Responsible Defense

The United States is in the midst of curtailing government spending by steeply reducing defense and non-defense discretionary accounts. The CNAS Responsible Defense project, co-led by LTG David W. Barno, USA (Ret.) and Dr. Nora Bensahel, examines how the Defense Department (DOD) should manage these cuts while rebalancing its force structure, readiness and modernization priorities. Cuts in acquisitions, changes in service roles and missions, reductions in military end strength and adjustments to U.S. strategy are all on the table, so CNAS is conducting analysis and crafting recommendations for senior policymakers who must make these inevitable tradeoff decisions. Moreover, CNAS is examining the underlying structural reform necessary to put the Defense Department on a sustainable path, suggesting new ways of improving DOD’s deeply inefficient business processes and unsustainable personnel outlays.

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  • July 23, 2014
  • David W. Barno, USA (Ret.)
  • Op-eds

The Shadow Wars of the 21st Century

War is morphing. Today’s headlines are dominated by the conflicts in Gaza, Iraq and Ukraine, which little resemble the large, conventional state versus state wars that dominated the last bloody century. Instead, they all demonstrate that a different form of unconventional warfare is emerging in...

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  • July 22, 2014
  • Michael Horowitz
  • Op-eds

Beyond UCLASS: Preparing the Navy for Next Generation Warfare

The United States is the world’s leading military power in large part because it employs both the best military technologies in the world and the best-trained force to effectively use those technologies. Yet staying ahead is no easy task. Just as in the corporate world, the same ways of doing...

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  • July 21, 2014
  • Elizabeth Rosenberg
  • In the News

With Negotiations Extended, U.S. Ponders Future of Iran Sanctions

The original July 20 deadline for the P5+1 countries to reach a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran has come and gone. The negotiating parties have given themselves four more months to address what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday called “very real gaps in some areas.” The...

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  • July 18, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • In the News

Drones in the hands of Hamas: How worrisome is that?

WASHINGTON — Now that the military wing of Hamas has shown that it can fly armed drones into Israel, does it herald the dawn of a new era of warfare, as some analysts assert? Or is the drone capability mainly useful as a propaganda tool for Hamas to show Palestinians it can penetrate Israeli air...

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  • July 18, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

Panel Debates Future of Carrier-based Drones

Last year at this time, the Navy made history off the Virginia coast when a sleek, computer-controlled drone landed on the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. But the future of unmanned aircraft in the Navy is still up for debate, as evidenced Wednesday in a hearing chaired by Rep. Randy Forbes...

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  • July 17, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • In the News

One Congressman’s Crusade to Save the World From Killer Robots

If a robot soldier commits a war crime, who is held accountable? You can't punish a collection of parts and coding algorithms. But can you blame a human commander, who gave a legal order only to see the robot carry it out incorrectly? And what about the defense manufacturers, which are often...

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  • July 17, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

Don’t look now, but the plan for massive drones on aircraft carriers is coming

The Navy landed a 44,000-pound drone aircraft on the USS George H.W. Bush for the first time last summer, a technical feat that was hailed by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus at the time as a historic development in a program that would “radically change the way presence and combat power are delivered...

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  • July 16, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley
  • Op-eds

Getting Unmanned Naval Aviation Right

The issue of when and how the U.S. Armed Forces fully integrate unmanned and increasingly autonomous surveillance and strike platforms into their inventory is one of the most important issues facing the Department of Defense. The Navy’s unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (...

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  • July 16, 2014
  • Elbridge Colby
  • In the News

Reform Conservatism and Foreign Policy

The recent dust-up between Rand Paul and Rick Perry (among other Paul critics) makes for a good occasion to add another entry to my series on critiques of reform conservatism — this time, responding to the suggestion that our movement either doesn’t offer any foreign policy ideas, or else is...

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  • July 16, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • In the News

Military ramps up use of underwater drones. What do they do?

They can range from a svelte 100 pounds to several thousand. They can be snub-nosed, bullet shaped brutes that can dive six miles deep or buoyancy-propelled machines that can gracefully glide for several months at a time. And they can perform a myriad of tasks ranging from tracking pollution to...

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