May 07, 2018

The Pentagon’s Wars: Winning at Home While Losing Overseas

By Dr. Jason Dempsey

With his latest book, The Pentagon’s Wars, Mark Perry has written an informative volume about the pinnacle of national security decision-making — the interaction between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the White House during times of war — and adds his voice to the likes of Bob Woodward and Tom Ricks, who have dissected key moments in our most recent military adventures. Perry’s approach is unique, however, in that his reporting focuses directly on the intersection of political and military leadership and spans the entirety of the post-Cold War era. Having surveyed this history he finds the record wanting and our military leadership inadequate.

Unfortunately, Perry offers no theory of how defense policymaking should work, and his book is the weaker for it. The Pentagon’s Warsoffers extensive documentation of the string of foreign policy failures that have defined American military efforts over the past few decades, but Perry fails to explain the structural factors that led to these failures. Nevertheless, his narrative does offer evidence of two key dynamics that help explain why success has been so elusive for the American military: the chasm between the military and civilian policymakers, and the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986.



Read the Full Article at the Texas National Security Review

  • Reports
    • September 28, 2021
    The Role of County Veteran Service Officers

    Executive Summary This assessment examines the role of county veteran service officers (CVSOs) throughout the United States. The report highlights the services and support ava...

    By Katherine L. Kuzminski, Nathalie Grogan & Elena LoRusso

  • Commentary
    • Inkstick
    • September 23, 2021
    Don’t Ask Us to Serve

    Since the repeal of DADT, the lives of queer servicemembers have improved, but major challenges remain that threaten to undermine these gains and stall further progress....

    By Cody Kennedy

  • Commentary
    • Inkstick
    • September 17, 2021
    Closing the Gaps Between Servicemembers and the American Public

    We have been a nation at war — sort of. Due to the longest wars in American history being shouldered by a tiny percentage of the population, the vital civil-military relations...

    By Nathalie Grogan

  • Video
    • September 8, 2021
    Afghanistan Veteran Says War Might be Over for U.S. but Not for Afghans

    Jason Dempsey, an adjunct senior fellow of the Military, Veterans, and Society program at the Center for a New American Security, and a military veteran deployed twice to Afgh...

    By Dr. Jason Dempsey

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia