Military

Ed Skoudis

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Chinese hackers had gained access to the designs of more than two dozen US weapons systems, including combat ships, aircraft, and missile defense systems. Although China denied the claims in the Defense Department report cited by the post, that country’s government announced earlier today that they have plans to conduct China’s first “digital military” exercise next week. President Obama and the Pentagon have increasingly addressed concerns about government-backed Chinese hackers in recent months, and next week, the president is scheduled to discuss cyber security with China’s president.

The Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire marks its 35th anniversary with an event tonight at Red River Theatres in Concord. On the program is a screening of The Invisible War, the Oscar-nominated documentary about sexual assault in the military that is now being used to educate members of the Armed Forces.  We spoke on this program to the film’s director about how sexual violence is tolerated – even expected in the military culture – and how rarely such offenses are prosecuted.  But the reality is that those experiences are not unique to the military… in a new study to be released by the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence, the similarities between what happens here and in the military are made evident.  It is a sobering reminder that domestic and sexual violence crimes are an all too common occurrence, even in New Hampshire. joining us today to discuss their roles in educating the public about domestic violence are two women who are on the front lines.

The Invisible War

Mar 20, 2013
The U.S. Army vis Flickr Creative Commons

Testimony by victims and military officials in front of congress this month has shed light on the scope of sexual assault in the military service. Men and women who sign up for military service put their lives on the line for our country. Yet a woman serving in the military is more likely to be sexually assaulted than killed by enemy fire.

SNHU Responds To Military Students Hit By Sequester

Mar 14, 2013
Military Police Practice Medical Evacuations
DVIDSHUB / Flickr Creative Commons

Until about two weeks ago, active duty armed service members could count on $4,500 a year to help pay for college tuition.  But with the military suspending the benefit because of sequestration, Southern New Hampshire University is trying to bridge that gap.

Later this week 110 members of the New Hampshire Army National Guard will mobilize in support of combat operations in Afghanistan. The 237th Military Police Company will train in Texas for several months before departing to Khost Province.

77 of the soldiers are deploying for the first time. But others are on their second and third; one is one his fifth deployment.

It’s those repeated deployments that have been a signature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and a researcher at UNH, they could take a toll on servicemembers’ families.

We look into a Tumblr  account that lends perspective to the drone war by using Google Earth. Joining us is blogger and artist James Bridle, creator of Dronestragram.


Victor Kumin: A "Soldier Scientist" At Work On The Atomic Bomb

Aug 29, 2012
Victor Kumin

Victor Kumin, Harvard graduate with a degree in Chemistry, helped create the Atomic Bomb under direction of J. Robert Oppenheimer. He lives in Warner, New Hampshire with his wife, the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Maxine Kumin. The two exchanged 575 letters back and forth during their courtship. These letters will be the subject of an article, written by Maxine, in the September 2012 issue of the American Scholar.

The Drone War Meets The Jersey Shore

Jun 18, 2012
Photo Credit Derable, Via Flickr Creative Commons

For U.S. defense officials, knowledge is power. It’s clear, in-depth and actionable intelligence that makes the difference in keeping the country safe. So officials at the pentagon and in homeland security are gathering huge amounts of raw data. And who, who can help them sort through thousands of hours of video to find and stop these existential threats? Most of us don’t associate the cast of Jersey Shore with U.S.

Mount Washington may bill itself as having the “worst weather in the world,” but on a clear day, you can stand at the summit and see a whole lot - miles and miles into the distance.

The US military apparently agrees. According to a report from Wired Magazine, the Department of Defense has a base for drone aircraft on or near Mount Washington. It's one of 64 such bases across the country.

jdn via flickr creative commons

During this country's early years, military service was considered the price of citizenship in a free society. Over time, veterans gained in prestige, especially after World War II. Our wars since – some unpopular -- have brought about new attitudes. In his new book, Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America's Wars and Those Who Fought Them, former Dartmouth College President James Wright describes the complicated relationship between this country and its military. 

 

Guest: 

A Laconia Artist Paints Soldiers at War

May 28, 2012
Brady Carlson, NHPR

For this Memorial Day we wanted to tell you about a unique art installation at the New Hampshire National Guard headquarters in Concord.

It’s a series of paintings by Elaine Morrison of Laconia, depicting soldiers at war. She tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the paintings.

(Photo by James Gordon via Flickr Creative Commons)

Produced by Jonathan Lynch

Ever get the feeling that someone is watching you? Well, you may want to get used to it. While the US government has been putting un-manned drones to heavy use in war zones in recent years, the flying robots will soon be soaring American skies.

This week, NATO Cabinet ministers, including U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, will try to tackle the problem of Afghan security. The basic plan for bringing American troops home from Afghanistan is to let Afghan security forces fight for their own country. But there's a hitch — finding a way to pay for the Afghan army.

"Paintballing With Hezbollah Is The Path Straight To Their Hearts," says the headline at the Vice.com newssite.

In a quest to get to better know members of the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, four Western journalists and a former U.S. Army Ranger last year arranged to play paintball in Beirut with some men who said they were among the group's fighters.

