As fighting season heats up, US commander says newly trained Afghan forces passing test -- so far

The annual summer fighting season is now well underway in Afghanistan, with nearly daily suicide bombings, assassinations, and other high-profile attacks by the Taliban and other militant groups. But one thing appears decidedly different this time around to Lieutenant General Mark A. Milley, a native of Winchester who is now on his third tour and commands the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command: the Afghans are fighting back, mostly on their own.

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  • Top military scientist: building a cyber army with few qualified recruits

    The Air Force has a message for computer geeks: send us your resumes. At least that is the word from Mark Maybury, a computer scientist at the government-funded MITRE corporation in Bedford who was tapped in 2010 to serve as the chief scientist for the US Air Force. The Lowell native and Chelmsford resident, who will return from Washington to his old job this summer, says the Pentagon is struggling to maintain its technological edge in the realm of cyberspace. And a primary reason is a lack of new talent. “If you told me I want you to hire 1,000 cyber guys tomorrow, I’d count up all my friends and might have 60 or if really lucky might find 100,” he explained. “But 1,000?”

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  • Still-deadly legacy of secret US bombing of Laos lingers

    It was exactly 40 years ago, on March 29, 1973, that Operation Barrel Roll -- the secret US bombing of Laos during the Vietnam War -- ended after nine years, more than a half a million bombing runs, and more than two million tons of ordnance dropped. But it is still claiming victims like Thoummy Silamphan, who is preparing to begin a nationwide tour next week organized by the nonprofit group Legacies of War to raise awareness -- and money -- to help remove the thousands of unexploded cluster bombs that still litter an estimated 30 percent of the Southeast Asian nation and have maimed or killed an estimated 20,000 civilians since the bombing ended.

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  • Top Pentagon thinker bemoans “civilian subjugation to the military.”

    Blistering charges of misplaced power and a morally bankrupt culture in the nation’s “military-industrial complex” are rarely leveled by one of the defense establishment’s own. But that is exactly what an instructor of the military’s rising stars lobbed on Tuesday when he very purposely engaged in friendly fire at a defense budget conference co-hosted by the Cambridge-based Project on Defense Alternatives.

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