The Great Debate
The article originally ran last October. It has been updated by the authors.
There is a growing bipartisan public outrage about the local police force’s fiercely militarized response to protestors in Ferguson, Missouri.
Africa is the new frontier for the U.S. Defense Department. The Pentagon has applied counterterrorism tactics throughout the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, Central and South Asia. Now it is monitoring the African continent for counterterrorism initiatives. It staged more than 546 military exercises on the continent last year, a 217 percent increase since 2008, and is now involved in nearly 50 African countries.
Americans should be worried.
The U.S. military has grounded all its new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters following an incident on June 23, when one of the high-tech warplanes caught fire on the runway of a Florida air base. The no-fly order — which affects at least 50 F-35s at training and test bases in Florida, Arizona, California and Maryland — began on the evening of July 3 and continued through July 11.
U.S. military operations now increasingly begin and end at sea — aboard a growing fleet of vessels that the Pentagon has specifically outfitted as floating command facilities, barracks and launch pads.
While the government shutdown continues because of the Democrats’ and Republicans’ profound disagreement, the real issue facing the nation is something that both parties agree on, in principle: the need to reduce the size of the federal deficit.
The sequestration drama in Washington is less severe and intractable than you have heard. A partial solution: Block the across-the-board cut of $42.5 billion in military funds this year — the Pentagon’s portion of $85 billion due March 1 — and spread the savings over several years by tweaking military spending caps already on the books.