Veterans

The Buried IED…Here at Home

The military’s fight against improvised explosive devices along roads in Afghanistan and Iraq — which have killed more than 3,000 Americans — has cost more than $20 billion. But that’s only the money spent by the Pentagon’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO, pronounced ji-dough) to stop them over there. …

The D-Word

Things have gotten so grim in the defense world that advocates of maintaining current levels of military spending have started rolling out the heavy artillery. “Do we want to reinstitute the draft?” Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, asked Wednesday on Fox News. “Some of the cuts we’re talking …

Wars, Yesterday and Today

There’s a profound sense of deja vu among those of us who came of age — in uniform, at school, in politics — during the Vietnam war. So much of what is happening today resonates with that conflict in ways both good and ill.

Lee Barnes has just written When We Walked Above the Clouds about his experiences early in the southeast …

Officer X “Comes Out” Thursday

He’s that young U.S. military pilot who has been blogging here on Battleland anonymously since May. Officer X – or Ox, as he’s known around here — has kept his identity hidden because under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” saying he was gay could have ended his military career. That formal ban had been in place for 17 years…ever since …

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 …

All Systems Go!

Despite what Mark Thompson thinks, I am no flying monkey. Like most things in my life I am associating tomorrow’s impending lift of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to something pilot-related. Right now I’m running the starting-engines checklist and making sure my systems are all good before liftoff. The day after my debut flight in the …

It’s Official: Military Retiree Benefits on the Table

It’s a funny way to run a government, but things don’t float to the top in this town until they’ve appeared on the front page of the New York Times. The issue of cutting military retiree pay has been looming for awhile — like a shark just beneath the surface — but it finally crashes into public consciousness Monday when the …

The Lessons of Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

There is going to be a fair amount of noise in coming days over the expected September 20 end — that’s next Tuesday — of the Pentagon’s 17-year old policy banning openly gay men and women from serving in uniform. Expect to see some gay service personnel emerge from the closet (most will stay there, some forever), and opponents …

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 — …

“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

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