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  • Commentary posted August 31, 2015 by James Phillips The Iran nuclear deal: Peeling back the layers

    "This thing is like an onion," George Costanza once said on an episode of "Seinfeld." "The more layers you peel, the more it stinks." Just about anyone who examines the Iran nuclear deal knows how he feels. Look at the recent bombshell report that revealed Iran will be allowed to use its own officials to investigate a military site where it's suspected of conducting…

  • Commentary posted August 28, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson Politicians and Analysts Call for Larger Navy: Can We Afford It?

    The United States Navy has been shrinking for decades and is now at levels last seen in the 1930’s. Politicians on both sides of the aisle say they want to reverse that trend. But is a larger Navy really affordable? Today’s Navy has 273 active duty ships—14% fewer than were afloat on 9/11. During his 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney proposed a plan to get the Navy…

  • Commentary posted August 28, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson What Should America Spend on Defense and Why?

    The debate about defense spending will likely reignite in September as Congress returns from recess and the end of the fiscal year draws near. Unfortunately, much of that debate will not be very helpful or informative. Instead of arguing the merits of a particular military spending level, much of the debate will revolve around Democratic opposition to increasing defense…

  • Commentary posted August 19, 2015 by Riley Walters Robotics Answers: Japan aims to lead next Industrial Revolution

    Imagine a bed that turns into an electric wheelchair, or a sensor system on the factory floor of an automated warehouse that tells machines to slow down when humans are walking nearby, or an exoskeleton that can help a stroke victim learn to walk again. These are examples of robots that exist today. Now imagine a robot with which you can have meaningful conversations; a…

  • Commentary posted August 19, 2015 by Ana Quintana Don't Celebrate America's Diplomatic Opening to Cuba

    On Friday August 14, John Kerry is slated to arrive in Havana, where he will formally reopen the United States’ embassy on the island. It will be the first time a U.S. Secretary of State has set foot in Cuba in 70 years. But the embassy opening should be no cause for celebration. It is a simply one more false step in this administration’s foreign policy—a miscue that…

  • Commentary posted August 17, 2015 by Michaela Dodge, Justin T. Johnson Issues To Watch At Space & Missile Defense Conference: Heritage

    Monday marks the beginning of the Army-centric Space and Missile Defense Symposium, an annual conference in Huntsville, Ala.  Here are a few topics likely to generate conference buzz. Missile Defense The Obama administration’s 2016 budget request for missile defense investments went up slightly to $9.6 billion for missile defense development and operations, of which…

  • Issue Brief posted August 7, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson 2016 National Defense Authorization Act: Stuck on Compensation and Retirement Reform

    Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed versions of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The two chambers are now negotiating a final bill, but according to press reports, the negotiators are stuck on the details of a major military compensation and retirement reform proposal. Both chambers of Congress included a…

  • Issue Brief posted August 4, 2015 by David Inserra Terror in Paradise: 73rd Terrorist Plot Highlights Need to Act

    The Department of Justice recently charged Harlem Suarez with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction as he sought to use a bomb against beachgoers in the Florida Keys. Suarez was inspired by the Islamic State (IS) and considered himself a member of the terrorist organization. Though the FBI intervened before the public was in any danger, Suarez’s plot demonstrates…

  • Backgrounder posted July 30, 2015 by Michaela Dodge Russian Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces: What They Mean for the United States

    The 1987 Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles—known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty—was one of the most significant arms-reduction accomplishments of the Cold War era. The INF Treaty led to the elimination of ground-launched…

  • Commentary posted July 28, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson Cut defense spending because...?

    Here we go again. An editorial last week in Bloomberg View argued for steep cuts in national security spending. While much of the editorial supported important reform efforts that will be carried in the National Defense Authorization Act, it never bothered to explain why the spending cuts are necessary. Indeed, the only rationale offered was the observation that national…

  • Commentary posted July 27, 2015 by Joshua Meservey Sermonizing With Al Shabab: The Terrorist Group's New Tactic

    On May 19, members of the Somali terrorist group al Shabab entered Hulugho village in eastern Kenya and herded all the villagers they could find into a mosque. Al Shabab has entered Kenyan towns before, usually in a frenzy of murder and arson, before withdrawing into the bush. Hulugho seemed set to suffer a similar fate. This time, however, the gunmen merely delivered a…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by James Phillips, Luke Coffey, Michaela Dodge The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Yes, There Is a Better Alternative

    The Obama Administration has argued that there is no better alternative to its controversial nuclear agreement with Iran. But rather than cutting off all paths to a nuclear weapon, as the Administration initially promised, the so-called Vienna Agreement only temporarily slows down Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapons capability and, in fact, protects the regime’s…

  • Issue Brief posted July 24, 2015 by Joshua Meservey, Anthony B. Kim The President’s Last Trip to Africa: Focus on Promoting Economic Freedom and the Rule of Law

    On July 24, President Barack Obama will travel to Kenya before continuing on to Ethiopia. President Obama’s final trip to Africa is intended to underscore the Administration’s efforts “to work with the countries and citizens of sub-Saharan Africa to accelerate economic growth, strengthen democratic institutions, and improve security.”[1] In fact, these ideas are not new.…

  • Issue Brief posted July 22, 2015 by David Inserra Terrorist Plot 72: Congress Needs to Address Rising Islamist Terrorism at Home

    On July 4, while most Americans were celebrating with friends and family, law enforcement officers were arresting Alexander Ciccolo for taking possession of firearms in order to carry out a terrorist attack. Ciccolo was also building pressure-cooker bombs and Molotov cocktails and planned to use them to attack a nearby college or college bar, potentially taking hostages…

  • Commentary posted July 22, 2015 by James Phillips The Iran deal: A diplomatic speed hump

    The Obama administra­tion made a risky gamble when it signed the flawed nuclear agreement with Iran. Washington squan­dered its bargaining leverage and settled for a deal that could dan­gerously undermine the long-term national security interests of the United States and its allies. US President Barack Obama entered the negotiations pledg­ing to cut off all pathways to a…