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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Smarter Way to Spend on Defense | Tobias Gibson

A Smarter Way to Spend on Defense Tobias T. Gibson January 21, 2015 | The Hill  The United States has historically had significant difficulty preparing for the kinds of conflicts it finds itself involved in. For example, despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States continued preparing for conventional conflict during the 1990s. The result was a shortfall of necessary equipment and expertise in the early days of the War on Terror, with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld infamously quipping that “You go to war with the army you have.” Beyond challenges in adapting its hardware, the military and the intelligence community had difficulty adapting their intellectual talent to deal with emerging threats. The national security community has had to do without imperative language… Read More ›

DronessurveillanceThursday, January 8, 2015

Vice News Quotes Bill French on Drones on the Border

US Drone Border Patrol Program a Huge Waste of Money, Homeland Security Report Reveals By Meredith Hoffman January 8, 2014 | Vice News The US may have wasted millions of dollars on drones that have ineffectively patrolled the Mexico border, a scathing Homeland Security report has revealed. The US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) drone surveillance program — which allegedly helped law enforcement make only 2 percent of its border arrests in 2013 — follows a distressing pattern of rapid border security investment with little oversight, analysts told VICE News. The report, released by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Inspector General Tuesday, found that CBP spent at least $62.5 million on the program in one year… But analysts maintain that using drones in border policing is an… Read More ›

NDAAFriday, December 5, 2014

The NDAA and Defense Challenges Ahead

The NDAA and Defense Challenges Ahead This week, the House passed the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after an extended period of behind-the-scenes negotiation. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week. The bill authorizes $495.6 billion in discretionary base funding for the Pentagon and $63.7 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds. While the proposed legislation excised some of the more counterproductive measures that were part of previous versions and takes on modest reforms in tough areas like compensation, the final version of the bill makes clear that nominee for secretary of defense Ash Carter will have his hands full in trying to rein in the Pentagon to be more cost-efficient and effective. F-35 development and production is fully… Read More ›

GuantanamoIslamic StateOCO BudgetMonday, December 1, 2014

Five Challenges Waiting for Hagel’s Successor

Last week, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced he would be stepping down from his position. While the timeline for his replacement is not entirely certain, what is certain is that a host of national security challenges await the next secretary of defense at a time of complicated relations between the Pentagon, the White House and Congress. Top among the challenges are better matching American military strategy to available resources, pursuing long-overdue cost-savings reforms, putting an end to the abuse of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds, handling – and gaining authorization for – the conflict against the Islamic State, and overseeing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility through additional transfer of detainees and, ideally, its closure. 1. Develop a military strategy that achieves U.S. national security… Read More ›

Islamic StateOCO BudgetMonday, November 10, 2014

Hill Briefing: Costing Out the Campaign against ISIS

Costing Out the Campaign against ISIS Hosted by NSN and the London Center for Policy Research November 6, 2014 Todd Harrison, Amanda Bowen, Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.) and Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (Ret.) The National Security Network and the London Center for Policy Research co-hosted a briefing on “Costing Out the Campaign against ISIS” for Hill staffers on November 6th. The briefing featured a panel that included Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer (Ret)., Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow for Defense Budget Studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and was moderated by NSN Senior Advisor, Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.) Harrison illuminated Hill staffers to the current costs of the military campaign waged against ISIS… Read More ›

Monday, November 3, 2014

Five Challenges for the Next Congress on Defense Policy

Five Challenges for the Next Congress on Defense Policy The results of tomorrow’s elections, of course, are uncertain – and the outcome of some races may not be known for months. But regardless of how the elections affect the balance of power between Republicans and Democrats, the next Congress will already face a host of defense policy challenges, although a conservative victory could hurt rather than help the chances of positive outcomes on a number of issues. The big picture item looming over the next class of legislators will be whether lawmakers try to increase Pentagon spending – which is already two to three times the size of the military budgets of potential adversaries combined, depending how it is calculated. The next Congress will also… Read More ›

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Public Opinion Supports Progressive National Security Policies ahead of Midterms

Public Opinion Supports Progressive National Security Policies ahead of Midterms As next week’s midterm elections approach, many pundits and analysts expect that a handful of close races will determine who will control Congress for the rest of President Obama’s term in office. A poll by the Pew Research Center found that many Americans view the midterms as a referendum on the President’s performance, noting that “Fully 61% of Republican voters consider their congressional ballot as a vote against the president.” Despite the hard electoral battle faced by many Democrats, recent polls have also found strong popular support for progressive policies on national security and foreign policy issues. The polling data on the issues are clear: The American public is confident in the Obama Administration’s response… Read More ›

IraqIslamic StateOCO BudgetPoliticsSyriaWednesday, October 1, 2014

Fighting the Islamic State: Assessing the Impact on the Pentagon’s Budget

Fighting the Islamic State:  Assessing the Impact on the Pentagon’s Budget October 1, 2014 As the United States expands the war against the Islamic State to include striking targets in Syria, the issue of funding the campaign has garnered increased interest from policymakers. Recent analyses by outside experts project that the costs of a sustained campaign could rise to $8 billion per year for airstrikes – depending upon their intensity – and $20 billion per year overall when taking into account other factors, such as arming partner ground forces. These projected costs come at a time when Congress has called to drawdown Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) spending and Pentagon officials are indicating that in the future they will need more OCO funding to execute the… Read More ›

AfghanistanOCO BudgetWednesday, September 24, 2014

Ghani’s Inauguration Will Allow Progress in Afghanistan

Ghani’s Inauguration Will Allow Progress in Afghanistan September 24, 2015 On Sunday, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was officially declared the winner of Afghanistan’s presidential election after months of political deadlock and accusations of voter fraud. President-elect Ghani has said he will share power with the election’s runner-up, Abdullah Abdullah, who will be appointed the country’s chief executive. Ghani’s inauguration is scheduled for next Monday, September 29, at which point he will take power from President Hamid Karzai, who has been president since 2004 and has strained relations with the United States in the last years of his tenure. Ghani has pledged to sign the stalled Bilateral Security Agreement and a Status of Forces Agreement (BSA) that would formalize the U.S.-NATO counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan beyond the… Read More ›

IraqWednesday, September 17, 2014

National Security Network Quoted by Project on Defense Alternatives

Washington Leads with Militarized Responses September 17, 2014 | Project on Defense Alternatives Budget Effects Proponents of increasing the DoD budget have been busy ‘making hay’ from the ISIS and Putin threats.  The National Security Network has a good summary of why new military activities in the Middle East do not require additional defense spending: “The President’s campaign against the Islamic State has revived debate over the Budget Control Act (BCA) caps on Department of Defense spending. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said last Friday, ‘If we don’t replace the cuts in sequestration, we’re going to compromise our ability to be successful against [the Islamic State] and other emerging threats,’ and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) shared similar views, saying, ‘I know that if we don’t, we… Read More ›

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