Who Decides Who Is a ‘Domestic Enemy’?

Defense One August 13, 2020 Retired soldiers John Nagl and Paul Yingling, who came to national prominence on opposite sides of the counterinsurgency debates, joined forces to argue that, if Donald Trump were to lose the election and yet refuse to leave office at noon next January 20, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs must give the order to…

Whose Deaths Deserve to be Honored?

James Joyner and Pauline Shanks Kaurin War on the Rocks June 16, 2020 The confluence this year of Memorial Day and commemorations of the 100,000 Americans who had died from COVID-19 should naturally have sparked a conversation about whose sacrifices should be honored by the nation. Since it did not, let’s start it here. At…

This is Not a Civil-Military Crisis

Defense One June 5, 2020 Mara Karlin, a former senior defense official and national security scholar, rightly laments that retired general officers are having an outsized role in our national political debate. But she’s off the mark when she exclaims, “If this isn’t a civil-military relations crisis, I don’t know what is.” Rather, the crisis…

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…

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…

Greater Deference to Generals Has Undermined Civilian Control of the Military

New York Times | December 6, 2016 | Recently separated officers are likely to reinforce the advice given the president by the Joint Chiefs rather than offer a political perspective.

Generals and Political Interventions in American History

War on The Rocks August 4, 2016 In a curt letter to The Washington Post, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, reacting to speeches by two recently retired generals — Michael Flynn and John Allen — before the Republican and Democratic conventions, declared that, “The military is not a political prize.” Dempsey explained: The American people…

Sexual Assault in the Military and the Unlawful Command Influence Catch-22

War on The Rocks James Joyner and James Weirick October 7, 2015 Recently, a military appellate court once again overturned a rape conviction on the grounds of unlawful command influence. This time (United States v. Garcia), the source of the influence went beyond a base commander or even a service chief and included comments made by…

In Defense of Crazy Talk: Why Bradford’s West Point Article is Worth Talking About

War on The Rocks September 10, 2015 The dust has now settled after William C. Bradford, a newly hired West Point law professor, made headlines for a controversial essay published in the little-read student-run National Security Law Journal. The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman reported that Bradford was denied tenure a decade ago from the Indiana University School of Law for wildly misrepresenting…