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Testing to Destruction

Here’s a proposition I hope we never have the opportunity to test. Generals in the People’s Liberation Army apparently have the impression that the PLA can defeat the U. S. military on the field of battle: For years, Chinese military planning assumed that any attack by the People’s Liberation Army on Taiwan or a disputed […]

All Things Pass


Will ISIS be able to consolidate and hold the territory it’s taken in Iraq?

On Veterans, Crime, Timing, and “Other Than Honorable” Discharges


For veterans who get in trouble with the law, *when* they commit a crime can have profound implications on their future. Does this make sense?

U. S. Aid to Egypt Is Complicated

US Egyptian Flags

The complicated issues surrounding U.S. aid to Egypt.

Orrin Hatch Wants To Make It Illegal To Be Richard Blumenthal Or Mark Kirk


Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal and Illinois Senate candidate Mark Kirk have both made themselves infamous by misrepresenting their military records. Now, Utah’s Orrin Hatch wants to do something about it: Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a proposal in the Senate this week that would make it a crime — punishable with up to six […]

Obama’s Not Going To Arlington: Much Ado About Nothing


President Obama left for a Memorial Day weekend stay in Chicago last night and will be returning to Washington Monday evening, which means that he will be sending Vice-President Biden to the traditional wealth-laying ceremony at the Tomb Of The Unknowns At Arlington National Cemetery: President Obama is skipping the traditional Memorial Day visit to […]

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Passes The House, Advances In The Senate


Congress moved two steps closer to repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell late Thursday evening. First, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version of the repeal amendment on a largely party-line vote: Equal rights activists scored a major victory today, as the Senate Armed Services committee voted 16-12 to give the Pentagon the power to […]

Generals Against Obesity?


Some retired military officers have formed something called Mission: Readiness to highlight the impact of our unfit youth on national security. A group of retired military officers says high-calorie school lunches are threatening national security. A study by the group Mission: Readiness finds that school lunches are making American kids so fat that fewer of […]

Terry Lakin: Court Martial for Birther Colonel


Terry Lakin, the army lieutenant colonel who refuses to deploy to Afghanistan on account of President Obama not really being an American and thus not authorized to make him will instead be deployed to Fort Leavenworth as a private. U.S. military officials tell NBC News that the U.S. Army will court martial a lieutenant colonel […]

Army Secretary Ignoring Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?


When I saw the NYT headline “Secretary of the Army Says He Will Not Pursue ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Discharges,” I was a bit shocked. While there’s always discretion in which policies one emphasizes, it’s unusual, indeed, for a senior official to blatantly announce that they’re going to ignore the law. It took me several […]

Gates Limits ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’


Secretary of Defense Bob Gates today issued an order sharply limiting the enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Clinton-era regulation governing how the military deals with homosexual troops.  Spencer Ackerman has details. In a major victory for opponents of the military’s ban on open homosexual service, Defense Secretary Robert Gates significantly revised how the […]

OTB Radio — Tonight at 5:30 Eastern


The next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live from 5:30-6:30 Eastern. Dave Schuler and I will be joined by a special guest, Dr.  John Arquilla, co- author of the classic book Networks and Netwars. We’ll be talking about his new Foreign Policy essay, “The New Rules of War” and […]

Military Leaders: Go Slow on Lifting Gay Ban

Casey and McHugh Testify on Gays

In something of a reversal of recent statements, the senior leadership of the Army and Air Force warned Congress about moving too fast to end the ban on gays serving openly. Top Army and Air Force officers said Tuesday they would be reluctant to overturn a 17-year policy that prohibits gays from serving openly in […]

CIA: We Don’t Target Americans – JSOC Does


Remember that report from a few weeks back that President Obama was targeting American citizens accused of terrorism for assassination by U.S. intelligence and special operators?  Well, it’s  not quite true. Steve Aftergood: “The article referred incorrectly to the presence of U.S. citizens on a CIA list of people the agency seeks to kill or […]

Dual Purpose

USS Carl Vinson Humanitarian Mission

As the world mobilizes support for earthquake-stricken Haiti, aid organizations are running into some snags: Amid looting of United Nations and other food stocks in Haiti, international relief agencies struggled Friday to find alternative routes for aid in the face of survivors’ angry criticism that no help was getting through, threatening them with a second […]

Quote of the Day – Degree Mill Edition


“I’m afraid that the ease with which these outfits hand out diplomas is matched only by the disappointment of their graduates when they find out how little their degrees are actually worth.”  – Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers in Washington He’s talking about the rise […]

Questioning Civilian Contractors

Columnist Gail Colllins asks “When did we decide that letting private contractors stand in for our military in sensitive and dangerous situations was a good plan?”: When did we decide this was a good plan? Let’s pretend for a minute that it is not stupendously irresponsible to let private contractors stand in for our military […]

Obama Afghanistan Speech: Worst of Both Worlds (Updated)

Obama Afghanistan Exit

My first take on President Obama’s Afghanistan speech,  “Obama Announces Afghan Surge and Exit Strategy” is up at New Atlanticist.  I plan at least two more essays later in the day dissecting international reaction and other aspects.  The lede: After months of careful consideration, President Obama announced his newest Afghanistan policy last night.  He will […]

Presidents, the Military, and Stagecraft


Dana Milbank starts an otherwise thoughtful piece with a rather sophomoric attempt at humor: First, the good news: President Obama will not be wearing a flight suit when he addresses the cadets at West Point on Tuesday night. Nor will he wear a bomber jacket with the presidential seal on the chest, nor even, the […]

Soldier Mom Refuses Deployment

Alexis Hutchinson Soldier Mom Photo

A sad and not terribly unusual case: An Army cook and single mom may face criminal charges after she skipped her deployment flight to Afghanistan because, she said, no one was available to care for her infant son while she was overseas. Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, 21, claims she had no choice but to refuse deployment […]

Update on the Fort Hood Massacre


The picture that is emerging of Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, the American-born Army psychiatrist who killed 13 people and wounded dozens of others at Fort Hood yesterday is of a deeply troubled and conflicted individual: As authorities scrambled to figure out what happened at Fort Hood, a hazy and contradictory picture emerged of this son […]

Breaking: Shootings at Fort Hood (Updated)

Seven people are reported to have been killed and twenty injured in a shooting at Fort Hood in Texas: At least seven people are dead and 20 wounded in a mass shooting Thursday at Fort Hood, Texas, and at least one suspect is believed to be holed up in a building and shooting at SWAT […]

From South Park to Afghanistan


StrategyPage: “A patch featuring Kyle from South Park is showing up on helmet bags and off duty clothing in Afghanistan.” I suppose it beats “Kilroy Was Here.”