Battleland

China’s Rapid Space Ascent

A recent revelatory study by my colleagues Eric Hagt and Matthew Durnin to be published in the Journal of Strategic Studies (October 2011 Vol. 34) describes China’s rapid expansion of its space satellite network from humble beginnings only one decade ago. It’s constellation of reconnaissance, data-relay, navigation and communications …

Cyprus: Warnings About Iranian Gunpowder Ignored

In the daily drone of news it flitted by as an unfortunate act of God of one sect or another: at least 15 people died Monday in a blast at a major naval base in Cyprus. The blast was so fierce it blew out windows and doors of a tourist town two miles away along the Mediterranean island nation’s southern coast. Initially, authorities …

What the Frick Can the Defense Secretary Tell You?

For those who have not read it, the Times has a hilarious account of new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s first trip to Iraq in his new job. Apparently, the new secretary regularly employs “salty” language.

He has reportedly employed the following lexicon:

  • On Iraq: “This damn country has a lot of resources.”
  • The Times says his

Military Housing: Trials and Tribulation

Compared to many of my gay and lesbian colleagues, my time in service has treated me well. In general gay officers have it easier than our enlisted counterparts, and our options with housing play a large role.

Many newly enlisted troops are forced to live in small dorms with roommates. It’s usually not the barracks scene that …

Leroy Petry, the Medal of Honor and Intrepidity

This past weekend, I attended the wedding of my Army roommate who’s still on active duty. Among the many conversations of the assembled veterans, all junior officers who fought together in Iraq, was the award of the Medal of Honor to Sgt. First Class Leroy Petry, who sacrificed his hand to save his fellow Rangers in Afghanistan. …

Air Force: “A Quick Symphony of Planning”

As the war for Libya stretches into its fifth month next week, it’s easy to question the wisdom of entering into a conflict with as many caveats on it as this one. But there’s no questioning the gee-whizzedness of the Air Force’s initial strikes carried out by five bombers from bases in the United States. While that “quick symphony …

Iraq: Pentagon Is All Ears, But No One’s Asking

It has been striking to watch the U.S. beg for months for the Iraqi government to request that at least some U.S. troops stay in Iraq beyond the end of this year. That’s the deadline set in a pact between the two nations, and U.S. forces will be able to stay after December 31, 2011, only at the request of the Baghdad government. But …

“Counter-Insurgency versus Counter-Terrorism?”

Since President Obama announced his plan to begin pulling 33,000 troops out of Afghanistan by the end of next summer, there’s been a lot of debate over whether this marks the end of a counter-insurgency campaign and the beginning of a counter-terror strategy. Is it really a binary choice — does it have to be one or the other — …

The Medal of Honor: How It Happened

President Obama awarded the nation’s highest award for valor to Army Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry Tuesday afternoon. He earned it en route to losing his right hand in 2008 when he and his fellow soldiers came under attack in Afghanistan. The Army has put together a visual account of how this Ranger became a hero.

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