Strategy & Policy

Pentagon & beyond - view of DC over river - 032113-Pentagon-full

WASHINGTON: Costs of the Pentagon’s major weapons programs — which make up a relatively small percentage of the military’s overall spending but attract enormous political and strategic attention — continue to improve. But a big question mark hovers over them. Are costs coming down only because the Pentagon has started very few programs in recent years and isn’t… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: The Defense Department has told its big industry partners for most of the last 15 years that there’s no need for consolidation at the top. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, BAE Systems, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman are big enough, they said. Mergers of prime contractors would limit competition, Ash Carter, Frank Kendall and other… Keep reading →

Carly Fiorina at CSIS

We are approaching the presidential primaries, the silliest of the political silly seasons. Magical thinking abounds as candidates appeal to their bases with few constraints on the promises they make or the sentiments they espouse. So it is with defense issues, as the presidential candidates, a group of highly accomplished people (yes, even Donald Trump),… Keep reading →


With the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act completed and headed to the president’s desk likely sometime next week, it’s useful to summarize the biggest policy changes therein. While most Republicans do not take the veto threat seriously, Mr. Obama will surely do just that. Still, when this bill eventually receives his signature later this year… Keep reading →

Presdient Obama calls Vladimir Putin

WASHINGTON: One day after House and Senate conferees finally came to agreement on the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, President Obama appeared ready to make good on half a decade of threats to veto the annual defense policy bill. Hours after that bad news hit, Congress cleared a Continuing Resolution this evening, allowing everyone to breath for a… Keep reading →


CAPITOL HILL: The balance of power between the Office of Secretary of Defense and the four service chiefs shifted to the uniformed leaders today as details began to seep out about the annual defense policy bill. The House-Senate conference on the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act largely enshrined what Sen. John McCain wanted as part of… Keep reading →

Syria Airstrike map Sept 24

WASHINGTON: In keeping with its increasingly aggressive behavior over the past two years, Russia is deploying lethal and long-ranged anti-aircraft defenses to keep Western forces out of three key regions: the Baltics, the Black Sea, and, now, the Levant. From where NATO’s top commander Gen. Philip Breedlove sits, the Russian forces flowing into Syria don’t look… Keep reading →

A B-1 bomber test-fires a LRASM missile, the anti-ship variant of Lockheed's JASSM

[Updated with Bryan Clark analysis] Lockheed Martin doesn’t like to say it, but their best salesman isn’t getting a bonus this year. That’s because his name is Vladimir Putin. An increasingly aggressive and well-armed Russia is clearly driving its neighbors to build up their own arsenals, and in highly specific ways. Thus the international success of… Keep reading →

Full Moon Rises Above U.S. Capitol

Defense reform has gotten a lot of attention around Washington—from members of Congress and senior Pentagon leaders as well as the usual policy mavens and influencers. Lately, though, whispers wafting from the Pentagon have suggested that perhaps defense reform has peaked, that Congress won’t support meaningful reform. Bushwah! Defense reform is far from dead in… Keep reading →

Rep. John Boehner and Pope Francis

WASHINGTON: Speaker John Boehner, that always-tanned, often crying fellow who has led House Republicans since 2010, appears to have given up after new challenges from fiscal radicals in the Republican Party and announced his resignation this morning. Boehner, a Catholic, campaigned for 20 years to bring a Pope to Congress. Yesterday he got his wish and… Keep reading →

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