Up to Date
10:54 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Private Contractors Dominate Middle East War Zones

Ann Hagedorn is the author of 'The Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security.'

When you think of Iraq and Afghanistan, you think of American soldiers in uniform, but what may surprise you is how many private contractors are there too. In recent years, the ratio of contractors to  uniformed soldiers has been 10 to one.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with a journalist about the increase in these forces and why relying on them so much might not be a good idea.


Read more
Up To Date
5:24 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

The Militarization Of Law Enforcement

The Clay County Sheriff's MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle acquired in April from the Department of Defense.
Credit (Peggy Lowe/KCUR)

Among the many images that have emerged from Ferguson, Missouri, perhaps some of the most arresting are those of law enforcement personnel lined up in riot gear, helmets and vests on with batons at the ready.  And right behind them the sight of an officer atop a military-grade armored vehicle holding a sniper rifle.

Read more
Up To Date
2:31 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill On Sexual Assault In The Military, Affordable Care Act

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill visits Kansas City on Wednesday and Thursday as part of her 'McCaskill on Main Street' tour.  

She’s fresh off a big legislative win in the Senate where her version of a bill dealing with sexual assault in the military won out over a competing measure.

In the second part of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Sen. McCaskill about sexual assault in the military and her opinions on progress made as part of the Affordable Care Act.


Read more
Up to Date
10:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

An African-American Veteran Reflects On Coming Out

Rob Smith is the author of Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming of Age as a Gay Man in the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Army.

It's not easy to come out of the closet, but imagine doing that when you're in the Army.

On Tuesday's Up to Date, we talk with an African-American veteran about the challenges he faced and the added difficulties of navigating the now-defunct Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.


Read more
8:26 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Organization Helps Kansas City Military Come Home For The Holidays

Vicki Sanders waiting for arrival of husband, Army Corporal Robert Sanders at KCI airport in Kansas City, Mo.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

People from the Kansas City area serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines have started arriving home for the holidays. The services don’t cover a trip like that, but lower-paid service men and women can put in for a ticket home from a group called Operation Homefront.

Corporal Robert Sanders landed at KCI Wednesday afternoon, met by his wife, and two young sons. Sanders and his wife Vicki Sanders both graduated from Shawnee Mission North High School.

Read more
Up to Date
11:32 am
Mon November 11, 2013

VFW Adapts To Changing Veteran Needs

The Veterans of Foreign Wars have chapters all across the United States.
Credit Pete Zarria/Flickr-CC

Today's recent veterans are finishing their service with different experiences than previous generations, and Veterans of Foreign Wars groups across the country are trying to figure out how to adapt.

On Monday's Up to Date, Adjutant General John Hamilton joins Steve Kraske to talk about the changing needs of veterans.


  • Adjutant General John Hamilton recently finished his term as the commander-in-chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Read more
Up to Date
6:00 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Women's Experiences In The Military

Undaunted: The Real Story of America's Servicewomen in Today's Military

Although they’ve just recently been allowed in combat, women in the military have long faced a host of challenges, both on the battlefield and at home.

Read more
10:01 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Looking Back At An American Sniper

Last February, Steve Kraske spoke with former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle about his book, American Sniper. Kyle is credited with more than 150 kills, but by his own account, he's killed closer to 250 people.

Chris Kyle had taken to assisting former soldiers deal with post-traumatic stress disorder by taking them to gun ranges. On Saturday, Kyle and a friend were killed at a gun range in Glen Rose, Texas by a man Kyle had been helping. 

Read more
Up to Date
6:00 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

A Life In The National Guard

An airman with the Kansas National Guard's 117th Air Refueling Squadron returned home after a deployment with CENTCOM.
The National Guard

We’ve all seen the war films of heroic soldiers fighting battles, but what does that battle look like for those left at home?

Read more
National Security
2:36 am
Tue April 24, 2012

U.S. Military Wages Battle Against Misconduct

The Marines' most senior officers — including top commander Gen. James Amos (shown here in 2011 in Afghanistan's Helmand province) — are weighing in on recent incidents involving misconduct by troops serving in Afghanistan.
Bay Ismoyo AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 4:18 am

There's some soul-searching going on in the military these days.

The latest scandal to hit U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan surfaced last week when The Los Angeles Times published photographs showing smiling American soldiers holding up body parts of a Taliban suicide bomber.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta addressed the latest incident during a trip to Brussels.

"That behavior that was depicted in those photos absolutely violates both our regulations and, more importantly, our core values," he said last week after a NATO meeting.

Read more
Home Front: Soldiers Learn To Live After War
5:01 am
Sun April 8, 2012

Dismissed: Military Families Reunite, Face The Future

A portrait of Spc. Jonathan Nestico, 27, is displayed in his family's home in Woburn, Mass.
Becky Lettenberger Becky Lettenberger/NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:53 am

Back from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, the 182nd Infantry Regiment of the Army National Guard had to make a pit stop before heading home. At Camp Atterbury in Indiana, the service members were far from their families, most of which are in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The returning soldiers had to go through a series of checkups and assessments before their welcome-home ceremony, which marks the moment they return to civilian life and the people they left behind.

Before they got there, there was anxiety on both sides — for soldiers and their families.

Read more
12:25 pm
Fri February 5, 2010

Training The Trainers: Iraqi Police Learn In Missouri

Kansas City, Mo. – Four executives in charge of training new Iraqi police officers came to Kansas City to see how the job is done in the United States.

The group talked with reporters under two restrictions: No questions about the war or politics.

Three generals and a colonel walked through the Kansas City Police Academy, watching defensive training. One used the word "amazing" to describe the cooperation he's seen between local and federal law agencies.

Read more