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Checkpoint Washington: August, 2011

Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 08/31/2011

The impact of Gen. David Petraeus, in four takes

Four defense experts reflect on the career of the most recognized military officer of his generation.

By Jason Ukman  |  10:15 AM ET, 08/31/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:30 AM ET, 08/31/2011

A report card on post-Sept. 11 reforms

Bipartisan group says in new assessment that the nation is “not yet prepared for a truly catastrophic disaster.”

By Jason Ukman  |  05:30 AM ET, 08/31/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:44 AM ET, 08/30/2011

In video, Assad loyalists mob U.S. envoy to Syria

Ambassador Robert Ford is rushed into van by security team in new footage

By Jason Ukman  |  08:44 AM ET, 08/30/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:58 PM ET, 08/29/2011

Libyan opposition leaders rule out major role for foreign peacekeepers; U.N. shifts planning

Decision reflects coalition’s growing confidence in its ability to manage any security vacuum

By Colum Lynch  |  04:58 PM ET, 08/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 08/29/2011

A Marine reflects on the new Walter Reed

Marine Cpl. Tyler Southern says the opening of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is “akin to reuniting family.”

By Jason Ukman  |  01:15 PM ET, 08/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:39 AM ET, 08/29/2011

Did U.S. forces mistakenly kill an Afghan journalist?

Independent report suggests Uruzgan reporter Omaid Khpulwak may have been killed by Americans during a counter-attack.

By Jason Ukman  |  08:39 AM ET, 08/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:55 PM ET, 08/26/2011

An Army general takes some grief for his books

Critics finding fault with titles picked by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the outgoing Army chief of staff

By Greg Jaffe  |  12:55 PM ET, 08/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:23 AM ET, 08/25/2011

Chinese cyberwar video goes missing

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By Ellen Nakashima and Jason Ukman  |  10:23 AM ET, 08/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:30 AM ET, 08/25/2011

A bin Laden expert bets on al-Qaeda’s survival

Ex-CIA official Michael Scheuer pushes back against suggestions al-Qaeda is on the brink of collapse, and that its new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, isn’t up to the task

By Jason Ukman  |  07:30 AM ET, 08/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 08/24/2011

Libyan rebels use drone against Gaddafi

The 3-pound helicopter-like drone carries both day-time and night-time cameras and flies almost soundlessly at 500 feet.

By Peter Finn  |  07:00 PM ET, 08/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:33 PM ET, 08/24/2011

U.S. diplomats try to work around South Africa to unfreeze funds for Libya rebels

Proposal to release a portion of Moammar Gaddafi’s billions faced opposition this week in a U.N. committee on sanctions

By Colum Lynch  |  02:33 PM ET, 08/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:30 AM ET, 08/24/2011

When Gaddafi’s compound was a quieter place

Three years ago, Bab al-Aziziya was the scene of a much-ballyhooed visit by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who sat down with the Libyan leader for formal talks and later shared a late-night dinner with him to break the Ramadan fast

By Jason Ukman  |  07:30 AM ET, 08/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:59 PM ET, 08/23/2011

U.S. ambassador defies Syrian restrictions

Syrian officials had clamped restrictions on Ambassador Ford’s travel in the country following his surprise trip last month to the city of Hama, a visit intended to show support for pro-democracy demonstrators there.

By Joby Warrick  |  04:59 PM ET, 08/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:48 PM ET, 08/23/2011

U.S. opens valve on funds for Libyan rebels

Obama administration announces plans to release up to $1.5 billion to alliance, money that could be available for humanitarian relief within days.

By Joby Warrick  |  03:48 PM ET, 08/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:01 PM ET, 08/23/2011

Vice President Biden taking heat back home for his remark on China’s one-child policy

Republicans, anti-abortion groups condemn vice president for comment in which he appeared to support policy

By Jason Ukman  |  01:01 PM ET, 08/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:42 AM ET, 08/23/2011

Libya war costs for U.S.: $896 million so far

Whether that makes the mission a huge drain on the budget or a relatively cheap price to pay to protect Libyan civilians depends on your point of view.

By Jason Ukman  |  09:42 AM ET, 08/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:47 AM ET, 08/23/2011

Afghanistan set to get huge supply of military gear

U.S.-led coalition will deliver vehicles, airplanes and helicopters, as well as 40,000 weapons, to government in Kabul

By Joshua Partlow  |  07:47 AM ET, 08/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:31 PM ET, 08/22/2011

Muted reaction to Libya from Republican candidates

Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman had been critical of President Obama’s decision to intervene militarily

By Jason Ukman  |  01:31 PM ET, 08/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 08/22/2011

The lesson of Libya: Limited intervention can work

Gerald Knaus, author of “Can Intervention Work?”, talks about what the conflict means for policymakers in other conflicts.

