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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  • September 26, 2014
  • David W. Barno, USA (Ret.)
  • In the News

Modern airpower versus tribal warriors

In the annals of warfare there have been few conflicts as asymmetric as the United States against the Islamic State, which pits a global superpower at the head of an international coalition against a brutally ambitious terrorist group.  That dynamic of the strong against the seemingly weak was...

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  • September 26, 2014
  • David W. Barno, USA (Ret.)
  • In the News

As Afghan inauguration approaches, friction within government still possible

  KABUL, Afghanistan — Although the power-sharing deal between Afghanistan’s rival political camps enables a new president to take office, it remains unclear whether the two groups can work together to implement sweeping constitutional changes and guide the nation after most foreign troops leave....

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  • September 25, 2014
  • Paul Scharre
  • Other Resources

The Coming Swarm: The Cost-Imposing Value of Mass

In the second preview of the forthcoming report, Robotics on the Battlefield Part II: The Coming Swarm, Fellow and 20YY Warfare Initiative Director Paul Scharre explores the cost-imposing value of mass. Using a simple vignette of two adversaries locked in a competition of innovation and...

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  • September 25, 2014
  • David W. Barno, USA (Ret.)
  • In the News

Retired 3-star: Americans don't understand that ground troops win wars

U.S. lawmakers and the wider American public do not understand why it is important to win land wars because the Army has a hard time explaining it, said retired Lt. Gen. David Barno. “We’re going to see this — interestingly enough — played out, I think, in Syria, where we’re having airstrikes,”...

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  • September 24, 2014
  • Shawn Brimley
  • In the News

Obama Embraces Role of Indispensable U.S. in Syria Strike

From war to Ebola to climate change, President Barack Obama is embracing the role of the U.S. as the indispensable nation -- a stance he might have shrunk from at the start of his presidency. The military strikes against Islamic State positions in Syria and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Khorasan Group...

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  • September 22, 2014
  • David W. Barno, USA (Ret.)
  • Op-eds

Some thoughts about how the Army could better tell its story to the American people

The United States Army is struggling to explain its relevance as it returns home from 13 years at war. The American people and their lawmakers are increasingly averse to large-scale "boots on the ground" missions after more than a decade of bloody and expensive land wars. Together with the...

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  • September 22, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

World in turmoil marks Barack Obama’s return to U.N.

President Barack Obama is back at the United Nations this week, but the more peaceful world he saw emerging just a year ago is looking like a distant, even naive, dream. “We’ve also worked to end a decade of war … shifting away from a perpetual war footing,” Obama told the U.N. delegates and...

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  • September 20, 2014
  • Richard Fontaine
  • In the News

Potential push for Obama to expand military effort

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's military campaign against the Islamic State group already has extended beyond the limits he first outlined. But military experts inside and outside the administration argue that an even greater expansion may be needed for the mission to succeed, including...

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  • September 19, 2014
  • Jerry Hendrix
  • In the News

Army Chief Calls for Rethink of Cuts

WASHINGTON—The Army's highest-ranking officer on Friday said the rapid spread of threats around the world and growing demands on the U.S. military should prompt a review of deep cuts scheduled in the size of America's ground forces. Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said he had "grave...

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