This Is ‘Code Red News with Paul Szoldra’

Code Red News
Paul Szoldra is a former Marine infantryman with past bylines at Business Insider and We Are The Mighty.
Paul Szoldra

Welcome to Code Red News, my new column here at Task & Purpose.


So first things first, who the hell am I? My name is Paul Szoldra (good luck pronouncing it), and I’ve been a national security reporter for places like Business Insider and We Are The Mighty for about five or so years. During that time I also founded and continue to run Duffel Blog, the popular military satire site.

Before that, I was a U.S. Marine infantryman with service in such exotic locales as Afghanistan, Japan, Korea, and North Carolina. And a little bit further back, I was an 18-year-old kid who got fired from a gas station.

So that’s my story. But I’m much more interested in telling yours.

My little slice of Task & Purpose probably won’t be like the rest. I plan on making Code Red News a reported column, which means I will, like every other columnist, offer my opinion on things, and I will also use my journalism background to find and report on interesting topics, potentially show you documents I’ve wrestled away from the Pentagon, and interview people I find fascinating.

But I would also like to offer you a warning.

If you’re looking for fluffy news stories about the new whiz-bang gizmo the Pentagon is showing off to everyone, it won’t be here. Instead, I’m going to be the guy asking the questions like, “Can we even afford this thing?” or “How does this help the E-3 on the ground?” I’m also in favor of calling out hypocrisy and lies with blunt language instead of hedging with words like “misspoke” and calling some subjects “controversial.”

In short, Code Red News will offer news and analysis on the defense world with brevity, humor, and above all, plenty of skepticism.

So I’ll call it like I see it. We may not always agree, but you’ll always know where I stand.

Thanks for reading. I’m excited to be here.

U.S. Military Academy Class of 2022 conducted a 12 mile road march as family and former graduates cheered them on, concluding six weeks of Cadet Basic Training Aug. 13, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Matthew Moeller)

Search efforts are underway to find a West Point cadet, who has gone missing along with his M4 carbine, the U.S. Military Academy announced on Sunday.

"There is no indication the Cadet poses a threat to the public, but he may be a danger to himself," a West Point news release says.

Academy officials do not believe the missing cadet has access to any magazines or ammunition, according to the news release, which did not identify the cadet, who is a member of the Class of 2021.

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Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division in their Bradley Fighting Vehicle during Marne Focus at Fort Stewart, Ga. during the week of Oct. 14, 2019 (U.S. Army photo)

Three soldiers were killed and another three injured when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia on Sunday morning, Army officials announced.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper addresses reporters during a media briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., October 11, 2019. (Reuters/Erin Scott)

KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday in a bid to bring talks with the Taliban back on track after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off negotiations last month seeking to end the United States' longest war.

Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.

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Ummmmmm what? (Twitter)

Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.

On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.

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The Army says it's settled on three defense contractors to battle it out to become the service's M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements, but at least one other company is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.

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