Battleland

Combat Contracting 101



War-zone contracting is a complicated business, because the pressures of combat drive people – not to mention governments – to do things they might not otherwise do. Besides which, it’s boring to wade through all the fine print.

Case in point: a contract to train 80 Afghan wanna-be pilots in both flying and English. Raytheon …

Over 700,000 New Vets Seek Health Care, Half with Mental Problems

Nearly three-quarters of a million veterans back from Iraq and Afghanistan who are now out of the military have sought medical care from the government, and more than half of those service members suffer from a mental health condition, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

These are among the stunning numbers in a new report …

Best Military Obits of the Weekend

Journalists tend to disparage obituaries because many of them had to churn them out as young reporters. But few forms of writing are so rewarding. After all, unlike many stories, obits have a beginning, middle and an end. They trace the arc of the subject’s life, and try to put it into some kind of frame and perspective. It was a great …

Don’t Hold Your Breath, Iraqi Liberators

Over at Stars and Stripes, “Rumor Doctor” Jeff Schogol is wondering if the Baghdad government is ever going to get around to awarding U.S. troops medals for their role in ousting Saddam Hussein from power. After all, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia honored American troops with such decorations after they kicked Saddam out of Kuwait back in …

Time Out…

Away for a couple of weeks, but counting on my Battleland comrades to keep the site hopping. It’s only partly due to the Red Sox collapse.

Special Forces Navy

You won’t learn much from the most interesting contract announcement the Pentagon made Thursday (click on it to enlarge). It’s for as much as $400 million to “develop, test, produce, field, and sustain a modern, clandestine, agile, adaptive, technically relevant, reliable, and operationally capable combatant craft system in support …

Report Examines “Worst Case” Scenario for the U.S. Military

The debt ceiling deal passed this summer contains a sequestration “trigger.” If the Super Committee fails to agree on a plan to meet its deficit reduction targets–or if Congress fails to approve the plan, the legislation stipulates that huge amounts of discretionary spending funds will be automatically sequestered–i.e., taken off …

Pilots’ Days Are Numbered

On a day when a U.S. drone apparently sent Anwar al-Awlaki to his eternal reward, check out this Northrop Grumman video of the Navy’s X-47B UCAS — Unmanned Combat Air System. Sometime in the next year or two, these things are slated to start test flights off aircraft carriers. Somehow, a 21st Century Top Gun — with Tom Cruise …

The General Who Lost Vietnam

Even now, the easiest way to get into an argument at a V.F.W. bar is to mention Vietnam. Seared into all who fought it — and many who merely lived through it — that conflict remains a bitter stew of second-guessing and recriminations. Historian Lewis Sorley — author of 1999’s well-regarded A Better War: The Unexamined Victories

al Qaeda’s al-Awlaki Reportedly Killed in Yemen

The top English-speaking member of al Qaeda — New Mexican-born Anwar al-Awlaki — was killed Friday, the Yemen government announced, a death quickly confirmed by U.S. officials. It’s yet another key indication that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s recent claim that the defeat of al Qaeda is “within reach” may be getting …

A Real War on the Homefront

While we’ve been busy focused on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we’ve failed to pay heed to the war now underway along the U.S.-Mexican border. Frankly, it’s on the cusp of an invasion, says retired Army major general Robert Scales. He joined retired general Barry McCaffrey in authoring a report on this third front for the state …

The Labyrinth

William Swenson. It’s probably not a name many recognize, something that could change in the next few months.

Earlier this month, as the military prepped for Sergeant Dakota Meyer’s Medal of Honor ceremony, the Military Times published an article about the unrecognized valor of former Army Captain Swenson, who fought at the …

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