POGO columnist wins 2023 MRE journalism contest

Dan Grazier of the Center for Defense Information, Project on Government Oversight, awarded Commentary prize by Military Reporters & Editors

Dan Grazier of the Center for Defense Information has written excellent commentary and well-argued, watchdog analysis that makes the case in several stories — argued thoughtfully in the best traditions of military writing — for the support, funding and deployment of U.S. weapons that best meet the Pentagon’s missions, most effectively work on the battlefield and offer the strongest protection for American servicemen and women.

Writing in POGO or Breaking Defense, Grazier takes on Pentagon strategies in the pursuit of modern weapons that at times have left American soldiers more at risk on the battlefield, including the ham-handed way the Pentagon has been trying to phase out the A-10 Thunderbolt (aka Warthog) close air support planes that have help protect American ground forces up close for decades. He deploys his experience in defense matters, thorough research on procurement decisions and strong reporting to produce smart analysis making the case for the retention or development of the best weapons available to support U.S. forces — or our allies now fighting in a hot war.

Grazier argues persuasively — often countering decisions by senior military officials or defense contractors — that America should stick to the basic design of Stinger missiles and ramp up the assembly line because of their effectiveness in the Ukraine war in bringing down Russian aircraft. He also helped expose, writing stories for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a not-so-secret campaign by senior Air Force brass to kill the A-10 Warthog without providing a reliable, effective replacement — a strategy that could well result, he argues, in the loss of American lives on the ground in the next war.

Particularly stunning was Grazier’s work unearthing evidence that Air Force leaders “sabotaged the A-10 fleet” by refusing to fund needed upgrades and provide the proper maintenance in a timely manner to keep the planes in service, safe and effective—despite Congressional admonitions to keep the A-10 program going. He wrote about troubling attempts by Air Force officials who, evidence showed, “worked to destroy the fleet through neglect to better make the case that the A-10 should be retired.”

— From the judges

Award Summary

Columns, Opinion

Prize Category: Commentary | This award recognizes a columnist who writes about topics covering the military or homeland security on a regular basis.

Biography Dan Grazier

Dan Grazier POGO columnist

Dan Grazier, a former Marine Corps captain, served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan during the War on Terror. His various assignments in uniform included tours with 2nd Tank Battalion in Camp Lejeune, NC, and 1st Tank Battalion in Twentynine Palms, CA.

Prior to his time in the Marine Corps he worked as a television journalist in Maryland and Missouri. He covered nearly every type of story imaginable, from breaking news to long-form investigative pieces. He has written extensively and lectured on matters of military reform and Manoeuvre Warfare. His work has appeared in the Marine Corps Gazette, Fires Bulletin, and Small Wars Journal.

He makes an average of 100 appearances a year in a variety of media outlets discussing matters of military reform. He is a 2000 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, a 2012 graduate of the Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School, and 2019 graduate of Norwich University with a Master of Arts in Military History.

Read the winning submissions

Published, 4/26/2022, POGO

Air Force Leaders Defy Congress’s A-10 Mandates


Published 6/9/2022, POGO

Air Force Leaders Threatened by Relevant, Factual A-10 Information


Published 4/27/2022, Breaking Defense

Let a Stinger be a Stinger. A new design isn’t needed.