The Budget Control Act of 2011 was intended to promote compromise, yet that has not been the case in practice. Gregory Sanders explains why treating the budget caps as a one-off mistake, rather than a reflection of diminished political capacity, is a bad idea.
Emphasis on accountability, although valuable and necessary, can impede the defense acquisition process rather than alleviate problems. Acquisition reform must look beyond placing blame and create an environment that values collaboration and risk-taking as it seeks to improve the challenges in the acquisition process.
The Navy budget is due to increase as they seek to achieve a 355 ship Navy. However, it is unwise to counterbalance those cost by reactivating the decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates. Authors John Cole and Thomas Ulmer address the challenges and explain why the long-term cost outweigh the short-term savings.
The United States has upheld a moratorium on nuclear testing since 1992, but numerous voices have emerged in recent years to urge a resumption of nuclear tests. William Caplan argues the U.S. should not forfeit its nonproliferation credibility and risk starting a string of nuclear tests that threatens the nuclear order.
Some legislators have pushed to restrict the president from launching preemptive nuclear strikes without the authorization of Congress. While proponents of congressional authorization hope that it will reduce tensions, it will only serve to increase the risks of accidental or inadvertent escalation.
The Department of Defense (DOD) faces a strategic choice: whether to focus on modernization for high-tech conflicts with China and Russia or expand forces and improve readiness to meet a superpower’s commitments for ongoing conflicts and crisis response. In their FY 2018 budgets, the services all complain that they are too small for the demands being put on them and hedge toward expanding forces and readiness. In the new DOD strategy being developed for 2019 and beyond, the services hope to pursue all three goals—expand forces, improve readiness, and increase modernization—but the fiscal future is highly uncertain, and they will likely have to make difficult trade-offs.