National Security

The Way The Military Is Supposed To Work

It was just over a month ago that Gen. James Amos, the Marine commandant, was fretting that repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” could be a “distraction” that could get his Marines killed on the battlefield. “I don’t want to lose any Marines to the distraction,” he said of openly gay troops. “I don’t want to have any Marines that I’m …

A Tale of Two Reports

The last time the Government Accountability Office surveyed U.S. arms sales to Egypt, in 2006, it reported:

Since 1979, Egypt received more than $60 billion in military and economic assistance from the United States and is currently among the largest recipients of U.S. assistance worldwide, along with Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq. In

Marines Ready for Egypt Rescue Mission

The U.S. Marines have a pair of warships — the USS Kearsarge and the USS Ponce — just hanging around the southern end of the Red Sea waiting to see if they’re needed to rescue U.S. diplomats and citizens from Cairo. They’re half of the Marines’ 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, a mini-armada that recently dispatched 1,400 of its 2,000 …

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal Plan Rolls, Slowly, Along

The Pentagon, in its own slow way, is grappling with the coming end of the 18-year old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that bars openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military. Top defense officials held a briefing today where they put a little bureaucratic meat on the bones of the change. But they refused to be pinned down …

The Cost of Manning The Wars

You knew this was coming, right? In the tragicomedy of errors leading to the WikiLeaks dump, the notion that an Army private could not only access, but allegedly copy — and share with the world — data the U.S. government had labeled secret, we learn a key fact today: Army commanders sent Pfc. Bradley Manning to Iraq, where he …

A Marine OSCAR For Best Supporting Role

A couple of Navy doctors deployed to Helmand Province in Afghanistan with the Marines there spoke via long-distance to Pentagon reporters Thursday about the steps they are taking to tend to their troops’ mental-health needs. They emphasized their expanding and embedded nature of tending to Marine minds to make sure they remain healthy. …

Don't Fence Me In

It was only two weeks ago that the Obama Administration scrapped a plan to build a “virtual fence” along the U.S.-Mexican border to keep illegal immigrants out. The program — under development by Boeing and slated to cost $7 billion — was designed to harness video cameras and other sensors to deter border crossings. The Department of …

Protest Like An Egyptian

As protests continue in Cairo today, long-time Pentagon intelligence analyst John McCreary — now out of government and writing the well-read NightWatch blog — is eyeing events there with growing concern:

Despite a US statement that the government of Egypt is stable, the demonstrations show that it has suppressed a large undercurrent

Counting the Words of War

There wasn’t much national-security talk in President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight. There was rote thanks for “our troops and their families” engaged in two wars. Some folks breathed a sigh of relief as he proposed a five-year freeze on “annual domestic spending.” That’s Washington-speak for no cuts in the military’s …

"Not So Fast, Mr. Secretary"

Even as Defense Secretary Robert Gates modestly nips and tucks the rate of increase in military spending, his House GOP overseers are saying: Stop! The new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon of California, and all seven of his GOP subcommittee chairmen, sent Gates a letter yesterday basically ordering him …

The Paper Pep Talk

General Dave Petraeus has just sent his 140,000 troops in Afghanistan, including 97,000 Americans, a three-page status update. He praises them for their “tremendous work” in 2010 and warns “there is much hard work to be done in 2011.” He seems to hit all the right notes — the gains are fragile, and we must keep working closely with …

Defense Spending Sacrosanct?

With the nation in two wars and faced with implacable Islamist foes, some argue that now is not the time to discuss cutting the defense budget. House Republican leaders barred spending cuts for the military, homeland security and veterans in their party’s “Pledge to America” campaign manifesto last fall. Last week, 165 members of the …

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