Military Budgets

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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.

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.

Snapshot,
Michael O'Hanlon and Bruce Riedel

The United States has increasingly preferred to base its combat aircraft in the Middle East on aircraft carriers in and near the Persian Gulf. But now it should change course, moving more of them on land to bases in Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Essay, May/June 2013
Jim Thomas

Conventional wisdom holds that the U.S. Army will bear the brunt of forthcoming defense cuts. But that need not be the case, provided it shifts its focus away from traditional ground forces toward more relevant weapons: land-base missile systems.

Essay, May/June 2013
Chris McKinney, Mark Elfendahl, and H. R. McMaster

Looming budgetary constraints and the U.S. Army's ongoing downsizing have enhanced the appeal of forces that are lighter, smaller, and cheaper than tanks and other protected vehicles. But not only have armored forces proved critical in yesterday's wars; they will also be needed to win tomorrow's.

Snapshot,
Brandon Valeriano and Ryan Maness

Despite the hype, cyberwarfare is a seldom-used, relatively toothless tactic that will not change foreign policy calculations anytime soon.

Essay, Nov/Dec 2012
Linda Robinson

With the rise of endless irregular wars playing out in the shadows, special operations have never been more important to U.S. national security. But policymakers and commanders focus too much on dramatic raids and high-tech drone strikes. They need to pay more attention to an even more important task these forces take on: training foreign troops.

Review Essay, Nov/Dec 2012
Robert H. Scales

Thomas Ricks' new book identifies an urgent challenge facing the U.S. armed forces: how to produce good generals. But Ricks' solution -- regularly firing underperforming officers -- is based on flawed historical analysis and would do more harm than good.

Snapshot,
Ashton B. Carter and J. Michael Gilmore

Some have questioned the value and effectiveness of MRAPs. But data from the battlefield and the results of extensive live-fire tests demonstrate that, compared to up-armored Humvees, the new combat vehicles save a significant number of lives and, as a result, are worth the cost.

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