Army National Guard AH-64 Apaches.

ARLINGTON: As it hustles towards a February 1st deadline, the National Commission on the Future of the Army remains pretty tight-lipped on what it’ll say in its report to Congress. Even our usually savvy sources are mostly shrugging their shoulders. However, the commissioners have dropped enough hints for us to make two educated guesses. First, the… Keep reading →

A Navy sailor instructs a Malian police officer

WASHINGTON: Two US special operators assisted with this morning’s hostage rescue operation in Bamako, Mali, a US Africa Command spokesman confirmed. The operators were in Mali already as advisors and so could swiftly respond to support the local forces, Col. Mark Cheadle told me. The Americans advised their Malian counterparts, who conducted the rescue, and physically helped… Keep reading →

Bill LaPlante

WASHINGTON: It may have happened before but I can’t remember when the top acquisition officials of two of the three services announced their resignations in the same month — let alone on the same day. But both Bill LaPlante, the lead buyer for the Air Force, and Heidi Shyu, his counterpart at the Army, did just… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

WASHINGTON: Running weapons programs is a grueling job. Running Army programs, with their history of spectacular failures and cancellations, can be worse. That means Heidi Shyu‘s first achievement is endurance: in one senior position or another, the outgoing Army acquisition chief lasted five years amidst steeply declining budgets. Perhaps her biggest achievement was to keep her sense… Keep reading →

Army photo

ARLINGTON: Pop culture pictures hackers in clean, air-conditioned rooms, working global network magic from a desk. For the Army, though, that’s not enough. If American troops are to prevail against inventive foes in high-tech, close-quarters fights, the hacker elite have to get their boots muddy with the regular grunts. So now the Army’s sending cyber soldiers to… Keep reading →

Submarine launched cruise missile

WASHINGTON: Two years ago, Capt. John Zimmerman and his award-winning Navy team were testing a software upgrade for submarines when they ran into a surprising problem. When they changed the code controlling the Tomahawk missile launchers, the torpedo tubes stopped working. Fortunately, this all happened in a laboratory ashore before the upgrade got anywhere near the… Keep reading →

Wikimedia Commons

[UPDATED with TRADOC & additional Work comment] We’ve talked a lot in these pages about drones and robots, networks and swarms. But there’s new way of looking at these weapons that Bob Work made clear is at the heart of the Defense Department’s high-tech “Third Offset Strategy.” It’s an approach that relies not just on technology… Keep reading →

Army photo

PENTAGON: Newly created, US-trained units are leading the Iraqi Army counteroffensive against the Islamic State, officers of the 82nd Airborne Division said this morning. Yes, the recapture of Ramadi is moving slowly, acknowledged Col. Curtis Buzzard and Maj. Michael Hamilton, but at least it is moving, and the Iraqi troops they mentored are not only… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. graphic

WASHINGTON: The House and Senate Armed Services Committees have found the $5 billion in cuts required under the budget deal. As HASC chairman Mac Thornberry promised, some of them are painful. The committees released the detailed list Tuesday after close of business, formatted into categories only a legislative aide could love, such as “Increases to… Keep reading →

Army photo

WASHINGTON: The Army has another 40,000 troops to cut, but how many of the civilians who support them will have to go? The answer to that is actually getting more uncertain. In July, the service reported to Congress that “total Army-wide civilian reductions through FY19 are expected to be ~17,000.” The more the service wrestles… Keep reading →

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