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  • Commentary posted December 2, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Special Operations for the 21st Century: Starting Over

    The Obama administration has an affinity for the employment of special operations forces. Increased emphasis on this particular sliver of military power is almost without precedence in the modern era, and it is not good. The penchant to view special operations forces as an “easy button,” a ready substitute for conventional military forces, is utterly wrongheaded. Further,…

  • Commentary posted December 1, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Economy in Free Fall: Politically Isolated Putin's Troubles Grow

    “Saturday Night Live” often acts as a good barometer of what’s going on in the world.  Last week, its opening sketch nailed just how grumpy Americans are over President Obama’s executive action on immigration, which kicks the rule of law down the Capitol steps. But later in the show’s “Weekend Update,” a guest appearance by German Chancellor Angela Merkel (performed by…

  • 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 12, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Putting Pentagon Performance First

    Making defense operations more efficient is a natural common cause for Congress and the Pentagon. Increased efficiency would save money—freeing up dollars that the Pentagon could plow back into rebuilding the capacity and capabilities needed to defend the country. Sadly, talk about how to do this always starts in the wrong place. Some want to just shutter bases—a process…

  • Commentary posted November 10, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Sorry, GOP: Why Obama's Foreign-Policy Follies Will Drag On

    Breaking news! The fate of the world doesn’t hang on the outcome of an American midterm election. The make-up of the new Congress might make it easier for President Obama to tack toward a more responsible foreign and defense policy, but that’s not likely to happen. The major flaws of American foreign policy arise from the White House—and the elections forced no change…

  • 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…

  • Commentary posted November 4, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. U.S. Troops are Unrivaled in Carrying out Humanitarian Missions

    Obama called it a "national security" mission - a clear misuse of the term. Americans should be wary of Washington's growing tendency to make every project a priority simply by appending "security" to the issue. National security efforts by design are statist, centralized, top-down activities. So when government says it wants to focus on climate security, energy…

  • Commentary posted October 28, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Getting America's Global Military Footprint Right

    Over the last quarter century, Washington's primary tool for divesting infrastructure the armed forces no longer needs has been the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. But the Pentagon needs better tools if it is to manage its massive global footprint efficiently. Throughout this summer of serial chaos, American interests have suffered setbacks on every…

  • Commentary posted October 16, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Three Steps to Avoiding a Hollow Military

    The “summer of chaos” now turning to an “autumn of awful” has given many signs of a rapidly approaching gap between what the military has and what it needs to keep our nation safe.  And that gap could widen quickly in the face of escalating demands. From battling Ebola to bucking up NATO, from fighting the newest phase of the Long War against transnational terrorism to…

  • Commentary posted October 16, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Obama's Great Big Ebola Error

    The White House has declared Ebola to be a top national-security concern. That ought to worry Americans. The last time a president tried to make a disease a national-security issue, he helped trigger a global pandemic that killed 50 million people. Progressives like to expropriate the label of national security to help drive their agendas. Statist, centrally managed,…

  • Commentary posted October 6, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Are We Safe Yet?

    It's only natural, with reports of terrorist groups such as the Islamic State filling the news, for Americans to question just how safe they are - and if the threat is greater now than it used to be. We've never really been safe. At least that's what a database maintained by The Heritage Foundation finds. It tracks Islamist-related terrorist plots since 9/11 aimed at…

  • Commentary posted October 2, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. How to Halt the Slide Towards a Hollow U.S. Military

    Here is a prediction: The defense budget will get a cash Band-Aid in 2016. Washington may be about to experience one of those rare moments when smart politics coincides with smart policies. Instead of wringing its hands over surviving under “austerity” budgets as far as the eye can see, the Pentagon ought to be thinking strategically about how it might use a little extra…