duty or if there is probable cause to do so, a determination a commander would make with his or her staff legal adviser.

Find out more in the latest Army Times, on sale now.

Your next pay raise: Lawmaker’s sweeten Obama’s offer

A House panel has rejected the Obama administration’s attempt to cap the 2014 military pay raise and to make military retirees pay more for lifetime medical care, deciding it wants to protect current and former service members from the pain of budget cuts.

The action taken May 22 by the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel panel is just the first round of a legislative fight over defense spending that won’t end before fall. But it puts the Defense Department and White House in the position of having to wage a tougher campaign if they want to cut costs on military pay and benefits in an era of budget belt-tightening.

Read all about it in the June 3 issue of Army Times.

Sergeant charged with filming female cadets at West Point

A sergeant first class on the staff of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., faces charges of allegedly filming numerous female cadets without their consent, sometimes when they were in the shower or bathroom, according to the Army.

The suspect, Sgt. 1st Class Michael McClendon, faces charges under four articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for indecent acts, dereliction in the performance of duty, cruelty and maltreatment, and actions prejudicial to good order and discipline. He faces 35 specifications in all.

Get the story in this week’s Army Times.

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