Over at Time's Battleland blog, they are taking a close look at the Reaper and whether it is really the future of warfare. Or, as Mark Thompson puts it, "they’re not always the wonder weapons some believe." So for the next five days, weapons expert Winslow Wheeler "kicks the tires of the MQ-9 Reaper and, well, finds it lacking."
Read the beginning of the series on Battleland.
And if that doesn't satisfy your urge for all-things-drone, Foreign Policy has "10 Things You Didn't Know About Drones" including how for all the talk of military use, the civilian use is expanding even faster.
With a lot of attention given to the New York Times' dissection of Israel's capabilities to strike Iran, Time's Battleland blog looks at another possibility – could the U.S. effectively disable Iran's nuclear infrastructure?
As former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst tells Time's Mark Thompson, the biggest differentiator between the U.S. and Israel is "the ability to keep going." FULL POST
By Adam Levine
Battlelander Mark Thompson investigated, noting that other blogs are still viewable. As one Marine wrote to Thompson:
"Marines are encouraged to understand the world we serve in, and it comes across as clumsy and heavy-handed censorship when a site is blocked just a few days after an article like “What’s Wrong with the Marines?” is posted [on Battleland]."
Perhaps a coincidence. Marine Captain Kevin Schultz insisted late Sunday to Battleland that there was no blocking of the site and "I don’t know if this was a system glitch or something else."
Hopefully it it a glitch. If not, and you are trying to read Battleland and Security Clearance on your computer, request a waiver.
Read more about this on Time's Battleland blog.
Over at Time's Battleland blog, Mark Thompson has an fascinating story about Daniel Houten, who is in basic training to become an infantryman in the U.S. Army at Fort Benning, Ga. Nothing unusual about another 11 Bravo – except that he recently finished an 18-month tour with the Israeli Defence Forces. The heck with generals and colonels weighing each army’s pluses and minuses – let’s talk to someone who really knows the differences between two of the world’s finest fighting forces.
He may be singing to the choir here, but Private Houten, 20, says the U.S. Army has better food, boots and uniforms than the Israel army he left in June. “The food is better here,” he says. “Americans in general have better equipment, newer equipment.” And he says the Israeli army is a more relaxed, less disciplined outfit than his new employer.
Read more on Battleland
The world's biggest nuclear weapon - the infamous minivan-sized megaton B53 - died Tuesday, of old age. The five-ton bomb was about 50 years old. The Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration announced its passing at the Pantex nuclear plant outside Amarillo, Texas.
Mark Thompson at Battleland blog notes the dismantling is being hailed by the Obama administration as proof of commitment to arms control.
Read the story on Time's Battleland blog.
Moammar Gaddafi's death makes for an interesting punctuation mark in the ever-evolving U.S. approach to war. The key choice: should it be an exclamation point ("We got him! And not a single American died!) or a question mark ("Did we just get lucky? Is this a template for how the U.S. should wage future wars?").
We shouldn't over-learn whatever lessons there are to be gleaned by Gaddafi's demise and the joyful crowds gathering in Tripoli and other Libyan cities. But neither should we be shy about exploring what they might be.
As the nation grapples with its need to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from its future defense budgets every year, one category seems MIA: the nuclear triad. But it's worth noting that those who embrace it tend to be those running it, while the nation's top military officers - who have to juggle competing demands, and not just the nation's nukes - are beginning to weigh the wisdom of the Cold War-era triangle that places atomic weapons atop land-based ballistic missiles, inside the bomb bays and under the wings of long-range bombers, and in missile tubes on submarines constantly patrolling the world's oceans.
The top officer who oversees the triad tells Time's Battleland blog that the redundancy is needed for now but the triad's days are numbered.
"You can have a hollow nuclear force, just like you can have a hollow conventional force," General Robert Kehler, the Air Force officer who runs U.S. Strategic Command told Battleland. "There will be some very tough decisions to make here at certain levels, and whether or not you can then sustain a leg of the triad without it becoming hollow."
Read more on Time's Battleland blog
Tattoos are as old as war. Lots of soldiers get them, with military motifs, girlfriend's names, or various guns, skulls or dragons adorning their skin. Some get something less ornate. As Mark Thompson reports on Time's Battleland blog, when Private First Class Kyle Hockenberry had For those I love I will sacrifice stitched into his flesh he had no idea how prescient he was.