Battleland

Rumsfeld Wins!

Former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld stopped by Battleland‘s suite Monday for a super-secret project we can’t talk about just yet. Although he’s walking with a cane due to recent back surgery, he says that’s just a temporary setback for the one-time college wrester who turned 79 Saturday. (“Joyce got me this tie,” he said of his …

“Is Counter-Insurgency Dead?”



Here’s our second take on President Obama’s Afghan policy in our new video series featuring John Nagl of the Center for a New American Security and your Battleland scribe. We’re chatting this week with Dr. Nora Bensahel, a noted COIN expert formerly at the Rand Corp. and now at CNAS, and Dave Barno, the top U.S. commander in …

A Kandahar Killing: What Does It Mean for the U.S. Military Mission?

A huge power vacuum has opened in southern Afghanistan with the assassination on July 12 of Ahmed Wali Karzai, a half brother of President Hamid Karzai and, fundamentally, the godfather of Kandahar. U.S. officials are debating whether he will be followed by a more benign tribal autocrat or someone alleged to be just as bad — and …

Rin Tin Tin Info: Now Off Limits

The Pentagon is cracking down on the data it posts on its websites. The latest example: the Army manual on its use of dogs. The 2005 version used to be public, but it has been scrubbed off Pentagon websites, according to Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists (although he managed to snare a copy, which you can …

Showtime: TIME and CNAS Launch “Command Post”



TIME and the Center for a New American Security have just launched Command Post, a series of regular video conversations on the key national-security challenges of the 21st Century. The joint effort by the magazine and the Washington-based national-security think tank begins with a week-long series of videos examining President …

And We’re Worried About Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons?

Robert Gates made a big deal out of the security of U.S. nuclear weapons, going so far as to fire the Air Force’s top two officials for one too many atomic fumbles. Apparently he left the Navy’s nuclear nightmares to successor Leon Panetta.

Check out this story from Navy Times:

A master-at-arms posted at a Navy nuclear warhead

Fighting Words

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta didn’t waste anytime on his first overseas trip to declare al Qaeda all but washed up:

We’re within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda…

A Smart “Dissenting Voice” on Troop Suicide Condolence Letters

Army Capt. DJ Skelton lost his left eye and can’t use his left arm because of a rocket attack in Fallujah. He went on to advise Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on wounded warrior issues.

Skelton has some interesting thoughts about the new White House policy, announced last week, to begin to send condolence …

Pentagon Budget: Tug-Of-War-Spending Continues

Speaking of Pentagon budget cuts: word from inside the Defense Department is that President Obama’s proposed $400 billion in “security” cuts over “12” years — those words in quotes because “security” is squishy and the Pentagon talks in five- and 10-year terms — may only be a “down payment.”

Though the new bogey for cuts is …

Inscrutable Advice from the Middle Kingdom: Wise or Wicked?

The pressure to reduce U.S. defense spending took a hit Monday when China’s top military officer suggested Washington is spending too much on its military in light of its economic problems at home. “I know the U.S. is still recovering from the financial crisis,” Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, …

The Slow, and So Far, Quiet Demise of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”


So Pentagon enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” stopped happening Friday. As of Monday morning, the U.S. military seems none the worse off. It appears – and I may yet regret saying this – that the Pentagon’s formal, 17-year ban on gay men and women serving openly in uniform is more likely to end with a whimper than a bang.

For …

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