October 1, 2011  

About this issue

In 1998, as a youngish reporter, I circumnavigated the world on assignment for Navy Times. The project focused on the Navy, but my reporting covered service members of all branches doing their duty in far-flung and sometimes unexpected places. Some observers of the day may still have believed in “the end of history,” but the soldiers enforcing the peace in Bosnia, the pilots holding down the no-fly zone over Iraq, the sailors patrolling the Persian Gulf, and the Marines afloat in the Adriatic Sea knew otherwise.

Still, none could have foreseen the conflicts and the challenges to come. They have tested, and continue to test, America’s armed forces in ways beyond imagining. Such is the nature of war — unpredictable and complex — and it underscores the need for close examination and thoughtful discussion among military leaders and those thought leaders who help frame the debate.

This is Armed Forces Journal’s mission: to foster and disseminate such analysis and debate. For five years, Karen Walker edited AFJ with a clear vision. Now she has moved on to become executive editor of Air Transport World, a job that takes her back to the world of civil aviation.

It is my privilege, at once thrilling and daunting, to take the reins of America’s oldest defense publication, born in 1863 as The Army Navy Journal.

I came to journalism lightly armed with a degree in Soviet and Eastern European studies, earned back when Yale still offered that particular major. I spent time as a reporter and editor in Moscow, then headed to Washington to cut my teeth as a daily newspaperman before the military beat drew me to Navy Times. In the years since, I’ve helped launch Military.com, written two books — one a look at the Navy’s post-Cold War fleet, another on a U.S. warship that survived an Iranian mine attack — and spent the past decade at Defense News, as international and then managing editor.

As AFJ editor, I welcome your thoughts, suggestions, and criticism about the magazine and the issues of the day, and look forward to the debates to come.

Bradley Peniston

Editor, Armed Forces Journal