Analysis / Budget, Forces

Assessing Navy Readiness Funding

The first ten months of 2017 have posed daunting challenges for the U.S. Navy in the Pacific with the deaths of 17 sailors and multiple serious mishaps. Some lawmakers have pointed to these tragedies as evidence of a “readiness crisis,” resulting in part from insufficient funding from Congress. This paper analyzes the Navy’s readiness funding for maintenance and training within the Navy’s operation and maintenance (O&M) budget relative to historical norms and normalized for the size of the fleet.

Analysis / Budget, Forces

U.S. Military Forces in FY 2018

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.

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.