Robert Burns

For Robert Burns's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

U.S. pitches plan to Russia to avoid armed conflict in Syria

May 20, 2017

U.S. pitches plan to Russia to avoid armed conflict in Syria

The United States has proposed to Russia a plan for managing an increasingly complex battlefield in Syria’s main oil-producing region, where U.S.-backed forces fighting Islamic extremists are in conflict with Russian-backed Syrian forces. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford declined to describe the proposal in detail, ...

Syria's skies crowded with multiple air forces

| Oct 6, 2015

Syria's skies crowded with multiple air forces

The skies over Syria are increasingly crowded — and increasingly dangerous. The air forces of multiple countries are on the attack, often at cross purposes in Syria’s civil war, sometimes without coordination. And now, it seems, they are at risk of unintended conflict. The ...

Obama, Pentagon bogged down in uneasy alliance

/ Dec 2, 2014

Obama, Pentagon bogged down in uneasy alliance

On a trip to Afghanistan during President Barack Obama’s first term, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates was stunned to find a telephone line at the military’s special operations headquarters that linked directly back to a top White House national security official. “I had them tear ...

Foundation of U.S. nuclear weapons system showing cracks

| Nov 9, 2014

Foundation of U.S. nuclear weapons system showing cracks

The foundation of America’s nuclear arsenal is fractured, and the government has no clear plan to repair it. The cracks appear not just in the military forces equipped with nuclear weapons but also in the civilian bureaucracy that controls them, justifies their cost, plans ...

U.S. ICBMs: a 'relic' force in much distress

Dec 23, 2013

U.S. ICBMs: a 'relic' force in much distress

The hundreds of nuclear missiles that have stood ready for war for decades in underground silos dotted around remote stretches of America — silent and unseen, packed with almost unimaginable destructive power — are a force that is now in distress, if not in ...