Troop Extension the Right Call
National Security Network


John Bradshaw 


An Incremental Approach to Repealing the 2001 AUMF
Bill French with John Bradshaw



Blank Check Caucus misunderstands basic functions of war authorizations
Bill French



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

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Middle East and North AfricadiplomacySaudi ArabiaYemen

Understanding the Crisis in Yemen

Understanding the Crisis in Yemen March 27, 2015 With Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi facing a Houthi offensive against his refuge in Aden earlier this week, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Sunni-majority nations launched a military intervention to push back the Houthis’ gains and restore Hadi’s government to Sanaa. Though the United States is not responsible for Yemen’s recent decline, it has for too long emphasized counterterrorism at the expense of political and… Read More ›

Asia and the PacificClimate and Human SecurityAfghanistanAshraf Ghani

Afghanistan at a Crossroads: Troop Extension the Right Call

Afghanistan at a Crossroads: Troop Extension the Right Call March 25, 2015 President Obama announced yesterday that he would adjust the timeline for the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, keeping 9,800 troops in the country through the end of the year. The troops will train and assist Afghan National Security Forces and “continue to conduct targeted counterterrorism operations,” President Obama said. Speaking before a joint session of Congress this morning, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani stated his… Read More ›

AmericasCounterterrorismBorder SecurityIranISISIsraelP5+1 talksPolitics

Senator Ted Cruz’s Imaginary Foreign Policy

Senator Ted Cruz’s Imaginary Foreign Policy March 23, 2015 Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced his candidacy this morning at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. His speech was long on rhetoric and short on policy, especially foreign policy. Sen. Cruz stressed goals for U.S. policy, asking his audience to “imagine a president who says ‘I will honor the Constitution, and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon,’” to “imagine a president… Read More ›

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CounterterrorismMiddle East and North AfricaAUMFIraqISISSyria

A Dangerously Confused AUMF Discussion in Congress as Escalation Looms

A Dangerously Confused AUMF Discussion in Congress as Escalation Looms March 13, 2015 Earlier this week, top officials appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss the Obama Administration’s proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey took part in a conversation that highlighted several areas of concern for… Read More ›

Defense BudgetFY16 BudgetMedicareOCO Budget

Republican Pentagon Proposal: Gimmicks Inside Gimmicks

Yesterday, House Republicans released a budget that included a massive increase in Pentagon spending to $613 billion for Fiscal Year 2016. The core of the proposal is a $39 billion plus-up to the Department of Defense by funding Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) accounts at artificially high levels so that OCO money can be spent on what should really be base-budget functions. Because OCO is not covered by the Budget Control Act spending caps, the proposal… Read More ›

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Middle East and North AfricaYemen

How Regional Power Struggles Stoke Yemen’s Conflict | Brian Katulis

How Regional Power Struggles Stoke Yemen’s Conflict By Brian Katulis, NSN Board of Directors Chair March 26, 2015 | Wall Street Journal For all the complaints from the Middle East about the Obama administration’s reticence to involve itself deeply in conflicts such as those in Syria and Yemen, nations in the region act on their own when motivated. Saudi military intervention in Yemen‘s civil war–actually a joint effort by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain–underscores a broader struggle for power that is accelerating the collapse of states across the Middle East. The key question now is whether regional actions will lead to stability or further turmoil. At its core, Yemen’s conflict is an internal struggle for power between long-competing factions. But in the past year it has taken on dimensions of the broader fight between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict that has plagued Iraq and Syria. The United States is mostly focused on achieving a nuclear deal with Iran and countering terrorist threats to its homeland. But U.S. officials should closely monitor these broader Mideast dynamics and remain prepared to take targeted action to support stability and peace. Figuring out how to engage in this cauldron is easier said than done. Three things stand… Read More ›

Middle East and North AfricaNonproliferationCongressIranP5+1 talksPolitics

A Bumper Crop of Banana(s) Republicans | John Bradshaw

A Bumper Crop of Banana(s) Republicans By John Bradshaw March 18, 2015 | Huffington Post One of the ironies of life in Washington is that those most concerned with American credibility are often working the hardest to undermine it. Under the new “Cotton doctrine,” unveiled in the now-infamous letter from Senator Tom Cotton and 46 other Republican Senators to the government of Iran, America’s commitments are only good for as long as the President who signed them remains in office. This is the way banana republics do business, not the United States. It’s an approach unworthy of our diplomatic traditions, and one that damages our ability to work with other nations and exercise international leadership. As a former U.S. diplomat who served overseas under both Republican and Democratic presidents, I represented the United States, not the party in power in the White House. Whatever our political views, my colleagues and I were professionally obligated to secure America’s long-term interests, not to service transient political needs. We took that commitment seriously, because the many hundreds of international agreements that the U.S. is party to rely on its status as a credible partner, invested in the international system — a system it… Read More ›

