Defense and Security

Foreign Affairs Article

The Scholar as Secretary

Ashton Carter has an unusual background for a secretary of defense. Before assuming the United States’ top military post in February, he studied medieval history and particle physics as an undergraduate at Yale, got a Ph.D. in physics as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, and taught international affairs at Harvard. He also served as an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton administration and as an undersecretary and then the deputy secretary of defense under President Barack Obama. 

See more in United States; Defense Strategy

Op-Ed

Buying More Time

Author: Daniel S. Markey
The Cipher Brief

For the past several years, the Obama administration’s strategy for Afghanistan has rested on the basic assumption that although no reasonable amount of U.S. money or troops could win the war against the Taliban outright, a limited American commitment to Afghanistan’s security forces and government would enable Kabul to hold on long enough to reach a negotiated truce with insurgent leaders.

See more in Afghanistan; United States; Military Operations; Presidents and Chiefs of State

Other Report

Developing a Proportionate Response to a Cyber Incident

Author: Tobias Feakin

As offensive cyber activity becomes more prevalent, policymakers will be challenged to develop proportionate responses to disruptive or destructive attacks. Tobias Feakin outlines the variables that each state should consider in determining the appropriate response to a state-sponsored cyber incident.

See more in Global; Cybersecurity

Op-Ed

Questioning the Case for New Nuclear Weapons

Author: Adam Mount
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

Recent developments—Russian aggression in Ukraine, China’s expanding territorial claims, and the need to modernize the US nuclear arsenal—have caused scholars to revisit a labyrinthine world of nuclear strategy largely neglected since the end of the Cold War. But this new wave of theory has resurrected some dubious arguments.

See more in Global; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament