President Barack Obama meets with members of his national security team and senior staff to receive an update on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Administration’s response efforts, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 6, 2014. Participants include: Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell; Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Rajiv "Raj" Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development USAID;Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations; and Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.  (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON: The most challenging national security problem for the Obama administration may be one of its own creation: the micromanagement of the Pentagon and Intelligence Community by a bloated and lackluster National Security Council. This is one of those stories I’ve talked with dozens of people about for months. Every single person with whom I’ve spoken… Keep reading →

President Barack Obama talks with Pope Francis following his private audience at the Vatican, March 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON: The Vatican remains one of the world’s great powers. Pope Francis can’t deploy divisions, so Stalin might dismiss him and his organization. However, I’ve never forgotten a comment by Doug Simon, one of my Drew University political science professors at a semester I spent studying the United Nations. “Who do you think has the best intelligence organization in… Keep reading →

Russian "Beech" (Buk) surface-to-air missile launcher.

[UPDATED 2:10 pm with comment from President Obama & Pentagon spokesman Kirby] Western media are hardly going easy on Russia. But in all the often-excellent coverage I’ve read so far of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 disaster – which claimed 295 lives – no one* is pointing out two basic facts that point towards Russia and… Keep reading →

William III statue in St. James's Square

LONDON: Sitting in my room here across the street from the building where D-Day was planned and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower huddled for months worrying over those shallow beaches and terrible cliffs, it’s easy to lose sight of the current agonistes faced by Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon leadership and our allies about the F-35A fire.… Keep reading →

Iran Agreement Geneva Noember 2013

The nuclear deal reached with Iran in Geneva opens a new era in US-Iranian relations, even if the agreement is a tentative one. For the first time since Iran’s secret nuclear work was discovered in 2002, the two nations have outlined a way to allay fears the Islamic Republic is building nuclear weapons. The Geneva agreement… Keep reading →

This year’s Farnborough Airshow is bookmarked by the Euro crisis, and the fates of the Chinese and American economies. On the defense side, there is the end of a land war era for the U.S. and significant uncertainty about how global events will change how countries seek to arm and defend themselves in the years ahead.

Of course, Farnborough, like every major European airshow, will offer the usual Airbus and Boeing show on the civil side. This show is both predictable and fun, because each year one or the other “proves” that they are the greatest commercial airplane builder in the world. Keep reading →

Little progress was made towards a deal between Iran and the six major powers at talks this week in Iraq.With speculation about a possible Israeli strike still high, one key aspect of a possible conflict with Iran has been little discussed. Michael Adler, an expert on Iran’s nuclear capabilities at the Woodrow Wilson Center here in Washington, discusses the “zone of immunity.”

With all the talk of whether Israel will attack Iran, it is important to understand when Israel might feel it has no other choice but to act. Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli military intelligence chief, wrote in the New York Times that, “an Israeli strike against Iran would be a last resort, if all else failed to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program. That moment of decision will occur when Iran is on the verge of shielding its nuclear facilities from a successful attack – what Israel’s leaders have called the ‘zone of immunity’.” Keep reading →