Special Operations

“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? …

Gas Alert!

Our troops are charged with winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan. Looks like some of them have been going about it in the wrong way…(be sure to check out the comments at the end of the item).

“Cyber War: Fact or Fiction?”

Defending against the invisible menace of online cyber-attacks has become one of the Pentagon’s biggest growth areas. But should it be? Kristin Lord of the Center for a New American Security, who recently led a study into the issue, discusses the balancing act associated with this new way of war. She’s joined by colleague John …

Alleged Chinook Shooter Speaks

It never ceases to amaze that British newspapers seem to get the stories that their American counterparts are unable to snare. We recently had the Financial Times report that the Pakistanis let the Chinese see — and sample — the MH-60 chopper that crashed during the bin Laden raid, and here’s a second such chopper story this …

A Ranger’s Life Between Combat Tours

In February, I traveled to Fort Lewis, Washington to write about the redeployment experience of the 2nd Battalion of the fabled 75th Ranger Regiment, just home from Afghanistan. Conventional Army units deploy for 12 months at a time before returning home for another year or so, but the Rangers’ rotations tend to last only 3–6

Chinese Reportedly Get Peek at Secret SEAL Chopper

Pakistan has let the Chinese study — and take samples from — the stealthy MH-60 helicopter used by Navy SEALs in their raid that killed Osama bin Laden May 2, the London-based Financial Times reported Monday:

“The US now has information that Pakistan, particularly the ISI, gave access to the Chinese military to the downed

“DOD Identifies Service Members Killed In CH-47 Crash”

It’s kind of mind-numbing how we’ve become “used” to the historically small number of our troops dying in our recent wars. They tend to happen no more than a handful at a time, which I guess makes them easier to handle.

But every once in awhile you get a list like this, of those who perished early Saturday in the CH-47 …

Fog of War: Taliban Claim Chinook Killer Still Alive

As soon as we heard Marine General John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was going to brief Wednesday morning, we knew he’d have something positive to say: a U.S. F-16 terminated the Taliban who downed the CH-47 Chinook in the Tangi Valley over the weekend with extreme prejudice early Monday.

But as sure as day …

Training Kills, Just Like the Taliban

The Pentagon is fretting whether or not to release the names of the 22 SEALs who perished in the CH-47 crash in Afghanistan on Saturday. Ultimately, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, after hearing the concerns of commanders about releasing the names of special-operations troops, has decided to do so. Their names should be out by …

Second-Guessing the Doomed Chinook Mission

Pentagon corridors, and military blogs, are already aflame with whispered second-guessing following Saturday’s shoot down of the CH-47 in Afghanistan that killed 38, including 22 members of the elite SEAL Team 6 and their support element. No one likes to discuss publicly what — if anything — went wrong, but with five or more …

Afghan Chopper Tragedy, on PBS

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Monday night, your Battleland scribe appeared on the PBS NewsHour to discuss the downing of the CH-47 in Afghanistan.

SEALs Emerge, Blinkingly and Broken-Heartedly, From the Darkness

The war in Afghanistan is pushing the Navy’s SEALs — long hidden in the pitch-black world of special operations — into the shadows. While we can now discern some of what the Pentagon likes to call their TTPs — tactics, techniques and procedures — there’s still much we can’t see. But it’s plain that the recent double-barreled news …

How the Taliban Brought Down the SEALs’ Chopper


I have flown in CH-47 Chinook helicopters over Afghanistan, like the one shot down on Saturday, which killed 38 people, including 22 members of the elite SEAL Team 6. Believe me, it’s not a ride for the fainthearted. In addition to needing straps for rucksacks and weapons, you need …

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