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  • Commentary posted June 30, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. What Fireworks Does ISIS Plan for the 4th of July?

    What to make of reports that ISIS may try to pull off a terrorist attack on Independence Day? Let’s look at the facts. It is not the first time after 9/11 that U.S. authorities have expressed concerns about possible terrorist attacks timed to coincide with significant dates like the 4th of July.  In 2011, a senior U.S. official told reporters, “We have received credible…

  • Commentary posted June 25, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. If Ebola Returns, Is Washington Or WHO Any Better Prepared?

    Summer is scary. Sharks attack. Hurricanes harry us. Draught and heat exhaustion claim casualties. And, last year there was Ebola. And, Ebola could be back. In 2014, the unprecedented outbreak of the deadly virus that ravaged West Africa went from interesting news to outright panic when the first case reached American shores. Controversy over the administration’s…

  • Commentary posted June 19, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. In cyberattacks, blame the victim

    It's called The Great Game. Big nations perpetually battle for advantages, going after each other like LeBron James and Stephen Curry tussling for loose balls in the NBA finals. So when China is accused of pulling off the hack of this young century — scarfing up massive amounts of personnel files from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) — well, just chalk it up…

  • Commentary posted June 12, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Obama's cuts leave every military branch weaker than on 9/11

    A "tiger mom" might go ballistic if her child came home with a "needs improvement" on his kindergarten report card. But most adults wouldn't panic. They know there is time to get the kid up to standard before the deadline for that Harvard application falls due. Defending America is different. A sub-par grade for military preparedness ought to be an immediate…

  • Commentary posted June 10, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Islamist Plots Are On The Rise; Should Our Concern Be Rising As Well?

    Islamist terrorists are busier than ever trying to kill us. That’s a fact. Two years ago, The Heritage Foundation conducted an exhaustive review of publicly available U.S. court and federal and state government records. The researchers documented at least 60 terrorist plots related to Islamist extremism following the 9/11 attacks—all aimed at the U.S. And the pace of…

  • Commentary posted June 8, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Twitter Kills: How Online Networks Became a National-Security Threat

    There is nothing social about using social networks to help slaughter innocents and disseminate murder porn. But that kind of activity is merely symptomatic of the fundamental challenge that social media poses to national security. The key to winning cyberwars has more to do with securing physical space than dominating cyber space. Social networks are powerful. For…

  • Commentary posted June 8, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Big Data, Big Brother: It’s a Big Deal

    Government knows it can find small problems by sweeping up "Big Data." Sifting through it, they can find terrorists' needles amid a haystack of tweets about who got voted off The Voice. PRISM isn’t the only security initiative to employ this approach, which is why the Times might want to keep that template handy. Though big-data searches are increasingly common, that…

  • Commentary posted May 28, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Lessons in Lousy Leadership

    Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal has penned a revealing book—but its revelations are not intentional. The combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and his team of co-authors intended to author a guide on how to use small teams to infuse organizations with dynamic and adaptive leadership. Instead they deliver an accidental expose of what is wrong with the modern major…

  • Commentary posted May 27, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Real Meaning of Memorial Day

    Dead matted the fields of Gettysburg, as thick as a corn crop before harvest. The fallen of World War I were so numerous, that many lay exposed for years, white bones glinting through tattered cloth in the noonday sun. During World War II, the frozen dead at Bastogne had to be stacked for later burial. On Okinawa, E.B. Sledge wrote in his diary, “Every crater was half…

  • Backgrounder posted May 21, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Charles "Cully" Stimson, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., John Malcolm, Paul Rosenzweig Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and Metadata Collection: Responsible Options for the Way Forward

    Updated May 29, 2015 The Real and Growing Threat of Terrorism Any debate about America’s counterterrorism capabilities must be conducted in the context of the actual terrorist threat the U.S. faces. Since 9/11, The Heritage Foundation has tracked Islamist terrorist plots and attacks, which now, after the recent shooting in Garland, Texas, total 68.[1] This figure,…

  • Commentary posted May 11, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. A Better American Way of War

    A global power with global interests can’t always afford to pick how it wants to fight. That is an essential insight for understanding the American way of war. And strategists are always eager to understand our way of war—especially when it seems to have failed us. Consider Vietnam. After that humiliating defeat, American strategists entered into an intense state of…

  • Commentary posted May 6, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. After Obama: A 7-Step Economic Recovery Plan for America

    Foreign policy should work to advance a constructive agenda—something that’s been largely lacking in the Obama era. Hopefully, the next president will come up with appropriate actions to fill that void. As a cornerstone of that effort, I would suggest a commitment to promoting free trade and more liberal markets worldwide. I’ve written before that the next president…

  • Commentary posted April 29, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Memo to the President: How to Transform Civil-Military Relations

    Relations among political leaders, civilian agencies and the military blow hot and cold. At this point, things are rather chilly. For more effective coordination between civilians and soldiers, the next occupant of the Oval Office will need to instill a better leadership style, review the command at the Pentagon, and renew the ethical foundation of government…

  • Commentary posted April 28, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Lessons From a Lifetime of Leadership

    After centuries of attempting to decipher leadership like decoding a strand of DNA, it’s time to admit all that time might just have been wasted. Reading retired Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch’s Adapt or Die makes a case for getting back to learning to lead the old-fashioned way: by studying people who lead. In the Western world, from the time of Thucydides until the age of…

  • Special Report posted April 24, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Charlotte Florance, Daniel J Kaniewski The Ebola Outbreak of 2013–2014: An Assessment of U.S. Actions

    The task force chairmen, steering committee members, and participants remind readers of this report that the affiliations of the contributors are listed only for identification and that they do not imply institutional endorsement. Contributors to this report do not necessarily represent their institutions, and every member of the task force does not necessarily endorse…