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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 1051-1060 of 1095

U.S. Military Tried to Rescue Foley; Obama Defies Threats With New Iraq Airstrikes

August 20, 2014 This story has been updated. Rejecting the Islamic State’s demands that United States airstrikes in Iraq stop or more journalists would be executed, U.S. military officials announced fresh strikes on the fighters and said President Barack Obama could deploy up to 300 new troops. The announcement on Wednesday came less...

So Much for Demilitarizing Ferguson, Here Comes the National Guard

August 18, 2014 The riotous scene on the streets of the St. Louis, Missouri, suburb of Ferguson swelled again late Sunday, prompting Gov. Jay Nixon to send the state’s National Guard troops in to help restore order to the town. Nixon’s decision to deploy combat troops against protestors and looters is a notable...

U.S. Escalates Iraq Campaign With Barrage of Weekend Strikes for Mosul Dam

August 17, 2014 In an escalation of fighting seemingly beyond President Barack Obama’s original military objectives in Iraq, United States aircraft targeted Islamic State fighters gathered near Iraq’s Mosul Dam as Kurdish soldiers began their offensive to regain control of the key facility on Saturday and Sunday. The airstrikes, in a campaign spanning...

Mission Creep? U.S. Has Nearly 1,000 Troops in Iraq Now

August 13, 2014 The U.S. sent 129 additional military personnel to Iraq to help develop an evacuation plan for tens of thousands of Iraqis stranded on a mountain under threat from Islamic extremists in northern Iraq. The new deployment raises the level of American military personnel in the country to 935, including 250...

U.S. Signs 25-Year Military Pact with Australia

August 12, 2014 The United States and Australia finalized a 25-year deal to more than double the number of American troops training with their Aussie counterparts in a significant step forward for the Obama administration’s contentious “rebalance” to the Asia-Pacific region. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry announced the...

U.S. Air Strikes Are Having a Limited Effect on ISIL

August 11, 2014 The army of Islamist fighters threatening the Kurdish stronghold of Irbil in northern Iraq shows no sign of retreat despite more than a dozen U.S. air strikes on their positions, a top Pentagon official said Monday. Four more air strikes were carried out on Monday, after a barrage of strikes...

ISIL Is Now a ‘Full Blown Army’ in Iraq

July 23, 2014 During an often heated exchange on Capitol Hill, a State Department official told House lawmakers that the brutal extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is no longer “simply a terrorist organization—it is now a full-blown army.” “ISIL is worse than al-Qaeda,” said Brett McGurk,...

Biden Warns of 'Repercussions' Over Ukraine Crash

July 17, 2014 This story has been updated throughout. Vice President Joe Biden said "possible repercussions could flow" from the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 after it was shot down over contested Ukrainian airspace Thursday, as the White House called for an "immediate cease fire" between Russian and Ukrainian factions in the...

Special Operations Commander Says Burden On Elite Troops Is Here to Stay

July 10, 2014 The incoming top commander of the United States military’s elite forces said that Pentagon officials and lawmakers need to ease the burden on special operations troops and their families, who are bending under the compounded stresses of more than a dozen years of war in the world’s most dangerous places....

Hagel Declares ISIL Clear and 'Imminent Threat’ To U.S.

July 10, 2014 Extremists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, pose a “clear and imminent threat” to the United States, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday, singling out lawmakers who may have been underwhelmed by his classified testimony on Iraq and Afghanistan from Capitol Hill on Tuesday. “Make...