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  • 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…

  • Commentary posted September 25, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The President's Scary Foreign-Policy Strategy: Obama’s Tactics, Bush's Rhetoric

    The U.S. military has officially begun airstrikes against terrorist targets inside Syria. It would be nice to think that this represents a different Obama and a more muscular foreign policy that is really serious about taking the fight to the enemy. But, there is no evidence yet that the president has turned the policy page. After all, we have seen how Obama has used…

  • Commentary posted September 15, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Obama's ISIS strategy: Why Bush's 2007 warning on Iraq matters

    Replaying the video of President Bush's 2007 warning against a premature withdrawal U.S. troops from Iraq is all the rage. In the last 24 hours, millions of Americans have “gone to the tape."  But, unlike a referee’s decision in an NFL game, President Obama’s blown call on this question can't be reversed. There are no do-overs in war.   Still, Mr. Bush’s comments are…

  • Commentary posted September 15, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Why Obama's ISIS Speech Is No Strategy: 5 Concerns Going Forward

    If making a speech served as strategy, then FDR would have checked that block by declaring Pearl Harbor a day of infamy. But not so. Long before the Japanese bombers and Zeros hit Pearl, Roosevelt’s team had put in months of hard thinking, planning and decision-making to prepare for the nightmare scenario of a two-front conflict with Germany and Japan. And after the…

  • Commentary posted September 9, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Why Obama Needs a Strategy for Saving Jordan

    President Obama’s recent press conference sparked a firestorm of concern over the state of his strategy for dealing with ISIS. But ISIS isn’t the only Middle East challenge deserving some well-thought-out “strategery.” The administration also needs to craft a solid, sustainable plan for supporting the people of Jordan. On the surface, the fate of Jordan may not appear to…

  • Commentary posted September 8, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Unneeded Export-Import Bank Needs to Go

    On August 23, the president took time out from his vacation to speak to the American people. Oddly, he didn’t talk about ISIS, Ukraine, the Islamist takeover of Tripoli or even border security here at home. No, what lured the president from the links of Martha’s Vineyard to a radio microphone was the opportunity to publicly urge American businesses to lobby Congress to…