Afghanistan – Afghan security force’s rapid expansion comes at a cost as readiness lags

- Washington Post – Top Pentagon leaders, White House advisers and members of Congress from both parties have long regarded the rapid expansion of Afghanistan’s army and police as a crucial element of the U.S. exit strategy. For years, they reasoned that generating a force of 352,000 soldiers and policemen would enable the Afghan government to keep fighting Taliban insurgents after U.S. and NATO troops end their combat mission. The U.S. military has nearly met its growth target for the Afghan forces, but they are nowhere near ready to assume control of the country. No Afghan army battalion is capable of operating without U.S. advisers. Many policemen spend more time shaking down people for bribes than patrolling. Front-line units often do not receive the fuel, food and spare parts they need to function. Intelligence, aviation and medical services remain embryonic. And perhaps most alarming, an increasing number of Afghan soldiers and policemen are turning their weapons on their U.S. and NATO partners. As a consequence, several U.S. officers and civilian specialists who have worked with those forces have started to question the wisdom of the 352,000 goal. To them, the obsession with size has been at the root of much that has gone wrong with the Afghan security services.

US Navy – 8,000 Miles, 96 Hours, 3 Dead Pirates: Inside a Navy SEAL Rescue

- Wired – The precision killing of the three pirates by six members of SEAL Team Six, the same unit that would later kill Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout, has rarely been described in detail. Retired Rear Adm. Terry McKnight, who commanded U.S. naval forces off Somalia during the Maersk Alabama standoff, devotes 45 pages of his new book Pirate Alley to the people, methods, equipment and even politics behind Phillips’ daring rescue.

US Navy – Navy Fears Pentagon Neglects New Missile Sub; SSBN(X) Must Survive Almost 80 Years

- AOL Defense – Right now, the Navy is designing the ballistic missile submarine that will provide 70 percent of the nation’s nuclear deterrent until 2080. Yet even as the service prepares to award research and development contracts this December, the submarine community is deeply worried that the rest of the military is neglecting the program — which has already had to make some painful trade-offs on schedule, numbers, and capability. And the service has not even started work on whatever nuclear missile the new sub will end up carrying for the latter half of its life.

Miscellaneous – Autonomous Sea Platforms Emerge At Euronaval

- Aviation Week – Unmanned systems at sea offer advantages and face challenges that are often different from those associated with airborne and ground-based systems. For example, in a patrol mission that calls for long endurance at low speed, the size of a manned ship is largely driven by the need to provide tolerable accommodation and stability for the crew—a limit that does not apply to an unmanned surface vessel (USV).

Terrorism – The Hunt For “Geronimo”

- Vanity Fair – President Obama saw it as a “50–50” proposition. Admiral Bill McRaven, mission commander, knew something would go wrong. So how did the raid that killed bin Laden get green-lighted? In an adaptation from his new book, Mark Bowden weaves together accounts from Obama and top decision-makers for the full story behind the daring operation.