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 →

President Francois Hollande

WASHINGTON: The cowards who killed at least 129 unarmed innocents in Paris this evening have provoked the French nation, perhaps beyond endurance. America’s Defense Secretary Ash Carter called the killings “an assault on our common human dignity.” French President Francois Hollande, who appeared grave and saddened as he first spoke of the attacks, later went to… Keep reading →

Confirmation Hearing Held For Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Allen To Take Over Command Of Afghanistan

WASHINGTON: The allied air strikes against ISIL that brought together the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Jordan “are a watershed moment” in the fight to solve terrorism, “the major security issue of our time,” one of the most rational defense lawmakers in Congress said today. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the strikes offered… Keep reading →

Rep Doug Lamborn Colorado

Colorado Republican Doug Lamborn is a fervent advocate for US aid to Israel’s missile defense programs, especially the celebrated Iron Dome. In this op-ed, the House Armed Services Committee member argues that such technologies are just one part of a larger strategy for the survival of Israel: living with perennial threats by regularly cutting them back — often… Keep reading →


We remember.

[UPDATED 9:55 am with Facebook message allegedly from Harroun]

WASHINGTON: Eric Harroun, an American Army veteran who reportedly joined al Nusra, an al Qaeda affiliate, may have been killed in Syria. 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 →

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 →

Despite international perceptions that the Turkey’s Islamic-oriented government has turned its back on its American ally, Ankara’s ambassador to the United States insists that “the relationship has never been so close.”

“That doesn’t mean that we don’t have any disagreements,” Ambassador Namik Tan told reporters this morning. “Turkey is, of course, an independent state.” But Tan affirmed the closeness between the two countries. He particularly emphasized defense procurement, saying that Turkey is still committed to buying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter despite cost and schedule problems that have caused other potential partners, such as Canada, to reconsider. Keep reading →

Rising Republican star Sen. Kelly Ayotte said her “libertarian” and “isolationist” Senate colleagues who would cut defense spending to help solve the budget deficit have abandoned the principles of conservative icon Ronald Reagan.

Speaking at the conservative American Enterprise Institute late Wednesday afternoon, the junior Senator from New Hampshire said that “with the issues that we face, the challenges that we face, I think that none of us in this room would say that this would be a time… that we should be taking significant defense cuts.” Keep reading →

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