WASHINGTON: The American military isn’t ready “at all” for an “era of radical transparency…. where every single thing a US soldier or Marine does on the ground is recorded and tweeted,” Paul Scharre says. In the past, I’ve mostly talked to Scharre about drones. He’s a technophile who thinks mini-robots, exoskeletons, and precision-guided rifles could revolutionize… Keep reading →

Lockheed Martin's prototype JLTV

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is protesting the Army’s award of the 55,000-truck Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program to rival Oshkosh. The other losing bidder, Humvee-maker AM General, announced today that it will not protest. Lockheed provided me the following statement after I asked them about the AM General announcement: “After evaluating the data provided at… Keep reading →

Navy photo

Think of it as Google Glass goes to war — only less nerd and more Marine. Budget cuts and readiness shortfalls have the US military looking at virtual reality as a partial replacement for expensive field exercises. But VR has real limits. So this month, young Marines at the Infantry Officer Course in Quantico tested a… Keep reading →

Marine V-22 in Monrovia for Ebola support

PENTAGON: The head of Marine aviation is talking with Boeing about costs and ways to upgrade more than half of the service’s 239 V-22 Ospreys to improve readiness. The basic plan would be to improve all 131 of the A and B models of the V-22 to the C level,  Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, told me in an interview… Keep reading →

F-35B with asymmetric weapons load

When Defense Secretary Bob Gates put the F-35B on “probation” and Sen. John McCain became his powerful echo chamber, we responded on the pages of Breaking Defense that these actions were misguided. We had spent many hours with the pilots, maintainers, builders, designers, and testers of the aircraft, and came to a very different conclusion: “The F-35B… Keep reading →

WASHINGTON  As journalists, we often hear chatter in the Pentagon about how much better things would be for the Army, Navy or Air Force if they just had a better story, or told their story better. The Marines don’t need to worry about this, of course, because they tell their own stories better than the… Keep reading →

A Marine F-35B in vertical landing mode.

WASHINGTON: The first variant of the most expensive conventional weapons program ever is now officially ready for combat. In one of his last acts as Marine Corps Commandant, future Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford announced today that the Marine model of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35B vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) version, has… Keep reading →

Marines perform first F-35B vertical take-off, landing at Eglin

UPDATED with Frank Kendall’s vote of confidence WASHINGTON: During the Marine’s recent operational readiness test of the F-35B, four of the Marine aircraft went up against nine enemy aircraft. “It went very poorly for the bad guys,” Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, told me this afternoon. Davis provided few details, saying they… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

CAPITOL HILL: UPDATE BEGINS The administration’s nominee for Marine Corps Commandant, Lt. Gen. Bob Neller, set off a firestorm from Sen. John McCain this morning. After two hours of an otherwise congenial confirmation hearing, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman erupted over Neller’s description of the current administration strategy against the Islamic State. That strategy relies on airpower and advisors… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: A select group of 12 Marines in Yuma, Ariz. began testing the first squadron of F-35B pilots, inspecting their aircraft and checking maintenance procedures and personnel yesterday as the end game for declaring Initial Operating Capability for the aircraft before the end of July. “Initial operating capability (IOC) for the Marine Corps F-35B is… Keep reading →

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