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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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AUMF falls flat; Dempsey: 20k Iranian-trained militia are in Iraq; $75m of not-lethal weapons for Ukraine; Riyadh going nuclear?; Don’t buy a humvee; And a bit more.

March 12, 2015 An odd consensus emerged from Capitol Hill during yesterday’s hearing on the White House’s ISIS war powers request: Congress is unlikely to authorize it—and it’s not likely to matter. Defense One’s politics editor Molly O’Toole reports that Secretaries Ash Carter and John Kerry as well as Gen. Marty Dempsey yesterday...

A Fla. helo crash and 11 missing; Carter visits Ukrainian war hero – in Bethesda; Why the investigation into Hoss Cartwright is stalled; Boeing and Saab, besties over a bomb; Another AF Tweeter oopsy; And a bit more.

March 11, 2015 Overnight: A National Guard Blackhawk carrying 7 Marine special operators from Camp LeJeune, along with its four Louisiana NG crew members, very possibly crashed near a remote beach under a fog advisory last night in the Florida panhandle. All 11 on board are currently still unaccounted for more than four...

Locklear on the shortlist; Outrage over Republicans' Iran letter; A VA manager: “oh my goodness;” Lippert feels “pretty darn good”; Get unconfused about general-speak; And a bit more.

March 10, 2015 Palace intrigue: The Pentagon asked Locklear not to retire and now he’s on the shortlist for Chairman. The retirement of Adm. Sam Locklear, now the commander of U.S. Pacific Command, has been held up for months, feeding speculation that he could have been under investigation by Justice Department authorities over...

An assault on Boko Haram; Dempsey in Iraq; Is IS fraying?; The Navy doesn’t need any more money; Check out what was in the carry-on of a North Korean envoy; And a bit more.

March 9, 2015 A Chadian general says this morning that forces from Chad and Niger have crossed into Northeast Nigeria to attack Boko Haram. That after a resident reported witnessing some 200 military vehicles from the assault crossing the border into Nigeria. AP, here. Meantime, U.S. Special Forces are close to the right...

U.S. strategy in Iraq increasingly based on Tehran; Where are all the women at Aspen Security Forum; Eight Rs and three Ds want WH to do more on Ukraine; And a bit more.

March 6, 2015 Some experts will tell you that the only way Obama can stick with his strategy in Iraq is to “implicitly assume” that the Iranians will be doing all the heavy lifting there. Washington is waking up to a new narrative about the war in Iraq: Iran is playing an enormous...

After knife attack, Lippert will “sailor on”; Carter: Everybody STFU?; The betrayal of an elite Marine commando unit; Different spanks for different ranks?; And a bit more.

March 5, 2015 Former Pentagon chief of staff Mark Lippert, now the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, was knifed in a bizarre attack yesterday before he was supposed to give a speech. Initial reports said that the attacker, a 55-year-old man named Kim Ki-jong, had attacked Lippert with a razor. But by this...

The fall of King David; Austin wasn’t surprised about Tikrit; Dempsey leans forward on Ukraine; No ‘stache for Welsh; A reception for Turner; And a bit more.

March 4, 2015 David Petraeus lied to the FBI about those little black books but has agreed to a plea deal in which he’ll pay $40,000 and serve no jail time. The fall of the celebrity general sometimes known as “King David” is now over and the the next chapter, his Washington ressurection,...

Kendall warns about U.S. stockpiles; Allen handicaps the war; Dempsey on budget: no margin left for error; Defense One hires Peniston; What’s Barney style?; And a bit more.

March 3, 2015 After six months of airstrikes across northern Iraq and Syria, the U.S. military and its allies are re-evaluating the size of their bomb stockpiles. Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber reports: “The Air Force alone wants to spend more than $700 million on 5,567 Hellfire missiles in 2016. Some missiles have been...

Overnight: a military op in Tikrit; Mosul delayed; Is mil retirement system too sweet? Better know a Sunni, Shiite; Too soon? SNL’s ISIS skit; And a bit more.

March 2, 2015 A massive operation to clear ISIS from Tikrit kicked off overnight: The Iraqi security forces launched a large offensive with Sunni and Shiite fighters to take back the town of Tikrit from ISIS. AP’s Sinan Salaheddin from Baghdad: “Al-Iraqiya television said that the forces were attacking Tikrit from different directions,...

On Ukraine, Clapper is on board; 75 days with no fatality; North Korea gets antsy; FUDD: “Now, easy for a woman;” And a bit more.

February 27, 2015 Noting: Yesterday marked 75 days with no military fatalities, the longest period since 2001. Fred Boenig, the father of a U.S. airman who died in Afghanistan, reminded the national security community of that yesterday after his comments were picked up by news outlets during a panel discussion yesterday. Boenig, to...