Strategy & Policy

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WASHINGTON: Most Americans think it’s obvious: Change the rules to ensure the Pentagon will save money and it will save money. Congress after Congress has tried this, most recently in the form of the widely praised Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act. Sadly, the assumption that acquisition reform makes things better does not appear to stand up to… Keep reading →

Rep. Mac Thornberry HASC chair

WASHINGTON: The new chairman of the House Armed Services Committee sounded pretty sympathetic today to the Navy’s plan for a separate budget line to fund a new generation of nuclear missile submarines. But Rep. Mac Thornberry, known for his close attention to detail, also said he understood it was very important to use the right… Keep reading →

US Army cybersecurity personnel

WASHINGTON: Cybersecurity — it’s not just for networks anymore. The trend towards what’s called “the Internet of Things” means targets can be anywhere. “If there is a computer in something, it can be cyber-attacked, and we need to be able to harden it and defend it,” the Pentagon’s Deputy Chief Information Officer for Cybersecurity, Richard Hale,… Keep reading →

The US Capitol seen from the Newseum this morning during a US Naval Institute conference.

  In 1796 Thomas Jefferson said there were two types of American political parties, “One which fears the people most, the other fears the government.” In domestic politics the contemporary American political divide is equally wide and Americans should not expect their elected leaders to change course one iota. National defense is different. There is a… Keep reading →

US Army photo

PENTAGON: As the US Army deploys more troops to the Pacific, it’s running into the limits of its long-range communications systems. The shortfall in comms capacity is not only becoming an issue as the service ramps up its “Pacific Pathways” exercises with Asian partners: It is also raisibng concerns about the network’s resiliency against a… Keep reading →

DF-21 Chinese mobile missile

Adversaries mobile land-based missiles – surface-to-surface, surface-to-air, and anti-ship missiles mounted on transporter erector launchers (TELs) – oontinue to be an unsolved problem for American military planners and strategists. The success these weapons enjoy by hiding and moving to where they are needed means that virtually all new land-based missile systems, whether short-range anti-aircraft weapons or intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs),… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: Submarines have been America’s invisible advantage since World War II. But the oceans are getting more transparent. New detection technologies from low-frequency sonar to flashing LEDs — plus the big data computing power to enhance the faint signals they pick up — are making submarines much easier to detect. The same water-penetrating wavelengths, however, will… Keep reading →

An M1 Abrams tank.

ARLINGTON: The US Army is trying to reinvent itself, much as it did during the Great Depression. Even if the steep cuts called sequestration return in 2016 — as is current law — the Army would rather get smaller than shortchange innovation, Chief of Staff Ray Odierno said today. The service will hold annual wargames on… Keep reading →

This picture taken December 26, 2011 sho

WASHINGTON: There’s no one thing that keeps the Pentagon’s chief of intelligence up at night. There’s half-a-dozen things — terrorism, cybersecurity, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China — but Mike Vickers has a six-point plan to counter them. “The big challenge we face is really in the aggregation of challenges,” the under secretary for intelligence… Keep reading →

New HASC chairman Mac Thornberry is mobbed by questioners at AEI this morning.

WASHINGTON: Mac Thornberry won’t save the world. The soft-spoken Texan faces high expectations as the new head of the House Armed Services Committee, but he spent his first DC speech as chairman lowering them on what’s become his signature issue, reforming how the Pentagon buys weapons. After more than a year working quietly on acquisition… Keep reading →

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