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

The Haze of War

At the tail end of last Friday’s hearing into military suicides before the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel subcommittee, Rep. Judy Chu finally got a chance to speak. Although not a member of the panel — she serves on the Education and Labor, Judiciary, and Small Business committees — chairman Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., …

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 …

Remembrances and Sacrifices…

September 9th is my cousin Laura’s birthday. She would have been 62. She died Wednesday, of lung cancer, shortly after I arrived from a 14-hour marathon drive from Bremerton, Wash. On my way down, I prayed that she would die peacefully. Instead she died gasping for her last breaths. It was horrific and heartbreaking.

In this …

Redefining Patriotism: Reflecting on the Past Decade

In an era where yellow “Support the Troops” magnets adorn every other vehicle on the road and where rubber bracelets (color-coded for the cause célèbre) serve more as accessories than symbols of true compassion, I find myself wondering what we have learned as a nation during a decade of war. As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 …

Not Only That: They Missed

A tough week is nearly over. It’s been pouring nonstop in the East, floods are inundating the northeast, GOP presidential candidates are hectoring one another, fires are racing across Texas, President Obama’s pleading for work from Congress, and someone turned the lights out in San Diego.

Just thank God you’re not Commander Mark …

Play Ball!

That’s just what the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team does:

It has been a difficult path to the ballpark for many of the players. After life-altering injuries, they had to rebuild. They were forced to heal with the help of rehabilitation and prosthetics, learned to accept their new physiques, and relearn how to do many of the

The Protected Principles of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

On my desk I have a proposed bill ensuring no troop is “pressured to approve of another person’s sexual conduct if that sexual conduct is contrary to the personal principles of the member” with respect to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

What I should do here is point out what is obviously upsetting about this …

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 …

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