Opinion / Forces

Making the Most of Special Operations Forces

Before putting special operators in harm’s way, the makers of policy and strategy must give great thought to the factors that determine tactical and strategic outcomes. With the demand for special operations forces exceeding the supply, the new administration must determine where scarce special operations personnel can best be employed, and where other U.S. and allied capabilities can most profitably shoulder the burden.

DoD photo by Cherie Cullen: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Defense.gov_News_Photo_100811-D-7203C-003_-_Secretary_of_Defense_Robert_M._Gates_speaks_with_outgoing_acting_U.S._Central_Command_commander_Lt._Gen._John_Allen_right_and_incoming_commander.jpg
Analysis / Forces, Strategy

Confirmation Hearing Questions Beyond Headlines

The nomination of General James Mattis for Secretary of Defense brings a level of controversy. Though General Mattis is highly regarded he is ineligible to be Secretary of Defense within seven years of his retirement unless Congress provides him a waiver. This article provides a list of questions the Congress should consider proposing to General Mattis on his January 12, hearing.

Analysis / Forces

Missile Defense: Time to Go Big

Nations around the world continue to develop a growing range of ballistic and cruise missiles to asymmetrically threaten U.S. forces, allies, and the American homeland. Missile defenses have now become an essential part of U.S. defense policy and strategy, and their importance shows no sign of diminishing.

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald
Analysis / Forces

Special Operations Forces: Let SOF be SOF

Special Operation Forces (SOF) has had great success against al Qaeda. This success and continued demand for special operations have led to slightly increased personnel numbers and larger budgets. As demand for SOF increase, so does rates of deployment and concerns for SOF readiness. This paper addresses how the new administration should consider engaging with SOF in the future to ensure SOF is not overextended and remains effective.

Photo courtesy of US Air Force: http://www.moody.af.mil/News/Features/Display/tabid/6031/Article/212420/23d-cons-enters-playoff-season-of-fy-closeout.aspx
Analysis / Forces

Addition by Subtraction: Reviewing & Reducing Requirements to Increase Readiness

Administrative and training requirements that have been levied upon the services, units, and service members are timely. These bureaucratic burdens can impact operational effectiveness and readiness. It is a common mistake among new administrations to improve inefficiencies by adding programs or processes, which often results in increased time burdens. This paper provides some recommendations for effective and realistic change.