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Ben Watson

Ben Watson is news editor for Defense One. He previously worked for NPR's “All Things Considered” and “Here and Now” in Washington, D.C. Watson served for five years in the U.S. Army, where he was an award-winning combat cameraman and media advisor for southern Afghanistan's special operations command during the 2010-11 surge.
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US shows ‘Iranian weapons found in Yemen’; China reinforces fake islands; Senator: 30% chance of N. Korean war; 3 things US troops need in Europe; and just a bit more...

December 15, 2017 The U.S. says weapons fragments show Iran is arming Houthi rebels. The Trump administration’s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, made that case Thursday at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. On display: “remnants of what officials say are two ballistic missiles manufactured in Iran, smuggled into Yemen and used...

Suicide attack in Somalia kills 18 police; How US arms wound up in ISIS’ hands; Train-and-equip lives on in Syria; Internet traffic diverted through Russia; and just a bit more...

December 14, 2017 An al-Shabaab suicide bomber, disguised as a policeman, killed 18 officers and wounded 15 others after detonating a rigged vest inside a police academy in the Somali capital of Mogadishu this morning, Agence France-Presse reports this morning. "The bomber could have inflicted more casualties if he could have managed to...

Trump knocks defense bill’s anti-Russia provisions; RexT’s olive branch to North Korea; Conflicts to watch in 2018; Another drone strike in Somalia; And a bit more.

December 13, 2017 The U.S. military is on its way to becoming “perfecto,” President Trump said Tuesday while signing a new $700 billion defense bill. What’s next? A fight over how to pay for it all, Stars and Stripes reports. Trump’s preview: “The defense bill authorizes major investments in our military’s greatest weapon...

Assad set to rule at least 4 more years; Finally, a US ambassador tapped for Seoul; China runs ‘encircling drills’ around Taiwan; EU launches joint defense projects; and just a bit more...

December 12, 2017 President Trump to consent to Assad’s rule for four more years. The White House “is now prepared to accept President Bashar al-Assad’s continued rule until Syria’s next scheduled Presidential election, in 2021,” The New Yorker’s Robin Wright reported Monday, citing “U.S. and European officials.” Why? Not that this is a...

Subway blast in NYC; North Korea’s emerging biothreat; China ups its spy game; US seeks loitering kamizake drones; and just a bit more…

December 11, 2017 Bomb explodes near New York bus terminal: The explosion happened around 7:45 a.m. in a New York Subway pedestrian tunnel below 8th Avenue, near the Port Authority bus terminal. The suspect was found with wires attached to his body, according to multiple reports. Surveillance video shows white smoke filling the...

Shutdown averted, for now; ‘Day of rage’ in Jerusalem; Coalition resumes striking ISIS in Syria; DoD aims to start programs in just 12 months; and just a bit more...

December 8, 2017 Two-week continuing resolution passes. Defense One: “Congress passed a temporary spending measure on Thursday night that will keep the U.S. government running for the next two weeks while lawmakers attempt to pass a yearlong budget.” What that means: Another half-month of spending frozen at last year’s levels, impervious to the...

Olympic-sized safety question; Trump convenes top lawmakers as shutdown looms; Emergency Jerusalem task force stands up; How F-35 might cue missile defenses; and just a bit more...

December 7, 2017 Should U.S. athletes go to the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in South Korea or not? America’s ambassador to the UN says that’s still an open question. Asked on Fox News whether U.S. athletes would be able to compete, Nikki Haley replied: “There’s an open question. I have not heard anything...

US bucks international consensus over Jerusalem; Navy blames Congress for wasting $4B; ISIS war leaves Philippine island in ruins; A drone that drops from a fake bomb; and just a bit more...

December 6, 2017 Despite warnings from more than a dozen nations and organizations, President Trump is scheduled to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, kicking off plans to build a new U.S. embassy there — and quite possibly aggravate tensions with Muslims in the Middle East and across the world. A running list of...

Trump’s military would outspend Reagan’s, CBO says; What’s next for Yemen; US subhunters to return to Iceland; Save the Pentagon’s innovation insurgency; and just a bit more...

December 5, 2017 The projected price of Trump’s military. “By 2027, the base budget (in 2018 dollars) would reach $688 billion, more than 20 percent larger than peak spending during the 1980s,” says a Congressional Budget Office report released Monday. Among CBO’s assumptions: military endstrength would rise about 10 percent, or 237,000 troops;...

Big air exercise over South Korea; Yemen takes turns for the worse; Expect new US natsec strategy within weeks; Beijing confirms basing warplanes in the South China Sea; and just a bit more...

December 4, 2017 “Massive combined air exercise” planned over South Korea. America’s top two stealth fighter jets — the F-35 and F-22 — are among the 230 or so aircraft flying in the five-day Vigilant Ace exercise, the Associated Press reports this morning from Seoul. B-1s might also be involved, but that’s not...