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  • Issue Brief posted May 23, 2016 by Justin Bogie, Daren Bakst, Nicolas Loris, Katie Tubb House Energy and Water Appropriations Bill: Makes Progress but Could Do More to Cut Spending

    This week, the Energy and Water appropriations bill is expected to be debated on the House floor. The second of 12 appropriations bills providing discretionary funding for the federal government, the bill provides funding for projects under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy,…

  • Issue Brief posted May 17, 2016 by Justin Bogie Congress Should Exercise Restraint in Veterans Affairs Funding Bill

    This week, the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Military Construction and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appropriations bill is likely to receive floor consideration in the House of Representatives. The first of 12 appropriations bills providing discretionary funding for the federal government, the bill provides funding to the Department of Defense and the VA for the following…

  • Issue Brief posted May 13, 2016 by Rachel Zissimos, Brian Slattery Solar Energy for DOD Installations Diverts Funds from Defense Priorities

    President Barack Obama’s prioritization of climate change continues to impose unnecessary costs on the U.S. military. Department of Defense (DOD) energy mandates arising from the Administration’s climate change agenda have established a goal of producing or procuring “not less than 25 percent of the total quantity of facility energy [DOD] consumes…from renewable energy…

  • Commentary posted March 29, 2016 by Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Why Are We Misusing Our Special Op Forces Against the Islamic State?

    In the wake of the attack in Brussels, the need to step up the fight against the Islamic State couldn’t be clearer. So it’s discouraging, to say the least, to see the Obama administration misusing our most elite military forces. American special-operations forces, including Navy SEALs and Army Rangers, are designed to conduct high-end, politically charged warfare and do…

  • Issue Brief posted March 17, 2016 by David Inserra Top Four Homeland Security Priorities for the Next Administration

    In 2017, a new President will face significant challenges at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Rectifying these shortcomings is important if the U.S. is to remain secure and prosperous. The following are the top four DHS priorities for the next Administration. 1. Fix DHS Management DHS’s organizational cohesiveness and its central leadership continue to face…

  • Issue Brief posted January 11, 2016 by David Inserra Top 5 Priorities for Homeland Security in 2016

    Policymakers, office-seekers, and the American people have numerous issues to consider in 2016. The following are the top five homeland security issues that Congress and the Administration need to consider this year.[1] 1. Immigration Enforcement. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy, most notably President Obama’s executive action on immigration in 2014, has…

  • Special Report posted January 6, 2016 by Lisa Curtis, Luke Coffey, David Inserra, Daniel Kochis, Walter Lohman, Joshua Meservey, James Phillips, Robin Simcox Combatting the ISIS Foreign Fighter Pipeline: A Global Approach

    The Islamic State’s recent global terror campaign—including the October 31 downing of a Russian passenger jet that killed 224 and the November 13 shooting attacks in Paris that killed 130 restaurant patrons and concert-goers—has increased the urgency for the U.S. to lead a global alliance to defeat the Islamic State and its ideology. ISIS has also been able to establish a…

  • Issue Brief posted December 15, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson Defense Reform Bill Is Biggest in Decades, But More Remains to Be Done

    On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, President Obama quietly signed into law one of the biggest defense reform bills in decades. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA) establishes budgets and policies for the U.S. military.[1] While many in the military have followed this bill closely, most Americans do not realize the important changes the…

  • Commentary posted December 1, 2015 by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. Making the Nation More Secure

    You'll find charts galore in the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength, but two at the start of the detailed report are particularly troubling. One shows the overall state of our military. It's not "very strong" or even "strong," according to the foreign-policy experts who wrote the index, but "marginal" for all branches except one — the Army, which is rated as "weak."…

  • Commentary posted November 4, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Can The Next President Afford To Follow Obama's Defense Spending Footsteps?

    Get ready for resurgence in planning the future of the American military. It’s long overdue. In fact, serious thinking about the “future force”—what America will need to assure national security in the face of foreseeable, emerging threats—has been largely lacking in the post-Reagan era. Thankfully, that seems to be changing. The Pentagon recently announced the…

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  • Center for Data Analysis Report posted November 7, 2005 by Tim Kane, Ph.D. Who Bears the Burden? Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Recruits Before and After 9/11

    A few Members of Congress, motivated by American combat in the Middle East, have called for the reinstatement of a compulsory military draft. The case for coercing young citizens to join the military is supposedly based on social jus­tice?that all should serve?and seems to be but­tressed by reports of shortfalls in voluntary enlistment. In a New York Times op-ed…

  • Backgrounder posted June 7, 2010 by Mackenzie Eaglen U.S. Defense Spending: The Mismatch Between Plans and Resources

    Abstract: President Barack Obama’s defense budget request perpetuates a long-standing pattern of underfunding defense needs. Defense spending is already near historic lows, and the Administration’s budget would reduce it to levels unprecedented during wartime. Furthermore, Congress appears poised to repeat the past mistake of promptly disarming after major combat…

  • Backgrounder posted January 31, 2011 by Paul Rosenzweig 10 Conservative Principles for Cybersecurity Policy

    Abstract: In the age of the Internet, which now determines daily life for Americans, many threats to the U.S. now exist in the cyber domain. Cybersecurity is a near-constant theme in Washington, as well as for private companies around the country. Congress and government agencies are clamoring to develop policies and strategies to protect national security and commercial…

  • 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…

  • Issue Brief posted June 10, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson Congress Should Give Responsible Guidance on Reductions in DOD Civilian Workforce

    As the Senate considers the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and as both the House and the Senate consider their defense appropriations bills, Department of Defense (DOD) civilian personnel reductions will likely be debated. If Congress mandates, individual employees should be let go based on their performance, not on their length of service. As…

  • 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…

  • Issue Brief posted September 24, 2013 by Brian Slattery, Michaela Dodge Biofuel Blunder: Navy Should Prioritize Fleet Modernization over Political Initiatives

    For the past several years, the President and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus have directed the U.S. Navy to dedicate increasingly precious budgetary resources to establish a “green fleet”—i.e., to replace conventional diesel fuel for ships with biofuels harvested from organic material. Supporters claim that instability in the fossil fuel market justifies paying more for…

  • Special Report posted October 31, 2013 by Jim Talent, Honorable Jon Kyl A Strong and Focused National Security Strategy

    Executive Summary When President Obama took office, the armed services of the United States had already reached a fragile state. The Navy had shrunk to its smallest size since before World War I; the Air Force was smaller, and its aircraft older, than at any time since the inception of the service. The Army was stressed by years of war; according to Secretary of Defense…

  • WebMemo posted September 29, 2011 by Baker Spring Time to Meet the Challenge of Updating the Military Retirement System

    The defense budget is currently underfunded to compensate the professional all-volunteer U.S. force adequately and modernize the inventory of all the services. Military benefits and entitlements must be addressed to strengthen the force and ensure that those in uniform are not given fewer benefits in the future. Like the rising costs of Social Security, Medicare, and…

  • Special Report posted October 12, 2012 by Robert P Haffa Jr., Ph.D Full-Spectrum Air Power: Building the Air Force America Needs

    Executive Summary Much of what is written today about the capabilities required by the military services is offered within the context of fiscal restraint, national budget austerity, and cuts in the defense budget to ensure that the armed services pay their “fair” share of deficit reduction. This study argues for building an Air Force to support a joint force…

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