November 1, 2009  

In this issue

As the U.S. draws down its footprint in Iraq, its presence in and focus on Afghanistan increases regardless of a definitive decision by the commander in chief on troop numbers and how forces are used.

Afghanistan, then, is not an “in or out” question, but rather a “how much.” It’s a complex challenge made doubly vexing by the murky Afghan presidential election and by our yet-to-be finished business in Iraq. Or, as Army Brig. Gen. Mark Bowman recently put it, “moving stuff out while you are prosecuting a war is tough business.”

In this month’s cover special, Pete Brookes, Dan Green, Cmdr. Mike Hallett and Henry Nuzum join me in analyzing the very tough business that is Afghanistan.

Air Force Col. JJ Jinnette, an F-15E squadron commander who has led close-air support missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, gives a pilot’s-eye view of what UAVs can do in his place — and what they aren’t yet ready for.

Cmdr. James Kraska and Capt. Brian Wilson look at all the new networked navigational toys that are available to modern navies in their quest for — buzzphrase warning — maritime domain awareness. They warn that the very same tools that we use to know where we are (and where we are in relation to other ships) can be used by pirates to know where to find the next ransom bounty.

And Scott Hamilton does a survey of industry activity in the new “hot” area of cybersecurity and learns that former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld knew a lot more about the subject than even he knew.