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…

Fear of a Black General?

The case of one superstar colonel doesn’t prove anything about the Marines. But the larger pattern is worrisome.

Soldier-Scholar (Pick One): Anti-Intellectualism in the American Military

War on the Rocks August 25, 2020 Crossing the Great Plains on an expedition to Utah in the 1850s, Maj. Charles A. May searched the wagons in an effort to reduce unnecessary baggage. When he reached the wagons of the light artillery battery, Capt. Henry J. Hunt proudly pointed out the box containing the battery…

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…

Why Is H.R. McMaster Pleading For More War?

The National Interest May 12, 2019 Retired Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster contends that support for the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan, which is now in its eighteenth year, is being undermined by a “defeatist narrative that’s inaccurate, and doesn’t reflect what’s at stake.” Instead, Americans should see the fight as an “insurance policy” against the…

The Pentagon Is Flubbing Its Pitch to Silicon Valley

James Joyner and Matthew Bernius Defense One  May 1, 2019 Gen. Joseph Dunford says American tech companies that do business with China hamper “U.S. ability to maintain a competitive military advantage and all that goes with it.” Such companies, the Joint Chiefs chairman added, “are automatically going to be required to have a cell of the Communist Party in…