Discussing U.S. Strategy Against the  Islamic State 


Urging “no” vote on Budget Resolution conference report
Defense News


Former Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and NSN Founder
Press Release



An Assessment of U.S. Strategic Options
J. Dana Stuster & Bill French


Iran Showdown
National Security Network


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AmericasMiddle East and North AfricaCongressIran

Corker Bill Goes Forward Despite Deal-Killing Efforts

Corker Bill Goes Forward Despite Deal-Killing Efforts May 4, 2015 The Senate is expected to move toward voting on legislation put forward by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) that would allow Congress a greater role in approving the international agreement being negotiated by the United States and its P5+1 partners with Iran. Previous iterations of the contentious bill contained provisions that would have placed impossible expectations on the deal, including on issues outside the scope of… Read More ›

Defense BudgetCongressFY1NDAAOCO Budget

An Updated NDAA Falls Short of Real Reform

An Updated NDAA Falls Short of Real Reform May 1, 2015 This week, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was marked up in the House Armed Services Committee and now waits to head to the floor for additional work. While the bill takes the important step of modernizing the outdated military retirement system, it stops well short of the kind of reforms and choices needed to sustain American military power efficiently and effectively. Overdue cost-savings… Read More ›


Defense Bill Creates Needless New Obstacles for Guantanamo Transfers

Defense Bill Creates Needless New Obstacles for Guantanamo Transfers April 29, 2015 The House Armed Services Committee is reviewing the proposed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today. The legislation, which covers a range of subjects, would authorize new restrictions on the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, including the 57 individuals who have been cleared for release by all relevant government agencies. The NDAA would also impose new reporting requirements on released detainees and recidivism… Read More ›

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Asia and the PacificRule of Law and DiplomacyCongressdiplomacyJapanMilitaryTPP

The U.S.-Japan Alliance Gets an Upgrade

The U.S.-Japan Alliance Gets an Upgrade April 27, 2015 This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is in Washington to address a joint session of Congress. This is the first time any Japanese prime minister has addressed both chambers of Congress. The historic event stands as a stiff rebuke to conservatives who charge that the United States has allowed its system of global alliances to decay. On the contrary, the U.S.-Japan alliance – the cornerstone… Read More ›

CounterterrorismMiddle East and North AfricaDrones

Deaths of Hostages Demonstrate Need for Reform of Drone Strikes

Deaths of Hostages Demonstrate Need for Reform of Drone Strikes April 24, 2015 The Obama Administration’s admission yesterday that it killed two hostages in a drone strike in Pakistan, as well as other al-Qaeda operatives it was not intentionally targeting, underscores the hazards of  permissive polices for the CIA’s targeted killing program and the need for reform. Yesterday, unnamed U.S. officials confirmed to the Washington Post that the attack had been a “signature strike,” a… Read More ›

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CybersecurityRule of Law and Diplomacy2016 Presidential CampaignPatriot Act

The Patriot Act in Policy and the Presidential Campaign | Tobias Gibson

The Patriot Act in Policy and the Presidential Campaign By Tobias Gibson, NSN Non-Resident Fellow May 28, 2015 | The Hill Recent developments have all but guaranteed the demise of significant programs of the USA Patriot Act. The history of the act is well-documented, and the sprint to the June 1 deadline has been the subject of front-page news, commentary and presidential election hopes. Many politicians have expressed why they support the renewal of Section 215, the controversial section that the executive branch has interpreted to allow unlimited storage of “metadata.” Other politicians have opined about supposed civil liberties violations due to the government’s storage of this data. Pundits, too, have expressed, concern, support or even indifference about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) metadata collection and storage. The failure of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to get a vote on the renewal was seen as a stain on his leadership. Recent events suggest that compromise is afoot in the Senate, which may lead the Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act, in which the data storage is dependent on private cell phone carriers. Despite what some commentators suggest, the likely demise of Section 215 is of major importance, for… Read More ›

AmericasCounterterrorismDronesPoliticsRand Paul

Bring back the drone debate, Sen. Paul | Tobias Gibson

Bring back the drone debate, Sen. Paul By Tobias Gibson April 21, 2015 | The Hill When Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) declared his candidacy for the presidency, I will admit to having a certain excitement. In part, this feeling is based on the opportunity he offered to literally blanketmyself in the Constitution. Another is the opportunity to read a political comic book — but the real reason is that he clearly embraces his willingness to be a voice of concern about American use of drones. In other words, Paul’s campaign offers the most likely possibility that discussion and debate around the U.S. counterterrorism, military and diplomatic use of drones will reemerge. Despite the fact that the drone debate has quieted dramatically in the recent past, there are several reasons why the American populace needs to reengage with this important policy space prior to choosing our next president. Paul’s history with questioning the use of drones as a tool of foreign policy is well-documented. There is the 13-hour filibuster of John Brennan’s director of the CIA confirmation, in which he took the Obama administration to task for including American citizens on the drone “kill list” without adequate due process. In January… Read More ›

Middle East and North AfricaSaudi ArabiaYemen

Misunderstanding Wars in Yemen, Vietnam, and Yemen Once Again | J. Dana Stuster

Misunderstanding Wars in Yemen, Vietnam, and Yemen Once Again By J. Dana Stuster, NSN Policy Analyst April 6, 2015 | Foreign Policy There’s an moment in the 2003 documentary The Fog of War in which former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara lays out what he got wrong in Vietnam. “We saw Vietnam as an element of the Cold War,” he says. “Not what they [the Vietnamese] saw it as: a civil war.” I thought of that the other day as I listened to Adam Baron, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, talking about the Saudi intervention in Yemen. “This is treated as a sectarian battle between Iran-backed Shia and Saudi Arabia-backed Sunnis, but really when you look at the essence of Yemen’s problem, that’s not really it,” Baron told NPR. Iran actually has very little stake in the Yemeni Houthi rebels, which ousted the country’s transitional government from the capital in January and had been advancing toward Aden until the Saudis began airstrikes last week. The war in Yemen is a struggle between domestic forces: the Houthi rebels; the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was ousted in 2011 and whose support has been essential to the… Read More ›

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