Here’s What Was Left on the NDAA Cutting Room Floor

Choosing to do something is an action. But, sometimes, so is choosing to not do something. That’s generally true with Congress. Which is why it’s always instructive to consider what lawmakers opt to exclude from legislation. The recently passed 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is no different. Left out of the compromise version of…

US to Send More Drones, Missiles to Iraq

As the Iraqi government struggles to contain the exploding violence that slaughtered more than 8,000 civilians in 2013—which the United Nations says is the highest level of violence since 2008—the Baghdad government is looking to the United States for help. According to a report in the New York Times, Iraq has requested ten relatively low-tech…

MRAP: From Symbol of Iraq War to Symbol of Washington ‘Waste’?

The massive 14-ton, blast-resistant vehicles called MRAPs became the symbol of America’s misadventure in Iraq. And now, the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected trucks are, one US senator says, the symbol of Pentagon and congressional waste. Sen. Tom Coburn, a self-described “fiscal hawk,” on Tuesday unveiled his “Wastebook 2013,” which identifies a long list of federal government…

As Domestic Agenda Crumbles, Obama’s National Security Team Is Under Fire

ESSAY Second terms for U.S. presidents are tough. One’s domestic political capital quickly burns off after his Election Day mandate is forgotten by political friends and foes. So presidents often become “foreign-policy presidents” in their final years in the Oval Office. Things were heading in that familiar direction for Barack Obama. But there are signs…

Why John McCain Sees Barack Obama’s Middle East Policy As Elephant Dung

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is known for speaking his mind. After all, he is the Senate’s modern-day “Maverick,” and once rode a presidential campaign tour bus called the “Straight Talk Express.” So leave it to McCain to compare his old political foe’s Middle East policy to the, well, droppings of an elephant — and that…

Heavy Hitters: Allen, Lieberman, Hudson Join CNAS Board of Directors

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) quickly has become a top Washington national security think tank. And on Monday morning, it offered the latest glimpse why. The organization announced it is adding a handful of heavy hitters to its board of directors, including former Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, outgoing BAE Systems CEO…

Iraqi Leaders Spend Week Pleading for Weapons

It’s an awkward relationship between US and Iraqi leaders.  At the end of 2011, after the two sides couldn’t agree upon the conditions for a continued US troop presence in Iraq, President Obama abruptly pulled forces out of the country leaving the still youthful Iraqi government to manage a difficult security situation.  Now the Iraqi…

Military Services Don’t Receive Equal Slices of Budget Pie

If you deal with defense spending, you’ve probably had someone tell you that the budgets of the military services are roughly split evenly. Well it’s not true. Todd Harrison, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, busted that often repeated myth Thursday when presenting his latest report called: “Chaos and Uncertainty: The…