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Weekend wrap: Expeditionary links

A short, but hot and humid week here in the National Capital Region. Here are a few of the things we didn't get a chance to write about:

• Tom Ricks questioned this week whether today's ambitions for ballistic missile defense might not be a modern version of coastal artillery -- crypto-isolationist weapons of questionable practical value.

• The end of the space shuttle program not only means the end of thousands of NASA jobs, it means elite military pilots no longer have a chance to parlay their skills in the atmosphere into a ride to outer space.

• Deputy Secretary of Defense Bill Lynn announced that he'll step down as soon as a successor can be found. Lynn said he didn't want to commit to the job for the rest of President Obama's term. He wants to spend more time with his family.

• Another review in the U.K. has identified still more risks in the Royal Navy's goal of building its two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

• Mark Thompson at Battleland points out a piece in the new issue of the Naval Institute's Proceedings in which the author argues that many military thinkers wildly overstate the risks of war with China -- a nation that makes 90 iPhones a minute for sale in the U.S. and across the world.

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