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…

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…

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…

Professional Military Education and the Rigor Problem

War on The Rocks March 15, 2016 In “Rigor in Joint Professional Military Education,” Nick Murray argues that Congress and the Pentagon have done a poor job defining what it is they want the staff and war colleges to do and, especially, in holding their feet to the fire. This has led, he claims, to…

The Forgotten Veterans of Desert Storm

RealClearDefense March 3, 2016 The 25th anniversary of America’s victory in Operation Desert Storm passed without much fanfare on Sunday, February 28. Much to the chagrin of some of my fellow veterans of that conflict, the Pentagon held no official observance. Having gotten more than our fair share of accolades at the time, I’m not…

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…