Military History

“We Must Maintain the Nuclear Triad”

That’s what Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told the Air Force Association’s annual gathering Monday. I’m sure his statement has nothing to do with the fact that his service owns two — bombers and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles — of the triad’s three legs (the Navy’s submarine-launched missiles being the third). …

Hard to Believe…

The Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy dies today. It’s an obit I never thought I’d write. It hardly seems possible — as one who covered the debate for close to two decades — that the ban on openly gay men and women serving in uniform is passing into the pages of history. What will military reporters bored with hardware and …

The REAL Star Wars

Interesting hearing on Capitol Hill the other day on the continuing growth in generals and admirals relative to the number of troops they command. A picture — or at least a graf — is sometimes worth 1,000 words, so check out this one from the independent, non-partisan Project on Government Oversight:

Top Pentagon generals and …

For Conspicuous Gallantry and Intrepidity…

It was just over two years ago that Dakota Meyer formally became a hero. His Marines knew it then, and the rest of us will learn about it Thursday afternoon when President Obama presents him with the Medal of Honor. Here’s what he did to earn the nation’s highest award for valor. Semper Finest.

The Human Toll Taken by a Decade of War

Just how worn out are our troops because of non-stop combat since 9/11? To what degree has that contributed to problems like PTSD, family breakups and suicide in the ranks? This week, on Command Post, we discuss the tenacity of U.S. troops, as well as the cracks that can appear after a decade of fighting. Margaret Harrell, a

On Guard: A Seventh Member for the Joint Chiefs?

The National Guard has been fighting for years to get one of its own as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (the nation’s senior council of military officers currently consists of the chiefs of staff of the Army and Air Force, the chief of naval operations, the Marine commandant, and a vice chairman and chairman from any service — …

Afghanistan 2.0

Some old-timers speak of deja vu all over again: just as Afghanistan became the Soviet Union’s Vietnam, it could also become America’s. Tuesday’s complex attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul — reputed to be a safer place — raises anew questions about the scope of the decade-old U.S. war in Afghanistan, and its chances for success.

“How Did the U.S. Military Retool Itself Post-9/11?”

In the decade after 9/11, just how much did the U.S. military have to recalibrate to fight the wars it found itself launching in Afghanistan and, 18 months later, in Iraq? This week, on Command Post, we discuss the retooling of the American armed forces with Eric Schmitt of the New York Times — co-author of Counterstrike: The Untold

A Decade of War

The past decade has generated a wealth of stories for anyone lucky enough to be covering national security since 9/11. It’s sort of the third chapter in my career. My first, which ran from 1979 to 1991, involved the Cold War and the possibility of superpower conflict with the Soviet Union. When it collapsed, I wondered what we’d …

When the Pentagon Was New

World War II means two things to U.S. military veterans of a certain age: the building of the Pentagon, and LIFE magazine (TIME’s corporate sibling). Every week LIFE chronicled the war for millions of Americans. has just released never-before published photographs of the Department of Defense headquarters building under …

Writing the Book on Military Mental Health

The literature of war can be literature — think Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage (Civil War), Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front (World War I), or Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. And sometimes it’s less lit and more textbook. That’s surely the case with the …

Buttering Our Guns

In these tough economic times, just how much of a fiscal punch does defense spending provide? A couple of experts  weigh in with contrasting takes on an issue that will grow in importance as the nation weighs cuts in military spending.

Taking Stock: The U.S. Military a Decade After 9/11

The 10th anniversary of 9/11 closes in on us this week. Try as you might, you will not be able to avoid it. Amid the pathos and bathos, it’s time to take a knee and conduct a map check.

Just to cut to the chase: you can’t argue with success, and on 9/12 most Americans were petrified a second wave of attacks was likely. It hasn’t …

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