Defense Policy

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Comment, May/June 2014
Sharon E. Burke

The Defense Department is the United States’ largest energy consumer, but it’s also a major incubator of cutting-edge technologies. To cut fuel demands and meet new threats, the Pentagon is transforming the U.S. military from an organization that uses as much fuel as it can get to one that uses only as much as it needs.

Snapshot,
Paul K. MacDonald and Joseph M. Parent

Hagel bills this year's proposed U.S. defense budget as a novelty. The New York Times portrays it as an antiquity. Senator Lindsey Graham paints it as a travesty. In truth, it is none of those things. Rather, the proposed budget represents a continuation of nearly three years of defense retrenchment, which is modest in scope and prudent in purpose.

Snapshot,
William J. Parker III

Lincoln Paine’s recent article “What’s a Navy For?” asks an important question, but his implication that the U.S. Navy does not have an answer is off course.

Snapshot,
Lincoln Paine

As the U.S. Defense Department faces the realities of austerity, the navy's huge budget is ripe for the picking. But policymakers are struggling to pick which programs to keep and which to eliminate, for many of them remain unsure of what the navy is actually for.

Essay, Jan/Feb 2014
Ashton B. Carter

The Department of Defense is good at anticipating future military needs but not at responding quickly to immediate technological challenges on the battlefield. This is how we tried to get around that problem in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Essay, Nov/Dec 2013
Cindy Williams

Instead of hoping that a political miracle will spare the Pentagon from the budget ax, American defense officials need to start preparing for the inevitable. That means bringing personnel costs under control, getting on with strategic planning, and reshaping the forces for today’s missions.

Essay, Nov/Dec 2013
Melvyn P. Leffler

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the consequences of past U.S. defense cuts were not all bad. In fact, history shows that austerity forces Washington to think strategically, something it rarely does when times are flush.

Snapshot,
Todd Harrison

Shadowed by a potential government shutdown, the U.S. military faces massive budget cuts. It will be forced to decide whether it should protect its near-term capacity to fight the wars of today or develop more advanced capabilities to fight the ones of tomorrow.

Snapshot,
Sohail H. Hashmi and Jon Western

Some opponents of a strike in Syria contend that the norm against chemical weapons is pointless, since they generally produce far fewer fatalities than conventional arms. But chemical weapons, like nuclear and biological ones, are concerning primarily because they make discrimination between civilians and fighters impossible.

Response,
Stacie L. Pettyjohn and Evan Braden Montgomery

In their article, O’Hanlon and Riedel urge the United States to rely less on aircraft carriers stationed in the Persian Gulf and more on forces housed in bases in Gulf Cooperation Council nations. Here's why that would exacerbate problems for the United States in the region.

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