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  • Backgrounder posted September 15, 2016 by Michaela Dodge President Obama’s Missile Defense Policy: A Misguided Legacy

    As a candidate, Barack Obama called ballistic missile defense programs “unproven” and vowed to cut them.[1] As President, Barack Obama eventually had to appreciate the value that missile defense brings to the U.S. strategic posture and allied relationships. The Obama Administration initially cancelled some of the most important missile defense programs that were started…

  • Backgrounder posted August 29, 2016 by Mary R. Habeck, Charles "Cully" Stimson Reforming Intelligence: A Proposal for Reorganizing the Intelligence Community and Improving Analysis

    The Current Situation Despite the deep reforms of the U.S. intelligence community (IC) carried out after 9/11, including the creation of the Director for National Intelligence (DNI) and the National Combatting Terrorism Center (NCTC), there is widespread agreement that more remains to be done. This is not a new thought. Before the ink was dry on the 2004 Intelligence…

  • Backgrounder posted August 4, 2016 by John Venable Operational Assessment of the F-35A Argues for Full Program Procurement and Concurrent Development Process

    This paper will discuss benchmarks for classic fighter technology, maneuverability, stealth, and tactics. It will examine the F-35’s faculties and compare them with the technology, performance, and cost of the generation of multirole fighters[1] that precedes it. That examination will reinforce the jet’s faculties for the air-to-ground missions of all three F-35 variants:…

  • Backgrounder posted June 20, 2016 by Michaela Dodge New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty: Time to Stop the Damage to U.S. National Security

    In April 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Six years later, an analysis of New START’s impact on U.S. national security is as timely as it is instructive. New START has not accomplished the Administration’s main goal of providing predictability and strategic stability between…

  • 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…

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  • 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…

  • Backgrounder posted March 6, 2014 by Charles "Cully" Stimson Military Sexual Assault Reform: Real Change Takes Time

    Signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2013, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains reforms aimed at preventing and reducing sexual assault in the military. Prudent and comprehensive, these reforms in the military justice system will take months, or even years, to bear fruit. Considered in their totality, these reforms represent the…

  • 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 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…

  • Backgrounder posted May 16, 2014 by Richard J. Dunn, III Measuring Military Capabilities: An Essential Tool for Rebuilding American Military Strength

    In the fall of 1945, much of Europe and Asia lay in ruins. The Soviet hammer and sickle flew over the German Reichstag and most of Eastern Europe, and Mao’s red star rose higher over a China devastated by almost a decade of war and Japanese occupation. The world had paid an extraordinarily high price in blood and treasure to defeat Nazi and Japanese aggression. Moreover,…

  • Commentary posted February 20, 2007 by Jim Talent More: The crying need for a bigger U.S. Military

    In 1979, the captain of the USS Canisteo refused to certify his ship as seaworthy, because, in his opinion, his men had not been adequately trained. It was the first time in 15 years that a U.S. Navy captain had refused to take his ship to sea. His courage, coupled with a blistering report about lack of military readiness authored by former defense secretary Melvin…

  • 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…

  • 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…

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