Defense and Security

Foreign Affairs Article

Running the Pentagon Right

Author: Ashton B. Carter

War inevitably presents unexpected challenges. From Germany's use of mustard gas during World War I to North Vietnam's surprisingly effective use of its air defense system during the Vietnam War, the United States has always faced unanticipated threats in combat that have required agile responses.

See more in United States; Defense and Security

Foreign Affairs Article

Accepting Austerity

Author: Cindy Williams

Instead of hoping that a political miracle will spare the Pentagon from the budget ax, American defense officials need to start preparing for the inevitable. That means bringing personnel costs under control, getting on with strategic planning, and reshaping the forces for today's missions.

See more in United States; Defense Budget

Foreign Affairs Article

Cyberwar and Peace

Author: Thomas Rid

Cyberwar Is Coming!" declared the title of a seminal 1993 article by the RAND Corporation analysts John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, who argued that the nascent Internet would fundamentally transform warfare.

See more in United States; Cybersecurity

Foreign Affairs Article

Why Drones Work

Author: Daniel Byman

The Obama administration relies on drones for one simple reason: they work. Drone strikes have devastated al Qaeda at little financial cost, at no risk to U.S. forces, and with fewer civilian casualties than many alternative methods would have caused.

See more in Somalia; Pakistan; Yemen; Drones

Foreign Affairs Article

Why Drones Fail

Author: Audrey Kurth Cronin

Drones are not helping to defeat al Qaeda and may be creating sworn enemies out of a sea of local insurgents. Embracing them as the centerpiece of U.S. counterterrorism would be a mistake.

See more in Global; Drones

Foreign Affairs Article

The Rise of Mexico’s Self-Defense Forces

Authors: Patricio Afura-Heim and Ralph Espach

Across Mexico, the lawlessness and carnage of the drug wars have given rise to scores of local self-defense forces aiming to defend their communities. The federal government may be tempted to disband and disarm these armed vigilantes, but until it can shape up its security sector, the local groups offer an imperfect but acceptable alternative.

See more in Mexico; Homeland Security; Drug Trafficking and Control

Foreign Affairs Article

Why the U.S. Army Needs Armor

Authors: Chris McKinney, Mark Elfendahl, and H.R. McMaster

Looming budgetary constraints and the U.S. Army's ongoing downsizing have enhanced the appeal of forces that are lighter, smaller, and cheaper than tanks and other protected vehicles. But not only have armored forces proved critical in yesterday's wars; they will also be needed to win tomorrow's.

See more in Defense and Security; Defense Budget

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