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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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It got worse in Yemen overnight: Has Hadi left?; Twitter vigilantes fight ISIS; Obama slows the drawdown; Robert Irvine starts getting fresh at the Pentagon; And a bit more.

March 25, 2015 The situation in Yemen deteriorated all the more overnight as President Hadi reportedly fled the country and Houthi rebels pushed ever closer to a big army base. It looks as if Saudi- and American-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has fled the country to an undisclosed location and Iran-backed Houthi...

New revenue for ISIS; When inter-service rivalry turns deadly; Ghani: thank you for your service!; War by doxxing; Chuck Norris: A-10 fan; And a bit more.

March 24, 2015 This morning, Canada will announce an extension for one year to its military mission against the Islamic State – and expand it to include airstrikes. The AP: “…Canada has 69 special forces soldiers training Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq. They were sent last September on a mission that was...

Who is Capt. Jeremy Haynes?; Yemen on the brink; Thornberry has a plan as the Pentagon shuffles papers; France is the new U.K.; Broadwell doesn’t like “mistress”; And a bit more.

March 23, 2015 Ash Carter hosted an “enhanced” honor cordon on the steps of the Pentagon’s River Entrance early this morning to welcome Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who arrived in D.C. last night. Defense Secretary Carter is speaking right now at the Pentagon about the sacrifices that the more than 850,000 U.S. troops...

More troops for Afghanistan; Vickers, out; "Racial Thursdays?” Will hawks put money and mouth together?; Did Tony Blinken consult on House of Cards?; And a bit more.

March 20, 2015 AP this hour: “Yemen's Shiite rebels say a pair of suicide bombers attacked two mosques in the capital Sanaa. A report on the rebel-owned Al-Masirah TV channel says the bombers attacked the Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques during midday prayers on Friday. Both mosques are controlled by Shiite rebels, known as...

The Pentagon’s Top Intelligence Chief Is Out

March 19, 2015 In a move that had been expected for some time, Michael Vickers, the Pentagon’s top civilian intelligence official, said Thursday he would be stepping down from his job in just six weeks. On Tuesday, Vickers notched his fourth year as under secretary of defense for intelligence, making him the longest-serving...

A Gitmo official departs; A US drone kills a militant in Somalia; Death threats to Kennedy, Lippert up; IAVA: 'The wait we carry'; And a bit more.

March 19, 2015 An analysis of Islamic State Twitter data reveals a few simple steps that Twitter can take right now to make online life much harder for ISIS, Defense One’s Patrick Tucker reports after poring over Brookings’ J.M. Berger and data scientist Jonathon Morgan’s “ISIS Twitter census.” Tucker writes: “The data suggests...

Predator down; DoD on hunt for Yemen assistance; Drone demand, rising; Is the military turning into an entitlement class?; McSteamy comes to the Pentagon; And a bit more.

March 18, 2015 The Pentagon can’t find $500 million in military assistance it provided to Yemen and now there are fears that aircraft, weaponry and other equipment is in the wrong hands. And there’s a risk that the equipment may have fallen into the possession of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels or maybe al-Qaeda, American...

A pause in Tikrit; Cotton, to Defense One, on 'paper resolutions'; Thornberry: no new BRAC; Where are women’s voices in nat-sec? Prince Harry, out; And a bit more.

March 17, 2015 Voter turnout for Israel's elections--just three hours in, so far--is already higher than the previous two elections. Polls close at 4 p.m. EDT today. Meantime, track the developments at Jerusalem Post's live blog here. Meantime, the operation to retake Tikrit is foundering. A critical test of the Iraqi forces effort...

Kerry on Assad; Mullen on Iran; The maritime strategy and what it means for ships; A prostitution ring at Fort Hood; Dakota Meyer puts a ring on it; And a bit more.

March 16, 2015 The UN is bracing for a mass exodus of refugees from two anticipated military offensives involving ISIS—the first from Aleppo, should the group try to take the city; and the second from a likely offensive to push ISIS out of Mosul. McClatchy’s John Zaracostas, here. The proverbial Assad. The State...

The militia factor in Iraq—boon or bust?; ISIS and the U.S.-Mexico border; Carter at the NSA; Mercs flood Nigeria; And a bit more.

March 13, 2015 Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi threw his support behind the Shiite militias in Tikrit, where reportedly the only remaining ISIS fighters are holed up inside one of Saddam’s sprawling palaces. NYTs Anne Barnard from Baghdad: “Mr. Abadi, fresh from visiting troops near Tikrit, fiercely staked claim on Thursday to what...