Islamic State fighters show off a seized Iraqi armored vehicle in Mosul, Iraq.

Islamic State fighters show off a seized Iraqi armored vehicle in Mosul, Iraq. AP Photo/File

Defense One's Top 10 Stories of 2014

It was a frenetic year in national security that included Iraq, Russia, China, Robots and X-Ray Guns. By Defense One Staff

It was a frenetic year in the world of defense and national security. The U.S. is back at war in Iraq, Russia invaded Ukraine, and Syria’s civil war wasteland spawned the Islamic State, or ISIS or ISIL, a heinous new terrorist group that chops off heads by the dozens, rapes and kidnaps girls by the hundreds, and is so vile they made al-Qaeda queasy. It was hard to know where to look, some days.

By far, our most read piece was Gen. John Allen’s plea to the Obama administration to do more in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State. Allen, former commander of the Afghanistan war, had previously commanded Marines who fought and died to drive extremists from Iraq. His voice represented a growing chorus of frustrated veteran commanders left aghast when ISIS fighters stormed into places enshrined in U.S. combat history, like Fallujah, Mosul and Anbar. Weeks later, President Obama would name Allen his special envoy for the conflict.

In the world of defense technology, progress continued to fascinate readers beyond Washington’s national security circles. Robot armies and X-Ray guns are always a big draw, but so was the state of the Russian military, and the U.S. decision to put American military cargo planes on display at an air show in China. Also making the list was the revelation by Patrick Tucker that the Dallas hospital where the country was fixated had a same Ebola screening machine the military was using in Africa – but was unable to use in the U.S. because of bureaucratic red tape.

Here is our Top 10 most-read list of articles from Defense One in 2014:

  1. Gen. Allen: Destroy the Islamic State Now

What we’re facing in northern Iraq is only partly a crisis about Iraq. It is about the region and potentially the world as we know it. By Ret. Gen. John Allen

  1. Why the US Sent a C-17 to a Chinese Air Show Despite Concerns Inside the Pentagon

Despite concerns, the U.S. agreed to showcase a C-17 transport jet at a Chinese air show. By Gordon Lubold and Marcus Weisgerber

  1. Why There Will Be A Robot Uprising

The bad news is that the robot uprising is likely. The good news is that it’s not too late to stop it. By Patrick Tucker

  1. The Military Now Has X-Ray Guns

Want a handheld blaster to look through walls? Enjoy. By Patrick Tucker

  1. How Japan Fell In Love With America’s Drones

After signaling a shift away from pacifism and toward a policy of collective self-defense, Japan is now set to possess the fastest-growing UAV program in the world. By Daniel A. Medina

6. Dallas Hospital Had the Ebola Screening Machine That the Military Is Using in Africa

The Dallas hospital had an Ebola screening machine but could not use it for screening Ebola. By Patrick Tucker

  1. How the CIA Partnered With Amazon and Changed Intelligence

Amazon is building a cloud for the intelligence community that could bridge the sort of gaps that preceded the 9/11 attacks. By Frank Konkel

  1. How Powerful Is Russia’s Military?

After years of neglect after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow is undertaking a major overhaul of its armed forces that could have regional consequences. By Jonathan Masters

9. A Look Inside a Secret US Air Force Intelligence Center

With no U.S. boots on the ground in Syria and not many in Iraq, it’s up to young intelligence analysts here to search for Islamic State militants. By Marcus Weisgerber

10.  Inside the Navy’s Secret Swarm Robot Experiment

Swarming robot boats could be heading to a contested strait near you. By Patrick Tucker