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.



Here’s What Happens When Your Local Porta Potty Cleaner Just Up And Leaves

September 18, 2018

combat pooping afghan porta potty cleaner
Here’s the fourth entry in our Combat Pooping contest, and it’s a strong one. If you have something you think is as good, please e-mail it to Tom Ricks. On my outpost in Kandahar, we had six porta-potties for about 60 guys, which is a good ratio. We contracted out this local Afghan dude who had a vacuum … Read More

How The ‘Golden Hour’ Created A Crisis In Care For The Deployed Warfighter

September 17, 2018

golden hour military surgeons
In 2009, the Department of Defense introduced the so-called ‘Golden Hour’ mandate.  This led to the development of systems that ensured the injured warfighter access to surgical care within 60 minutes of injury. This led to massive infrastructure being created in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the deployment of forward surgical teams, extensive medevac capabilities, and … Read More

Having Fun At Grafenwoehr With Live-Fire Howitzer Shells

September 17, 2018

Grafenwoehr howitzer shells
Once, back in the funky times, I was interviewing a howitzer crew at Grafenwoehr maneuver area. I can’t remember what the subject was. They were going to be conducting a live-fire exercise soon. It was night, and raining, so we all were gathered under a canopy set over the back of the crew’s truck, parked … Read More

How the Army Could Improve Field Grade Command: Follow The NFL

September 14, 2018

nfl field grade command army
To improve the quality of its brigade and battalion commanders, and to reduce the number of reliefs for moral and ethical failings, to sexual harassment to physical fitness failures, the Army should take a page from the NFL and hold what might be called “Command Combines.” Let me explain. Every year, late in the winter, … Read More

The Future Of Logistics: Unmanned Resupply And Urine-Based Fuel, Apparently

September 14, 2018

army logistics unmanned vehicles resupply
The estimable Rick Maze takes note of them in the September issue of ARMY magazine: For lighter energy in the field, “The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is working on a way to produce hydrogen in the field using an aluminum-based powder and any liquid, including urine.” (I can just see the platoon sergeant, “OK, everyone … Read More

Friday Dog: A Little Bulldog On The Old USS New York

September 14, 2018

uss new york ships mascot bulldog
He’s a toughie!

I Sought A Peaceful Poop In The Kuwaiti Desert. Then The Convoys Arrived

September 13, 2018

combat pooping kuwaiti desert iraq
We’re celebrating “Turdsay” by dropping the “turd” entrance in our combat pooping contest.  If you have something you think is as good, please e-mail it to Tom Ricks After our little four-day jaunt into southern Iraq during Operation Desert Shield/OperationDesert Storm, my unit, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was one of the first to be pulled back and … Read More

Why The OODA Loop Is Forever

September 13, 2018

John Boyd forever changed the way the United States fights wars, both on the ground and in the air. This is rather impressive considering his own limited battlefield experience, as he just missed World War II and barely caught the end of the Korean War. He prompted us to think differently about war. He first … Read More