The Democratization of Destruction

Andrew Krepinevich, one of the most solid thinkers to come out of the Army in the past generation, has a thought-provoking – and foreboding – piece in the latest issue of Foreign Policy. In it, he suggests that the rules of military might are changing, and not in ways that favor the U.S. and the rest of what we might call “the …

The New Greatest Generation

Colleague Joe Klein has a great cover story this week on the flip side of veterans’ joblessness, PTSD and suicide: the exemplary examples being set in fields far removed from the battlefields by vets of our post-9/11 wars. As he notes, it’s currently behind the Time paywall, which means you won’t be able to read it online for awhile. …

$1 Trillion in Cuts Looming

It hardly seemed possible when we first broached the possibility in April that defense spending could be cut by $1 trillion over the coming decade. But there it was Wednesday in the latest issue of National Journal, one of those heavy-duty – and costly – magazines read by all of Washington’s policy wonks:

The Pentagon is

Afghanistan: An Army Officer’s View from the Ground

Provocative piece written by a U.S. Army officer now serving in Afghanistan concludes:

…The fact that the U.S. has established the front line of its national security as the Hindu Kush Mountains of Central Asia is at its core imprudent. Is the future of Afghanistan really critical to the national security of the U.S.? There is an

Alleged Chinook Shooter Speaks

It never ceases to amaze that British newspapers seem to get the stories that their American counterparts are unable to snare. We recently had the Financial Times report that the Pakistanis let the Chinese see — and sample — the MH-60 chopper that crashed during the bin Laden raid, and here’s a second such chopper story this …

“Gaddafi’s Days Are Numbered”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told us something we’d been waiting to hear Tuesday: “Gaddafi’s days are numbered,” he said of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during a session with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at National Defense University.

But then we started flipping through the pages of our notebook, backwards through time …

Our Silent Partner Everywhere We Intervene – China

That’s how I like to describe it. Whether we like it or not – much less admit it, every time we show up somewhere in tumult, the Chinese are already there or soon to show up. They will be making the big investments (like that $3-4B on a copper mine in Afghanistan) and they will be winning the big extractive contracts (like with both …

To Avoid Defense Spending Cuts, Raise Taxes?

Fellow Battleland contributor Mackenzie Eaglen of the Heritage Foundation argued last week in a Defense Daily article that the “Super Congress” is likely to side with cutting defense deeply rather than increase government revenue through tax increases to pay for current levels of defense spending (the biggest part of the discretionary …

Military Retirement Pay: Changes are Coming

The chart makes it clear: military pay — including retirement and health benefits — is no longer small beer. While self-described mega-rich man Warren Buffett said Monday on the op-ed page of the New York Times that “the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan,” the truth is that the average soldier is paid, in cash and …

Coast Guard: Smallest Service, Biggest Opportunities for Women

National Public Radio (NPR) recently did a segment on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and its new superintendent, Rear Admiral Sandra Stosz. The Coast Guard has been at the forefront of expanding opportunities for women since 1977 when it opened all of its jobs to women. It even decided to admit women to the Coast Guard Academy in 1975, …

A Ranger’s Life Between Combat Tours

In February, I traveled to Fort Lewis, Washington to write about the redeployment experience of the 2nd Battalion of the fabled 75th Ranger Regiment, just home from Afghanistan. Conventional Army units deploy for 12 months at a time before returning home for another year or so, but the Rangers’ rotations tend to last only 3–6

Yardsticks for Weapons…And for War

After more than 30 years of watching the U.S. military pour money into weapons that can’t meet performance, schedule and cost targets, you sort of become inured to such chicanery. “It would be impossible to sit here and justify the current process, given that it has not delivered the capabilities we’ve required within the resources …

Afghanistan: Bad Vibes Near Bagram

A Taliban suicide assault team stormed the governor’s compound in Parwan province Sunday, killing at least 22 (not including the six attackers). It was a particularly brazen attack, happening only six miles from Bagram, the biggest U.S. military base in Afghanistan, in the center of the relatively peaceful province north of Kabul. …

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