The use of Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan by American forces now has an official blessing. US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice secured a formal agreement from Kyrgyz officials for open-ended use of the facility, capping the verbal arrangement Defense Secretary Rumsfeld brought home this summer. (DR, 09/07/05) Since the Rumsfeld visit Kyrgyzstan, the country has had a leadership change. In return for the use of Manas, the new Kyrgyz government has requested more money. According to the Washington Post, the US now pays around $50 million per year.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.