Defense Strategy

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


China's Future–and Our Own

Author: Jerome A. Cohen

In his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Jerome A. Cohen argues that China would benefit at home and abroad by demonstrating increasing respect rule of law, while the United States, by striving harder to set a good example, could do much to improve not only its own society but also its standing in China and the world.

See more in China; Defense Strategy; Economics


Obama's Bay of Pigs

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

The U.S. plan to arm Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria looks eerily similar to the infamous 1961 failed Bay of Pigs operation. Micah Zenko argues that a clarification of phase two—how the United States will support the armed rebels once they are trained and equipped—is needed before the United States proceeds.

See more in Syria; Defense Strategy; Conflict Assessment

Primary Sources

Obama Administration: National Security Strategy

The Obama Administration released its first National Security Strategy on May 27, 2010, and the second on February 6, 2015. The National Security Strategy is required by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act and explains the administration's security issues and the strategies for addressing them. All strategies from 1987 are available on the National Security Strategy Archive

See more in United States; Grand Strategy; Defense Strategy