A California National Guard soldier in Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON: Late Friday, the powerful National Guard Association of the US escalated the already bitter conflict between the Guard community and regular Army leaders by another notch — and they did so in response to something an Army general told Breaking Defense. On Tuesday, Breaking Defense published an interview I’d done with Maj. Gen.  John Rossi,… Keep reading →

South Dakota National Guard soldiers on duty in Afghanistan.

The battle between the regular Army and the National Guard, which we all knew would blow up one of these days, has blown up. At 3:30 this afternoon, the spokesman of the 54 state and territorial Guard commanders, Kentucky Adjutant General Ed Tonini, raised the standard of revolt against the active-duty leadership who had, he said, “slammed their… Keep reading →

Obama speaks at WH on Syrian chemical weapons

This is James Kitfield’s first piece for Breaking Defense since his departure from his award-winning tenure at National Journal. As one of the best defense reporters around, Kitfield’s specialty has always been spotting the big strategic trend first and writing clearly, simply and persuasively about it. Following is a classic example of his work, which… Keep reading →

UN peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Islamists are regrouping in Mali, but France wants to draw its forces down to 1,000 troops, so who will fill the gap? The UN, which already has 5,500 soldiers on the ground? A fragile truce holds in the Central Africa Republic, where more than one million people have been displaced by gruesome fighting between Muslims… Keep reading →

ROK Korea - Utah Army National Guard training

WASHINGTON: Two years ago, the Obama administration announced its “Pacific Pivot” (hastily renamed a “rebalance”), but crises keep yanking US attention back from a rising China to the unstable cradle of civilization (as we predicted at the time): Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic, Syria disintegrated into an increasingly sectarian… Keep reading →


AUSA: The word “cyber” is everywhere these days. It’s an all-purpose adjective slapped onto any concept to attract money and make it sound sexier, from cyberwar to cyberschoolbus to, well, cybersex. (We are not making that last term a link). Cyber and SOF – the Special Operations Forces – are the only parts of the… Keep reading →

The armor plate that saved Spc. Bryan Wagner's life, and the IED fragment that it stopped.

Life or death in wartime is horrifically random, subject to “fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,” but sometimes that randomness generates not tragedy, but miracles. Such is the story of Army Sergeant Roger Daniels. On a patrol in Afghanistan last August, Daniels, then just 21 years old, took a bullet to the head and survived… Keep reading →

An Army M2 Bradley trains at the National Training Center in California in January. Since then, budget cuts have forced the Army to cancel most such exercises.

Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. (1 Samuel 18:7) The web is abuzz over Dillard Johnson, a retired Army sergeant first class whose newly released memoir, Carnivore, claims he killed 2,746 enemy combatants in Iraq with everything from a .25 mm chain gun to a sniper rifle to a hunting knife.… Keep reading →

Way back in World War II, when my father was in the Army, everybody knew somebody in the military. More than half of eligible males were in uniform. During the Vietnam War, despite the exemptions to the draft, more than three million young men served in Southeast Asia. Today, however, after eleven years of war and with the end only sort of in sight, less than one percent of Americans are in the service, largely because we keep sending the same men and women back “over there” again and again and again. Our veterans have gotten very, very good at what they do, but they and their hard-stressed families are increasingly separated from mainstream America. So how do we bridge the gap?

One man, Paul Gleason, has an answer: one handwritten letter at a time. The retired history teacher, not a veteran himself, started writing soldiers in 1965 when one of his students joined the Army and has kept at it ever since: more than 10,000 letters over almost 50 years. Some go to friends he’s made — though sometimes never met — and corresponds with weekly. Since his retirement, he’s camped out at a side table in a local Burger King and cranked out about three letters a day, totaling about 15 handwritten pages. He’s currently corresponding with 10 people, from a young Marine to the widow of a decorated Green Beret who fought in Vietnam. (Click here to watch an NBC video interview with Gleasonand his young Marine Corps pen pal; click here to read a Springfield State Journal-Register profile with more details). Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: On the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, one of the Army’s leading thinkers warned Washington not to learn the wrong lessons.

[Click here from top Army generals on Iraq: Shock and Awe? Never again!] Keep reading →

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