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Breaking Defense

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Unified Quest

Why The Army Wants To Ban Tattoos

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


U.S. Army Set to Ban Certain Tattoos In a culture where even soccer moms now sport tattoos and soccer-themed “tramp stamps” (click the links for some examples), the Army’s recent decision to ban all visible tattoos has prompted a “WTF?” heard round the world. Just watch the video above. But there’s method to the Army’s madness. This… Keep reading →

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Wargame Predicts Army Loses High Tech Edge

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


ARMY WAR COLLEGE: A massive wargame held here this week to explore the “Deep Future” of warfare in the 2030s demonstrated a stark truth — one that Clausewitz enumerated in his famous work, On War — there’s no substitute for sheer numbers, no matter how much high technology the Army buys. That’s an unsettling answer at a… Keep reading →

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Army Brass On Iraq Anniversary: Shock And Awe? Never Again

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON, DC: Ten years to the day after the US invaded Iraq with shock, awe and too few ground troops, the Army is anxious never to repeat the errors of the past. Yet as policymakers not only cut the defense budget — the Army’s portion most of all — but also emphasize… Keep reading →

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The Army’s Navy: Fast Boats, Long-Range Rockets Play In Classified Wargame

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


ARMY WAR COLLEGE: For the last decade, the Army has emphasized “boots on the ground.” Large numbers of foot troops slogged through valley and village, field and town, to safeguard civilians and hunt insurgents. Now, as the largest service looks beyond Afghanistan, a classified wargame about a hypothetical Korean conflict shined a spotlight on high-speed,… Keep reading →

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North Korean Nuclear Threat Drives Army Wargame; Service Shifts To Rebuild WMD Skills

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


ARMY WAR COLLEGE: Hours before Pyongyang conducted its latest nuclear test, military officers here at the Army War College began waging a wargame whose classified scenario is transparently concerned with North Korea. That is not happenstance. [Click here for more coverage of the Army’s “Winter Wargame”] After a decade of guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan and… Keep reading →

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The End Of Advantage: Enemies May Catch Up With US Technology — Or Surpass It

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: “We in the United States are a bit arrogant in thinking [that] we own the technology high ground,” the civilian told the assembled generals. “Technology doesn’t necessarily belong to us and where it goes is not necessarily in our hands.” For six decades, the United States could count on being the planet’s preeminent economic… Keep reading →

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Critics Worry Army’s New Global Operations Plan Poaches On Marines

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


Defense contractors are gearing up to show off their latest at the Washington, DC’s biggest conference of the year, the Association of the US Army’s conference in town next week. Don’t expect many earthshaking announcements at AUSA from the Army itself, which is ramping down its presence and spending at the event significantly. The real… Keep reading →

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Marines, Army Stare Into Face Of Future War; Afghan Lessons Relevant?

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


QUANTICO, Va: Even though the administration’s strategic guidance swears off “large-scale, prolonged stability operations” while emphasizing air and naval forces, the lessons that ground troops learned in Afghanistan and Iraq will remain vitally relevant, both because we will still do stability operations in the future and because those skills apply to other kinds of conflicts… Keep reading →

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Army Looks Beyond Budget Cuts To The ‘Deep Future’

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: Forget sequestration. Never mind fiscal 2013. The Army knows it’s in for a tough decade, not just a tough year — but it’s already thinking way ahead, past 2020. With the Iraq war over, Afghanistan (slowly) winding down, and a new strategy that emphasizes Navy and Marine Corps operations in the Pacific, the Army… Keep reading →

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Army Brass Abuzz About Brain Science: Predictable Irrationality

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY, WASHINGTON: It took 10 years for US troops to become expert on Afghanistan, and they still meet ugly surprises, like the ongoing spate of insider attacks by those they believe to be their allies. For the next war, the Army wants to fast-forward right past that long and painful learning curve. So… Keep reading →

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