Battleland

Bravo Zulu, Admiral Mullen

Adm. Mike Mullen turns over the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs on Friday, and the nation is poorer for his departure. As a surface warfare officer, Mullen knew what it meant to take the helm. After years of service in the middle of the ocean — where Navy regulations stipulate that a captain’s responsibility is “absolute” and his …

Aussies Begin to Question U.S. Alliance

TOKYO – It was all smiles and bonhomie at the US-Australia defense meetings in San Francisco this month. But Down Under, there are growing calls for Australia to scale back its reliance on America in favor of – you guessed it – China.

“Australia can no longer assume that we can continue to exist in a world where we can …

Gitmo.com

The Pentagon has set up a new website for its military commissions being held at Guantanamo Bay. It promises “fairness, transparency, justice.”

Poor Man’s Predator

 

It used to be the only bad thing associated with model airplanes was sniffing glue. But as Wednesday’s arrest of a Massachusetts man on charges that he wanted to fly model airplanes crammed with explosives into the Capitol and Pentagon makes clear, they also can be used as weapons. Over at CNN’s Security Clearance blog, Paul …

Follow the Money 2.0

It was less than a week ago that we noted General Dynamics had landed a Pentagon contract to help tend to the bruised brains of troops suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury. We took note of it because we’ve seen big defense contractors increasingly move into the medical field in recent years. The latest evidence surfaced Tuesday, …

The Defense Dinosaurs

One of the reasons competition in the defense industry is so rare is that there are so few potential competitors left. Here’s a nifty chart (click to enlarge), from that Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments report on the defense industrial base, showing how dozens of companies have been gobbled up over the past couple of …

“Does the U.S. Always Need an Enemy?”

Wrapping up our discussion on China, we’re wondering if the U.S. has some innate compulsion to find a foe. If so, is it prudence or panic? We tackle the issue with Patrick Cronin, director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, and David Finkelstein, director of China studies at the …

No Idle Boast: A Soldier’s Tattoo Becomes Truth

Tattoos are as old as war. Lots of soldiers get them, with military motifs, girlfriend’s names, or various guns, skulls or dragons adorning their skin. Some get something less ornate. Private First Class Kyle Hockenberry had For those I love I will sacrifice stitched into his flesh. He had no idea how prescient he was.

$24,966,507

That’s how much the Air Force agreed to pay Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. of Herndon, Va., Tuesday, according to the Pentagon’s daily contract-awards list. The money will fund studies, including Emerging Leading-Edge Technological Advancement of Intelligence Surveillance Recon Capabilities Report, as well as Tactics, Techniques, and

Sticker Shock: Iraqi F-16s $165 Million Each

Think of it as a military-industrial complex two-fer — first we invade Iraq, eight years later we’re selling it F-16s. “Iraq has now made its first transfer payment for the purchase of 18 F-16 fighter aircraft,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday. “These aircraft are going to help provide air sovereignty for …

Dispatches from the Third Front: Part III — The Curveball

In January, I spent a month embedded with the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division in Kandahar. For four weeks, I went from outpost to outpost, and midway through that month, I heard from my old wingman that he too was in theater. Because I had to return to the U.S. to finish school, Travis Parker and I made plans for me to try and …

Figures Don’t Lie…But…

You may recall Tuesday’s post, which feature the above chart from GOP defense-budget analysts on Capitol Hill. Those cuts sure look huge, right? A mathematically-inclined reader points out that it’s not as bad as it looks. Check out the chart’s vertical axis, and note that the distance between zero dollars and $450 billion is the …

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