Mark Thompson

Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Thompson has covered national security in Washington since 1979, and for Time since 1994. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkThompson_DC

Articles from Contributor

Battleland Battleland

Like It or Not, U.S. Troop Levels in Afghanistan Now In Play

The White House and Pentagon won’t admit it, but everybody else knows the size and scope of the continuing U.S. presence in Afghanistan is now subject to debate. That’s the result of a perfect storm of factors — the killing of Osama bin Laden, the weariness of the American public, and the continuing zaniness of Afghan President …

Battleland Battleland

Whew…Secret SEALs Can Win Secret Medals



Stars and Stripes’ Rumor Doctor(the U.S. military has just about as many rumors as it does secrets, and believe me — the rumors tend to be more interesting) Jeff Schogol was told that the military doesn’t award secret commendations. Does that mean the SEALs who took out Osama bin Laden — in addition to not being able to …

Battleland Battleland

The Outing of the SEALs Has SecDef Ticked Off



Remember when then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld got that question about “hillbilly armor” in 2004 from a soldier in Kuwait complaining about lousy protection for troops in the war in Iraq? And Rumsfeld’s timeless response: “As you know, you go to war with the Army you have.”

It turns out the question, from a member of …

Battleland Battleland

NATO’s New, Less U.S.-Centric, Way of Waging War

“So did you kill Gaddafi last night?”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen laughed generously at the temerity of the question. The former Danish prime minister — now chief of the most powerful military alliance in history — unspooled his political answer to an impolitic query. “Let me stress that we do not target …

Battleland Battleland

A Magazine For Military Spouses

We noted the other day that there is a growing split between the U.S. military and U.S. society. Here’s another example: there is now a magazine for military spouses called, believe it or not, Military Spouse. This tells us two things: military spousing has become almost a career-lifestyle thing, and advertisers believe military …

Battleland Battleland

Dear Diary: Which bin Laden Scares You Most?

The U.S. government can’t make up its mind when it comes to Osama bin Laden. Last Saturday, it held an unusual press conference where it released a snippet of video showing a feeble, aging terrorist staring at his flickering image on a small TV screen. On Wednesday, government officials were whispering about bin Laden’s bloody diary …

Battleland Battleland

Kiddie Boot Camp



The U.S. Army recently held a boot camp for soldiers’ kids, some still in kindergarten, at a German post. “It’s a little tough being a soldier,” a 10-year old said following his three-hour stint. “But it’s worth it.” The tykes were led by real soldiers, who enjoyed the experience, too. “The idea of bringing the kids out and doing a …

Battleland Battleland

Aye-Aye Captain: Reverse Course!

The Navy always seems to have troubles with sex and gender relations. Doesn’t matter if it’s the hetero- or homosexual, they just seem to flub it more than the other services. So it has happened once again: the sea service has just changed its mind on telling its chaplains they will be allowed to conduct same-sex marriages and civil …

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