By Jason Ukman  |  11:18 AM ET, 08/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:09 AM ET, 08/22/2011

In race for the Arctic, U.S. is largely sidelined

As the potential of the region grows, there are concerns that other nations are taking advantage and leaving the United States behind

By Alice Fordham  |  08:09 AM ET, 08/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:19 PM ET, 08/21/2011

Libyan Americans cheer news from Libya

A group of about 40 Libyan Americans is gathered right now outside the White House, banging drums and chanting in English and Arabic in celebration of the Gaddafi news.

By Felicia Sonmez  |  10:19 PM ET, 08/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:14 AM ET, 08/20/2011

Panetta: Iraqis want some U.S. troops to stay

“My view is that they finally did say yes,” Panetta responded. “It was unanimous consent among the key leaders of the country to go ahead and request that we negotiate on some kind of training, what a training presence would look like.”

By Craig Whitlock  |  06:14 AM ET, 08/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:50 PM ET, 08/19/2011

Terrorism report arrives with a whimper

Even the administration itself seemed to find little news in the document--there were none of the usual previews and briefings that have accompanied release of the annual report in years past.

By Karen DeYoung  |  05:50 PM ET, 08/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:57 PM ET, 08/19/2011

Pentagon may expand cyber-security program

Officials say the pilot program, which relies on classified threat “signatures” to detect malicious code before it penetrates a network, is showing signs of success

By Ellen Nakashima  |  01:57 PM ET, 08/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:44 PM ET, 08/19/2011

International Court lacks jurisdiction over Syria

Only the U.N. Security Council, which is divided over how to respond to the Syrian crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad, can grant the prosecutor the authority to start a prosecution

By Colum Lynch  |  01:44 PM ET, 08/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:16 AM ET, 08/19/2011

North Korea and U.S. to discuss POW remains

Roughly 8,000 U.S. members remain missing, with 5,500 of them believed to be buried in North Korea, according to the Pentagon.

By William Wan  |  10:16 AM ET, 08/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:30 AM ET, 08/19/2011

Military bulks up to protect against groin injuries

As a result of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, troops in Afghanistan are suffering more and more blunt trauma injuries to their pelvic areas and genitals

By Walter Pincus  |  07:30 AM ET, 08/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:34 PM ET, 08/18/2011

U.N. blasts Syrian leaders on human rights

The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights accused the Syrian government of engaging in a “pattern of human rights violations that constitutes widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population, which may amount to crimes against humanity.”

By Colum Lynch  |  04:34 PM ET, 08/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:37 PM ET, 08/18/2011

U.S. sending North Korea emergency aid

Plans to deliver aid, announced on Thursday, come at a time when North and South Korea have tried to improve relations, with the United States playing a key role

By William Wan  |  02:37 PM ET, 08/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:01 PM ET, 08/18/2011

How the U.S. message on Assad shifted

It took about five months from the start of the Syrian uprising for the Obama administration to make the leap to saying President Assad should “step aside.”

By Scott Wilson  |  02:01 PM ET, 08/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:58 AM ET, 08/18/2011

Obama: Syrian President Assad must step down

Symbolically significant step intended to ratchet up pressure on the government five months after the start of the uprising in that country.

By Jason Ukman and Liz Sly  |  09:58 AM ET, 08/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:57 AM ET, 08/18/2011

When a ‘luxury tax’ paid the way for war

Lawmakers might not want to levy a war tax to pay for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but their predecessors have always been willing to do so, at times by taxing

By Walter Pincus  |  07:57 AM ET, 08/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:01 PM ET, 08/17/2011

U.S. puts curbs on Syrian diplomats

Weeks after Syria clamped restrictions on the movement of American diplomats there, the State Department has returned the favor

By Joby Warrick  |  07:01 PM ET, 08/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:07 PM ET, 08/17/2011

Intel panels to take stock of post-9/11 progress

House and Senate committees to reprise joint sessions that laid bare the failings of the nation’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies to detect or prevent the al-Qaeda plot

By Greg Miller  |  12:07 PM ET, 08/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:35 AM ET, 08/17/2011

Moammar Gaddafi: Are his days ‘numbered’?

