Defense and Security

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

Foreign Affairs Article

The Evolution of Irregular War

Author: Max Boot

Pundits tend to treat terrorism and guerrilla tactics as something new, but nothing could be further from the truth. Although the agendas have changed over the years -- from tribalism, to liberalism and nationalism, to socialism, to jihadist extremism -- guerrilla and terrorist warfare has been ubiquitous throughout history and consistently deadly.

See more in Afghanistan; Wars and Warfare

Foreign Affairs Article

Outgunned?

Authors: J. Thomas Moriarty, Daniel Roger Katz, Lawrence J. Korb, Jonathan Caverley, and Ethan B. Kapstein

Jonathan Caverly and Ethan Kapstein maintained that the United States' domination of the global arms market is disappearing and that as a consequence, Washington is squandering an array of economic and political benefits. Critics dispute the point; Caverley and Kapstein respond.

See more in Arms Industries and Trade