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Tobin Harshaw

Read This If You Want to Sound Smart on National Security

A Q&A with Ryan Evans, founder of the military-affairs website War on the Rocks.

Locked and loaded.

Locked and loaded.

Photographer: SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

One question journalists get asked a lot is what they read to stay on top for their beat. I tend to shudder. For one, I’m thin-skinned enough to hear it as, “What can I read so I don’t have to read you?” But I also have a laundry list of smart publications and websites that are of great interest to me but maybe not so much for the general interest reader. I love Aviation Week and Space Technology, but don’t get many requests to borrow my latest issue.

I usually answer by recommending a site called War on the Rocks. The mission statement of WOTR, as everybody calls it, says there is “no other web-based publication on war and foreign policy out there that has been blessed with this much experience from its collection of regular contributors.” I don’t know about that lofty claim. But I do feel that no other site offers more to both the general reader and the specialist, or as realistic prescriptions for what ails the U.S.-led global order. It also has no ads, avoiding conflict of interest in a realm so dominated by powerful government contractors.