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Rowan Scarborough

Articles by Rowan Scarborough

**FILE** In this photo taken Dec. 7, 2010, former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates pins Combat Infantry badges on soldiers at Forward Operating Base Connolly in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. (Associated Press)

Defense budget casualties light on civilian side

The Pentagon's civilian workforce, which expanded dramatically during President Obama's first three years, is not facing any significant reductions even as the Defense Department is slashing ground troops by more than 10 percent, retiring ships and combat planes, and putting off the purchases of some new weapons. Published May 6, 2012

**FILE** An Air Force F-22 Raptor executes a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Gulf of Alaska. Production will be stopped at 187 Raptors. (Associated Press/U.S. Navy)

Iran is top 'contingency' in whittled U.S. war plans

The U.S. military is discussing significant changes in its war plans to adhere to President Obama's strategic guidance that downplays preparing for conflicts such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and counts on allies to provide additional troops. Published May 1, 2012

** FILE ** Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outline the main areas of proposed defense spending cuts during a Jan. 26, 2012, news conference at the Pentagon. (Associated Press)

Pentagon is planning 'contingency' for Iran and North Korea

The U.S. military is discussing significant changes in its war plans to adhere to President Obama's new strategic guidance that downplays preparing for conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and counts on allies to provide additional troops. Published May 1, 2012

**FILE** Afghan farmers work in an opium poppy field in Nawa district of Helmand province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan, on April 25, 2009. (Associated Press)

Doubts of victory surface in war on Afghan poppy crops

The other war in Afghanistan — the one to reduce the opium poppy crop by eradication, crop trade-offs and threats — has made substantial gains over the past five years as cultivation has dropped 32 percent. Published April 22, 2012

Lawmakers are questioning the need for buying two new troop carriers, the $40 billion Ground Combat Vehicle to replace the Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle (above), and the $54 billion Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to succeed the aging Humvee. (Associated Press)

Being 'Army strong' gets weak backing with Obama's strategy

The Army is coming out of a decade of war beat up and strapped for cash. The force that arguably did most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffered the most casualties, now finds itself in a new conflict. Published April 8, 2012

** FILE ** Army Maj. Sequana Robinson models a woman's combat uniform on Saturday, March 31, 2011, at Fort Belvoir, Va. (Associated Press)

Army's 'chilling trend' puts women at risk

The Army is pushing more women closer to the front lines and in closer contact with men even as the number of sexual attacks on female soldiers has surged during the past six years. Published April 1, 2012

Villagers join Afghan Local Police on Thursday, March 29, 2012, for a ceremony in Gizab at which new uniforms were presented. Commanders think the units are capable of holding villages after NATO troops clear out the enemy. (Associated Press)

Afghan Local Police key to success against Taliban

A small, little-noticed counterinsurgency force that was created in the ninth year of the Afghanistan War is proving to be the key for U.S. troops to leave the country in victory. Published March 29, 2012

**FILE** Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta (Associated Press)

Budget gridlock imperils national defense

Defense analysts and Capitol Hill insiders are anticipating that automatic federal budget cuts will occur Jan. 1 and force the armed forces to scrap plans for new weapons systems. Published March 25, 2012

Troops in Afghanistan have few opportunities to rest, according to an Army report that provides a stark look at post-traumatic stress disorder and its risk of irrational acts. Fighting forces have endured frequent stressful deployments and compressed time back home. (Associated Press)

Troops stressed to breaking point

A recent Army health report draws an alarming profile of a fighting force more prone to inexcusable violence amid an "epidemic" of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the mental breakdown attracting speculation as a factor in a massacre of Afghan civilians this month. Published March 20, 2012

**FILE** Navy Lt. Gary Ross (right) and Dan Swezy exchange wedding vows early on Sept. 20, 2011, in Duxbury, Vt., at the first possible moment after the formal repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Justice of the Peace Greg Trulson (center) officiated. (Associated Press)

Same-sex benefits a powder keg in Pentagon

The Obama administration is withholding medical and other benefits from same-sex spouses of military members, but Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. says he can no longer defend the law that authorizes the practice. Published March 18, 2012

An Israeli air force F-16I fighter plane sits at the ready in a hangar at Ramon Air Force Base in southern Israel. The F-16I, which is equipped with external fuel tanks, is reportedly capable of reaching Iranian airspace without refueling. It could carry U.S.-made bunker-busting bombs that drill below ground before exploding. (Associated Press)

Plotting against Iranian nuke sites

The first indication that Israel has resorted to military action against Iran's nuclear program would be explosions across the Islamic republic. Published March 14, 2012

An Air Force carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Lt. Col. John D. Loftis on Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Col Loftis, 44, of Paducah, Ky., died Feb. 25 from wounds suffered during an attack at the Afghan Interior Ministry in Kabul. (Associated Press)

Culture clash, bribes prod Afghans to turn on NATO

The post-Koran-burning slayings in Afghanistan have put focus on one of the most pressing questions facing U.S. commanders: Why do Afghan troops suddenly turn their weapons on NATO personnel and kill them? Published March 8, 2012

** FILE ** People inspect the scene of a car bomb explosion Feb. 23, 2012, in Karradah in downtown Baghdad. Iraqi officials said a string of attacks across Baghdad killed and injured dozens of people. (Associated Press)

Al Qaeda in Iraq mounts comeback

Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Osama bin Laden-inspired terrorist group that sank the country into sectarian violence five years ago, is trying to make a comeback in post-U.S.-occupied Iraq, analysts and intelligence officials say. Published March 4, 2012

Marine Corps Sgt. Brandon Morgan (right) greets his boyfriend with a passionate kiss at an on-base military-family homecoming. A friend photographed the embrace, which was posted on the "Gay Marine" Facebook page. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Gay Marine's kiss sparks praise, anger

Marine Corps Sgt. Brandon Morgan's passionate kiss with his boyfriend at an on-base military-family homecoming was photographed and posted on the "Gay Marine" Facebook page, triggering an outpouring of support — and some dissent. Published March 1, 2012

This scene from the film "Act of Valor" showcases active-duty Navy SEALs. Military commanders beginning five years ago allowed a small, independent film company to turn live training exercises into a feature-length movie with recruiting in mind. (Associated Press)

'Act of Valor' accomplishes mission of educating public

The Hollywood movie "Act of Valor" — the nation's No. 1 box-office attraction, starring real Navy SEALs — has put the spotlight on the U.S. military's post-Sept. 11, 2001, love affair with the media. Published February 26, 2012

Timothy W. Dorsey

Navy aviator's career soars; pilot he downed suffers

When retired Air Force pilot Mike Ross learned this month that the Navy aviator who shot him down is on a nomination list for the rank of admiral, he had a visceral reaction. Published February 23, 2012

**FILE** Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan attends the OutServe Armed Forces Leadership Summit on Oct. 15, 2011, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press)

Military gay group growing, aiming for more rights

An association of gays in the military has more than doubled its membership since last year, is setting up more on-base chapters, and plans to hold its next national conference at a Defense Department resort at Walt Disney World. Published February 20, 2012