Battleland

The Luckiest, and Saddest, Soldier in Afghanistan

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates was justifiably proud of his $45 billion push to speed up delivery of some 27,000 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The hulking troop-carriers have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of American lives. They roll as a rebuke to Don Rumsfeld’s

Chinese Reportedly Get Peek at Secret SEAL Chopper

Pakistan has let the Chinese study — and take samples from — the stealthy MH-60 helicopter used by Navy SEALs in their raid that killed Osama bin Laden May 2, the London-based Financial Times reported Monday:

“The US now has information that Pakistan, particularly the ISI, gave access to the Chinese military to the downed

Army Suicide Rate Hits New High

Just when you’re thinking the Army may have turned the corner on its troops’ killing themselves, a new number has surfaced that dashes those hopes. On Friday, the Army said it suffered a record 32 suspected suicides in July, the most since it began releasing monthly data two years ago.

The Army is waging war on suicide just as …

The Pentagon’s Amazing Failure

You’d be hard-pressed to know Thursday’s $120 million test-firing of the Pentagon’s Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) was a bust from the press release issued in its wake by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

The quest for better things is a human yearning, even if they’re destructive in their purpose. One …

The Maine Reason Cutting Defense Spending Is So Tough

There was a report out the other day suggesting one thing the Pentagon might have to cut, as it tightens its belt, is the $1.3 billion it provides the Defense Commissary Agency, which runs 252 grocery stores around the world. Sure, those kinds of places made sense when troops and their families were stationed in far-off corners of …

“Does It Make Sense for Obama to Bar U.S. Combat Boots in Libya?”

War, first and foremost, is a collection of choices. When President Obama ruled out the use of U.S. military boots on the ground inside Libya, it may have made political sense. But did it make military sense as well? John Nagl of the Center for a New American Security and I weigh the issue with Andrew Exum, former Army officer now …

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: External Pressure or Internal Struggle?

The end of the 60-day waiting period for the full and final repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is rapidly approaching. On September 20, the first day I can legally be “out,” I have a feeling it will initially feel just like any other day. At this point, I have no idea what country I will be in, but when the alarm on my cell phone …

“DOD Identifies Service Members Killed In CH-47 Crash”

It’s kind of mind-numbing how we’ve become “used” to the historically small number of our troops dying in our recent wars. They tend to happen no more than a handful at a time, which I guess makes them easier to handle.

But every once in awhile you get a list like this, of those who perished early Saturday in the CH-47 …

Carrier Wars: Who’s Crazier — U.S. Imperiling National Security by Shrinking to Nine Carrier Strike Groups, or China for Selecting Nine Captains for its One Used Russian Flattop?


These are strange times in carrier-land. The U.S. is struggling to hold on to what it has, while the Chinese are struggling to get some of those floating acres of sovereignty for their very own. It’s generating some interesting eddies that are likely to generate profound currents for control of the world’s sea lanes in the 21st …

Fog of War: Taliban Claim Chinook Killer Still Alive

As soon as we heard Marine General John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was going to brief Wednesday morning, we knew he’d have something positive to say: a U.S. F-16 terminated the Taliban who downed the CH-47 Chinook in the Tangi Valley over the weekend with extreme prejudice early Monday.

But as sure as day …

“Why Did It Take the U.S. So Long to Recognize the Libyan Rebels?”

After five months of bombing the government of Muammar Gadaffi, the U.S. finally recognized Libya’s rebel forces. Was this the right decision, and, if so — why did it take so long? Paul Hughes, a retired Army colonel now with the U.S. Institute of Peace, and Andrew Exum, a Center for a New American Security fellow who has led …

Training Kills, Just Like the Taliban

The Pentagon is fretting whether or not to release the names of the 22 SEALs who perished in the CH-47 crash in Afghanistan on Saturday. Ultimately, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, after hearing the concerns of commanders about releasing the names of special-operations troops, has decided to do so. Their names should be out by …

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