Tom Ricks has covered the U.S. military for several decades and is the author of six books, most recently Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom. He has won some prizes.



Tom Hanks Thinks Hollywood Can’t Capture America’s Current Wars. What Does That Mean?

December 12, 2018

Actor Tom Hanks, accompanied by former North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole, speaks at the launch of 'Hidden Heroes' campaign, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Writing about what some called King Philip’s War, Jill Lepore reminds us of the tight-knit relationship between war and telling the story of war, “War is a contest of injuries and interpretations.” Tom Hanks, an American particularly well-suited to talk Hollywood, story-telling, and narratives about war, recently shared his thoughts. Speaking at the Washington Hilton … Read More

The 7 Most Alarming Challenges Facing Today’s Marine Corps, According To Its Own Officers

December 11, 2018

An MV-22B Osprey disembarks Marines Dec. 9, 2013, at Baker runway on Tinian's North Field during Exercise Forager Fury II. Exercises and training completed by the Marine Aircraft Wing and Marine Aircraft Group on Guam and within the Mariana Island Range Complex demonstrate the Aviation Combat Element capabilities of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force
I’d missed several recent issues of the Marine Corps Gazette, so read them in a bunch when four recently arrived in the mail. When I did, I impressed by how willing the editors are to run tough criticism of today’s Marine Corps.   Some examples: In the October issue, Maj. Stanley Bednar asks what the … Read More

What Does John Kelly’s Exit from The White House Mean For The Military?

December 10, 2018

james mattis north korea john kelly trump chief of staff trump generals
News of retired Marine Gen. John Kelly‘s departure as White House chief of oozed out over the weekend like toxic slime. What does it mean for the military? Nothing good, I fear. First, it means that there will be one less voice around Trump that speaks with understanding about defense issues, and is willing to speak … Read More

‘Abuse, Harassment, Intimidation, And Threats’: A New Complaint Details Weird Times At The National Defense University — Again

December 10, 2018

As of this moment, they're on double secret probation!
If you followed my old Foreign Policy column, you’ll probably remember that I have long been interested in leadership and organization problems at the National Defense University. Well, it seems they haven’t gone away, according to a statement I received recently about a situation at one of NDU’s subsidiary outfits, the Dwight D. Eisenhower School … Read More

How To Find Meaningful Work After The Military: Focus On Teamwork

December 7, 2018

U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa and Spanish marines move toward a security position during GRUFLEX in Sierra De Retin, Spain, Nov. 23, 2018.
Here’s the 20th and final entry in our contest about finding meaningful work after leaving the armed services. I’ve really liked these. I’ve learned some things. I hereby declare every entry a winner. Thank you.–Tom The military is a team sport, not an individual sport, and the lowest echelon of this team is the two-person team. … Read More

Dyngo The War Dog Is Having Trouble, And We Could Use a Little Help

December 7, 2018

The morning after Thanksgiving, my dog, Dyngo, was having trouble walking. He’s a strong, happy dog, so with some coaxing, he managed a walk outside. By that evening, he couldn’t stand, laying with his eyes closed, crying — something he never does. I sat on the floor stroking his large head, crying too because I … Read More

What America’s Wars Revealed About Their Commanders-In-Chief

December 6, 2018

An illustration from the 1816 book, The History of England, from the Earliest Periods, Volume 1 by Paul M. Rapin de Thoyras. The source holder, of this book, is the U.S. Library of Congress.
In Presidents of War, Michael Beschloss, one of our premier historians, looks at eight wars and nine presidents: James Madison and the War of 1812 James K. Polk and the Mexican-American War Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War William McKinley and the Spanish American War Woodrow Wilson and World War One FDR and the Second … Read More

My Family Is At The Center Of My Life, And That’s Alright

December 6, 2018

No. 19 in our contest says you don’t have to find meaning in your work, that there are other places that might be better. Kevin LaCroix writes: “I did one enlistment in the Navy.  I started in the Nuclear Power Program but did not finish it.  I ended up doing what I wanted anyway, a … Read More