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  • 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 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 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 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…

  • Issue Brief posted November 4, 2014 by Emil Maine, Diem Salmon The Future of Overseas Contingency Operations: Due Diligence Required

    In 2001, the U.S. government began providing emergency supplemental funds to pay for increased military and civilian costs associated with the global war on terrorism (GWOT). Initially, war funds paid for the mobilizing and deploying of troops, transporting equipment and supplies, and increasing the number of active-duty service members associated with Operation Enduring…

  • Commentary posted October 6, 2014 by Jim Talent America’s Strategic Drift

    America’s national-security policy is strategically adrift. But that’s nothing new. The ambiguity began more than 20 years ago, with the collapse of the Soviet Union. During the Cold War, the threat posed by the Soviets’ conventional and nuclear forces drove Washington’s defense programming and budgetary decisions. The collapse of the USSR, coupled with the failure of…

  • Issue Brief posted August 1, 2014 by Diem Nguyen Salmon National Defense Panel Provides Congress an Honest Path Forward

    This week, the bipartisan National Defense Panel (NDP) delivered to Congress its review of the Department of Defense (DOD) 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). This report comprises a key element of information needed by Congress and the American public to truly understand the state of the US military and the requirements to meet today’s threats. Unlike the QDR—which…

  • Backgrounder posted May 16, 2014 by Richard J. Dunn, III Measuring Military Capabilities: An Essential Tool for Rebuilding American Military Strength

    In the fall of 1945, much of Europe and Asia lay in ruins. The Soviet hammer and sickle flew over the German Reichstag and most of Eastern Europe, and Mao’s red star rose higher over a China devastated by almost a decade of war and Japanese occupation. The world had paid an extraordinarily high price in blood and treasure to defeat Nazi and Japanese aggression. Moreover,…

  • Issue Brief posted April 30, 2014 by Diem Nguyen Salmon Congress Should Not Cut Critical Defense Capabilities and Readiness

    A month after the fiscal year (FY) 2015 defense budget was submitted to Congress, the Department of Defense (DOD) released the report Estimated Impacts of Sequestration-Level Funding.[1] The report highlights areas where additional cuts will be made in order to comply with sequestration-level funding. While it dutifully tabulates the affects on procurement programs,…

  • Issue Brief posted March 31, 2014 by Diem Nguyen Salmon FY 2015 Defense Budget Request: Options and Challenges for Congress

    The Obama Administration recently released its annual budget request for the Department of Defense (DOD) for fiscal year (FY) 2015. Over the past several years, the DOD’s annual President’s Budget Requests (PBR) have grown increasingly complicated, if not outright unhelpful. Due to the uncertainty of sequestration, the lack of appropriations bills, and politics, recent…

  • Backgrounder posted March 19, 2014 by Michaela Dodge, Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., The Heritage Foundation Defense Experts 12 Issues for Congress in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act

    Two key bills guide the policies of the U.S. Department of Defense: (1) the appropriations bill, which provides defense funding, and (2) the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets policies and guidelines for how the money will be spent. The NDAA has been the only bill that has made it to the President’s desk for his signature each year over the past…

  • Backgrounder posted March 6, 2014 by Charles "Cully" Stimson Military Sexual Assault Reform: Real Change Takes Time

    Signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2013, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) contains reforms aimed at preventing and reducing sexual assault in the military. Prudent and comprehensive, these reforms in the military justice system will take months, or even years, to bear fruit. Considered in their totality, these reforms represent the…