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IAVA Daily Brief 12.3.10
Posted by Isabel Black on December 3

Here are some of today's top stories and happenings at IAVA. Prefer to receive real-time updates about major stories and legislation that IAVA is tracking? Follow us on Twitter @IAVAPressRoom or subscribe at


1) Skelton warns of growing civil-military split

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said in a farewell speech to Congress that a growing divide between the US military and the American public will leave fewer and fewer people who understand the sacrifices of military service. In his speech, Skelton also expressed concerns about how national security policy will fare in an increasingly partisan legislative atmosphere.

2) Hamid Karzai baffles the West

The portrait of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan that emerges from a cache of a confidential American diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of news organizations reflects his trajectory from the eager leader anointed by the West to an embattled politician who often baffles, disappoints or infuriates his official allies.  The complaints from American and foreign diplomats about Karzai were never intended to be seen, but have now been made public by WikiLeaks.
3) US ‘Connects the dots’ to catch roadside bombers

With roadside bombs the leading killer of the US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, military commanders have turned increasingly to the use of social network analysis to identify the key players in the groups responsible for the bombs.  The idea is that an analysis of the social network behind roadside bombing attempts will make it possible to identify which members of the group are most vital to the operation and most important to stop, in order to disrupt the entire network.


  • Marines and British government advisors working out of Sangin, Afghanistan’s district center must maneuver through a minefield of competing forces: corrupt contractors, greedy tribal elders, insurgents, Taliban show government and drug lords.

  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates has approved a list of essential counterinsurgency skills that troops need to be successful in Afghanistan.



    • The Iraqi interior minister paraded in front of reporters 39 suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq, an al Qaeda-linked terror group responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks in the country.



      • Army criminal investigators are probing how eight sets of cremated remains came to be buried in a single gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery.

      • Following the first incident of leaked classified information, the Pentagon pledged to improve the security on their computer systems; today, sixty percent of the Defense Department’s computers are not equipped with more sophisticated security software.



        • Senate Republicans continued their opposition to repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” law on Thursday as Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

        • The President’s commission on reducing the deficit has recommended freezing the salaries for Congress, but not troops.


          A wide-range of views, positions, and publications are represented in these articles. These views, positions and publications are not endorsed by nor do they necessarily represent the views of IAVA.