Given all the talk in recent days about whether America should impose a No Fly Zone in Syria, I thought readers would find this presentation by the folks at the Institute for the Study of War a useful guide to what is possible and might work. Just click on the link below. Updated Syrian Air… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: While the Army can keep troops headed for Afghanistan trained up and ready to go, the ongoing budget gridlock threatens its ability to prepare for crises around the world – from North Korea to Syria – conflicts that would require a very different kind of training than the counterinsurgency tactics the force has focused on… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: What does America need an army for, anyway? The question has bedeviled policymakers since the Founding Fathers, who wrote their distrust of large ground forces into the Constitution. The question returns as budgets come back down after every land war.
This time around, the Army leadership has not given the country a clear answer, which hobbles it in the current budget battles — and perhaps in the next shooting war as well. While the service itself struggles to define its future role, a new Army-sponsored report from the influential Center for Strategic and International Studies here is offering its own answers, answers that push not only civilian policymakers but the Army’s own leaders outside their comfort zone. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama’s former National Security Adviser, retired Marine Gen. James Jones, said the administration should go ahead and arm rebels in Syria — albeit carefully selected ones. “Hope is not a strategy,” Jones declared at the small, student-run Georgetown Diplomacy and International Security Conference at Georgetown University, where Jones is an alumnus. “If you’re a nation of consequence, you cannot sit back and hope things are going to work out.”
[updated Tuesday, March 6 with Gen. Mattis's remarks to the House Armed Services Committee] CAPITOL HILL: The US should keep 13,600 troops in Afghanistan to advise and assist the Afghan forces after American combat brigades withdraw in 2014, about a quarter of the current troop level, said Central Command chief Gen. James Mattis, giving his personal recommendation — not the Administration’s final decision — after prodding from the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday. Rumored figures have been significantly lower. “We have to send a message of commitment,” declared Mattis, who will soon retire. But with the Navy halving its aircraft carrier presence in the Gulf and all the services cutting corners in expectation of a continued budget crunch, it’s getting harder to project resolve.
“A perceived lack of an enduring US commitment” is the biggest danger to American interests in the Central Command region, which sprawls from Egypt to Pakistan, Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. While the drawdown in Afghanistan unnerves some allies, he said, “our budget ambiguity right now is probably the single greatest factor. I’m asked about it everywhere I go in the region.”
“Already, sequestration is having an operational impact in the CENTCOM area” with the indefinite postponement of the aircraft carrier USS Truman’s deployment to keep an eye on Iran, lamented SASC’s chairman, Carl Levin. Facing a funding shortfall from both the automatic cuts known as sequestration and the Continuing Resolution now funding the federal government I the absence of proper 2013 appropriations, Navy will keep Truman stateside, albeit ready for rapid deployment in a crisis. Keep Reading →
As the civil war in Syria escalates and threatens to overspill its borders, the US has held its hand from intervening — but not from reinforcing its frontline ally Turkey. We bring you this op-ed in praise of the Patriot missile’s role in Mideast Peace from former Rep. Geoff Davis, a former Army officer. Mr. Davis has no business connection to Patriot manufacturer Raytheon or to other companies working on the system, which is currently a contender for Turkey’s own missile defense program.
The news that the United States will send two Patriot missile batteries and 400 troops to Turkey to bolster defenses against incoming artillery from the escalating civil war in neighboring Syria is a testament both to our commitment to our allies and to our military’s readiness to deploy. It is also a testament to the success of Patriot as a proven missile system to deter attacks. Keep reading →
As 2013 hurtles towards us, Breaking Defense has asked the experts on our Board of Contributors to forecast the key defense issues of the coming year (click here for the full 2013 forecast series). We kick off the series with this essay from Rachel Kleinfeld, founding president of the aggressively progressive Truman National Security Project.
In a world of tumult, which national security problems will really matter in 2013? Keep reading →
Despite international perceptions that the Turkey’s Islamic-oriented government has turned its back on its American ally, Ankara’s ambassador to the United States insists that “the relationship has never been so close.”
“That doesn’t mean that we don’t have any disagreements,” Ambassador Namik Tan told reporters this morning. “Turkey is, of course, an independent state.” But Tan affirmed the closeness between the two countries. He particularly emphasized defense procurement, saying that Turkey is still committed to buying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter despite cost and schedule problems that have caused other potential partners, such as Canada, to reconsider. Keep reading →
Rising Republican star Sen. Kelly Ayotte said her “libertarian” and “isolationist” Senate colleagues who would cut defense spending to help solve the budget deficit have abandoned the principles of conservative icon Ronald Reagan.
Speaking at the conservative American Enterprise Institute late Wednesday afternoon, the junior Senator from New Hampshire said that “with the issues that we face, the challenges that we face, I think that none of us in this room would say that this would be a time… that we should be taking significant defense cuts.” Keep reading →