In this conference, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, mental health and disability experts, and an economist will discuss current hurdles to rehabilitation, and suggest alternatives that could more effectively expedite the reintegration of veterans into their families, communities, and workplaces.
The budget announcements this week from Defense Secretary Hagel seem to have awoken the media to the fact that the US military is not what it used to be, a reality that unsettles both those who believe the US should maintain a perponderance of military power and those who rely on the US to keep a vaiety of dangers at bay.
Drones may make the conduct of war more pleasant for Americans and Westerners, but it’s not clear whether they make war sufficiently unpleasant for those on the receiving end. And to the degree that war remains an act of violence to compel our enemy to do our will, drones have not yet proved to be a decisive or revolutionary form of violence.
Twelve years after 9/11, the administration does not understand al-Qaeda. Nor does it grasp the nature of war. The al-Qaeda war is a component of a larger contest for power in the Middle East, and by failing to understand terrorist groups in that context and to define enduring interests in the region, the President is trying to turn the war into something it's not: one from which we can withdraw.
Though it offers only a small respite from the sequester, the Ryan-Murray deal announced December 10 is a chance to begin strengthening our national defense, and to begin to remind ourselves that providing for the common defense is the first and fundamental job of our national government.
The effects of the Budget Control Act are immediate and unquestionably severe. There is already a crisis in military readiness – in the fundamental measures of defense preparedness – which are are about to bloom into a larger problem both of force size and weapons modernization, a shrinking of capacity and decline in relative capability.
This event continues a unique collaboration among these institutions that began during the 2012 presidential campaign season. Past conversations covered the US role in the world, US policy in East Asia, and the US national security budget.
Whether it’s “pivoting” or “rebalancing,” the Obama administration’s unceasing efforts to turn retreat into a virtue – particularly when it comes to the Middle East – have become a distinguishing feature of this president’s national security strategy.