Battleland

Barring Women From Combat: “This Last Vestige of Paternalism”

In 1993, I was involved in the Navy’s transition of women from non-combatant ships to combatant ships — from support craft like oilers and salvage vessels, to warships like destroyers and cruisers, in other words. Newly-elected President Clinton and his defense secretary, Les Aspin, determined — after the success of women in …

Capps Cops Prize!

Battlelander Ron Capps has won Press 53’s first prize in creative non-fiction for his piece entitled The French Lieutenant’s iPod. (Press 53 is a small, well-regarded publisher of literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction in Winston-Salem, N.C.) We know Ron’s good — he writes for Battleland mostly about veterans, of which he is one …

Rumsfeld Redux: He Doesn’t Get It

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld emerged from the woodwork last week to warn Leon Panetta not to do the wrong thing. He should know; his stewardship of DOD was an almost unmitigated laundry list (should we say “snowflakes”?) of wrong things.

But I wouldn’t recommend Panetta take his advice. Rumsfeld has no idea of how to …

Talk Is Cheap…

…unless you’re interpreting for the Pentagon, apparently. Check out this list of contract awards made Tuesday by the Army:

On Coming Out, Part 1

For those of you who follow my Twitter feed, you may recall something I tweeted a few weeks back after coming out to my brother. In case you missed it, it went something like this: “Just outed myself to my brother. His response… ‘Did you say hobo, or homo?’ There’s nothing to do in that scenario but laugh.”

I’ve learned there are …

Votes Show that for Hawkish GOP, the Times they are A-Changin’

It used to be easy to cover the Republican party when it came to national security issues. For the most part, members of the GOP could usually be counted on to come down on the hawkish side of a debate or vote.

Toss in tens of thousands of casualties, ten years of war, billions of dollars spent, a new front opening in Libya, and a …

Military’s Mission: To Kill, or Protect?

We can’t kill our way to victory.

– Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs

You can’t kill your way to victory.

– Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy

You just can’t kill your way to victory.

– Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., member of the armed services committee

British army veteran and …

Last Draftee Set to Retire

There was a spate of print and TV stories over the holiday weekend telling us that Sergeant Major Jeffrey Mellinger — drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War and believed by the service to be the last draftee still in uniform — is going to hang up his fatigues for good later this summer. We told you his story more than two years ago.

Rebuilding the Pentagon for Tomorrow

Always interesting to tussle with smart folks like Jim Glassman, Rudy DeLeon and Arthur Herman over the nuts (and we mean that in a good way) and bolts of Pentagon priorities and strategies, and how much we’re paying for them.

A Mixed Message about Stigma in Military Mental Health Care

The military keeps talking about eliminating stigma related to seeking mental health treatment. Then why don’t they change the policies that promote it?

To decrease stigma, the Army now uses the term “behavioral health.” The Defense Department – of which the Army is a part — prefers “psychological health.” They have …

What a Dog Can Do for PTSD

When we did a story last year on what a boon dogs are becoming for troops coming home from the wars with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Luis Carlos Montalvan was one of the soldiers we interviewed. He served as an Army captain in Iraq, where he garnered the Combat Action Badge, two Bronze Stars, and the Purple Heart — as well as a …

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