(Photo by Eleventh Earl of Mar via Flickr)

A branch of the military is taking a new tack in intelligence gathering…video games. The US Navy has contracted a private firm to buy up used gaming consoles  - mostly in foreign markets  to extract sensitive data on gamers. Jacob Aron wrote about the new strategy for New Scientist.  

Afghanistan faces the daunting prospect of a drastic reduction in foreign aid, which currently makes up about 90 percent of the country's revenue. Some have seen an economic life raft in geological surveys that indicate huge deposits of copper, iron, uranium and lithium in various parts of the country. But multinational mining firms have been slow to invest in Afghanistan — not least because of questions about stability after American troops draw down.

The case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier charged with killing 17 Afghan villagers, has led the Army to review how troops are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs say they have invested heavily in the treatment of PTSD to deal with a growing caseload.

But the stigma associated with the disorder continues to complicate efforts to treat it. It has also fueled serious misconceptions about its effects — such as the notion that PTSD causes acts of extreme violence.

Afghans say they're so inured to civilians killed in wars that they bury their dead and move on. That's not so easy for Muhammad Wazir. He lost his mother, his wife, a sister-in-law, a brother, a nephew, his four daughters and two of his sons in last week's mass shooting in two villages.

"My little boy, Habib Shah, is the only one left alive, and I love him very much," says Wazir.

The killings of some 16 civilians in Afghanistan on Sunday allegedly by a U.S. soldier are raising new questions about U.S. military strategy: whether the surge of American troops worked, and whether the U.S. troops have won over the Afghan people or alienated them.

The place where the killings happened was a "no-go zone" for American and even Afghan troops as recently as two years ago — it was Taliban country.

In a nondescript apartment room in Turkey, just across the border from Syria, clouds of cigarette smoke drift toward the ceiling as Syrian opposition activists ponder how to keep people and supplies moving across the border.

Abu Jafaar is the alias of a Syrian smuggler who has been dodging Syrian army patrols for the past several months.

It's one of the most serious actions the U.S. government could ever take: targeting one of its own citizens with lethal force.

Since last year, U.S. drones have killed three Americans overseas. But Attorney General Eric Holder says the ongoing fight against al-Qaida means those kinds of deadly strikes are now a way of life. And judging from the reaction to his national security speech at Northwestern University Law School on Monday, so is the hot debate over the legality of the U.S. drone program.

At the Fort Polk military base in the pine forests of central Louisiana, the Army has created a miniature version of Afghanistan — with mock villages and American soldiers working alongside Afghan role-players.

This is the training ground for a new American approach in Afghanistan as the U.S. begins to look ahead to the goal of bringing home the U.S. forces by the end of 2014. The idea is that Afghan forces have to be good enough to defend their country against the Taliban, and to make that happen, the U.S. Army is creating small U.S. training teams at Fort Polk.

The movie Act of Valor, which opened in theaters last weekend and earned nearly $25 million, was commissioned by the Navy's Special Warfare Command to drum up recruits for its elite SEALs program. But this is by no means the first movie made with the military's cooperation.

When he returned from Afghanistan and saw his partner waiting to welcome him home, "four years of pent-up emotion and secret love" just seemed to naturally lead to "what felt like an eternity kiss," Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan told NPR this afternoon.

When Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power last February, many Egyptian journalists hoped for a new era of freedom of expression.

But many now say they've been disappointed. A year after the revolution, Egypt's independent media still face many challenges, mostly, but not exclusively, from the country's ruling military council.

Nineteen-year-old Army Pvt. Cody Dollman has a look in his eyes that makes you think he probably used to fight much bigger kids on the playground back home in Wichita, Kan. He says he always wanted to be a soldier — both his grandfathers served in the military — but he's the first in his family to see action overseas.

In a daring raid reminiscent of the kind used to kill Osama bin Laden, U.S. Navy SEALs swooped into Somalia Wednesday morning and rescued two aid workers, who had been held by pirates for months.

The New York Times reports the soldiers came in by helicopter and engaged in a firefight that killed nine pirates. The SEALs left with Jessica Buchanan, a 32-year-old American, and a 60-year-old Dane, Poul Thisted, who were injury free and on their way home.

Courtesy New Hampshire National Guard

Earlier this month Senior Airman Ryan Weeks of the New Hampshire National Guard stood in the honor guard that lowered the American flag in Baghdad as US forces formally concluded the mission in Iraq.

It was a year of conclusions for the New Hampshire National Guard. More than 1000 guardsmen and women returned to the state after deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, some of which began in 2009.

A POW Makes His Escape During World War II

Nov 11, 2011
Sara Plourde/NHPR

"If I would've finished that flight I would have come home to sell war bonds," says Herman "Herk" Streitburger of Bedford.  That last flight did not go as planned; instead, the B24 Liberator Bomber on which he served as gunner was shot down, and as he puts it, Herk became a guest of the German government for about a year.

Erik Eisele / NHPR

As of early 2010, more than 2 million US troops have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Larry Minear, a researcher on international and internal armed conflicts, has spent a lot of time talking to more than 175 of these veterans, many of whom came from New Hampshire and Vermont. He talked to them about what motivated them to go to war, what they did once they went over, and how they rejoined society upon their return.

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