Battleland

No Longer Only a Young Man’s Game

I wanted to comment briefly on Mark Benjamin’s piece about casualty announcements being a painful as ever. Mark noted that three soldiers killed on July 18th in Afghanistan were all from a Pennsylvania National Guard unit, and that one of them, Sgt Brian K. Mowery, at age 49 could easily have been a grandfather. Lots of Guard and …

Take a Chance

Last week was pretty hectic for me, so I’m just catching up on some housekeeping. I wanted to comment on my colleague Mark Thompson’s post about the suicide of Marine Sergeant Ian McConnell. Mark commented that that “Ian’s blood is on our hands,” and that “home, for many of our veterans, is a theater of war.”

These are …

Navy Grounds Cutting Call Signs

The Navy has punished a pair of officers who commanded an outfit that joked about assigning call signs like “Romo’s Bitch” and “Fagmeister” to their administrative officer during a 2009 call sign review board. It’s a sign of changing times in the Navy, which for decades has struggled with letting women into its inner sanctums, how …

“How Tough Is Cutting $400 Billion?”

Just how tough is it going to be for the Pentagon and other national-security agencies to cut $400 billion from their spending between now and 2023? Those are the marching orders President Obama has given his tea, led by budget-cutting expert Leon Panetta, who has just moved from the CIA to the Pentagon. John Nagl of the Center …

TDY

I’m going TDY for a coupla weeks. For those of you not up on military lingo, it means “temporary duty” in official Pentagon parlance. What it means here at Battleland is that I’m taking some time off. I’ve got some Command Post videos in the on-deck circle, and I’ll be checking in once in awhile, but I’m leaving the heavy lifting to Mark …

General John Shalikashvili, 1936-2011

When Army General John Shalikashvili’s became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1993, even his staff didn’t know how to say his name. “I’m saying it the way the other people on my staff are saying it: shah-lee-KASH-villy, with the emphasis on the KASH,” said Maj. Nino Fabiano, a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs. “But let me …

Balloon Goes Up In Budget Battle

Sure, there have been skirmishes over defense spending in recent weeks, but now they’re shifting from small arms and irregular warfare to a combined arms campaign featuring the big guns and close-air support. As Nick Schwellenbach noted Thursday, a pair of do-gooder groups — Taxpayers for Common Sense and his own Project on …

60 Days and Counting

Thursday evening I had a series of emails sent directly to my phone. I was out with some of the members of my squadron who do not know I’m gay, so as usual I held my phone in a way that didn’t allow the screen to be read by others. The emails all said certification of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was expected to occur on Friday,

The Shrinking Enemies List

General Ray Odierno appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday for his confirmation hearing to become the Army’s 38th top officer. In his prepared opening statement, after thanking his family for its support, he turned to the threats the country faces today:

We face a multitude of security challenges, such as

$56 Billion to Rebuild Afghanistan (So Far): The Whole Kit & Kabul-Dole

Remember how you doled out allowances to your kids, trying to teach them the value of a quarter before moving on to a dollar? (OK — I was cheap.) Check out this chart from a Thursday report from the Government Accountability Office: direct payments to Afghanistan from Washington more than tripled between 2009 and 2010 with …

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