Center for a New American Security

Cover art from the new CNAS study, "20YY: Preparing for War in the Robotic Age."

After our story yesterday on Robert Work and Shawn Brimley‘s disconcerting vision of future robotic war, we got a thoughtful response from Brimley that, with his permission, we’ve published below. The Editors. Bob and I wrote the paper because we feel strongly that there are some powerful trends affecting the relationship between technology and military… Keep reading →

A Croatian soldier and a Minnesota National Guardsman train together for Afghanistan.

Yesterday, four mid-grade military officers — one from each armed service – made a remarkable public recommendation to their boss, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel: It’s time to force the four services back into clearly demarcated “lanes” and reduce overlap between them as budgets shrink and competition escalates. They focused on three high-priority areas: Cybersecurity, the… Keep reading →

Northrop Grumman's MADDS armed robot (based on an earlier unarmed 'bot called CaMEL) captured in the act of firing.

More robots, fewer people. That’s where the US military is headed in the future. But what kind of robots? Army Gen. Robert Cone, four-star commander of the powerful Training and Doctrine Command (aka TRADOC), said that the service is studying how robots could help replace 25 percent of the soldiers in each of its 4,000-strong combat brigades. That’s because the… Keep reading →

Under Secretary of the Army, Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, pins brigadier general rank on Brig. Gen. Burt K. Thompson with his wife Kala Thompson April13, 2012, at the Fort Myer Officer's Club on Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall, Va. Thompson's oldest daughter...

….and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats…. -–  Matthew 25:32 (King James Version) The military’s personnel system does lots of stupid things, like sending Arabic speakers to Korea or forcing out skilled commanders at age 50. But of all our self-inflicted wounds, argues a forthcoming… Keep reading →

Air Force Cyber Command online for future operations

WASHINGTON: Hey, defense contractors! Open source software is not your enemy. In fact, far from undercutting your profits, it may increase them – and increase the US military’s capabilities at the same time. That’s a central concept in the Center for a New American Security’s recently established Technology and Security program, which aims to shake… Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: The Defense Department will create at least five defense budgets this year as a result of the Strategic Choices and Management Review, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today, and some of those alternative plans “could entail significant risk.” Carter appeared to engage in something we have begun seeing from a range of senior uniformed… Keep reading →


WASHINGTON: Instead of trying to cram a $500 billion force into a $450 billion budget and hoping Congress passes sequester relief, the Defense Department needs to go back to the drawing board. That’s the consensus of two top defense experts from either side of the government-industry gap — former Obama and Clinton appointee Michele Flournoy… Keep reading →


CAPITOL HILL: The best case for sequester is still a disaster – but we’re not going to get the best case. That’s the common denominator from a range of budget options rolled out today by an extraordinary alliance of four thinktanks. Their consensus recommendations to cut military readiness, Army brigades, Navy carriers, Air Force ICBMs,… Keep reading →

NATIONAL HARBOR: China bullies its neighbors, hacks computers around the world, and tests a missile designed to sink American aircraft carriers. The US Navy reallocates its newest and most combat-capable warships to the Pacific. The retired Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the sinophilic Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, says the Air Force and Navy’s high-profile AirSea Battle concept “is demonizing China.”

But amidst these tensions — indeed, precisely because of them — American officers are eager to build relationships with their People’s Liberation Army counterparts to prevent misunderstandings and defuse any potential conflict, preferably before it even begins. “Strengthening our military-to-military relationship with China” is listed in the Pentagon budget proposal released Wednesday as a priority to be protected from funding cuts, singling out an annual search-and-rescue exercise in Hong Kong (SAREX) involving both militaries as an example. This month, the Chinese even formally accepted the Navy’s inivitation to participate in the massive multinational Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise for the first time. Keep reading →

[updated 2:30 pm with Hagel, Hale, & Ramsey briefings; Republican responses; and Sharp analysis]
PENTAGON: “NOTE: These program descriptions and dollar values do not reflect potential sequester impacts.” That disclaimer — in boldface italic type and a different color of ink, just to make sure you can’t possibly miss it — blazes across the top of the first seven chapters of the Pentagon Comptroller’s official overview of the fiscal 2014 budget request released at 11:15 today. (Only the last chapter lacks it). The president’s budget is always the beginning of the funding debate, not the last word (we live in a democracy, however dysfunctional, after all), but this year it is no more than “a placebo, a placeholder with no effect” — to quote Center for a New American Security analyst Travis Sharp — pending three crucial decisions:

1) Whether or not the president, hands-off-entitlements liberal Democrats, and no-more-taxes Tea Party Republicans can finally make the “grand bargain” that has eluded them since 2011. Without a deal — and politically one looks painfully unlikely right now — the $527 billion request the Pentagon rolled out today will have to be cut (sequestered) by another $52 billion, throwing into doubt not just the topline figure but the figure for almost every single line item. Keep reading →

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