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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ethics and New Defense Technology | Tobias Gibson

Ethics and New Defense Technology By Tobias Gibson March 3, 2015 | The Hill “What did you dream? It’s alright we told you what to dream.” — Pink Floyd, “Welcome to the Machine” Recently, there have been two trends, which when combined have a potential disconcerting impact for the future. First, with the rise of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers and educational opportunities, there has been a move to limit or cut the study in, and of, traditional liberal arts disciplines such as history, English and philosophy. The idea seems to be that STEM fields do not require the understanding of something as “soft” as culture or ethics. At the same time, there is very clearly a move toward increasing dependence on, and use of,… Read More ›

AUMFIslamic StateMonday, March 2, 2015

A Misguided Effort Against Islamic State | J. Dana Stuster

A Misguided Effort Against Islamic State By J. Dana Stuster, NSN Policy Analyst March 2, 2015 |  LA Times Since President Obama asked Congress in February for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force against Islamic State, the proposal has been under attack by hawkish members of Congress. “My goal is to do no harm to the war effort,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said recently. “The harm is to embrace a strategy with no chance of success.” He’s right — and that’s precisely why the use-of-force prescriptions Graham and others are advocating are so misguided. Congressional hawks are pushing for expansive executive war powers. Though they have not offered their own comprehensive strategy, interventionists such as Graham and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) are calling… Read More ›

AUMFIslamic StateFriday, February 27, 2015

Why Limits in an ISIL AUMF are Necessary | Bill French

Why Limits in an ISIL AUMF are Necessary By Bill French, NSN Policy Analyst February 27, 2015 | The Hill This week Congress begins considering an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State. So far, the debate has focused on how specific a potential authorization should be. The administration has requested a modestly limited authorization and some in Congress want an even more tailored resolution. In response, conservative hawks in Congress are leading what amounts to a Blank Check Caucus that wants to grant this and future presidents broad war authority that is unspecific and unlimited so long as the Islamic State and vaguely related groups are the targets. But the Blank Check Caucus misunderstands the basic functions of war authorizations and fails to appreciate the challenges that non-state actors like the Islamic State pose to Congress’ constitutional role to declare war. By correcting these errors, it is evident that limits are necessary and appropriate in an Islamic State AUMF. The basic purpose… Read More ›

IranP5+1 TalksThursday, February 26, 2015

Give Negotiations a Chance | John Bradshaw & Amb. Nancy Soderberg

Give Negotiations a Chance Why calling for increased sanctions against Iran while nuclear talks are ongoing is a bad idea. By Amb. Nancy Soderberg and John Bradshaw February 26, 2015 | U.S. News and World Report As negotiators jockey in Geneva to reach a framework agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons by the deadline, which comes at the end of March, hardliners in both Washington and Iran threaten to scuttle the deal. Calls for an arbitrary increase in tough sanctions from Washington and charges of bad faith from Iran indicate many want to squash almost any deal. It is important to recognize how these negotiations are in our deep national interests. Consider the alternative. If these negotiations fail and Iran moves further toward a nuclear… Read More ›

AUMFIslamic StateFriday, February 20, 2015

Talking through Obama’s AUMF Proposal | Tobias Gibson

Talking through Obama’s AUMF Proposal Tobias T. Gibson February 20, 2015 | The Hill Last week, the Obama administration sent Congress a draft proposal for a new Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) specifically targeted at the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Predictably, the reaction was swift. Equally predictably, the feelings toward the proposal were largely divided along partisan lines. There is one commonality, however — feelings that the draft AUMF is not perfect. Responses were swift by those outside of government, as well. My colleagues at National Security Network (NSN) offered ”the good, the bad and the ugly” of the proposed AUMF. Among the “good,” seconding Pelosi, is the end to the 2002 Iraq AUMF. There are more two contested “good” outcomes stemming from the… Read More ›

IranP5+1 TalksWednesday, January 28, 2015

Why New Sanctions Against Iran Would Backfire | John Bradshaw and Amb. John Limbert

Why New Sanctions Against Iran Would Backfire By John Bradshaw and Ambassador John Limbert January 28, 2015 | The Hill Proposed legislation in the Senate that would impose additional “triggered” sanctions on Iran during ongoing nuclear talks relies on flawed logic and ignores Iranian history.  The legislation would be more likely to blow up the negotiations than to achieve its stated goal of pushing Iran toward an agreement.  Some proponents of the legislation are explicit in hoping new sanctions will derail the talks, but others appear to believe in good faith that threatened sanctions will strengthen the position of the U.S. and its negotiating partners.  They claim that if sanctions brought Iran to the table, more sanctions will force them to agree to a nuclear… Read More ›

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 ›

Al QaedaFranceFriday, January 9, 2015

Charlie Hebdo Attack | Brian Katulis

Charlie Hebdo Attack: Can We Sustain a Response to Extremist Ideologies? By Brian Katulis, NSN Board of Directors Chairman January 9, 2015 | Wall Street Journal Remember all the talk after 9/11 about a battle of ideas? The notion that we were in a contest over the values that underpin civilized society? Despite regular wake-up calls–whether it’s scores of school children murdered in Pakistan, mass killings in Syria and Iraq, the atrocities of Boko Haram in Africa–we somehow lost sight of that. From time to time, the inhumanity of extremism stirs our conscience, especially when it is not just on distant shores, as in Boston in 2013. But for the most part we are untouched by the attacks taking place every day. We in the U.S. have somehow become desensitized to the… Read More ›

EnergyThursday, January 8, 2015

Needed: A Strategy to Remain an Energy Superpower | Brian Katulis

Needed: A Strategy to Remain an Energy Superpower By Brian Katulis January 8, 2015 | Wall Street Journal Energy policy has featured prominently in the nascent debate between the 114th Congress and the Obama administration. Republican leaders vowed to hold a vote on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and the White House announced that the president would not sign the legislation if it passed. But the pipeline is just one of an array of issues that affect energy security, environmental challenges, and foreign-policy priorities. Over the past few years, the United States has emerged as an energy superpower, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. Global energy markets have taken note: Oil prices have fallen more than 50% since summer, a steep drop contributing to uncertainty among investors–and… Read More ›

CIAWednesday, December 24, 2014

Effective Oversight of the CIA Depends on Congress | Tobias Gibson

Effective Oversight of the CIA Depends on Congress By Tobias Gibson, NSN Non-Residential Senior Fellow December 24, 2014 | The Washington Post In a recent piece here on The Monkey Cage,  Michael Colaresi discussed the need for change in oversight of the CIA and by extension the entirety of the intelligence community. He suggests that in the wake of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture issued Dec. 9, “current and former CIA officials, as well as President Obama, seem bent on missing the relevant lessons to improve governance of national security. The CIA needs more, not less, oversight” (my emphasis). He then offers details–based on his recent book Democracy Declassified, which I highly recommend—of the benefits of this additional oversight: …democracies with strong oversight of national security policy… Read More ›

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