Is an east coast missle shield necessary?
May 21st, 2012
12:15 PM ET

Is an east coast missle shield necessary?

It’s amazing that a country without money can consider building a missile shield against a threat that doesn’t exist, writes Mark Thompson on Time's Battleland blog.

The House has approved a $643 billion defense-spending bill for 2013 that’s $3.7 billion more than the Obama Administration, and its Pentagon, is seeking. That’s just about the same amount the Congressional Budget Office estimates the House bill’s push for an East Coast missile shield will cost over the next five years.

As Thompson writes, while the U.S. has already invested billions building such a West Coast system against the threat of a North Korean missile attack, so why shouldn’t we build a mirror system on the other side of the country to protect its denizens from attack by the Iranians: FULL POST

February 21st, 2012
06:39 AM ET

Could the U.S. military stop Iran?

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

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Filed under: Iran • Israel • Middle East • Military • Nuclear • Time's Battleland blog
February 20th, 2012
08:45 AM ET

Security Clearance not cleared for Marines?

By Adam Levine

Our good friend at Time's Battleland blog got word from some readers that Battleland and apparently our Security Clearance page are no longer visible on Marines' work computers.

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.

Serial private, two armies
February 13th, 2012
10:09 AM ET

Serial private, two armies

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

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Filed under: Army • Israel • Military • Time's Battleland blog
A death in the (nuclear) family
October 26th, 2011
10:57 AM ET

A death in the (nuclear) family

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.


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Filed under: Arms Control • NNSA • Nuclear • Obama • Time's Battleland blog
Is foreign aid hurting Afghanistan?
October 25th, 2011
12:02 PM ET

Is foreign aid hurting Afghanistan?

Some 90% of the money in and around Afghanistan is coming from the United States and its allies. Yet this tidal wave of cash is distorting the Afghan economy, breeding corruption, and creating a dependency that may be tough to break.  On  Time's Battleland blog, Mark Thompson looks at the money flow with  Stephen Biddle, an Afghanistan expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, assess the money flow with John Nagl, president of the Center for a New American Security.

READ and watch the discussion

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Diplomacy • Foreign Policy • Kabul • Karzai • Military • NATO
Lessons from Libya
October 20th, 2011
12:39 PM ET

Lessons from Libya

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.

READ Mark Thompson's take on Battleland

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Filed under: Gadhafi • Libya • Military • NATO • NTC • Obama • Pentagon • Time's Battleland blog
Will U.S. nuclear weapons system be on the budget chopping block?
October 18th, 2011
12:03 PM ET

Will U.S. nuclear weapons system be on the budget chopping block?

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

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Filed under: Budget • Nuclear • Time's Battleland blog