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  • Commentary posted January 23, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Pundits are Dead Wrong: SOTU Still Matters

    This speech made history. No State of the Union address in the modern era makes the case more that America stands as strong and resilient as ever. Before the president’s pitch, there were arguments for jettisoning the State of the Union address altogether. Philip Bump at the Washington Post came right out and said it: “Not to start too pessimistically, but let’s be…

  • Commentary posted January 15, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Why CENTCOM Was Cyber Stupid

    On Monday, U.S. Central Command lost control of its Twitter and YouTube accounts. It serves as yet another reminder of irresponsible social networking practices by federal agencies. The Internet is used for everything from downloading Taylor Swift to waging war, yet Washington seems hopelessly inept at finding its way in the cyber world. The Central Command (CENTCOM) is…

  • Commentary posted January 14, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Strange 'How We Lost Iraq and Afghanistan' Debate

    Post-mortems on “How We Lost Iraq and Afghanistan” seem to be proliferating—even though there’s a lot of “mors” still happening in those battlegrounds. Of course, criticizing the conduct of war, even as bullets fly, is nothing new. Even “the Good War” had its share of cranky complaints about how the war was being won. One of the more distasteful examples came via Major…

  • Commentary posted January 14, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Top 7 World Powers of All Time

    What kind of cruel, evil-minded editor would ask any self-respecting scholar to risk all with a list of the top world powers? It’s an assignment fraught with peril, guaranteed to ensure offense to the living and the dead. After all, as President Obama said, “Every nation thinks it’s exceptional.” And here, the criteria for picking the top contenders can be as ambiguous…

  • Commentary posted January 2, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Big losers are Cubans yearning to breathe free; US credibility

    President Obama’s decision to make nice with Cuba’s repressive, anti-American regime creates a great number of losers. Topping the list, of course, are the people of Cuba. They are starting from a bad place, lacking fundamental freedoms. And Obama negotiated no promises from the Castro brothers to ease up on the repression. That leaves Cubans saddled with the…

  • Commentary posted December 29, 2014 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. The Sony Hack, Edward Snowden and Ordered Liberty

    Americans have seen the future, and they don't much like it.  The Sony hack reminds us that everything online is vulnerable. Worse, malicious digital acts can be a bridge to the real world with threats of blackmail, extortion and physical violence. We are not safe in our own cyber homes. That's not the holiday message Americans wanted to hear. Most are angry and want to…

  • 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…