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Climate SecurityConservativesFriday, February 27, 2015

Science Over Snowballs: Climate Competence of America’s Leaders is a National Security Issue

Science Over Snowballs: Climate Competence of America’s Leaders is a National Security Issue February 27, 2015 This week, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) took to the Senate floor with a snowball as a prop as part of an argument against the scientific consensus that global climate change is real and that the Earth’s average surface temperature has been increasing rapidly since the industrial revolution. It may be tempting to dismiss the significance of right-wing climate antics as simply misguided. But Sen. Inhofe, who serves as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, exemplifies the danger of denying climate science given the severe implications that climate change poses to American national security and global stability, as NSN has detailed before. Because of the… Read More ›

AUMFIslamic StateWednesday, February 25, 2015

Getting to an Effective and Well-Defined AUMF for the Islamic State

Getting to an Effective and Well-Defined AUMF for the Islamic State February 25, 2015 This week, Congress is beginning the process of considering a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State. The authorization recently proposed by the White House has positive and negative aspects, as NSN has noted previously. But with additional analysis coming out about the Administration’s proposal and Secretary Kerry’s Senate testimony yesterday, the conversation is advancing and many details deserve closer consideration. First, the extent to which the proposed AUMF would authorize U.S. ground forces is still very unclear. Second, new troubling questions are being raised about the conditions in which the Administration thinks it would have the authority to strike Assad’s forces under a new… Read More ›

IranP5+1 TalksMonday, February 23, 2015

As Iran Nuclear Deal Takes Shape, Congress Must Act Carefully

As Iran Nuclear Deal Takes Shape, Congress Must Act Carefully February 23, 2015 The P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran may be nearing an agreement, according to reports this morning from Vienna. While the details are still unclear, the early speculation is that the deal would effectively lengthen the time it would take Iran to build a nuclear weapon to a point that it could not do so without being detected and stopped by the international community. This would be a huge diplomatic success for the United States. As the talks enter this crucial stage, it is more critical than ever that Congress not pass new legislation that would call into question whether the United States can uphold its commitments under a final deal and potentially… Read More ›

AUMFCubaIranIslamic StateRussiaUkraineFriday, February 20, 2015

Jeb Bush Lays out Limited Foreign Policy Vision

Jeb Bush Lays out Limited Foreign Policy Vision February 20, 2015 On Wednesday, Jeb Bush laid out the foreign policy framework for his anticipated presidential campaign in a speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Bush’s remarks covered a broad range of subjects, and while he identified many of the pressing international challenges facing the United States, his remarks lacked clarity or solutions. As the presidential race moves forward, the national security debate will require more depth of understanding on issues including resolving Iran’s nuclear program, addressing the threat from the Islamic State, the fighting in Ukraine, normalizing relations with Cuba, and ongoing Pentagon spending debates, and we will look for candidates that back up emerging positions with effective policies. Bush doesn’t seem to… Read More ›

IraqIslamic StateSyriaWednesday, February 18, 2015

6 Key Takeaways on Confronting the Islamic State

6 Key Takeaways on Confronting the Islamic State February 18, 2015 Today, the Obama Administration is convening a summit on countering violent extremism. Representatives from more than 60 countries are meeting to discuss ways to prevent radicalization and terrorism. The summit illustrates that fighting terrorist groups like the Islamic State is about more than military strategy in Iraq and Syria. As Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.) notes in NSN’s new report, Confronting the Islamic State: An Assessment of U.S. Strategic Options, “the choices facing policymakers are characterized by problems far more complex than fine-tuning a military strategy and the question of boots or no boots on the ground. Counter-ideology, diplomacy, economics, and politics at home and abroad all play a role.”  Nonetheless, most current strategic… Read More ›

ConservativesIranP5+1 TalksFriday, February 13, 2015

Iran Hawks’ Rush to Pass Legislation Imperils Nuclear Deal

Iran Hawks’ Rush to Pass Legislation Imperils Nuclear Deal February 13, 2015 As P5+1 and Iranian diplomats continue to work toward an agreement to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) is pushing forward with legislation that could scuttle the talks. Sen. Corker’s bill, which would subject any final deal to an up-or-down vote in Congress, could be considered as soon as the end of this month. Passing this legislation while negotiators are making considerable progress toward a comprehensive deal would signal to Iranian negotiators that the United States will not be able to carry out its commitments under an agreement and would delay the implementation of any agreement. Congress will have a serious role in any nuclear deal with Iran –… Read More ›

2001 AUMFAUMFIraqIslamic StateSyriaWednesday, February 11, 2015

Obama’s ISIL AUMF: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Obama’s ISIL AUMF: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly This morning, the White House sent Congress the text of its proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State. The proposed legislation includes strengths and weaknesses that deserve careful analysis and debate. Overall, the proposal would set important, if imperfect, limits on the war against the Islamic State, including: a three-year sunset clause, a careful definition of associated forces, and the repeal of the 2002 AUMF. But the proposal also includes a number of significant problems, including: a faux prohibition on large-scale ground combat operations that is effectively meaningless because of extremely poor wording, a lack of geographic limits, the potential application to ill-defined future “successors” of the Islamic State, and… Read More ›

Asia RebalanceGuantanamoT-TIPTPPMonday, February 9, 2015

Connecting the Dots: Linking Principles to Priorities in the New National Security Strategy

Connecting the Dots: Linking Principles to Priorities in the New National Security Strategy The Obama Administration has just released its 2015 National Security Strategy. The updated strategy concentrates on broad lines of effort that are crucial to American interests, ranging across the categories of security, prosperity, values, and international order. However, to have full effect, leadership is needed to transform the document’s intent into concrete priorities. Indeed, the document reads, “our resources will never be limitless. Policy tradeoffs and hard choices will need to be made.” In moving towards implementation, therefore, national security leaders have the opportunity to reassess their near-term policy priorities to make sure they are addressing long-term trends. In particular, priorities should better reflect the need to effectively deal with the security… Read More ›

diplomacyMilitaryRussiaUkraineFriday, February 6, 2015

Lethal Aid for Ukraine: Assessing Costs and Benefits

Lethal Aid for Ukraine: Assessing Costs and Benefits As Russia’s support for separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine and direct involvement in the conflict there continues to escalate, French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are in Moscow in an effort to negotiate a ceasefire and diplomatic solution with their Russian counterparts. Meanwhile, with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry in Europe, there are reports that the United States is considering the provision of defensive arms to Ukraine should diplomacy not be immediately successful. Taking the step of providing arms to Ukraine has garnered increasing support from members of Congress and outside experts. While it is clear that the United States and Europe need to reinforce their response to Russia,… Read More ›

BRACF-35Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pentagon Budget: Failure to Adapt to 21st-Century Threats

Pentagon Budget: Failure to Adapt to 21st-Century Threats This week, the Pentagon submitted its annual budget to Congress, requesting $585.3 billion total, including a base budget of $534.3 billion and $50.9 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). The request blew past the spending caps imposed by the Budget Control Act (BCA), which limits base spending to $499 billion – nearly $100 billion more than  the amount collectively spent by either Europe or  Asia on their national militaries. By ignoring the caps, the Pentagon is punting on aligning its ends and means in a coherent, realistic, and effective defense strategy. Despite some important forward-looking programs, the budget also over invests in weapon systems – like the F-35 and nuclear aircraft carriers – that are designed to… Read More ›

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