The Great Debate

It’s Russia’s turn to learn that stealth warplanes are hard to do

January 20, 2016
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Sukhoi T-50 fighter climbing after takeoff, 2011. Creative Commons

After confronting serious technical and economic difficulties, Russia has dramatically cut back its air force program to field its first radar-evading “stealth” fighter jet. By delaying large-scale acquisition of the Sukhoi T-50 fighter, the Kremlin is tacitly acknowledging a truth that the U.S. military learned decades ago — and that China might also learn in coming years: developing stealth fighters is hard.

U.S. military might already have the data to identify Islamic State leaders

October 15, 2015
An Islamic State militant holds a gun while standing behind what are said to be Ethiopian Christians in Wilayat Fazzan, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website

An Islamic State militant holds a gun while standing behind what are said to be Ethiopian Christians in Wilayat Fazzan in a still from an undated video, April 19, 2015. REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV

Why the U.S. military can’t succeed in training foreign armies

October 5, 2015
Afghan forces prepare for battle with Taliban on the outskirts of Kunduz city, northern Afghanistan

Afghan forces prepare for battle with Taliban on the outskirts of Kunduz city, northern Afghanistan, June 21, 2015. IREUTERS/Stringer

The best reason for Iran deal? The West will learn where to drop bombs.

September 30, 2015
Ministers and officials pose for a group picture at the United Nations building in Vienna

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammon, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (L to R) pose for a group picture at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Klamar/Pool

When it comes to war in space, U.S. has the edge

August 10, 2015
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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the third Mobile User Objective System satellite for the U.S. Navy lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, January 20, 2015 U.S. Navy

Why you’ll always lose with drones alone

July 13, 2015
Handout of the Triton unmanned aircraft system completing its first flight from Northrop Grumman manufacturing facility in Palmdale

The Triton unmanned aircraft system completing its first flight from the Northrop Grumman manufacturing facility in Palmdale, California, May 22, 2013. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman/Alex Evers/Handout via Reuters

U.S.-funded Afghan police prey on those they’re paid to protect

June 10, 2015
A member of the Afghan local police meets with soldiers from the U.S. Army's 1st Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment at a checkpoint near Combat Outpost Hutal in Maywand District

A member of the Afghan local police meets with soldiers from the U.S. Army in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Burton

Hostage deaths prove it’s time to rein in ‘signature’ drone strikes

April 28, 2015
American hostage Warren Weinstein is shown in this image captured from an undated video courtesy of SITE Intelligence Group

American hostage Warren Weinstein is shown in this image captured from an undated video courtesy of SITE Intelligence Group. Reuters/SITE/As-Sahab Media released by SITE Intelligence Group/Handout via Reuters

Why arming U.S. allies can be like sending weapons straight to the enemy

March 25, 2015
A member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces sit with a weapon during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur

A member of the Kurdish peshmerga forces sit with a weapon during an intensive security deployment against Islamic State militants in Makhmur, on the outskirts of the province of Nineveh August 7, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

A strategy for defeating Islamic State from an unlikely source

March 11, 2015
Shi'ite fighters fire a rocket during clashes with Islamic State militants in Salahuddin province

Shi’ite fighters fire a rocket during clashes with Islamic State militants in Salahuddin province, March 1, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Al-Hussain