National Security Network

Military

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Restore American Military Power

Military
Our military is second to none, but eight years of negligence, lack of accountability, and a reckless war in Iraq have left our ground forces facing shortfalls in both recruitment and readiness. Every service is out of balance and ill-prepared. We need a new strategy to give the military the tools it needs for the challenges we face today. And we need leadership that meets our obligations to the men and women who put their lives on the line.
Read the full paper: The Progressive Approach: The Military »

Military

Meeting the Challenge of Defense Spending Reform

Report 10 June 2010
An intense discussion is underway between the Administration and Congress about how Pentagon spending fits within the context of a recovering economy, tightening government spending due to budget deficits, and the development of a 21st century defense strategy. With the Defense Authorization bill out of the House and being considered by the Senate, this conversation will intensify in the weeks and months ahead.  In particular, there is likely to be a vigorous discussion over the costly alternative engine for the F-35, which the administration had targeted for elimination, but crept back in House legislation. As the debate unfolds, Congress would do well to remember the strong, bi-partisan support among defense experts and its own Members for reforming military spending.  This consensus will take center-stage tomorrow, with the release of a bi-partisan report from the Sustainable Defense Task Force, formed by House Financial Services Committee Chair Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).
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Military

Honoring Service and Keeping Our Promises

Report 28 May 2010
On Memorial Day we honor the service and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. Throughout wars in Iraq and Afghanistan our troops have performed brilliantly under very difficult conditions. It is up to America to keep its promises upon their return from overseas. 
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Military

The Facts on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Report 26 May 2010

Tomorrow Congressional votes are expected on the repeal of the controversial "don't ask don't tell" policy that prevents gays and lesbians from openly serving in the U.S. military.  This occurs against a backdrop of widespread support for military service of gays and lesbians -- both within the military and from the American people.  Military leaders at the highest level have spoken out on the subject.  America's highest ranking uniformed military officer, Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Michael Mullen, has strongly stated his personal opinion that repeal "is the right thing to do."  Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell and General John Shalikashvili have also made similar comments.  But, perhaps more importantly, the vast majority of young veterans say that they are comfortable in the presence of gays and lesbians.  There is no evidence to suggest that gays and lesbians serving openly in the military would affect unit cohesion.  A number of studies have explored this claim - including an article in Joint Forces Quarterly that won the prestigious Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition - and all have shown that that there is no evidence to support it.  Countries with similar militaries - including several of our closest allies, such as Britain, Canada and Israel -- successfully have gays and lesbians serve openly.  Finally, the existing policy comes at a cost. By dismissing patriotic servicemen and women because of their sexuality, we limit the talent that is available at a time when America is in two wars and facing challenges around the world.  For example, of the 13,000 people that have been dismissed since the DADT policy has been enacted, at least 1,000 held "critical occupations," such as interpreters and engineers. A particularly harmful example is the dismissal of 320 service members with vital language skills such as Arabic and Farsi only a few months after the fall of Baghdad.  The discriminatory practice of prohibiting gays and lesbians from serving in the military is a harmful policy that is meant to prevent a problem that doesn't exist. It is no wonder that the military and the American people want to repeal it.  Congress should keep that in mind tomorrow.

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Military

Fix the Defense Bill

Report 21 May 2010

Wednesday night the House Armed Services Committee marked up and unanimously passed its version of the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2011.  This bill is expected to go to the House floor next week and a Senate Armed Services Committee mark-up of the companion bill is also scheduled for next week.  However, during the mark-up process, the committee placed a number of hurdles in the way of crucial administration national security priorities on foreign policy and the defense budget.  For example, it included language harmful to the goal of closing the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, despite the fact that military and national security experts agree that keeping it open hampers American national security.  In addition, despite the tight overall budget, the committee inserted funding to continue the development of a second, alternate engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - an expense that the Pentagon has rejected as an "unnecessary luxury," as America's defense budget priorities remain in need of serious reform.  While the overall bill provides a strong basis for achieving American national security goals, it is crucial that Congress pay heed to the bipartisan consensus on these national security issues and that it fixes the bill to achieve America's foreign policy and budgetary priorities.

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Military

America’s Military Leadership Unanimously Supports New START

Report 13 May 2010
Five weeks after President Obama and Russian President Medvedev signed the New START treaty, the most significant arms control agreement between our two countries in nearly two decades, the treaty and its supporting documents are now in the hands of the United States Senate.  The historic bipartisan support for arms control agreements will be put to the test over the next several months in the Senate, yet there should be no doubt that this agreement strengthens American national security.  With the full support of the military leadership of the United States behind it, it is, in the words of former Republican Secretary of Defense and longtime nuclear expert James Schlesinger, "obligatory" for the U.S. Senate to ratify the treaty. 
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Military

Conservatives, Not Kagan, Hostile to the Military

Report 12 May 2010
A new term has been added to the lexicon of debate over constitutional law:  "anti-military loon."  Amid serious national debates about free speech, war powers, commercial law, and other topics, conservatives have chosen to attack the Supreme Court nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan on grounds that she that she has "hostility to the U.S. military" because she "tried to bar military recruiters from Harvard Law School."  This could not be further from the truth. 
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Military

Delivering on Defense Budget Reform

Report 10 May 2010
Common sense and discipline are the historic values to which American Presidents have aspired when providing for the common defense.  In an address at the Eisenhower Library in Kansas, Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke about the urgent need to return to those qualities, after years in which Pentagon spending spiraled out of control.  Gates's speech comes against the backdrop of concern with the state of the American economy, mounting calls from Congress and budget experts for fiscal discipline, and recognition from the Obama administration and outside experts of the need to rebalance the contributions of defense, diplomacy and development to American national security. 
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Military

Defense Budget Reform Key Ingredient for 21st Century Military Strategy

Report 25 March 2010
Appearing before Congress yesterday, Secretary Gates again took up the cause of defense budget reform.  Gates singled out two major weapons systems: the costly F-35 alternative engine and the outdated C-17.  He urged Congress to cut funding for these systems or risk a presidential veto.  This builds on the reform efforts begun at the beginning of the Obama administration, and continued by Gates throughout the year when he took such steps as firing the F-35 program manager and withholding $615 million intended to be awarded to Lockheed.  At the same time, defense policy experts agree that Pentagon spending - which has skyrocketed in recent years - remains in need of major reform. 
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