Gayle Tzemach Lemmon questions whether America’s post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will retake center stage with the potential appointment of a military leader to secretary of defense. According to Lemmon, “If confirmed, Mattis…would force Americans to confront these conflicts at a time when the United States has done a good job forgetting to feel like a country at war.”
The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, which provides U.S. government funds to members of foreign militaries to take classes at U.S. military facilities, has the potential to be a powerful tool of U.S. influence. Joshua Kurlantzick explains how the program can be reformed to more effectively promote U.S. interests.
With two women set to become the first graduates of the U.S. Army Ranger School on Friday, CFR senior fellows Gayle Tzemach Lemmon and Janine Davidson explain the significance of the graduation and its implications for military operations and strategy.
Pentagon and White House officials can’t agree on whether Russia is an “existential threat” to the United States, nor about what the top threats to the country even are. Micah Zenko discusses how this inhibits government effectiveness and what needs to be done to address it.
U.S. military and intelligence officials often conceive of the complexity of the world in terms of the volume of total issues, rather than evaluating the prioritization of those issues. CPA's Micah Zenko examines how the U.S. military thinks about complexity.
Authors: Janine A. Davidson and Sam Ehrlich Defense One
Janine Davidson and Sam Ehrlich, writing in Defense One, evaluate recent remarks by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Johnathan W. Greenert. According to his speech, the Navy remains focused on the Asia-Pacific rebalance and confident in a 317-ship navy by 2025.
Once again, Pakistan is suffering from a self-induced political crisis. For days, street protests led by opposition politicians Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri have paralyzed Islamabad and threatened the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
"This habit of policymakers exalting the military as exemplars of accomplishment—in effect, asking generals and admirals to "save us from ourselves"—should be brought to a dignified end," writes Micah Zenko.
While a fresh face at the helm of the Pakistani military undoubtedly raises American hopes for a less frustrating relationship, Daniel Markey writes that Washington should keep its expectations firmly in check and at least one eye out for trouble.
Senior defense leaders frequently repeat five particular assumptions about the future of the military, which are rarely questioned by Congress, the media, or defense analysts. Micah Zenko highlights these assumptions and their contradictions.
"Suleimani took command of the Quds Force fifteen years ago, and has sought to reshape the Middle East in Iran's favor: assassinating rivals, arming allies, and directing a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq. And yet he has remained mostly invisible to the outside world. 'Suleimani is the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today,' a former C.I.A. officer in Iraq, told me, 'and no one's ever heard of him.'"
"The liberals and revolutionaries who are now dancing in the streets must not rest on their laurels, but must begin agitating for a sustained national dialogue to reinterpret the proper role of the armed forces in the life of the country," writes Steven Cook.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »