Good news for fans of nerdy war books! I’ve just sold my latest nonfiction book to Potomac, the publisher behind my latest title FROM A TO B. My follow-on book will tackle a difficult subject: defining “warfare” for a new generation. SHADOW WARS will blend first-hand accounts of low-intensity conflict with expert analysis of what exactly we mean when we use the word “war.”
Archive of Nov 2011
The Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane just got a little more mysterious. The 29-foot-long reusable mini-shuttle was designed to spend up to 270 days in orbit. The 270th day of the winged spacecraft’s second flight is today, but the military has no intentions of bringing the billion-dollar robotic vehicle back to Earth just yet. “It’s still up there,” Maj. Tracy Bunko told MSNBC.
After the year 2020 ground wars will be more intense and concentrated in the world’s crowded coastal cities. That’s the consensus from a panel of experts including current and retired Army officers and professional analysts.
The Quotable David Axe
When I’m dead, possibly soon, hopefully in an explosion visible from space, this is the quotation I’ll be remembered for.
Peter’s Atlantic Round-Up
Russian President Dimitry Medvedev has announced on national television that in the event of the failure of talks over U.S. and European missile defenses, Russia will opt to re-equip its strategic rocket forces with new nuclear warheads and deploy short-range missiles in areas close to NATO members. “We will not agree to take part in a program that in a relatively short period of time, in five, six or perhaps eight years’ time is capable of weakening our (nuclear) deterrent potential,” Medvedev said. The United States has replied that it will press on with its missile-defense program.
For the small team of U.S. Navy and Air Force commandos in northern Somalia on June 1, 2007, it must have seemed like history repeating itself. While hunting Islamic terrorists in the town of Bargal, the commandos had been pinned down by gunfire. Fourteen years earlier, a similar situation had resulted in the deaths of 18 U.S. servicemembers in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital — a tragedy that’s the subject of the book and movie Black Hawk Down.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has a new maritime patrol plane apparently optimized for finding and destroying submarines. But whose submarines? And how effective will it be?
There is perhaps no better measure of the failure of American strategy over the past decade than the fact that in both Iraq and Afghanistan, tactical objectives have been used to define victory. In particular, both wars have been characterized by an all-encompassing obsession with the methods and tactics of counterinsurgency. To be sure, the tactics of counterinsurgency require political and cultural acumen to build host-nation governments and economies. But understanding the political aspects of counterinsurgency tactics is fundamentally different from understanding core American political objectives and then defining a cost-effective strategy to achieve them. If it is to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past decade, American strategic thinking must regain the ability to link cost-effective operational campaigns to core policy objectives, while taking into consideration American political and popular will.
Opening fire on American troops could mean an instant death sentence for insurgents, if an ambitious new Air Force plan works out. The flying branch has asked industry to develop a new heat and motion sensor capable of detecting enemy gunfire from 25,000 feet over the battlefield — and then swiftly directing a bomb or missile onto the shooter.
Aerospace giant Boeing is in the process of shutting down one of America’s most storied laboratories. “Building 31,” part of Boeing’s research facility in Huntington Beach, California, helped develop some of the Pentagon’s most secretive weapons — that is, until bloated bureaucracy and benefit cuts demoralized and scattered its employees. Under current plans, the 60-year-old lab will close its doors for good in mid-2013.
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up
by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Mexico No story has received as much in attention last week as the death of Mexico’s interior minister, Francisco Blake Mora, in a helicopter crash on the morning of Nov. 11. Effectively the vice president in a country without one, head of domestic affairs and CISEN, Mexico’s equivalent of the CIA, Blake [...]
A decade after the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency flew its first armed Predator drones over Afghanistan, the consensus view is that the U.S. military and intelligence community have achieved a lasting near-monopoly on robotic warfare. The Pentagon and CIA operate the vast majority of the world’s armed Remotely-Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and sponsor most of the cutting-edge research and development for new drones.