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  • 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…

  • Special Report posted February 26, 2014 by The Heritage Foundation 2014 Defense Reform Handbook

    Providing for the common defense has been a complex challenge for U.S. policymakers since the first days of the Continental Congress. In particular, the Constitution assigns Congress a multitude of specified and enumerated responsibilities to meet its obligation to raise and maintain the armed forces of the United States. On the one hand, Congress bears a significant…

  • Issue Brief posted December 12, 2013 by Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D., Emil Maine Thornberry Initiative for Effective Defense Acquisition Reform Appears Promising

    Last month, Representative Mac Thornberry (R–TX) outlined his approach for reforming defense acquisition under an initiative he is leading in the House Armed Services Committee.[1] His remarks provide encouragement that this effort will result in positive reforms to the defense acquisition process that many earlier efforts, dating back decades, have failed to…

  • Special Report posted October 31, 2013 by Jim Talent, Honorable Jon Kyl A Strong and Focused National Security Strategy

    Executive Summary When President Obama took office, the armed services of the United States had already reached a fragile state. The Navy had shrunk to its smallest size since before World War I; the Air Force was smaller, and its aircraft older, than at any time since the inception of the service. The Army was stressed by years of war; according to Secretary of Defense…

  • Issue Brief posted September 24, 2013 by Brian Slattery, Michaela Dodge Biofuel Blunder: Navy Should Prioritize Fleet Modernization over Political Initiatives

    For the past several years, the President and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus have directed the U.S. Navy to dedicate increasingly precious budgetary resources to establish a “green fleet”—i.e., to replace conventional diesel fuel for ships with biofuels harvested from organic material. Supporters claim that instability in the fossil fuel market justifies paying more for…

  • Issue Brief posted July 23, 2013 by Paul Rosenzweig The Amash Amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill

    A proposed amendment to the pending Department of Defense appropriations bill being offered by Representative Justin Amash (R–MI) takes the wrong approach to an important question. Coming on the heels of the recent National Security Agency (NSA) scandal, the amendment would limit the federal government’s intelligence-gathering capabilities. At its core, the proposed…

  • Issue Brief posted July 15, 2013 by Baker Spring Protecting U.S. Territory Against Long-Range Missiles: Second Approach Needed

    The Department of Defense announced on July 5 that an intercept test earlier that day of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) missile defense system, which protects U.S. territory against long-range missiles, failed to result in a successful intercept.[1] The GMD version that was tested is the system that is already in the field; thus, this was an operational test,…

  • Testimony posted June 26, 2013 by Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Maritime Security: U.S. Should Recommit to Supporting the Coast Guard

    The U.S. Should Recommit to Supporting Coast Guard Operations Testimony before Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure United States House of Representatives June 26, 2013 Steven P. Bucci, Ph.D. Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies The Heritage Foundation My name is Dr. Steven P. Bucci. I am the Director of the Douglas and Sarah…

  • Issue Brief posted May 23, 2013 by Baker Spring All Three Budget Options Would Damage National Security

    The Department of Defense (DOD) is now examining three revised budget options for presentation to the President. All three would impose significant damage. This is because even the highest of the three options would shrink the portion of the economy committed to defense, shrink force structure, reduce the number of people serving in the military, impose slower increases…