Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

USA and Allies Outspend Military Rivals by Four-to-One: America Carries Heavy Defense Burden for Allies

Carl Conetta. PDA Briefing Memo #55, 18 July 2012.

Efforts to cull savings from the US defense budget for purposes of deficit reduction have been stymied by Pentagon claims that any significant cut might have “devastating” or even catastrophic” effects. However, a review of global defense spending data by the Project on Defense Alternatives shows that America and its allies outspend potential rivals by a margin of four-to-one.

Moreover, according to the PDA review, the United States carries much more than its share of the allied defense burden, as measured by percentage of Gross Domestic Product allocated to defense. Together, the United States and its close allies worldwide spent $1.23 trillion on their armed forces in 2010 – more than 68% of the global total. But had the burden been shared equally among the allies based on GDP, the United States could have reduced its military spending by one-third (33%), including spending for war. This proportion substantially exceeds the Pentagon budget cuts mandated under the sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act.

global military shares

Panetta explains Pentagon’s ‘pivot’ toward Asia

David Cloud. Los Angeles Times, 01 June 2012.


…the Pentagon plans to increase the Pacific fleet from 50 warships to 58, according to two Pentagon officials who discussed the plans on condition of anonymity.

In addition, Panetta said that more than 40 Navy ships in the Pacific would be replaced with “more capable and technologically advanced ships” over the next five years.

But the number of warships “forward deployed” at any one time — operating in Asian waters rather than moored in San Diego or other U.S. ports — will grow by only four, from 23 to 27, by 2020. The reason: It is far less expensive to base troops, ships and planes in U.S. ports than abroad.

The six aircraft carriers now assigned to the Pacific will drop to five later this year. An additional carrier, now under construction, is scheduled to enter the fleet in 2014, returning the number to six.

Several hundred Marines have begun rotating into northern Australia on a training mission, and the force may grow to as many as 2,000 by 2016. But U.S. troop levels in South Korea, Japan and elsewhere in the region are likely to remain flat.

Time to get U.S. nukes out of Europe

Stephen M. Walt. Foreign Policy, 18 April 2012.


There’s an overwhelming case for removing these archaic and unnecessary weapons from the European continent. Ideally, we would do this as part of a bilateral deal with Russia, but we ought to do it even if Russia isn’t interested.

Editor’s Comment:

Couldn’t agree more!

A New Challenge for Our Military: Honest Introspection

David Rothkopf. Foreign Policy, 19 March 2012.


Certainly there has been national debate about whether we should have been involved in those wars, one that has belatedly delivered the message to our political leadership that it is time to bring our troops home. But about one crucial array of issues concerning our involvement we have been stunningly silent: the competence of our military leaders, the effectiveness of the strategies they have employed, and the very structure and character of our military itself.

We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran

Paul Pillar. Washington Monthly, March/April 2012.


Fears of a bomb in Tehran’s hands are overhyped, and a war to prevent it would be a disaster.

A First Strike Against Iran? It’s Time to Recall the Case of Iraq

Now that speculation and discussion of a possible attack from Israel on Iranian nuclear development facilities is rampant, it is time to bring back a review I did on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq:

First Strike Guidelines: The Case of Iraq
Project on Defense Alternatives Briefing Memo #25
by Charles Knight, 16 September 2002 (revised and updated 10 March 2003)


…despite the repeated use of the term “preemption” to describe their counterproliferation strategy (see the 2002 National Security Strategy), the Bush administration’s strategic approach to Iraq is one of preventive war. The U.S. Department of Defense defines preventive war as “war initiated in the belief that military conflict, while not imminent, is inevitable, and that to delay would involve greater risk” while it defines preemptive attack as “an attack initiated on the basis of incontrovertible evidence that an enemy attack is imminent.” Preventive war has long been understood to be highly destabilizing and it is nearly impossible to reconcile it with the notions of non-aggression imbedded in the United Nations Charter.

Maximizing Chances for Success in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Michael E. O’Hanlon and Bruce Riedel. Brookings Institute, 15 February 2012.


The next president will need to move closer to a policy of containing Pakistani aggression, which would mean a more hostile relationship. But, it should be a focused hostility, aimed not at hurting Pakistan’s people but rather at holding its army and intelligence branches accountable.

Editor’s Comment:
I suppose we should give the authors credit for their display of imagination. I, for one, can’t imagine this strategy working. It also raises the question in my mind as to who would be doing the “aggression”, Pakistan or the U.S.?

Vimy Paper 2012: The Strategic Outlook for Canada

Paul Chapin and George Petrolekas. CDA Institute, February 2012.