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  • Issue Brief posted December 15, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson Defense Reform Bill Is Biggest in Decades, But More Remains to Be Done

    On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, President Obama quietly signed into law one of the biggest defense reform bills in decades. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (NDAA) establishes budgets and policies for the U.S. military.[1] While many in the military have followed this bill closely, most Americans do not realize the important changes the…

  • Commentary posted December 1, 2015 by Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. Making the Nation More Secure

    You'll find charts galore in the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength, but two at the start of the detailed report are particularly troubling. One shows the overall state of our military. It's not "very strong" or even "strong," according to the foreign-policy experts who wrote the index, but "marginal" for all branches except one — the Army, which is rated as "weak."…

  • Commentary posted November 4, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Can The Next President Afford To Follow Obama's Defense Spending Footsteps?

    Get ready for resurgence in planning the future of the American military. It’s long overdue. In fact, serious thinking about the “future force”—what America will need to assure national security in the face of foreseeable, emerging threats—has been largely lacking in the post-Reagan era. Thankfully, that seems to be changing. The Pentagon recently announced the…

  • Backgrounder posted October 20, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Walter Lohman, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. The Challenge for the Next President: Reversing the Decline in U.S. Power

    A top priority for the next President of the United States must be to demonstrate the strength and confidence to protect the nation’s vital interests at home and abroad. These vital interests are: (1) defense of the homeland; (2) prevention or successful conclusion of a major war with the potential to destabilize regions of critical interest to the U.S.; and (3)…

  • Backgrounder posted September 25, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Luke Coffey, Matthew Rolfes, Daniel Kochis, Dean Cheng, Lisa Curtis, Bruce Klingner Meager Ground Forces, Extensive Global Challenges: A Primer for the U.S. President in 2017

    Whoever occupies the Oval Office in 2017 will face challenges around the world, including a resurgent Russia, an increasingly assertive China, a metastasized Islamic State (ISIS), and an emboldened Iran. Addressing these and other foreign policy challenges in the wake of the Obama Administration’s “leading from behind” approach will require a fundamental change of…

  • Commentary posted September 22, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. China’s Financial Woes Have Triggered Warnings: The Day of Reckoning Might be at Hand

    The Pentagon cares as much about how money moves around the world as it does about the movement of arms. Small wonder the recent bobbling in Beijing’s economy has caught the armed services’ attention. After owning bragging rights to one-third of global economic growth, the Chinese economy just hit a major speed bump. Growth slowed. The market nosedived. The People’s Bank…

  • Issue Brief posted August 17, 2015 by Daniel Kochis Poland: The Lynchpin of Security on NATO’s Front Lines

    While Moscow’s aggressive actions have changed the way many in NATO view the threat posed by Russia, NATO’s eastern members have long considered Russia an existential threat and have planned accordingly. Poland, because of its large size, geographic location, and historical experience has become the lynchpin of security in Eastern Europe since joining NATO in 1999. The…

  • 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 July 8, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson, Lisa Curtis, James Phillips, Dean Cheng, Matthew Rolfes, Michaela Dodge Key Questions for General Dunford

    This week the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who has been nominated to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If confirmed, he would be the principal military adviser to the President. Currently the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General Dunford has had a long and distinguished military…

  • Issue Brief posted June 10, 2015 by Justin T. Johnson Congress Should Give Responsible Guidance on Reductions in DOD Civilian Workforce

    As the Senate considers the fiscal year 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and as both the House and the Senate consider their defense appropriations bills, Department of Defense (DOD) civilian personnel reductions will likely be debated. If Congress mandates, individual employees should be let go based on their performance, not on their length of service. As…

  • Backgrounder posted March 23, 2015 by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. Defense Reform by the Numbers: Four Crucial Priorities for the Next Administration

    The Heritage Foundation recently released the 2015 Index of U.S. Military Strength. This comprehensive survey of American military power evaluates the state of the Armed Forces, current threats, and the operating environment in which U.S. forces might be called on to defend a vital interest. The overall findings of the evaluation conclude that the American military is…

  • Backgrounder posted March 16, 2015 by Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., Dean Cheng, Brian Slattery, Theodore R. Bromund, Ph.D., Michaela Dodge, Luke Coffey, David Inserra, Charles "Cully" Stimson 10 Objectives for the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act

    The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a central piece of legislation for Congress each year. Not only has the NDAA been passed 53 years in a row, it is one of the last remaining bills that enjoys true bipartisan consensus. The annual legislation has been able to rise above the political fray in part because Congress understands the critical need to set defense…

  • Commentary posted December 1, 2014 by Peter Brookes Hagel’s Exit Won’t Save O’s Weak Foreign Policy

    OK, so maybe at least one head had to roll — in this case that of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel — after the murderous mid-term elections which partly reflected Team Obama’s sloppy steering of the ship of state in international waters. But the inconvenient truth about all of this delicious D.C. drama is that swapping out one Pentagon pasha for another won’t fix President…

  • Commentary posted December 1, 2014 by Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Chuck Hagel Leaves No Legacy

    The announcement that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had resigned on Monday came as no big surprise to many observers. The questions now are: How did the departure of Obama’s third Defense Secretary come about? What will Chuck Hagel be remembered for, and who will replace him? First, Hagel will be remembered as one of the least qualified Pentagon heads ever to serve.…

  • 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…