CounterterrorismMiddle East and North AfricaAUMFIraqISISSyria

Policy Analyst Bill French’s Testimony on ISIL and the President’s AUMF

Statement by Bill French, NSN Policy Analyst Congressional Progressive Caucus Forum on ISIL and the President’s AUMF Proposal March 16, 2015 Distinguished members of Congress, I am honored to join you to discuss the president’s proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL. Over the next few minutes, I would like to outline how a number of key national security issues relate to considering the president’s proposed resolution and what kind of provisions it should – and should not – ultimately include as a result. In particular, I will focus on select aspects of how the U.S. military strategy against ISIL should inform congressional action on a potential AUMF. As I think all of us know, ISIL poses a very real national security threat to the United States. The organization threatens U.S. and partner interests in the region, including: (1) the territoriality of states in the Middle East; (2) human security on a mass scale; (3) and the political stability of American partner-states, especially Iraq. It is precisely the significance of these national security concerns that mean it is important that Congress play its role in helping to institute an effective counter-ISIL strategy that uses all elements of… Read More ›

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Middle East and North AfricaNonproliferationIranP5+1 talksPolitics

Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.) Quoted in Washington Post on Cotton’s Letter

Tom Cotton picked apart by Army general over ‘mutinous’ Iran letter By Jonathan Capehart March 13, 2015 | Washington Post The open letter to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran signed by 47 senators and instigated by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was a stunning breach of protocol. One so outrageous that my former colleagues at the New York Daily News dubbed the signers “traitors.” While it is indeed a slap in the face of President Obama and an affront to the presidency, I’m not sure I would go that far, especially since Cotton is an Army veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. So, I turned to retired Major Gen. Paul D. Eaton for perspective. He wouldn’t say Cotton and Co. were “traitors,” either. He had a better word. I would use the word mutinous, said Eaton, whose long career includes training Iraqi forces from 2003 to 2004. He is now a senior adviser to VoteVets.org. “I do not believe these senators were trying to sell out America. I do believe they defied the chain of command in what could be construed as an illegal act.” Eaton certainly had stern words for Cotton. To continue reading, click here. Photo Credit: U.S. Senator… Read More ›

Middle East and North AfricaNonproliferationIranP5+1 talksPolitics

J. Dana Stuster Quoted in VOA on Cotton’s Letter

Analysis: Senators’ Letter to Tehran Could Impact Nuclear Talks By Al Pessin March 12, 2015 | VOA LONDON—An open letter sent by 47 U.S. Republican senators to Tehran about the ongoing negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program could impact the talks, experts say… “At the leadership level at which the talks are taking place, this does not appear to have a big effect,” said Dana Stuster of the National Security Network think tank in Washington, which closely follows the Iran talks. “Where it might have an effect is encouraging hardliners in Iran to more actively oppose the deal.” In the U.S., Republicans in the House of Representatives invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak against an Iran deal last week at a joint meeting of Congress… To read the full piece, click here. Photo Credit: Under Secretary Sherman Briefs Secretaries Kerry, Moniz Before U.S. Team Resumes Negotiations About Future of Iranian Nuclear Program [State Department, 3/20/15] Read More ›

Middle East and North AfricaNonproliferationIranP5+1 talksPolitics

NSN Urge Senate to Reject Dangerous Iran Legislation

Fifty Pro-Diplomacy Organizations Urge Senate to Reject Dangerous Iran Legislation National Iranian American Council March 12, 2015 To: Members of the U.S. Senate As organizations representing millions of Americans that support a peaceful diplomatic resolution to the nuclear standoff with Iran, we strongly urge you to oppose S.615, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. By threatening to reject a prospective nuclear deal, inserting conditions outside the scope of negotiations, and delaying the implementation of any agreement for months, this bill risks derailing the best chance to both prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon and avert a disastrous war. We understand that some members of Congress seek additional consultation and oversight regarding a final agreement. This bill is not the means to do so. Instead, this bill risks ensuring that there is no agreement for Congress to oversee in the first place. The politicized manner through which some have attempted to advance this bill, by seeking to bypass regular procedure and pass the bill at such a delicate time in negotiations, should give pause to those members who do not want to subject a potential nuclear deal to a vote that is based on politics rather than substance. If Members of Congress… Read More ›

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