Drone of the Day: Pointer

William M. Arkin · 07/20/15 10:15AM

Little heralded or known, in the actual revolution that brought small drones into virtually every combat unit of all four military services, Pointer was a pioneer. Developed first for the Marine Corps in 1986, Pointer was the first hand-held drone—45 pounds and transportable in a backpack. They were used in Desert Storm in 1990 and ended up being the first drones on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11, later serving in Iraq.

Why Didn't AFRICOM See the Tunisia Attacks Coming?

William M. Arkin · 06/26/15 02:55PM

The slaughter of 28 people in the Tunisian tourist city of Sousse has yet to be directly attributed to ISIS, but given the extremist organization’s call for its followers to escalate their attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, it seems likely. Of course the response to Tunisia will be we must do more and where’s the Marines?, but lost in all of this might be accountability for what the United States is already up to. It is all over the continent—U.S. intelligence, diplomats and military personnel are scurrying and turning Africa into the latest theater of war. Whatever they are doing, it clearly didn’t prevent today’s attack, maybe because our African mission seems to be as concerned with ordering stationery and writing regulations as fighting terrorists directly or protecting civilians.

What the Times Doesn't Tell You About Seal Team 6

William M. Arkin · 06/08/15 10:50AM

SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines” reads the headline in last weekend’s New York Times. My name is listed as a contributor at the end of four pages of derring-do. Because I worked for the Times last year and have no interest in joining the Shit-on-the-New-York-Times Brigade, I have nothing to say about the article itself except to say I’m glad, especially for the reporters, that it finally saw the light of day.

You Should Be Angry About Jade Helm Even If You're Not Crazy

William M. Arkin · 05/13/15 01:34PM

The bullet holes punched into the center mass of this pistol-packing suburban soccer mom weren’t fired by ISIS terrorists preparing for a shopping-mall assault, or by local cops training against an active shooter at the local school. They were fired by a Marine during special operations “realistic military training,” or RMT, in Gulfport, Mississippi.

The US Saved Canada from Nuclear Terror Last Month

William M. Arkin · 05/10/15 03:50PM

In the dark, they come in, shielded from public view by a police perimeter and an inner line of uniformed guardians. The target is reserved for the Tier I forces: They’ve practiced hundreds of times, rappelling onto the roof, banging down doors, hop-scotching down corridors, sweeping rooms. When it’s all clear, the scientists are ushered in with their detection gear and their “render safe” machines and tools. The orders are crystal clear: Do everything and anything to get to the nuke before it explodes, take no chances, shoot to kill.