Twitter Doesn’t Have to Be the End of the Conversation

War on the Rocks August 18, 2021 Social media has the potential to make anyone famous, but rarely in a good way. Tweets, TikToks, Instagram stories, Facebook posts, and the like can go viral, and thoughtless acts by otherwise obscure people can turn them into instant celebrities. This is equally true in the armed forces,…

Congress Should Vote ‘No’ on Austin. It Likely Won’t.

Defense One December 8, 2020 News broke last night that Lloyd Austin is President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to be the next Secretary of Defense. Because Austin retired from the Army as a four-star general only four years ago, his appointment will require a waiver from Congress. It should not be granted. When it became clear that Michèle…

Biden Has Many Good Choices at SecDef

Defense One November 29, 2020 When President-Elect Joe Biden announced his foreign policy team last week, one post was conspicuously absent: Defense Secretary. It had almost universally been assumed that Michèle Flournoy would be the pick, but reports began to surface that progressive activists were opposing her for a variety of reasons; that Black leaders, most notably…

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.