What is Duffel Blog?

Duffel Blog is the first and only online parody news organization for the United States military.

Founded in 2012 by Marine Corps veteran Paul Szoldra, Duffel Blog helps military members and civilians advance critical thinking in national security through satire and smart humor.

“Some of what it turns out just might be the best military satire since Joseph Heller wrote Catch-22.”

— David Martin, national security correspondent for CBS News

“They’ve made a lot of fun of me and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it.”

James Mattis, former Secretary of Defense


Why you should subscribe

We started Duffel Blog on the premise that there was plenty of absurdity in the military and it needed to be pointed out. Eight years in and millions of readers later, it’s safe to say that we were right.

But times have been tough in media — even more so for a small operation like Duffel Blog. Ad revenue and social media reach have gone down, and we’ve realized that we need to carve out a different path to sustainability.

So we’ve moved to an email newsletter format in the hope that you can keep us going for years to come.

Free subscribers to Duffel Blog will still get occasional emails but only paid subscribers will be directly supporting the amazing staff of Duffel Blog, and will:

  • Receive every single piece of new Duffel Blog content (about four articles per week)

  • Get behind-the-scenes access to Duffel Blog staff

  • Be able to join our community in the comments

  • Have full access to the Duffel Blog archive


What people say about Duffel Blog

Frequently asked questions

Who writes for Duffel Blog?

Duffel Blog is produced by a highly-talented pool of hundreds of part-time contributors, which run the gamut of enlisted and officer ranks in every branch of the U.S. military.

Has Duffel Blog ever fooled anyone?

Yes. Duffel Blog is frequently taken seriously despite its satirical nature. Perhaps the most noteworthy example happened in 2013 when Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote a letter to the Pentagon asking for more information on a Duffel Blog article that reported G.I. Bill benefits would be offered to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The letter made national news.

Other examples include a story that fooled a writer at Gizmodo, another that led to constituents calling into the office of Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), which prompted an official statement in response, and frequent cases that have appeared on the fact-checking website Snopes.

“Behind the biting wit and outrageous headlines is a satirical prowess that not only engages the reader with pointed absurdist humor but does so with the intent to challenge every level of the military experience.”

Maximilian Uriarte, New York Times bestselling author and creator of Terminal Lance

What does the Pentagon think of Duffel Blog?

We like to think the top leadership at the Pentagon enjoys Duffel Blog, despite a number of public affairs officials complaining over the years after they’ve received angry calls that can be traced back to us (sorry not sorry).

Duffel Blog counts Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as one of its fans. In an interview with CBS News in 2013, Mattis said, “they’ve made a lot of fun of me and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” adding, “It’s good that these young men are poking a little bit of fun at us … I enjoy the feedback actually.”

In another interview with The Washington Post in 2013, he said, “Duffel Blog is a beautifully crafted response to an increasingly stuffy environment in today’s America. Duffel Blog reminds us of much of what we in the military fight for — the freedom to think our own way and to laugh about the absurdities without being mean-spirited.”

Pentagon spokesman George Little also praised Duffel Blog in 2013, telling The Washington Post that “it helps put many things in healthy perspective, even when it’s a little over the top or overly satirical. In the very serious world we live in at the Pentagon, a bit of levity can actually help advance the mission.” He also urged military public affairs professionals to read the site in a speech he gave at Fort Meade.

Duffel Blog frequently gets positive feedback from military service members, veterans, and civilian national security professionals.

“Reminds me of The Onion in its early days. They’re clearly having fun doing it, which is part of what makes it successful.”

— Scott Dikkers, founding editor of The Onion

Disclaimer

Duffel Blog is a parody of a news organization, and all content it publishes is satirical in nature. No content should be regarded as truthful, and no reference of an individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or emotional harm. All characters, groups, and military units appearing in these works are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or actual military units and companies is purely coincidental.

Duffel Blog is not intended for readers under 18 years of age.

Miscellaneous

To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.