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Ben Watson

News Editor 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.
Results 1-10 of 1094

Defense One Summit day!; Bleak assessment of war with China and Russia; The uncertain future of C-wire at the border; GOP dodges debate on Yemen war; And a bit more.

November 15, 2018 The U.S. military would very likely lose a war against Russia or China, according to a 116-page report (PDF) from the National Defense Strategy Commission. The blunt assessment: “If the United States had to fight Russia in a Baltic contingency or China in a war over Taiwan, Americans could face...

Mattis visits border; Israeli DM quits over Gaza; More laser money, please; The coming nuclear debates; And a bit more.

November 14, 2018 SecDef Mattis goes to the border. The U.S. Defense Secretary on Tuesday gave reporters about 18 hours' notice he would be heading to America’s southern border today. There, some 7,000 U.S. active duty troops are spread across Texas, Arizona and California helping “harden” river crossings and entry points along the...

Afghan commando unit routed; Another warplane crashes; Threads of global disorder on display in Paris; India joins boomer club; And a bit more.

November 13, 2018 The U.S. might have a kinda big favor to ask of Afghanistan: can you guys hold off on deciding your next president? An electoral delay is “one of several” options that the Trump White House is weighing as a way to continue inching toward a peace settlement with the Afghan...

Yemen war changes; N. Korea continues ICBM production; ICE holding 44,000 people; Rust, DoD’s $21-billion problem; And a bit more.

November 12, 2018 Yemen war change of plans, sort of. The U.S. military will stop refueling Saudi-led coalition aircraft for the war in Yemen, the Pentagon announced Friday evening — shortly after the Saudis said they can do all that on their own now thanks to a newfound “military professionalism and self-sufficiency.” What...

Russia hosts Afghan talks; SecDef, State host Chinese counterparts; House poised to take natsec lead; Navy’s new submarine aggressor unit; And a bit more.

November 9, 2018 Russia is hosting talks between Afghan officials and the Taliban today, CNN’s Nathan Hodge reports from Moscow, emphasizing, “To be clear, Friday's discussions are not peace talks.” In fact, the attending Afghan officials of the “High Peace Council” don’t even officially have the formal stamp of the Afghan government, writes...

UK-DPRK talks, postponed; Trump-Russia investigation twist; China’s robot missile boat; And a bit more.

November 8, 2018 U.S.-North Korea talks about talks are now postponed. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korea’s Kim Yong Chol were scheduled to talk again this month in New York City. But that’s not happening anymore, the Associated Press reports from Seoul. The official State Dept. line: a “scheduling issue”...

What to expect from a new HASC chair; DoD says no to CentCom; ISIS mop-up hits snags; China plans combat drone; And a bit more.

November 7, 2018 Democrats to take over at HASC. The Democrats retook the House of Representatives in yesterday’s elections. That’s expected to turn Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., currently the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, into its chairman. So what to expect? First, demands for more information. Last week, Smith wrote...

Secret new missions in Africa; Border troops’ tick-tock; How Estonia does e-voting; And a bit more.

November 6, 2018 Three new (to us, anyway) classified operations in Africa. On February 9, 2018, Defense Secretary James Mattis designated three new classified contingency operations: Operation Yukon Journey, the Northwest Africa Counterterrorism overseas contingency operation, and the East Africa Counterterrorism overseas contingency operation. These operations “seek to degrade al Qaeda and ISIS-affiliated...

US mayor dies in Afghanistan; Iran’s plan to dodge sanctions; Somalia airstrikes heading for record year; The next arms-control treaty; And a bit more.

November 5, 2018 The mayor of a town in Utah was killed this weekend in Afghanistan. His name: Maj. Brent Taylor, 39 years old, and a father to seven children. He was killed by a member of the Afghan security forces he was training — the second suspected insider attack in two weeks,...

Trump's advice about rock-throwing migrants; Europe tests AI border guards; Is US redefining ‘denuclearization’?; A lesson from Saruman; And a bit more.

November 2, 2018 President Trump wants U.S. troops to shoot migrants who throw stones at them near the Mexican border. That’s the latest from a president who wants perhaps more than anything this election season to be seen as tough on all things immigration-related. Said POTUS45 on Thursday: “If they want to throw...