Defense Strategy

Primary Sources

Secretary Hagel's Policy Speech at National Defense University, April 2013

Author: Chuck Hagel

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered his first major policy speech as Pentagon chief at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., April 3, 2013. The speech outlined potential departmental changes in acquisition, personnel, and organization, especially with the sequester, and addressed U.S. responses to North Korean threats.

See more in Defense Strategy; United States

Foreign Affairs Article

The Lost Logic of Deterrence

Author: Richard K. Betts

For half a century, deterrence was the backbone of U.S. national security strategy. But now, Washington doesn't seem to know how and when to use it properly. The United States has needlessly applied deterrence to Russia, failed to apply it when it should have against Iraq and Iran, and been dangerously confused about whether to apply it to China. U.S. policymakers need to relearn the basics of deterrence in order to apply it successfully in the appropriate circumstances.

See more in Defense Strategy; United States

Ask CFR Experts

What should the red lines be for the Iranian nuclear program?

People love to talk about "red lines" for all sorts of challenges, and the Iranian nuclear program is no exception. The United States can, in principle, threaten stronger sanctions if Iran crosses certain red lines. It can threaten military action if Iran crosses others. But it's not clear that setting red lines—particularly in public, where failing to follow through on threats can be costly—is a productive course.

Read full answer

See more in Defense Strategy; Iran