The Air Force's latest budget plan proposes to cut 25,000 airmen. The recommendations made by the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force (NCSAF) offer an alternative — and less risky — way forward.
Despite the smaller number of U.S. troops in Europe, the military balance there is far more favorable to NATO today than it was when nearly 10 times as many American soldiers, sailors and airmen were stationed on the continent.
A total drawdown of American forces — the “zero option” — is a real possibility. Recently, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the United States would begin planning for this contingency because of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's failure to sign a bilateral security agreement.
It is relatively easy to criticize what's going wrong in Afghanistan. It is much harder to propose a realistic way forward. Seth Jones and Keith Crane in a new report, “Afghanistan After the Drawdown,” suggest a calibrated political and military approach that protects U.S. interests at a realistic level of manpower and investment.
As important as a bilateral security agreement is to formalize America's long-term presence in Afghanistan. The current draft doesn't spell out the details of a U.S. military presence after 2014, including the size, composition, and strategy of U.S. forces. Those details are what matter most.
If 2013 was the year of decisions, 2014 will be the year special operations forces implement their roadmap for the future. But where exactly does that road lead? The trajectory will be determined by several budgetary and policy choices that the U.S. military, policymakers and Congress will make in 2014.
The historical importance of commitment and motivation and the need to overmatch insurgents suggest that Australia should weigh any commitment of support against existing conditions, those that can be changed and those that can't, writes Christopher Paul.
Senior Pentagon officials announced today that by 2016, women will be allowed to join front-line combat roles, including infantry, armor, and special operations. RAND has conducted research on the evolving roles of women in the military and has several experts available to discuss the DoD's policies.
Both to repeat the successes of private military contracting and to avoid the mistakes of contractors in the recent wars, the Department of Defense must consider several points specific to security contractors, writes Molly Dunigan.