The DoD acquisition system is complex and ever-changing. It requires a trained and active workforce that has the support of Congress. Allowing some of the reforms to take place in a measured fashion would be a wise choice for the new administration and Congress.
Building the morale of the Department of Homeland Security workforce should be a priority of the incoming leadership team. Strong communication with career employees, team building, and demonstrating respect for work that has already been done is needed.
President-elect Trump is receiving President Obama's version of the daily briefing; it has yet to be tailored to his preferences, to which every president is entitled. The intelligence community should seek to adapt the briefing to maximize its interest and relevance to the president-elect.
The change in administration, coupled with the new management structure being imposed by Congress on the Department of Defense's acquisition enterprise is creating a shifting and unpredictable landscape for 2017.
If precedent holds, the National Security Council will be defined in the first policy directive that President Trump signs in the early weeks of his administration. Several important questions should be considered.
In a crisis, there's a tendency in government to add more people to address the problem, but doing so often slows decisionmaking. It's easier to invent something new rather than require the agency to fix problems in the existing structure.
The innovation efforts taking place in the Department of Defense are exciting and have much potential. But installing a chief innovation officer with centralized authority who may become just another bureaucratic player among many could spoil those efforts.
The U.S. Navy has enjoyed the luxury of being able to transit the Suez Canal without hindrance for decades. However, the risk of losing access — perhaps quickly and unexpectedly — should inform Navy strategic and operational planning.
Rather than characterize Robert McNamara's legacy as one of inefficiency, his economic, quantitative analysis of military problems should be portrayed as an innovative, if flawed, first adoption of more sophisticated methods for defense analysis.
Because the United States cannot afford to prioritize and defend against every possible threat or contingency, it must accept risk with each decision it makes. And the more adaptive the adversary, the more likely it will confound readiness investments made previously to confront it.
The commercial airline industry will continue hiring more pilots to replace its aging workforce, causing more U.S. Air Force aviators to leave the service. Pilot pay is increasing in the commercial sector while Air Force aviator and retention pay are now discretionary programs under DoD guidelines.
The assault rifle is a class of weapon that emerged in the middle of the last century to meet the needs of combat soldiers on the modern battlefield, where the level of violence had reached such heights that an entirely new way of fighting had emerged.
The U.S. Department of Defense has been reviewing its policy that bans transgender personnel from serving openly. If transgender people were allowed to serve openly, the number would likely be a small fraction of the total force and have minimal impact on readiness and health care costs.
Rapid acquisition practices that worked during recent wars may not easily translate to peacetime endeavors. Enthusiasm for rapid acquisition must be tempered by an understanding of the circumstances that made it work and the downsides that were accepted in wartime.
Military members who visited a primary care clinic while suffering from PTSD and depression reported fewer symptoms and better mental health functioning a year after enrolling in a treatment program that included specially trained care managers and telephone therapy options.
Presence involves global military deployments to counter potential aggressors, reassure allies, underwrite extended deterrence, build partner capacity, and more. It is now as important, in terms of its stabilizing and deterrent effect, as warfighting capabilities. Yet U.S. force posture falls short.
Many of the challenges the U.S. will face in the coming years across the range of military operations could be deep inland and require rapid response. Airborne forcible entry — with reimagined and modernized airborne forces — would offer decisionmakers options in crises that they do not possess today.
The economic importance and visibility of America's ports make them attractive terrorism targets. Port security has improved, but many of the threats that motivated the Safe Ports Act in 2006 remain, and new dangers have emerged, including cyber threats.