Intelligence / Military / Politics

Looking Back: 8 Years of an Obama Administration

I have been recently reflecting on what these last eight years have meant, and in part on how I think they will written in the history books. Reflection is, after all, an important tool for me – I’ve written about that before. But with my 25 years in the intelligence field, and my current work teaching intelligence, security studies, and a lot of topics related to policy to undergraduate and graduate students, I have and continue to spend time thinking about decision and policy makers. History is going to judge them. History is going to make judgement about these

Military / Politics

The US and Ukraine – BFF in 2017, We Swear

“I send the message from the American people – we are with you, your fight is our fight and we will win together,” Senator John McCain said today, as he visited Ukraine’s front lines in its ongoing conflict with Russia. “In 2017 we will defeat the invaders and send them back where they came from. To Vladimir Putin – you will never defeat the Ukrainian people and deprive them of their independence and freedom,” he said. But when Russia influenced the elections in Crimea in March, and annexed it, where was the United States? In light of the revelations

Army / Culture / Family / etc.

The sound of gunfire

Alone, I can’t change American culture and this strange relationship we have with guns and ammunition. There are so many different things that America could do, to change the levels of gun violence in America, and the numbers of events of school shootings in our country. But this isn’t small problem, these solutions aren’t tiny ones, either, and I’m afraid that I haven’t come upon one yet that I can implement myself, which will bring national, regional, or cultural change. But what I can do is model the behavior I want to see. The behavior I want to see in

Army / Blogging / Culture / etc.

As we use to say, History is Written By the Winners

I still love that quote, from George Orwell. It was the title of a column he wrote in 1944, you can read it here. I bring it up because China – the People’s Republic of China, or as it’s also called, Communist China – just celebrated the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II. The Atlantic, and one of my favorite features they do, In Focus, has great photos up that relate to both this topic, and this great quote from Orwell.

Army / Military

Before You Separate from the Army, Fix Your Records

I retired from the Army this spring. I didn’t want to. I had more years of service to the national left in me, more cans of whoop-ass, more things I could and wanted to do for the nation, for the Army, for the Soldiers with whom I was having the honor of serving. It wasn’t my choice. The Army said it was time. It’s also that time now when more of my peers are being told the same thing. Thanks, but it’s time to retire. Here are things I learned during my process, things they can and should considering

Education / Military

Teachers & Mentors

One of my most rewarding experiences in the Army was the time I spent both as a mentor and as a protege. I am proud to say that many of those relationships continue on today, just as I am proud to say that I learned much about both being a mentor and protege, and about the art of the relationship, during my time in the service. It truly is a valuable tool to have and use during the course of any profession or career. But one of the things that drives me batty, in talking with teachers and others

Army / Garmin Forerunner 305 / Military / etc.

The Sparta Challenge

I suppose I’ve always been known for having some crazy ideas. This, though, is probably pretty high up on the list of craziest things I’ve done. Over 30 calendar days, I just ran 300 miles. I didn’t run 300 miles in 30 days — I actually did it in just 26 days. But we’ll get to that. I’m not really sure where this idea came from. Last month, I was in Baghdad for a 10 day visit, and while there I ran about 66 miles on 5 runs. That seemed like a lot of running to me — my

History / Intelligence / Military / etc.

The train derailment in Russia

CNN is just now starting to talk about a 1.5 meter by 1 meter hole under the railbed, and Russian assertions that — gasp! — this tragic accident may not be an accident but indeed the work of (dum, dum, DUM!) terrorists. Well, of course it’s terrorism. Investigators have shown up and have begun to ask questions of the locals — have there been strangers in the area recently? Maybe Chechens? Or some other terrorists from the North Caucasus region? I have no doubt that it’s terrorism, and would not be surprised in the least if it turns out

Intelligence / Iraq / Military

The DNI Speaks Out

I haven’t really talked much about the Long War recently. Been kind of busy with it. A few pieces have been in the press recently. I am not going to try and sum them up, but am going to recommend going and making the time to read them. Read this, then this, and then this. Below, there’s a letter from the Director of National Intelligence — so yes, this is kind of serious stuff going on. Don’t be the one, twenty years from now, who remembers that there was talk of interrogation and torture. Be the one who read

Iraq / Military

The glory of the day, stolen

I have been looking forward to day all week long. I was hoping that today would be the day that the IHEC — Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission — would announce the preliminary results of the 31 January provincial elections, held in 14 of the 18 provinces in Iraq, and 3 of the 7 provinces up here in the north. It would be a glorious day. Glorious. The last provincial elections were in 2005. To my surprise, and to that of the world, the Sunnis opted to boycott. Sure, they are a minority in this country, in comparison to

Army / Iraq / Military

It’s election day

They’re going to the polls today, and I’m pretty excited about. It’s election day here in Iraq, with the citizens taking to the polls to elect members for their provincial councils. It’s these councils that will decide upon the new governors (and a few other key provincial leaders). The last time the Iraqis did this was in late 2005. They’re going to the polls today, and there is no doubt — this is their election. We, the Americans, just happen to be hanging out. It is their doing, lock, stock and barrel. Their security, their plans, their officials, their

Army / Iraq / Military / etc.

Why so serious?

I had a coworker ask me today why I’ve been so pissed off the last couple of days. It was as if time stopped. The words just hung there in the air, like cigarette smoke on a cold day. Pissed off? What the hell was he talking about? 13 years later, or what was probably only a second and a half, I spat out something about just having a lot on my mind lately. No, not angry, just lost in thought. Preoccupied. 1. Saying that, I realized later, probably made me sound like one of those guys you watch