Beloved readers: Your trusted Pentagon correspondent apologizes for not sending out a Run-Down last week.There was a lot going on. In just four days, the Defense Department failed its first audit; a woman was selected for the Army’s Special Forces Qualification Course for the first time since 1981; and two Navy SEALs and two Marine Corps Special Operations Command Raiders were charged with murdering a Green Beret.

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In 1959, Robert A. Heinlein published his iconic sci-fi military epic Starship Troopers, popularizing the concept of exoskeleton body armor that allows soldiers to carry more and move further and faster. Now, after many years of trial and error, Lockheed Martin is finally sending a pair of robot legs known as ONYX to the Army for field testing.

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Air Force / Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez.

Space may be the final frontier, but it also provides the Pentagon a new opportunity to create a really crappy uniform.

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Photo via Touchstone Pictures

When Starship Troopers first premiered on Nov. 7, 1997, America was in a martial slumber. Desert Storm was in the rearview mirror, the NATO intervention in Bosnia had wound down, and next to nobody had heard of Osama bin Laden. It was an era in which you could still finish an entire enlistment without earning a National Defense Service Medal. And for thousands of young, amped troops cooling their heels in garrisons around the world, the bloody, explodey, campy movie adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s legendary military science fiction epic was a collective wet dream.

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Image via 20th Century Fox

An iconic science-fiction firearm, the M41A pulse rifle is the standard-issue weapon of the Colonial Marines, the ill-fated, but unquestionably badass protagonists in James Cameron’s 1986 blockbuster: “Aliens.”

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