Mark Thompson

Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Thompson has covered national security in Washington since 1979, and for Time since 1994. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkThompson_DC

Articles from Contributor

Battleland Battleland

North Korea On Its Last Legs?

John McCreary was a long-time Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who now writes NightWatch, an overnight intel blog that’s well-read in the capital’s national-security circles for its acute observations. He’s warning this morning that yesterday’s promotions in North Korea show “a military-backed despotism on its last legs”:


Battleland Battleland

Combat — Or Electrical — Power For Iraq?

Like any other government juggling competing demands, two recent data snapshots from Iraq tell an interesting tale.

Here’s the first, from the Pentagon:

Here’s the second, from the State Department:

Hard to believe, but Iraq’s electricity shortage today (power generation now is only 56 percent of the need) is worse than it was a …

Battleland Battleland

More Contractors Than Troops Now Dying in U.S. Wars

Well, here’s something you figured would happen eventually: during the first six months of this year, more U.S. contractors (232) than U.S. troops (195) were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. “Contractors supporting the war effort today are losing more lives than the U.S. military waging these wars,” Steven Schooner, co-director of the …

Battleland Battleland

Hey Soldier — You're In the Smart-Phone Army Now!

Remember how the Army would pretty much issue only uniforms and boots to recruits who showed up for basic training? Well, some lucky soldiers will soon be getting something extra — an iPhone or a similarly smart phone. “We actually have a pilot study going on right now where we’re issuing these things to soldiers in basic training,” …

Battleland Battleland

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Repeal Don't Pass

The Senate — leery of being steamrolled into a pre-election vote on abolishing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before the Pentagon completes its study on the impact of its repeal — decided Tuesday against lifting the 17-year-old law. Senators voted 56-43, failing to get the 60 votes needed to end a Republican filibuster and allow an actual …

Battleland Battleland

A Sad Milestone…

Last night’s crash of a helicopter in southern Afghanistan has killed nine U.S. troops and made 2010 the deadliest year of the war — and there are still three months to go. The crash brings to 529 the toll of allied troops killed this year (342 of them American), eclipsing last year’s record total of 521, including 317 U.S. …

Battleland Battleland

Women In Uniform

As the Senate prepares to debate lifting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it’s instructive to read a hat-trick of stories this morning about another group of service personnel not always treated fairly. There’s a story reporting that women will begin serving aboard submarines by January 2012. There’s another on how family-friendly the Navy’s …

Battleland Battleland

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Showdown Looming in Senate

The Pentagon launched Operation New Dawn on September 1, purportedly signaling the end of combat operati0ns in Iraq after seven years. This week, those backing the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law — clearing the way for openly gay men and women to serve in the U.S. military — are pinning their hopes for their own new dawn …

Battleland Battleland

Medal of Honor hurdles — and benefits

Last week was an extraordinary one for the Medal of Honor, which the nation bestowed on two Army staff sergeants serving in Afghanistan. Last Thursday, the White House awarded the medal to Robert Miller, 24, who died in January 2008 while saving the lives of U.S. and Afghan troops during a nighttime firefight in Konar Province near the …

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