al Qaeda’s al-Awlaki Reportedly Killed in Yemen

The top English-speaking member of al Qaeda — New Mexican-born Anwar al-Awlaki — was killed Friday, the Yemen government announced, a death quickly confirmed by U.S. officials. It’s yet another key indication that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s recent claim that the defeat of al Qaeda is “within reach” may be getting …

Hunting Down IEDs: The `Red Dot’ Express

After years of climbing, it looks like combat deaths due to roadside bombs in Afghanistan are on the decline. That’s good news, because such improvised explosive devices — IEDs — have been the biggest killer of U.S. troops. IEDs are a continual game of cat-and-mouse. When pressure-sensitive IEDs kept killing too many innocent …

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

Defanging Those “Lone Wolves”

In this week of massive 9/11 coverage, it’s important to keep terror threats in perspective. The recent hot threat seems to be “lone wolves” who become jihadists over the Internet while living somewhere in America. To be sure, there are such animals; Exhibit A is Army Major Nidal Hassan, who killed 13 at Fort Hood in 2009. …

Kind of Makes You Wonder What It Takes to Win the Highest Award

The Air Force brass has nominated Staff Sergeant Robert Gutierrez for the Air Force Cross, its second-highest award for bravery. He was the lone Air Force targeteer assigned to an Army special-forces team in Afghanistan nearly two years ago. The unit’s night-time missi0n: capture a top Taliban leader in the western part of the …

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 …

Body Count 2.0

One of the most depressing things about the Vietnam conflict was the steady stream of announcements that so many more Viet Cong and North Vietnamese had died during the prior week than U.S. troops. We felt good about that until some 58,000 Americans had been killed.

By then, we were beginning to suspect that someone on the U.S. …

Counterstrike: A Post-9/11 Report Card

There is a flood of 9/11 books now coming onto the market, but Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda by Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker of the New York Times should be atop the list of anyone curious about how the U.S. government has grappled with the challenges posed by al Qaeda.

Both authors …

“How Has U.S. National Security Changed Since 9/11?”

It’s hard to believe — at least for some of us — that it has been a decade since 9/11. Before then, covering the military meant going out to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, to witness future ways of war that, in hindsight, seem obsolete. For the past decade, the U.S. military — and indeed, the U.S. …

Who Is Terry A. Hogan?

Adam Zagorin, a former TIME correspondent who has covered the dark corners of the post-9/11 world, is asking that question because that’s the name behind more than a dozen U.S. extraordinary renditions — seizing suspected terrorists around the world and flying them where they could be encouraged to tell what they knew. Yet while the …

“Who Are the Real Cyber-Warriors?”

National-security debates used to be a lot easier when it took a nation-state to raise an army and build an arsenal. To hear some cyber-defense experts tell it, today a cyberwar can be launched by a couple of bored teen-age hackers in one of their basements. While that’s a stretch, what about criminal cybergangs? Or nation-states? …

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