Ten Years of Defense One: A Look Into Its Past, Present, and Future
5 minutes

Ten Years of Defense One: A Look Into Its Past, Present, and Future

Celebrating a decade of award-winning journalism.

March 17, 2023

From the moment it launched in 2013, Defense One has stayed true to its original mission: to deliver breaking news, exclusive commentary, and timely analysis on the topics and trends defining the future of defense and security. And as the world has changed, Defense One has adapted as well, expanding its coverage to bring defense leaders the information and insights they need to accomplish their own missions. Join us as we look back on the past decade of work, today’s challenges, tomorrow’s path ahead—and how you and your organization can come along.

Defense One began with a bang, drawing record-breaking traffic, doubling its staff, and welcoming the serving Defense Secretary to its very first event. Its staff fanned out across the U.S. and the world, reporting over the years from airfields in Afghanistan, NATO summits in Brussels, multinational exercises in the Arctic and Indo-Pacific regions, corporate boardrooms, F-35 factory floors, tech incubators, and tactical operations.

As the threats shifted, so did the coverage—from the ISIS wars to the rise of foreign and domestic extremism, disinformation and information warfare, the shift to great power competition, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Defense One also explored new ways to deliver the news, expanding into social channels, podcasts, newsletters, webinars, and more. Last year, Defense One’s Science & Tech and Policy channels saw page views grow tenfold. 

The staff have become known as experts in their field, invited to moderate speaking events and interview world leaders at top trade shows and international policy and security conferences, many of which have also sought partnerships with the brand. 

Today, the site draws well over a million page views each month—largely from key leaders in the defense and national security community. In the words of U.S. Army Col. Yi Se Gwon, Chief of Staff for Army Strategic Operations, “Defense One is the most read and referenced publication by the Department of the Army leadership.” 

A conversation with Defense One’s Executive Editor, Kevin Baron

Defense One launched a decade ago with a newsroom of three people led by Kevin Baron. We asked him about its first 10 years—and what comes next.

Q: Describe the evolution of Defense One.

Baron: The defense landscape has changed so much. I often say that when we launched in 2013, the Pentagon was still the center of gravity for all things defense, security, intelligence, after the big war years of Iraq and Afghanistan. That has all changed, and we now cover issues as diverse as the superconductor supply chain, abortion politics, cloud computing, and the rise of partisan propaganda. With the shifting focus to China, and the surprise Russian war on Europe, the future is global and so should be the journalism that covers these borderless threats across the whole of society.

Q: What makes Defense One different from other defense-oriented publications?

Baron: Defense One’s mantra is to cover the future of defense. We are interested in the next big ideas, policies, technologies, and developments. Also, we cover the entire spectrum of security, with senior reporters across politics, science, technology, the defense industry, and most recently, the service branches. So, in the same week that we are reporting on the next generation of Navy software at an industry event in California, we are also covering world leaders behind the scenes at the exclusive Munich Security Conference. Finally, amid the crowded sea of defense industry expos, association meetings, and friendly think tank conversations, Defense One instead hosts exclusive and unmatched live newsmaker events in Washington, D.C. that serve one purpose: journalism. 

Q: What moments will you never forget from the last ten years?

Baron: Defense One has had an exciting first decade. We have hosted live and exclusive interviews with defense secretaries, Joint Chiefs chairmen, service chiefs and secretaries, key congressmen, the NATO secretary general, foreign leaders—even Montel Williams! And we’ve published op-eds by the same level of leaders. It’s a testament to our quality journalists and journalism that public officials will sit with Defense One and speak to our audience. 

And we’ve traveled the globe. I, for one, will never forget walking through the ISIS torture chambers in Raqqa with the CENTCOM commander. Marcus Weisgerber won’t forget breaking exclusive news on Trump’s bad ideas for Air Force One, or interviewing a wanted war criminal at a foreign arms bazaar. Patrick Tucker recalls reporting on a fugitive tech leader from the rooftop of a Las Vegas strip club, and on Russian infowar attacks on the French elections.

Q: You’ve covered defense for more than 25 years. What keeps you motivated?

Baron: It has been a privilege and honor to lead Defense One through our first decade. It’s any journalist's dream to be trusted with editorial freedom, and it’s a responsibility I take seriously for our newsroom and our editorial integrity. 

I’ll tell you two stories that motivate me. John Allen, the former Afghanistan-war commanding general, had sent us an op-ed and we gave it a headline that went down in history: “Destroy the Islamic State Now.” One month later, I asked Allen if the piece was useful for him. He told me that when President Obama called him into the Oval Office and asked what to do about ISIS, Allen handed Obama a printed copy of his Defense One op-ed and said, “Mr. President, it’s all in here.” 

I am equally proud of our on-the-ground reporting on the women of Syria fighting for their freedom in an impossible situation, and of the wide range of issues we have shed light on: he partisan propaganda infecting our national security, the overzealous technology goals of the defense machine, the Oval Office, classrooms, defense industry CEOs, rookie policy wonks, NATO leaders, buck privates, tech gurus, tech geeks and fanboys. We continue to build a global audience that turns to Defense One. That’s success.

How Defense One is celebrating 10 years: with news and you

From now until the end of 2023, Defense One will celebrate in the best way they know how: with unrivaled networking and newsmaking events you won’t want to miss. 


Starting with the State of Defense virtual series this March, they’ll move to June with the return of the popular 8th annual Defense One Tech Summit hybrid event. Then comes the Defense One Anniversary Summit on November 2, a marquee in-person experience complete with a red-carpet, exclusive, VIP reception with top security leaders. Between these blockbusters, they’ll host events in more intimate formats: quarterly 10th Anniversary Cocktails & Conversations and invitation-only Salon Preview Dinners during key Defense One moments. 


Gain insights from inside the Defense One newsroom with quarterly and monthly special reports, articles, and other editorial features. The upcoming “State of the Defense Workforce” will see Global Business Editor, Marcus Weisgerber, dive deep into the challenges facing the nation's defense industrial base. Defense One will also launch several limited-run newsletters, including “10 BEST: A Decade of Defense One’s Top Headlines,” which will revisit the best stories on a different topic each month. Defense One’s Global Business Editor, Patrick Tucker, will lead “10 Years of Emerging Tech,” which will look at top priorities in emerging tech, from hypersonics, to micro-electronics. Finally, Senior Multimedia Editor, Ben Watson, will revisit best-of moments from the award-winning Defense One Radio podcast.

Get involved! 

Don’t miss your chance to participate in this historic celebration. A variety of unique programs are available now, and coming soon to Defense One’s Ten Year Anniversary. Spots are limited, so reach out today to learn more about how these opportunities can help drive brand elevation, powerful topical alignment, and robust visibility in front of the defense audiences that matter most to your business. To learn how your brand can plug into this unforgettable yearlong market moment, please email Solutions@DefenseOne.com.

Stay tuned to all the exciting things in the defense universe by following Defense One on Twitter, LinkedIn, or defenseone.com.


More to Read >