Defense and Security

Testimony

Iran’s Destabilizing Role in the Middle East

Author: Ray Takeyh

In his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ray Takeyh argues that in order to successfully combat Iran's destabilizing influence in the Middle East, the United States must be an active player in Syria and Iraq and undertake a more systematic effort to contest all of Iran's regional assets.

See more in Iran; Regional Security

Other Report

Trends in U.S. Military Spending

Author: Dinah Walker

Policymakers are currently debating the appropriate level of U.S. military spending given increasingly constrained budgets and the winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The following charts present historical trends in U.S. military spending and analyze the forces that may drive it lower.

See more in United States; Defense Budget

Primary Sources

Background Briefing on P5+1 Negotiations, July 2014

Senior administration officials updated the press regarding negotations between the P5+1 (United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany) and Iran on nuclear nonproliferation, held July 2-20, 2014. The discussions are a continuation of deal reached in November 2013, which provided sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for limiting its nuclear activities by July 20, 2014.

See more in Iran; United States; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation

Op-Ed

Obama's Armed Drones in Iraq Reek of Mission Creep

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

The pentagon last week acknowledged that the United States deployed armed drones to Iraq to provide surveillance and strike capabilities as the crisis with the Islamic State of Iraq and and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) continues to deteriorate. However, Micah Zenko points out that while numerous U.S. officials have called for the deployment of drones, these demands have not been accompanied by justifications, and there is still no precise goals for the deployment.

See more in Pakistan; Iraq; Drones; Counterterrorism

Op-Ed

Three Misconceptions About Drones

Author: Janine Davidson
Defense One

Janine Davidson discusses three misconceptions about the United States' increasing deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles: that they "cause" disproportionately high civilian casualties, that they inherently cost less than manned aircraft, and that most of them are weaponized (in fact, less than one percent carry weapons at any given time).

See more in United States; Drones

Op-Ed

Drone Proliferation: What We Have to Fear

Author: Sarah E. Kreps
The Hill

Serious questions about drone proliferation and the United States' role must be answered," writes Sarah Kreps. She discusses a recent report coauthored with Micah Zenko, including the threat and consequences of proliferation, and policies the Obama administration should implement to regulate the export and use of armed drones.

See more in Global; Drones

Op-Ed

In Iraq, What Exactly Was the Alternative?

Author: Emerson Brooking
Council on Foreign Relations

Emerson Brooking examines arguments made by critics of the 2011 U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. He concludes that their most commonly articulated position—that U.S. troops should have simply stayed "until the job was done"—does not represent a viable strategy. In fact, it represents the opposite of strategy.

See more in Iraq; Defense Strategy

Op-Ed

In Iraq, Obama Has Two Terrible Choices

Author: Meghan L. O'Sullivan
Politico

In his efforts to save Iraq, President Obama is right to demand more power-sharing and other political reforms from Iraqi leaders before the United States offers more military assistance. But Obama should not think he can hold off offering such assistance until he secures those reforms—not if he wants to prevent the bloody breakup of the country and a wider regional war.

See more in Iraq; United States; Defense Strategy