Blogs are not just for online diarists, they are a medium for professionals to discuss and exchange information about their fields. Nowhere is this truer than in the national security community. Everyday national security practitioners, researchers, writers, and reporters use blogs to publish news, analysis, and commentary on issues ranging from counterinsurgency doctrine to Chinese naval developments. For job seekers interested in working in the national security community, reading blogs can be an excellent and free way to keep up-to-date on the latest military and political developments. Below are ten of the best national security blogs to help get you started.
1) Danger Room – Run by Wired, Danger Room is one of the most respected and read national security blogs out there. Considering it is a part of Wired, it should not be a surprise that Danger Room focuses heavily on new military technologies such as unmanned aerial vehicles and new weapons, and it keeps with the casual, tongue-in-cheek vibe of Wired.com. However, in addition, Danger Room reporters have been responsible for breaking some of the most important national security stories in the last few years.
2) Secrecy News – Secrecy News is the blog of the Federation of American Scientists, an independent think-tank which provides analysis and recommendations on national and international security issues connected to applied science and technology. Written by Steven Aftergood, who heads the Project on Government Secrecy, Secrecy News breaks news involving intelligence spending, classification guidelines and decisions, and other highly relevant information for the cleared community.
3)The Best Defense – The professional blog of Pulitzer Prize winning national security journalist Thomas E. Ricks, The Best Defense gives readers a good mix of posts on military affairs and foreign policy. Posts can range from a detailed analysis of Middle Eastern politics one day to a historical account of the U.S. civil war the next. The Best Defense also publishes a series of great guest posts, my personal favorite being Rebecca Frankel’s weekly discussion of war dogs.
4)New York Times: At War – At War is a reporting blog on armed conflict around the world, in particular Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. Its posts offer more traditional news and commentary than most blogs, but it still more informal that the rest of the New York Times. At War is also the writing home of one of the best war reporters alive today, C.J. Chivers, whose series of posts on small arms in Libya earned him respect from many in the national security community.
5)Washington Post: CheckPoint Washington – Whereas New York Times’ At War blog focuses on reporting for foreign conflicts, the Washington Post’s Checkpoint Washington examines national security from the domestic perspective. The blog is a national security wonk’s guide to the latest happens in the defense and intelligence communities. Posts focus heavily on the politics of national security policy in the DC area, with excellent analysis of Congressional activity and Department Of Defense news.
6)Abu Muqawama – Abu Muqawama is the personal blog of Center For A New American Security Fellow Andrew Exum, an influential member of the national security community. Dr. Exum, a former Army Ranger, writes on the issues surrounding counterinsurgency, defense policy, and Hezbollah. He is also active on Twitter.
7)Gunpowder And Lead – When it comes to blogs by up-and-coming national security commentators, Gunpowder and Lead is at the top of the list. Written by a mix of freelancers, think tankers, consultants, contractors, and authors, the blog has an influential readership and strong social media presence. Posts on Gunpowder and Lead offer detailed and well-cited analysis, commentary, and book reviews.
8)The Dew Line – If you’re a gear head or wing nut, in particular, the Dew Line is must reading. Written by Flightglobal’s Stephen Trimble, Dew Line focuses on the defense industry with heavy emphasis on aviation, the F-22 and F-35.
9)Foreign Policy’s Passport – The main blog of Foreign Policy magazine, Passport provides an outlet for some of the interesting, but often overlooked stories in global affairs. While not directly covering national security, its posts often touch upon important international events of direct interest to national security workers.
10)Small Wars Journal Blog – Named after the 1940 U.S. military’s “Small Wars Manual”, Small Wars Journal is an online community for defense professionals, particularly those involved in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. While Small Wars Journal itself publishes lengthy pieces on military affairs, their blog is more of an outlet for smaller commentary and news round-ups.
There are many other great national security blogs out there – for every blog mentioned here there are dozens that aren’t on the list. Drop a comment and share your favorite national security blog.
Mike Jones is a researcher, writer, and analyst on national and international security. He lives in the DC area.