Battleland

Spoils of War, 21st Century-Style



A Predator drone killed three Taliban and a Pakistani soldier recently. Or rather three Taliban and a Pakistani soldier reportedly died fighting over the wreckage of a downed Predator. Kind of makes you glad there wasn’t a pilot aboard.

The Latest Marine Hymn

As Battleland comrade Chuck Spinney predicted last week, the warfare among the services for bigger pieces of a shrinking pie has begun. All the services are engaged, although most tend to do it covertly. But the Marine Corps is different – their leader has written Defense Secretary Leon Panetta a letter implicitly pleading for …

It’s Official: Military Retiree Benefits on the Table

It’s a funny way to run a government, but things don’t float to the top in this town until they’ve appeared on the front page of the New York Times. The issue of cutting military retiree pay has been looming for awhile — like a shark just beneath the surface — but it finally crashes into public consciousness Monday when the …

Headin’ Home….

Hard to believe, but five years ago there was a chorus of calls for the U.S. to pull out of Iraq because American efforts there seemed doomed. That was before Army General David Petraeus led the “surge” of 30,000 troops into Iraq that – combined with the so-called Sunni “awakening” — led to a restive calm across the country. …

We Have No Idea Why There Are So Many of Us

To extend on Mark’s post on the growth in generals and admirals relative to the number of troops they command, Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, who presided over the Senate hearing, provided the following in a press release:

“Where is it decided and how is it decided that each of these services has the justification or 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

Cutting Defense: Budget-Weenie Drill

Todd Harrison is one of the most thoughtful students of defense spending (okay, granted — it’s not a very big group) in the country. An analyst at the independent, non-profit Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, he’s the kind of guy who drops things like this into the middle of his latest study:

I’ve never been …

The Lessons of Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

There is going to be a fair amount of noise in coming days over the expected September 20 end — that’s next Tuesday — of the Pentagon’s 17-year old policy banning openly gay men and women from serving in uniform. Expect to see some gay service personnel emerge from the closet (most will stay there, some forever), and opponents …

The REAL Star Wars

Interesting hearing on Capitol Hill the other day on the continuing growth in generals and admirals relative to the number of troops they command. A picture — or at least a graf — is sometimes worth 1,000 words, so check out this one from the independent, non-partisan Project on Government Oversight:

Top Pentagon generals and …

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 …

For Conspicuous Gallantry and Intrepidity…

It was just over two years ago that Dakota Meyer formally became a hero. His Marines knew it then, and the rest of us will learn about it Thursday afternoon when President Obama presents him with the Medal of Honor. Here’s what he did to earn the nation’s highest award for valor. Semper Finest.

Hunting Down IEDs: The `Red Dot’ Express



After years of climbing, it looks like combat deaths due to roadside bombs in Afghanistan are on the decline. That’s good news, because such improvised explosive devices — IEDs — have been the biggest killer of U.S. troops. IEDs are a continual game of cat-and-mouse. When pressure-sensitive IEDs kept killing too many innocent …

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