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.
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.
Micah Zenko argues, "routine and unchallenged assertions highlight what is perhaps the most widely agreed-upon conventional wisdom in U.S. foreign and national security policymaking: the inherent power of signaling."
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.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey held this press conference on January 10, 2013. They discussed Afghan President Karzai's visit, defense sequestration, and possible chemical weapons in Syria.
Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes and Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for South Asia Doug Lute held this conference call on January 8, 2013, to preview President Karzai's visit to the White House.
The U.S. Senate voted on December 4, 2012 to approve amendment 3262 to the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 3254. The amendment requires Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to provide a report to the Armed Services Committees regarding U.S. military options in Syria.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.