The Great Debate

Stop the Pentagon program that militarizes U.S. police forces

By Michael Shank and Elizabeth Beavers
August 14, 2014

Riot police clear demonstrators from a street in Ferguson, Missouri

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.

Violence or vaccines: Which path for U.S. in Africa?

By Michael Shank
August 6, 2014

A U.S. Special Forces trainer conducts a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) during an exercise in Nzara on the outskirts of Yambio

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.

Pentagon’s big budget F-35 fighter ‘can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run’

By David Axe
July 14, 2014

A F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is seen at the Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River

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.

Watch out, that freighter may actually be a warship

By David Axe
July 9, 2014

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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.

Counterterrorism: Where are Obama’s policy changes?

By Daphne Eviatar
October 21, 2013

It is now roughly five months since President Barack Obama announced a new direction for U.S. counterterrorism strategy.

Saving Defense dollars: From BRAC to ORAC

By Kay Bailey Hutchison and Michael O'Hanlon
October 14, 2013

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 robots of war

By David Axe
June 20, 2013

Air Force airman performs tests on a Talon robot in Afghanistan in 2011. Photo from Air Force.

The case for sea-based drones

By David Axe
May 14, 2013

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator is towed into the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), May 13, 2013. CREDIT: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter

A sequestration solution for the Pentagon

By Benjamin Friedman
February 28, 2013

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.

A battleground for weapons of the future

By David Axe
November 30, 2012

More than a week after a U.S.-Egyptian brokered ceasefire brought a fragile peace to Gaza, military analysts are busily assessing the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Their goal: Apply lessons from the eight-day battle to weaponry still in development.