Lots of stuff took place this week, from the continued rise of the unmanned systems industry to the Army's late-week news about the Ground Combat Vehicle. Here are just a few of the stories we couldn't get to while it was all going on:
• Stars & Stripes' Kevin Baron reports that Secretary Panetta says the Iraqis have already agreed to let some U.S. noncombat forces stay past the end of the year, and both sides are negotiating those details right now.
• There are rumblings that Libyan strongman Moammar Qaddafi might be fleeing his country, given the increased pressure the rebel alliance continues to put on him and his capital.
• The Navy started fabrication on Thursday of its fifth littoral combat ship, the future USS Milwaukee, up in Marinette, Wisc. Program executive officer Rear Adm. Jim Murdoch says he believes the service has a very good shot at finishing the ship on time, on cost.
• If you needed to drive to or from the Pentagon on Friday or Saturday morning -- sorry 'bout cha.
• Here's the lede of an official Air Force story that deserved to be called to your attention; whether you click the link is up to you: "Look out, Richard Dean Anderson. There's a new MacGyver in town." Read on.
• The Coast Guard's third national security cutter, the Stratton, did a great job this week on sea trials, the service announced. Coast Guard officials' pride and the business-as-normal nature of this story are examples of why it's so important, from the services' perspective, to start acquisitions programs. They may run over budget, get behind schedule, embarrass you in the press or up on the Hill -- all of which has happened to with the national security cutters. But once you get over that first hump and get the program rolling, it drops out of sight -- and in this case, you get a steady stream of brand-new boats.