Libyan leader has repeatedly defied U.S. officials’ predictions of his demise

By Jason Ukman  |  10:35 AM ET, 08/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:10 PM ET, 08/16/2011

State Dept. overseeing some intel in Iraq

With U.S. troops still planning to withdrawal by year’s end, Army hands contract for intelligence services to the diplomats

By Walter Pincus  |  04:10 PM ET, 08/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:10 PM ET, 08/16/2011

Clinton defends U.S. response on Syria

Clinton also sought to portray the Obama administration’s policy in both Syria and Libya as examples of “smart power,” a strategy she has often championed that emphasizes collective action and international consensus over unilateral solutions that rely disproportionately on American troops and treasure.

By Joby Warrick  |  03:10 PM ET, 08/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:28 PM ET, 08/16/2011

Sept. 11, 2001, anniversary: Share your story

Now that a decade has passed, The Washington Post wants to explore your reflections and stories about 9/11.

By Anup Kaphle  |  02:28 PM ET, 08/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:25 PM ET, 08/15/2011

Drones descend on Washington

Associated of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International holding annual conference in capital as interest in drones rises

By Jason Ukman  |  02:25 PM ET, 08/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:58 AM ET, 08/15/2011

Why no living Medal of Honor recipients in Iraq?

In Afghanistan, there have been three living recipients, but in the Iraq conflict, not a one

By Greg Jaffe  |  07:58 AM ET, 08/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:10 PM ET, 08/12/2011

Former Marine to be awarded Medal of Honor

Dakota Meyer, a former turret gunner and scout sniper from Kentucky, is only the third living veteran of the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts to be chosen for the honor, and the first living Marine to designated for the award since 1973.

By Joby Warrick and Greg Jaffe  |  07:10 PM ET, 08/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:39 PM ET, 08/12/2011

Afghan strategy scores low on report card

The RAND Corporation has created a scorecard of counter-insurgency derived from factors contributing to victory or defeat in 30 wars against insurgent groups.

By Alice Fordham  |  05:39 PM ET, 08/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 08/12/2011

Army suicides hit record in July

The high number of active duty deaths represents a setback for the Army, which has put a heavy focus on reducing the number of deaths in recent years.

By Greg Jaffe  |  02:00 PM ET, 08/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:59 PM ET, 08/11/2011

DARPA loses contact with hypersonic aircraft

Pentagon agency had hoped for successful test of vehicle designed to travel 13,000 mph

By Jason Ukman  |  04:59 PM ET, 08/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:28 PM ET, 08/11/2011

Clarke airs suspicions over Sept. 11 intel failures

Richard Clarke, a former White House counter-terrorism adviser, said he now suspects the CIA hid its knowledge that two of the Sept. 11 hijackers had entered the United States because the agency had tried – and failed – to recruit them as informants.

By Greg Miller  |  04:28 PM ET, 08/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:12 PM ET, 08/11/2011

Pentagon agency tests hypersonic aircraft

Unmanned vehicle, launched from California, designed to travel at 13,000 mph.

By Jason Ukman  |  01:12 PM ET, 08/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:41 AM ET, 08/11/2011

Pentagon releases official list of dead from crash

Fatalities include 17 Navy SEALs

By Jason Ukman  |  11:41 AM ET, 08/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:43 PM ET, 08/10/2011

White House to call for Syria’s Assad to step down

The senior administration official said “the policy decision has been all but made” on telling Assad to leave office.

By Mary Beth Sheridan  |  05:43 PM ET, 08/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:48 PM ET, 08/10/2011

Rep. King: Has Hollywood been given inside scoop on the bin Laden story?

Congressman calls for investigation into what access administration has provided to director Kathryn Bigelow, Sony Pictures

By Jason Ukman  |  02:48 PM ET, 08/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:30 PM ET, 08/10/2011

U.S. sanctions Syrian bank linked to oil exports

The new penalty on the Commercial Bank of Syria, a state-owned institution, was the latest step in the administration’s efforts to tighten the noose around President Bashar al-Assad.

By Mary Beth Sheridan and David Nakamura  |  02:30 PM ET, 08/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:42 PM ET, 08/10/2011

China tests first aircraft carrier

The aircraft carrier – a retrofitted former Soviet ship called the Varyag – has been long awaited and seen as the first step in a long-term plan by China to eventually build from scratch a handful of carriers of its own as part of a wider ramping up of its maritime might.

By William Wan and Keith B. Richburg  |  01:42 PM ET, 08/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 08/10/2011

Pentagon to release names of troops killed in helicopter crash

Panetta denied request by the U.S. Special Operations Command to not release identities.

By Craig Whitlock  |  12:00 PM ET, 08/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:20 AM ET, 08/10/2011

Strike kills insurgents who downed helicopter in Afghanistan, top commander says

Insurgent leader initially sought by special forces not among the dead

By Craig Whitlock  |  10:20 AM ET, 08/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:16 PM ET, 08/09/2011

Remembering the fallen: Troops are identified in helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan

Some troops who died in Saturday’s helicopter crash have been identified in local media outlets.

