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

Boeing Lands Air Force Tanker Deal…For Now









The never-ending saga of the Pentagon’s new aerial KC-X tanker came to a halt, at least temporarily, late Thursday as the Defense Department finally announced it would award the $35 billion prize to the Boeing Co. The Defense Department has been trying to buy a new flying gas station for so long, the top Air …

Battleland Battleland

Gen. Misconduct?

We’re wrapping up one war, waist-deep in another, overpaying for our national security, inflating the Chinese threat – and Pentagon reporters are consumed trying to figure out if the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was too friendly with a young female aide? The Pentagon’s inspector general found Marine Gen. James …

Battleland Battleland

McChrystal Ball-Gazing

Reading the assessment of the challenges facing the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan just penned by Stan McChrystal – the Army general and Afghan commander fired by President Obama last June for speaking out of school to a reporter for Rolling Stone – makes you realize just how keenly he views the foe:

While a deeply flawed

Battleland Battleland

Tending to War's Hidden Wounds

President Obama is visiting Bethesda Naval Hospital Wednesday afternoon, and that’ll get some coverage in Thursday’s papers. But today, on page 1 of the Metro section of the Washington Post, is the kind of story that too often goes untold. It’s a simple article about how nine women — who have spent months caring for their husbands at …

Battleland Battleland

The New Pirate-Terror Link

After yesterday’s horror in the Indian Ocean — where Somali pirates killed four Americans after seizing their yacht four days earlier — it’s hard to imagine something worse. Alas, there may be something worse. At least some of these pirates have allied themselves with the Somali-based Al Shabaab rebels, a group that professes loyalty …

Battleland Battleland

Pirates Kill 4 Americans, U.S. Navy Says

The fate of the four Americans held by pirates on their yacht off Somalia ended in tragedy today as all four perished at the hands of their captors, Navy officials say. “This did not end the way we wanted it to,” says a Navy official. “After we’d be talking to the pirates for four days we were hoping for a better ending.”

Vice Adm. …

Battleland Battleland

Stockpile Follies

History is a video, but policy-makers and academics too often see it as a snapshot. The latest example involves all the heavy breathing due to China’s supposed choke hold on so-called rare-earth elements like cerium, lanthanum and, neodymium vital to 21st Century technologies.

A report released Friday warns that U.S. leadership in …

Battleland Battleland

Rep. Chicken Little (R-Ariz.)

Amid the real wars, the real lagging economy, the real budget crunch and the real turmoil in the Middle East, it’s great some lawmakers have time to go all Buck Rogers on us:

The threat of an electromagnetic pulse weapon represents the single greatest asymmetric capability that could fall into the hands of America’s enemies. Should a

Battleland Battleland

Getting to "Zero Threat"

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has wrapped up two days of testifying before armed services committee — perhaps his final appearance before both panels — and the House gave him a nice going-away present: it voted to kill the $3 billion second-engine line for the F-35 fighter. As the debate over the power plant showed, defense-budget …

Battleland Battleland

Vital Women's Work in Afghanistan

So much of what’s being done by U.S. troops in Afghanistan isn’t bullets and bombs. Here’s a fascinating peek at one of the most important of those so-called “non-kinetic” endeavors — the deployment of female Marines to help and befriend Afghan women. Because Afghan society frowns upon their women talking to men outside their …

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