Politicians and everyday Americans use the term “endless wars” to describe the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Yet that generalization ignores the active effort to reduce the financial and human cost of U.S. operations while still pursuing counterinsurgency objectives.
As Arctic temperatures rise and the region undergoes extreme environmental change, new economic, scientific, maritime, and political opportunities have led to the gradual militarization of the region and its potential as a new theater for strategic competition between the United States and Russia. Amid such rapid change, the strategic outlook of the Arctic over the next two decades—whether cooperative or competitive—is an open question.
Jointness, meaning cross-service cooperation, is generally a good thing. But one can have too much of a good thing, and the Pentagon has too much jointness. Jointness in organizing military operations makes so much sense that the concept is overprescribed. Enhancing interservice competition for resources and relevance would encourage military innovation, civilian control, and economies in the vast Pentagon budget.
In this episode of The Truth of the Matter podcast, host Andrew Schwartz welcomes Kathleen Hicks, Andrew Hunter, and Todd Harrison from the CSIS International Security Program to discuss the Bad Ideas in National Security series. In addition to analyzing their own pieces, they nominate their frontrunners for what might be considered the “worst” bad idea.
Retrenchment from forward deployed forces supporting alliances is a bad idea. Alliances, including forward-stationing of U.S. forces abroad makes the United States safer, its allies more secure, and all participating more prosperous. Any weakening of the U.S. alliance architecture should demonstrate how it provides greater benefits than the existing system.
Critics of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds point to regular base budget activities funded under OCO and its use to skirt discretionary spending limits. However, blaming OCO for our defense budget blunders, or calling for its complete elimination, punishes those who need OCO’s benefits without effectively punishing those who’ve instigated its abuse.