By Julie Tate and Jason Ukman  |  02:16 PM ET, 08/09/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:34 PM ET, 08/09/2011

Remains of 30 troops returned to U.S.

Panetta, Mullen and other VIPs from Defense Department travel to Dover for ceremony

By Craig Whitlock  |  12:34 PM ET, 08/09/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:27 AM ET, 08/09/2011

U.S. troops, pulled from Afghanistan’s Pech Valley just months ago, are back again

Army had largely withdrawn forces from area considered one of the most deadly in the country, but now is sending them back.

By Jason Ukman  |  08:27 AM ET, 08/09/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:24 PM ET, 08/08/2011

Pentagon bans media coverage of ceremony to return remains of soldiers killed in helo crash

Coverage is typically permitted, as long as families of deceased consent

By Craig Whitlock  |  04:24 PM ET, 08/08/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:57 PM ET, 08/08/2011

Panetta: A familiar role at a time of grief

After helicopter crash, Defense Secretary’s message echoes remarks after attack on CIA base

By Jason Ukman  |  02:57 PM ET, 08/08/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:21 PM ET, 08/06/2011

Helicopter crash in Afghanistan statement

Statement says: The incident represents the highest number of U.S. forces killed during a single event in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

By Craig Timberg  |  04:21 PM ET, 08/06/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 08/06/2011

A tragic day

President Obama’s statement on the helicopter crash in Afghanistan

By Washington Post staff  |  11:02 AM ET, 08/06/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:31 PM ET, 08/05/2011

Cuba rejects appeal of U.S. contractor Alan Gross

American contractor had been sentenced to 15 years for distributing satellite communications equipment and computer gear to island’s Jewish community

By Jason Ukman  |  01:31 PM ET, 08/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:35 AM ET, 08/05/2011

Roundup on debate over defense spending

An explainer on “sequestration” process, and arguments for how to make the cuts

By Jason Ukman  |  09:35 AM ET, 08/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:18 PM ET, 08/04/2011

Panetta warns against ‘doomsday’ cuts of $600 billion in defense spending

Defense secretary says “doomsday mechanism” would harm national security.

By Jason Ukman  |  04:18 PM ET, 08/04/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:58 PM ET, 08/04/2011

U.S. adds Syrian businessman to sanctions list

Muhammad Hamsho has close ties to President Bashar al-Assad and his brother Mahir

By Mary Beth Sheridan  |  01:58 PM ET, 08/04/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:48 AM ET, 08/04/2011

U.S. Joint Forces Command formally dissolved

Virginia officials had sought to preserve command, fearing loss of jobs

By Jason Ukman  |  10:48 AM ET, 08/04/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:22 PM ET, 08/03/2011

Gen. James Cartwright, maverick who ‘jolted the system,’ is honored at Marine Barracks

Outgoing vice chairman of Joint Chiefs was foremost thinker on cyber issues

By Ellen Nakashima  |  06:22 PM ET, 08/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:39 AM ET, 08/03/2011

Who stands where on the drawdown in Afghanistan

New interactive chart from Afghanistan Study Group plots opinion-makers in relations to their views

By Jason Ukman  |  09:39 AM ET, 08/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:04 AM ET, 08/03/2011

In Iraq, why American troops might stay

Special Forces, trainers could be used to maintain security gains

By Alice Fordham  |  08:04 AM ET, 08/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:44 PM ET, 08/02/2011

Air Force suspends ethics course that used Bible passages to train missile launch officers

Decision follows release of Truthout.org story on a PowerPoint presentation for the classes.

By Jason Ukman  |  02:44 PM ET, 08/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:17 PM ET, 08/02/2011

Ashton Carter picked as Pentagon’s No. 2

Head of acquisition to be nominated to be deputy secretary of defense

By Greg Jaffe  |  02:17 PM ET, 08/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:23 AM ET, 08/02/2011

Mullen: Despite deal, debt still poses the biggest threat to U.S. national security

By Ed O’Keefe  |  04:23 AM ET, 08/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 08/01/2011

A cinematic retelling of bin Laden raid from the New Yorker, with new details

Author Nicholas Schmidle provides previously undisclosed information about the operation and the planning that went into it.

By Jason Ukman  |  11:48 AM ET, 08/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:51 AM ET, 08/01/2011

The debt deal and defense spending

“Trigger” mechanism would result in $600 billion in cuts.

By Jason Ukman  |  09:51 AM ET, 08/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

 

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