Recent Voices

Voice

Iran’s $300 Billion Shakedown

Sanctions relief should be a reward for ending Iran’s nuke program. But the current deal is a massive payment to temporarily put it on hold.

Best Defense

Memories of Vietnam (III): Bombing our way out of being encircled by the VC

We ceded our right (East) flank on the river and drew closer toward the center. Our center lost the two main trench lines and we were forced back to the edge of the jungle basecamp clearing. This became increasingly difficult as it allowed the VC 51 caliber's to fire with great effect. The Rangers were forced to hug the ground and seek cover behind any low root or ground. No one could raise their head more than six inches without risking a hit. While the BDQ was forced closer together, the concentrated enemy fire made it increasingly difficult to effectively defend the position.

Best Defense

Memories of Vietnam (II): Surprised to be surrounded by a huge Viet Cong force

As we went on short final into the LZ, we could see less and less until on the ground, we could see nothing. The strikes had set the grass and dried brush on fire and I couldn't see 10 feet. Between the helicopters churning dust, the swirling diesel fumes and the burning grass and palms, we were completely isolated. SFC Swyers, Cpt Tot, his RTO's and myself, took a compass direction and headed off the LZ.

Voice

Where Have All the Arab States Gone?

The Arab world’s a mess and its leaders don’t appear ready to assume much responsibility for fixing it. Maybe it’s time for the rest of us to start demanding they step up.

Voice

Kill > Capture

The Obama administration's explicit policy is to capture suspected terrorists, not drone them. So why is there so much droning and so little capturing?

Best Defense

Rebecca’s War Dog of the Week: Postcard from Ukraine: strays in foxholes, the legacy continues

Over the last year or so, there have been a lot of wire photos coming in from the front lines of fighting in Ukraine showing muddied and embattled soldiers and volunteer fighters sharing a quiet or comforting moment with a stray dog.

Best Defense

Air Force removes A-10 ‘treason’ general

The Air Force general who said that supporting the A-10 close air support aircraft was a form of treason has been slapped down and removed from his post, the Air Force said.

Voice

The Arab NATO

The new 40,000-strong Arab League “response force” is all about countering Iran. Get ready for tense times and strange bedfellows in the Middle East.

Best Defense

A few good men, women… anybody? Finding qualified recruits becoming more difficult for the military’s combat forces

Though the armed forces adapt their physical training programs to account for emerging environmental factors influencing troops' fitness, there is only so much they can do with the raw material.

Voice

‘Here They Can Be Themselves’

How the trials and triumphs of an ancient transgender community could make headway for the slow-moving fight against a blame-the-victim culture in India.

Best Defense

‘The End of Big’: Evidence that the trends apply to our big armed forces as well

If you are looking for books on how institutions and organizations respond societal and technological shifts, I think Nicco Mele’s book The End of Big provides a good overview for how these trends are shaping 21st Century organizations.

Best Defense

‘Ghost Fleet’: Now sailing your way

The ferocious pollen assault on D.C. this week has had me reeling for the last couple of days, so I used the enforced downtime to read Ghost Fleet, a neat new thriller by P.W. “Wired for War” Singer and August Cole.

Best Defense

How to fix the CGSC

Recently “Nonny Maus” wrote an article about how bad the US Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) has become. What his article missed was that there has been an ongoing conversation by those that have attended CGSC as to how bad it really is.

Best Defense

CGSC: Despite an internal report, it is still screwed up — and may become more so

A year and a half ago a short article for Best Defense blasted the Army’s Command and General Staff College for the problems inherent in its bloated schedule. Indeed, CGSC’s own research into its officer course, as part of its Campaign Plan 2014, found that its “schedule is unpredictable, poorly synchronized, and overtaxes students while under-challenging them.”

Voice

A Transaction Does Not a Deal Make

The nuclear deal is still in the motions of negotiation. And what the United States needs from Iran -- before we can really call this a success -- is a transformation.

Best Defense

Little comfort for this Navy skipper

The commander of the USNS Comfort got the big boot last Monday, just days before the ship deployed. Interestingly, her predecessor also was relieved.

Best Defense

Misunderstanding wars in Yemen, Vietnam, and Yemen once again

There’s an moment in the 2003 documentary The Fog of War in which former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara lays out what he got wrong in Vietnam. “We saw Vietnam as an element of the Cold War,” he says. “Not what they [the Vietnamese] saw it as: a civil war.” I thought of that the other day as I listened to Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, talking about the Saudi intervention in Yemen.

Best Defense

Rebecca’s War Dog of the Week: RIP Sarbi, the Aussie dog who went MIA in Afghanistan and survived

Almost exactly five years ago, we shared a post about Sarbi, a bomb-sniffing dog with the Australian Special Operations Task Group who was went MIA after a Taliban ambush in 2008. (Both Sarbi and her handler, Army Warrant Officer David Simpson, were wounded in the battle.) In a stroke of luck, some 14 months later, a U.S. soldier noticed a black Labrador with a local Afghan villager and even from a distance could see she was no ordinary Afghan hound.

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    March 2015 Issue Cover