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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.
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Bolton: US vs. Iran in Syria; UN chief sees ‘increasingly chaotic’ world; Afghan civilian deaths soar; USAF buys Italian helos; And a bit more.

September 25, 2018 The U.S. will keep troops in Syria as long as Iran is there, too, National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Monday — subtly contradicting senior military leaders who say that the U.S. is there only to fight ISIS, Defense One’s Katie Bo Williams writes in the run-up to this...

Terror strikes Iran; Trump’s UN agenda; How to kill a drone; New details on B-21 bomber; Army misses recruiting goal; And a bit more.

September 24, 2018 Iran is recovering from the deadliest terror attack on its soil in nearly a decade. It happened Saturday in Ahvaz, the provincial capital of Khuzestan, AP reports from funeral services inside the city today. At least 25 were killed and 60 wounded when militants (believed by Iranian officials to have...

New US cyber strategy; Brits to add 2K cyber troops; Army to uparmor 2 BCTs; Rovers on an astroid; Did USAF highball Space Force cost?; And a bit more.

September 21, 2018 The National Cyber Strategy came out Thursday from the White House, after months of prodding from Congress. National Security Adviser John Bolton confirmed earlier reports that it loosens Obama-era restrictions on offensive and retaliatory online actions. The 40-page doc got general praise, including this from Chris Painter, Obama’s top State...

The US-$audi link in Yemen; Kim’s letter to Trump; Calm in Idlib?; Pentagon’s war on scooters; And a bit more.

September 20, 2018 Here’s why the U.S. is still backing the Saudi/UAE war in Yemen: In part, it appears, because SecState Mike Pompeo rejected proposals to end support “after being warned that a cutoff could jeopardize $2 billion in weapons sales to America’s Gulf allies,” the typically-paywalled Wall Street Journal reports, citing “a...

Small steps in Korea; Trump’s threat to FISA; Why 386 squadrons?; Sailor dies on flight deck; And a bit more.

September 19, 2018 Korean leaders appear to have taken a few steps toward denuclearization of the peninsula during Tuesday’s inter-Korean summit part three, which continues today from Pyongyang. The good news: North Korea’s Kim Jong-un “promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad,”...

USAF pushes back on Space Force; Inter-Korean summit; Russian warplane, downed; AI-powered jet-killing boat; And a bit more.

September 18, 2018 Air Force secretary pushes back on Space Force, calls for 24% more squadrons. We’ll get to the news out of the Air Force Association’s big annual conference just outside Washington, D.C., but let’s talk first about a Space Force memo sent Friday by Secretary Heather Wilson. $13B over five years....

Prelude to 3rd Korean summit; Putin, Erdogan meet; How to spread a conspiracy; 1-on-1 with NATO’s Stoltenberg; And a bit more.

September 17, 2018 What to expect at this week’s third inter-Korean summit. AP says South Korean President Moon Jae-in “will have two major tasks” when he meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: “He needs to keep Pyongyang’s talks with Washington on denuclearization from breaking down so that his own efforts at...

NATO in DC; To Syria, or not to Syria; Predicting nuclear war with North Korea; Taliban overrun another Afghan base; Hurricane Florence; And a bit more.

September 14, 2018 This morning: NATO SecGen Jens Stoltenberg visits Washington. He’ll be taking the stage at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank this morning just before lunch. The livestream of his remarks and following panel discussion begins at 11 a.m. EDT, here. Yesterday, Stoltenberg dropped by the Pentagon “to discuss the implementation...

US troops in contact in Somalia; Turkey reinforces Idlib; DARPA is hunting botnets; Kids in cages update; Afghanistan’s Chaplin; And a bit more.

September 13, 2018 In Somalia, with American troops on the ground, U.S. military aircraft hit suspected al-Shabab positions on Tuesday, killing two fighters and wounding another, U.S. Africa Command announced Wednesday morning. Location: the central Somali village of Mubaraak, approximately 37 miles west of Mogadishu. The strike came during a clearance operation in...

Japan downs ballistic missile in test; Al Qaeda ‘very much alive’; The regrets of spy chiefs; And a bit more.

September 12, 2018 How are America’s allies in Yemen doing? Just fine, thanks for asking. As the U.S. Congress requested, SecState Mike Pompeo “certified” the Saudis and Emiratis are “working to avoid harming civilians in Yemen, a determination required by this year’s defense spending bill,” Reuters reports this morning from the State Department....