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  • Backgrounder posted March 23, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Defense Reform by the Numbers: Four Crucial Priorities for the Next Administration

    The Heritage Foundation recently released the 2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength. This comprehensive survey of American military power evaluates the state of the Armed Forces, current threats, and the operating environment in which U.S. forces might be called on to defend a vital interest. The overall findings of the evaluation conclude that the American military is…

  • Backgrounder posted March 16, 2015 by Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., Dean Cheng, Brian Slattery, Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., Michaela Dodge, Luke Coffey, David Inserra, Charles "Cully" Stimson 10 Objectives for the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act

    The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a central piece of legislation for Congress each year. Not only has the NDAA been passed 53 years in a row, it is one of the last remaining bills that enjoys true bipartisan consensus. The annual legislation has been able to rise above the political fray in part because Congress understands the critical need to set defense…

  • Commentary posted December 1, 2014 by Peter Brookes Hagel’s Exit Won’t Save O’s Weak Foreign Policy

    OK, so maybe at least one head had to roll — in this case that of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — after the murderous mid-term elections which partly reflected Team Obama’s sloppy steering of the ship of state in international waters. But the inconvenient truth about all of this delicious D.C. drama is that swapping out one Pentagon pasha for another won’t fix President…

  • Commentary posted December 1, 2014 by Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Chuck Hagel Leaves No Legacy

    The announcement that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had resigned on Monday came as no big surprise to many observers. The questions now are: How did the departure of Obama’s third Defense Secretary come about? What will Chuck Hagel be remembered for, and who will replace him? First, Hagel will be remembered as one of the least qualified Pentagon heads ever to serve.…

  • Commentary posted November 26, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Blame Obama for Hagel Chaos

    Breaking news from the White House: Chuck Hagel lacks the skills to be defense secretary. Talk about understatement. That’s like the last soldier on the roof of the Saigon embassy saying the Vietnam War might not be going our way. It’s not as if anyone ever really thought Hagel was all that qualified to begin with. After his confirmation hearing, Sen. John McCain…

  • Issue Brief posted November 26, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Dakota Wood, James Phillips, Luke Coffey National Security Priorities for the Next Secretary of Defense

    President Barack Obama is replacing his Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel. Hagel was the third Secretary of Defense to serve under President Obama, following Robert Gates and Leon Panetta. The announcement of Hagel’s resignation, reportedly under pressure from the White House, was not accompanied by mention of a successor, who must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Hagel…

  • Commentary posted November 25, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Third Offset: The "Fairy Dust" Strategy

    If defense policy were a yo-yo, the Pentagon would be at the end of its string. That’s the discouraging takeaway from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s recent speech at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The annual gathering there resembles a “Davos for defense.” Most everybody who’s anybody in the national-security community attends. Hagel’s talk…

  • Commentary posted November 21, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Time for the Pentagon to Craft a Twenty-First-Century Acquisition Strategy

    When it comes to how the Pentagon buys new stuff, everyone’s a critic. The zeal for reform rivals that of Carrie Nation when she first took up her hatchet. Yet, despite numerous initiatives—complete with promises, new laws and regulations—the complaints continue to pile up. Perhaps it is time for a different take on acquisition reform. Rather than pursue another round of…

  • Commentary posted November 6, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Pentagon's Greatest Challenge (And It's Not ISIS or China)

    Before the arms race with the Soviet Union came the hiring race among U.S. military bureaucracies. It started not long after the National Security Act of 1947 established what became the Department of Defense (DoD). The Secretariat added staff and functions to ride roughshod over the services. In turn, the services added staff to meet all the department’s demands, as…

  • Issue Brief posted November 4, 2014 by Emil Maine, Diem Salmon The Future of Overseas Contingency Operations: Due Diligence Required

    In 2001, the U.S. government began providing emergency supplemental funds to pay for increased military and civilian costs associated with the global war on terrorism (GWOT). Initially, war funds paid for the mobilizing and deploying of troops, transporting equipment and supplies, and increasing the number of active-duty service members associated with Operation Enduring…

