africa

An Army reservist conducts medical training.

AUSA: Even as the first wave of 4,000 Army regulars deploys to West Africa, the service’s mobilization command is preparing for a possible call-up of Reserve and National Guard troops to replace them in six months, Lt. Gen. Michael Tucker told me today. “There are no orders yet,” the First Army commander cautioned, just precautionary… Keep reading →

Bradley armored vehicles from the 1st Cavalry Division shipped out in August for a deployment to Eastern Europe.

WASHINGTON: The Mideast may have the spotlight right now, but it’s not the only area that has the Army of Chief of Staff worried. In an uncanny parallel to the 1990s, the end of a large-scale ground deployment — in Europe then, in Iraq and Afghanistan now – has led to steep Army budget cuts even as… Keep reading →

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in happier days, taking command of the Defense Intelligence Agency just two years ago.

In this exclusive exit interview with Breaking Defense contributor James Kitfield, the outgoing chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, talks about metastasizing Islamic terrorism, his struggles to reform intelligence-gathering, and the risk of lurching from crisis to crisis in an Internet-accelerated world.  – the editors. “Disruptive.” That’s how Michael Flynn’s enemies… Keep reading →

SINGAPORE (April 18, 3013) Sailors attached to Forward Liason Element, USS Freedom (LCS 1), observe Freedom as it arrives in Singapore during an eight-month deployment to Southeast Asia. Fast, agile, and mission focused, LCS platforms are designed to employ modular mission packages that can be configured for three separate purposes: surface warfare, mine countermeasures, or anti-submarine warfare. Freedom will remain homeported in San Diego throughout this deployment to Southeast Asia. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Jay C. Pugh/Released)

WASHINGTON: Some 45 football fields and gear worth $5 billion. That’s how much excess inventory and storage room the Defense Logistics Agency has sold or destroyed since the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it’s not finished. DLA’s first sale of surplus equipment to local businesses in Afghanistan is scheduled for next… Keep reading →

US, Ugandan, Tanzanian, and Kenyan troops stand at attention during a joint exercise.

WASHINGTON: Friday’s Navy SEAL raid aimed at capturing the Somali terrorist known as Ikrimah is a glimpse at the future of American warfare, one where a small US combat presence is boosted by widescale support to local forces who bear the brunt of the fighting. The raid itself came like a blitzkrieg from the blue… Keep reading →

Deloitte - top 50 spenders chart - screencap

Deloitte LLP’s 2013 “Global Defense Outlook,” released today, is basically all bad news. Even the silver linings turned to lead when we talked them over this morning with the chief of the defense practice at the giant consulting firm, retired Air Force Gen. Charles Wald. As US defense spending staggers, there are some other places… Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: French forces have made great strides driving al-Qaeda-linked insurgents out of Mali’s major cities, said the Pentagon’s top counterterrorism official, Michael Sheehan. But any long-term solution requires local forces in the lead — not Westerners. And those recent successes in Yemen and Somalia provide a model for Mali — and for Afghanistan after 2014.

Sheehan, the assistant Secretary of Defense for special perations and low-intensity conflict (ASD SOLIC) spoke to scholars, industry officials, and military officers from two dozen countries this afternoon at the National Defense Industrial Association‘s annual SOLIC conference. Across the Maghreb and down to Nigeria, “an inverted L,” he said, “that area in North Africa is becoming awash with different al-Qaeda groups and affiliates.” Keep reading →

[UPDATED with comments from Maj. Gen. Michael Repass, SOCEUR]WASHINGTON: Even the celebrated Special Operations Command is feeling the budgetary bite of Washington dysfunction, SOCOM chief Adm. William McRaven said today.

“I haven’t gone through the list yet,” McRaven told reporters accosting him after a speech, but SOCOM will make cuts “just like the services” (the Air Force, Army, and Navy and Marines have all outlined painful impacts) to accommodate both the continuing resolution, which sets spending at 2012 levels in the absence of a proper appropriations bill, and sequestration, the automatic across-the-board cuts set to take effect in March. Keep reading →


ARLINGTON, Va: Col. Frank Donovan, commander of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was standing on the flight deck of the USS Iwo Jima as the amphibious assault ship sailed near the Horn of Africa one day last October, seven months into a nine-month deployment, when a young lance corporal asked to speak to him.

“I said, ‘Yeah, what’s up?’” Donovan recalls. “And she says, ‘Everyone says we’re America’s nine one one force.’ I said, ‘Yeah, we are.’ She goes, ‘How come no one’s calling?’” This was asked, remember, when the Middle East and Maghreb were boiling over after the Arab Spring ripened.) Keep reading →


As 2013 hurtles towards us, Breaking Defense has asked the experts on our Board of Contributors to forecast the key defense issues of the coming year (click here for the full 2013 forecast series). We kick off the series with this essay from Rachel Kleinfeld, founding president of the aggressively progressive Truman National Security Project.

In a world of tumult, which national security problems will really matter in 2013? Keep reading →

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