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August 15, 2007 Focusing on a minor player lets the military claim short-term progress in Iraq, but it leaves the main problem unsolved. Just weeks after an American-led coalition ejected the Iraqi army from Kuwait in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, a delegation from Iraq's largest Sunni Arab tribes traveled to Saddam Hussein's...

Defense Dollars

August 15, 2007 Politics, war drawdown will determine Defense spending. Two questions will determine future defense spending. First, will the new Democratic majority in Congress put the brakes on what have been record levels? Second, what will happen to spending if, as seems likely, a drawdown in Iraq begins in 2008? The answer...

Adapt Or Die

August 1, 2007 Soldiers need a new set of skills and qualities to succeed at counterinsurgency. "Forget everything you've been taught about this place, because it's either wrong or it's useless. Your education begins now," Army Sgt. James Jennings told a group of soldiers new to Baghdad in 2005. The grizzled veteran tried...

Buildup Bluster

July 1, 2007 If an Iraq drawdown is nigh, why are we adding 92,000 combat troops to the Army and Marines? It says a lot about former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's skill at bureaucratic politics that it took his leaving the Pentagon before the Bush administration could reverse itself and come out in...

Homemade Bombs, High-Tech Response

June 15, 2007 The Pentagon is throwing everything it's got against improvised explosive devices but missing the real targets. Iraqi insurgents have turned their country's roads into every shifting minefields. They move their roadside bombs daily, even hourly, stalking U.S. troops. The U.S. Army is vehicle-dependent in Iraq. In the lattice of the...

The Sky’s the Limit

June 15, 2007 The new manual for irregular warfare overlooks air power, Air Force officials say. The Air Force feels left out of the counterinsurgency debate. What's particularly galling to some officials is that the role of air power was relegated to a five-page annex at the back of the new Army and...

Launching a New Navy

May 15, 2007 Shipbuilding and buying bungles beset the Navy's top officer, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, as he sets the service on a new course. The story in Navy shipbuilding in recent years has been runaway costs, delayed deliveries and an ever shrinking battle fleet. Now, the Navy has had enough, and is...

Staying in the Fight

May 15, 2007 Troop tours lengthen, but no one agrees on the right duration for deployments. When word leaked out from the Pentagon in April that yearlong combat deployments for Army soldiers in Iraq were extended to 15 months, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was fuming. Top military officials said they were angry because...

Fighting Folly

May 1, 2007 The Army is developing the most expensive and complex weapons system in its history, but it's based on some very questionable concepts. The Army bought what has become one of the Pentagon's most costly and problem-plagued weapons programs during a post-Cold War identity crisis. Locked in a political battle for...

If It Ain’t Broke

May 1, 2007 Before accepting dire assessments of Army readiness, it's worth asking: Ready for what? Table 8 is the Super Bowl of live-fire gunnery practice for Army tank crews. It's a Top Gun shootout where bragging rights go to the crew that most rapidly destroys multiple pop-up enemy tanks on a mock...

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