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  • Lecture posted May 5, 2004 by The Honorable Frank J. Williams Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties in Wartime

    This month, several individuals detained as "enemy combatants" will make their appeals for freedom to the highest court in the land. Perhaps now, more than any other time in recent memory, the eyes of the world are intensely focused on the United States Supreme Court. In making their decisions, they must walk a fine line between protecting the civil liberties we all…

  • Backgrounder posted August 24, 2011 by Steven Groves Accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea Is Unnecessary to Secure U.S. Navigational Rights and Freedoms

    Abstract: For more than 200 years, the United States has successfully preserved and protected its navigational rights and freedoms by relying on naval operations, diplomatic protests, and customary international law. U.S. membership in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) would not confer any maritime right or freedom that the U.S. does not already…

  • Backgrounder posted May 3, 2013 by Michaela Dodge Beyond BRAC: Global Defense Infrastructure for the 21st Century

    The budget cuts instituted under the Budget Control Act of 2011 are compelling the Administration and Congress to decrease the Department of Defense’s resources. These cuts dramatically undermine the country’s ability to protect its vital interests.[1] The cuts also increase pressures to conduct more base realignments and closures (BRACs). As these pressures increase, it…

  • Backgrounder posted March 19, 2014 by Michaela Dodge, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., The Heritage Foundation Defense Experts 12 Issues for Congress in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act

    Two key bills guide the policies of the U.S. Department of Defense: (1) the appropriations bill, which provides defense funding, and (2) the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets policies and guidelines for how the money will be spent. The NDAA has been the only bill that has made it to the President’s desk for his signature each year over the past…

  • Backgrounder posted July 26, 2010 by Sally McNamara, Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., James Phillips Countering Turkey’s Strategic Drift

    Abstract: For decades, Turkey and the United States cooperated in the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, and even Korea. However, Turkish and U.S. interests in the Balkans, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf have recently diverged. On its current trajectory, Turkey’s traditional strategic relationship with the West could devolve…

  • Legal Memorandum posted July 19, 2011 by M. Eric Eversole, Hans A. von Spakovsky A President’s Opportunity: Making Military Voters a Priority

    Abstract: The MOVE Act, like previous voting rights laws, was supposed to help military members exercise their right to vote. The MOVE Act, however, cannot succeed in delivering on its promise until it is fully implemented and enforced. President Obama has a clear opportunity to help deliver the promise of the MOVE Act, but his Administration must be willing to make the…

  • Issue Brief posted December 12, 2013 by Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., Emil Maine Thornberry Initiative for Effective Defense Acquisition Reform Appears Promising

    Last month, Representative Mac Thornberry (R–TX) outlined his approach for reforming defense acquisition under an initiative he is leading in the House Armed Services Committee.[1] His remarks provide encouragement that this effort will result in positive reforms to the defense acquisition process that many earlier efforts, dating back decades, have failed to…

  • Issue Brief posted August 1, 2014 by Diem Nguyen Salmon National Defense Panel Provides Congress an Honest Path Forward

    This week, the bipartisan National Defense Panel (NDP) delivered to Congress its review of the Department of Defense (DOD) 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). This report comprises a key element of information needed by Congress and the American public to truly understand the state of the US military and the requirements to meet today’s threats. Unlike the QDR—which…

  • Backgrounder posted March 23, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Defense Reform by the Numbers: Four Crucial Priorities for the Next Administration

    The Heritage Foundation recently released the 2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength. This comprehensive survey of American military power evaluates the state of the Armed Forces, current threats, and the operating environment in which U.S. forces might be called on to defend a vital interest. The overall findings of the evaluation conclude that the American military is…

  • WebMemo posted May 18, 2011 by Bruce Klingner Proposed Re-Realignment for Northeast Asia Ignores Strategic Realities

    Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D–MI), ranking member John McCain (R–AZ), and Senator Jim Webb (D–VA) have called on the United States to overhaul two complex military realignment agreements with South Korea and Japan. Their proposals would undermine years of carefully crafted diplomacy that achieved U.S. strategic objectives and resolved contentious…

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