Does the Military Really Need More Strategists?

War on the Rocks November 8, 2018 Former National War College dean and retired Brig. Gen. Paula Thornhill should be commended for kicking off a vigorous round of debate on professional military education institutions in July. Many of my objections to her argument have been ably expressed by others, notably my Marine Corps University colleague Tammy Schultz as well…

It’s Not the Military’s Job to Oppose Trump

The National Interest November 3, 2018 President Donald Trump’s promise to send large numbers of troops to the southern border to stop the so-called migrant caravan making its way north through Mexico has been, to say the least, controversial. Many have called on Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to put his foot down on the…

Social Media Attacks on Trump Could Put America’s Security at Risk

The National Interest August 24, 2018 Retired Adm. Bill McRaven, who became a household name after special operators under his command killed Osama bin Laden, is once again in the spotlight. In a terse August 16 op-ed for the Washington Post, he castigated President Donald Trump for revoking the security clearance of former CIA Director…

Why ‘Different Spanks for Different Ranks’ Are Often Justified

James Joyner and Butch Bracknell Defense One March 6, 2018 A leading lawmaker has called out the Air Force for never trying a single general officer by court-martial in its entire history, suggesting it shows higher-ranking personnel face different standards of punishment. Indeed, courts-martial for flag and general officers in all four services are exceedingly rare,…

‘Bloody Nose’ Strike Illegal but Unstoppable

RealClearDefense February 9, 2018 Eighteen Democratic Senators have reportedly signed a letter to President Trump informing him they are “deeply concerned about the potential consequences of a preemptive military strike on North Korea and the risks of miscalculation and retaliation.” Further, they assert, “without congressional authority, a preventative or preemptive U.S. military strike would lack either a…

The New National Defense Strategy: Everything is a Priority

The National Interest February 2, 2018 Lost to all but the most committed security wonks in the midst of the government shutdown debacle was the unveiling by Secretary Jim Mattis of a new National Defense Strategy. At first blush, it’s a bold declaration of the Trump administration’s priorities. In reality, there’s little new here—least of all…

Who Suffers the Most from Government Shutdowns?

The National Interest January 23, 2018 he federal government shutdown of 2018—or, at least, the first one—ended with only one workday missed. To the extent ordinary citizens noticed at all, they likely think it was no big deal. This is especially true with regards to the impact on the U.S. military, who they’ve been steadily…

How Trump’s National Security Strategy Breaks with the Past

The National Interest December 19, 2017 President Trump unveiled a new National Security Strategy on Monday. Previews of the document, based on leaked drafts and backchannel interviews, had given the impression that it would be a bland continuity of previous administrations’ strategies, with a few sops to Trumpism thrown in to satisfy the boss. A careful reading, however, shows…

Donald Trump and the Decline of the Ideas Industry

RealClearWorld June 7, 2017 The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign pitted a wonk with decades of experience and fastidious command of public policy against a reality television star who not only eschewed nuance but seemed to take great pride in not reading or talking to experts. Whereas Hillary Clinton offered substantive arguments, Donald Trump countered with…

Mattis Is Mostly Right on NATO

RealClearDefense March 2, 2007 In his first speech to NATO defense ministers as the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis suggested that, if Allies do not start contributing more by the end of the year, the United States might “moderate its commitment.” While the timing is less than ideal, given growing concerns about the Trump administration posture…