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  • 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…

  • 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,…