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

Different Islands, Different Dangers

Japan is an island nation. Bahrain is an island nation. Japan is home to major U.S. military facilities. Bahrain is home to major U.S. military facilities. Japan has been wracked by an earthquake and tsunami that has captured the world’s attention since it happened last Friday. Bahrain has been wracked by growing unrest as its Shiite …

Battleland Battleland

For Every Parent…

…who has struggled to help a wayward child, this story from the independent Air Force Times newspaper — about an Air Force general who bent the rules for his son — is heartbreaking for the family, but largely heartwarming for the rest of us. Too often, such abuses of power go uncorrected in the military. It’s worth pointing out when …

Battleland Battleland

Pentagon Poster Child For Waste, Fraud and Abuse

The Pentagon, as you may have heard, has a line item in its budget called “waste, fraud and abuse.” OK. Not really. But it should have. It’s all the powers-that-be talk about when it comes to cutting defense, as if eliminating this trio of lard, larceny and laziness would let us cut the nation’s $1 trillion defense budget — when you …

Battleland Battleland

General Petraeus Takes the Hill

Army Gen. Dave Petraeus returns to Washington to testify before Congress on Tuesday for the first time since he took command of the Afghan war nearly a year ago. He actually stepped down as head of U.S. Central Command to take the job, after having successfully engineered the “surge” and the Sunni “awakening” in Iraq that calmed that …

Battleland Battleland

Too Late For a Libyan No-Fly Zone?

Many of war’s most important combat elements — like time and momentum — don’t show up in order-of-battle calculations. That’s why the international dithering over launching a no-fly zone over Libya is now all but OBE — overcome by events — even as France and the Arab League call for one. The U.N. began discussing the topic in …

Battleland Battleland

USS Ronald Reagan Dodges Japanese Fallout

More than 65 years ago, Japanese fled U.S. nuclear radiation in the wake of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On Sunday, U.S. warships aiding Japan following Friday’s horrific earthquake fled radiation leaking from a damaged Japanese nuclear power plant.

Ships from the U.S. 7th Fleet have sailed away from the …

Battleland Battleland

Plotting Attacks on Libya's Air-Defense Network











As the U.S. and NATO dawdle, responsibly, over the prospect of launching a no-fly zone over Libya, Pentagon planners are warily eying Muammar Gaddafi’s air defenses ringing Tripoli and other major coastal sites. They head into heavily-secured war rooms to look at hyper-close, highly-classified satellite …

Battleland Battleland

Accountability: Missing In Action

The U.S. Army has concluded that nine of its officers failed to derail the alleged Islamic fundamental madness that led Maj. Nidal Hasan to kill 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009. They are likely to face administrative, but not criminal, punishment.

“Although no single event directly led to the tragedy at Fort Hood, …

Battleland Battleland

Small Businesses, Star Wars-wise

Reading the daily list of Pentagon contracts is always interesting. Take today’s. The first item goes to our friends defending us against missile attack. Check this out: the Missile Defense Agency just awarded “five indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts for advisory and assistance services to five small businesses: COLSA …

Battleland Battleland

Relatively Good News From Pakistan

Hard to believe, but our friends over at the Danger Room blog draw our attention to this interesting item: a Pakistani general who says the CIA’s Predator drone strikes raining down on his country for the past several years are doing some good. “It’s a reality that many of those being killed in these strikes are hardcore elements, a …

Battleland Battleland

Basic, Preferred or Supreme No-Fly Zone?

On Wednesday we noted how in some Pentagon quarters, advocates of putting a no-fly zone over Libya see opponents of such a zone cravenly motivated by their desire to preserve budgets for Army and Marine ground-pounders. The next chapter in this epic involves price, and today there’s a report out on how much a no-fly zone would cost, …

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