Air Force

All Systems Go!

Despite what Mark Thompson thinks, I am no flying monkey. Like most things in my life I am associating tomorrow’s impending lift of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to something pilot-related. Right now I’m running the starting-engines checklist and making sure my systems are all good before liftoff. The day after my debut flight in the …

D’oh! This Is Not Rocket Science

Tough times call for tough measures. The U.S. has maintained what the Air Force has dubbed a Continuous Bomber Presence on Guam in the Pacific since 2004 (Hello China! Good morning, North Korea!). Every time a B-52 bomber unit rotates in for its six-month tour it would bring along its B-52 Stratofortress mobility readiness spares

Post-“Don’t Ask” Stress, v. 2.0

Recently I caught wind of an independent study being conducted by the University of Maryland Baltimore County about the effects of DADT on the mental health of those who have been directly affected by the policy. After contacting the man responsible for the project directly, I was able to learn a thing or two about this ground-breaking …

The Human Toll Taken by a Decade of War

Just how worn out are our troops because of non-stop combat since 9/11? To what degree has that contributed to problems like PTSD, family breakups and suicide in the ranks? This week, on Command Post, we discuss the tenacity of U.S. troops, as well as the cracks that can appear after a decade of fighting. Margaret Harrell, a

“How Did the U.S. Military Retool Itself Post-9/11?”

In the decade after 9/11, just how much did the U.S. military have to recalibrate to fight the wars it found itself launching in Afghanistan and, 18 months later, in Iraq? This week, on Command Post, we discuss the retooling of the American armed forces with Eric Schmitt of the New York Times — co-author of Counterstrike: The Untold

A Decade of War

The past decade has generated a wealth of stories for anyone lucky enough to be covering national security since 9/11. It’s sort of the third chapter in my career. My first, which ran from 1979 to 1991, involved the Cold War and the possibility of superpower conflict with the Soviet Union. When it collapsed, I wondered what we’d …

Right Where We’ve Always Wanted Us

Philip Stephens of the Financial Times recently pens a rather pessimistic piece on what Libya said about “Britain’s pretensions of influence.” Noting that the “campaign has stretched the armed forces to their limit,” he calls it a “last hurrah.” Now, the underlying tone of the piece is his criticism of PM David Cameron’s desire to …

Kind of Makes You Wonder What It Takes to Win the Highest Award

The Air Force brass has nominated Staff Sergeant Robert Gutierrez for the Air Force Cross, its second-highest award for bravery. He was the lone Air Force targeteer assigned to an Army special-forces team in Afghanistan nearly two years ago. The unit’s night-time missi0n: capture a top Taliban leader in the western part of the …

Taking Stock: The U.S. Military a Decade After 9/11

The 10th anniversary of 9/11 closes in on us this week. Try as you might, you will not be able to avoid it. Amid the pathos and bathos, it’s time to take a knee and conduct a map check.

Just to cut to the chase: you can’t argue with success, and on 9/12 most Americans were petrified a second wave of attacks was likely. It hasn’t …

Happy History Lesson

OK — on Wednesday we posted some thoughts from an Air Force planner working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff about how to avoid the mistakes we made in Iraq when/if we invade Iran. Friday’s Iranian post is more optimistic. It’s an assessment of the Iranian nuclear threat from Cheryl M. Graham, a lecturer in international relations and …

“Hop Gun”

Proud Navy pilots around the world are grimacing at this picture of one of their prized, but wounded, F-18 warbirds hitching a recent ride. Air Force loadmasters packed the dewinged Super Hornet into the cavernous belly of their C-5 cargo plane for a nearly 8,000-mile hop from Kandahar, Afghanistan, to San Diego. The plane’s brakes …

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