Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Flickr Photo/The U.S. Army

The Army says Joint Base Lewis-McChord's 4th Stryker Brigade will be one of 10 combat teams deactivated nationwide. The move is just one part of the Army’s plan to reduce its forces as the war in Afghanistan winds down.

The brigade has about 4,000 soldiers. Nearly 350 of them returned home Sunday after a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan. Overall, the Army plans to reduce the force by 80,000 soldiers by 2017.

A case that featured harrowing testimony of combat-related mental illness ended Monday with a guilty verdict. Army Sergeant John Russell was convicted for murdering five fellow servicemen at a military mental health clinic in Baghdad in 2009.

A military judge found the 48-year-old Texas native guilty of premeditated murder. A public affairs spokesman at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma says Sergeant Russell showed no visible reaction.

The Pentagon's intelligence arm has "moderate confidence" that North Korea may have developed the technology to create nuclear weapons that are small enough to fit on a long-range missile.

NPR's Larry Abramson filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"The Defense Intelligence Agency assessment says such a weapon would probably not be very reliable. This is the first time the U.S. has concluded that Pyongyang's nuclear efforts have reached this point.

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Last week the Department of Defense delayed anticipated furlough notices for civilian employees. The DOD said the two-week delay would allow it to analyze the impact of the federal budget sequester on its workforce.

But not everyone got a reprieve.

Photo courtesy Stephanie Silsby

Love is a popular theme today and for retailers, it's a cash cow of hearts and roses. But relationships that endure take work. For the Silsby family of Lacey the secret is weathering change.

Patricia Murphy

The Army says it won’t release the investigation into how Madigan Army Medical Center handled some soldiers' diagnoses for post-traumatic stress disorder. The denial comes one week after the Secretary of the Army visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Tacoma, to announce the completion of an Army-wide review on the same subject.

High Desert Warrior

Attorneys for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales say they’re unsure if they’ll pursue a mental health defense in the case. 

But if they do, the judge has ordered that the soldier must undergo a so-called sanity board review.

Bales is accused of murdering 16 Afghan civilians and wounding six others in an overnight rampage last March.

The U.S. Army announced Wednesday that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will face a general court-martial on 16 counts of premeditated murder and other charges. If convicted, the maximum penalty is death. The decision follows a pretrial hearing last month.

An attorney for  Bales says she's "disappointed" by the Army's decision to seek the death penalty against the Washington-based soldier accused of massacring Afghan villagers in March.

Photo courtesy of I Corps

This month Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta laid out plans for the future of the US military. And as troops return from Afghanistan, that strategy includes shifting security operations to the Pacific Rim. Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) will play a major role in that plan.

Updated: Tuesday, November 12, 1:00 p.m.

Witnesses and survivors recounted a horrific scene following a massacre at two villages in Kandahar Province March 11 that killed 16 civilians and wounded six. They testified via a live video link from Afghanistan during a pretrial hearing for Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.

Pre-trial hearings continue this evening at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. He’s accused of massacring 16 civilians in Afghanistan, including nine children. Prosecutors say he left his base last March and went on an overnight five-hour killing spree.

The hearings will determine whether the case will advance to court-martial, where the government has said it plans to seek the death penalty. KUOW’s Sara Lerner spoke with Patricia Murphy, who’s covering the hearings.

Pretrial hearings for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales continue tonight when Afghan villagers and soldiers are expected to testify by video. The hearings are expected to run into the early morning hours US time.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Army prosecutors say Staff Sgt. Robert Bales murdered 16 Afghan civilians in two villages this past March in an act of “sheer brutality.” That was the opening argument at a pretrial hearing Monday to determine if Bales will face a full court martial and possibly the death penalty.

Sgt. Bales Pretrial Hearing Set To Begin Monday

Nov 5, 2012

A pretrial hearing is scheduled to begin Monday morning for the Washington soldier charged with massacring 16 Afghan civilians in March. Army prosecutors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will make the case that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales should face a full court martial.

Sgt. Bales is a 39-year-old married father of two. He’s accused of entering two Afghan villages on the night of March 11 and murdering nine children, three women and four men –- then burning some of the bodies. Bales was on his fourth combat deployment at the time of killings.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Five Washington-based soldiers with Traumatic Brain Injuries have received the Purple Heart. They were honored Monday at a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. In 2011, the Army issued new standards for awarding Purple Hearts to soldiers with brain injuries.

Hundreds of soldiers stand in formation in the rain.

They are members of the a battalion whose job is to clear routes of buried and hidden bombs. These soldiers returned from Afghanistan in July.