On Veterans Day, What We’re Leaving Behind

US Marine in Helmand Province / AP

Hundreds of thousands of American veterans have served in Afghanistan since 2001, and around 20,000 troops remain there today, though the number plummets daily with the abandonment of bases and the turnover of major installations to the Afghan government. By early next year, there will be only 9,800 American troops left in the country, a number that will be reduced by half no later than the end of 2015. According to the White House, it will be reduced again, effectively to zero, by the end of 2016.

So how are things going?

John Allen Is Not Getting Good Reviews

John Allen with the Egyptian Foreign Minister / AP

Retired Marine General John Allen is hard at work coordinating the Obama administration’s response to the Islamic State, and the early reviews are in. They are not positive.

Pressure Grows for Marines to Lower Standards for Women

Marines-Female General

When it was reported at the beginning of October that three female Marine officers had passed the Combat Endurance Test (CET), the initial entry screener for the Corp’s challenging Infantry Officer Course, the news was widely reported. You can read about it here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The story was indeed news. Up to that point, of the 24 women who had attempted the CET, only one had passed, and she had reportedly later been dropped from the overall course for an injury. Struggling to get enough female officers into the course to produce a statistically significant result for its study of introducing women into combat roles, the Corps had directed that more seasoned female officers could attempt the course. Now three had made it over the first hurdle.