An anti-Putin protester. Reuters Photo
This is the second of two articles on the current crisis in Ukraine and on possible policy options for the international community. The first was on history of conflict in the region.
The Ukraine’s current turmoil and the standoff in the Crimea make for a complex strategic issue in Russia’s near-abroad, where Russia holds many of the cards to advantage.
But the leaders of Western Europe, Ukraine, and the United States are not bereft of policy options either. Read More
Russian troops in the Crimea region of Ukraine. Reuters Photo
This is the first of two articles on the current crisis in Ukraine and on the history of conflict in the region. The second will outline possible policy options for the international community.
The events of the last three weeks have catapulted Ukraine to the forefront of the U.S. policy agenda, sparking an intense crisis of confidence between the United States and Russia—the worst since 1979. Read More
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov
Russian officials are calling for the U.S. to stop developing its European land-based missile defense program following a deal reached over the weekend that curtail Iran’s atomic weapons program. Read More
The commander of coalition forces described the situation in Afghanistan now as being “in the red zone” of the campaign where “winning is by no means inevitable at this point but it is absolutely achievable.” Read More
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. Defense Department Photo
Last week Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, outlined American military options in Syria, in response to a threatened hold on his reconfirmation by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and a letter signed by McCain and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). Both senators are proponents of American intervention in Syria, and both are frustrated by what they believe is the administration’s slow and limited decision to intervene in Syria’s conflict. The traditions of American civil-military relations make uniformed discussions of military options in politically charged issues—especially in a public forum—a delicate issue. Nevertheless, in order to secure a second term as JCS chairman, and in response to a formal request, Dempsey presented an unclassified assessment of five options for American military involvement in Syria. Read More
USAF Gen Philip Breedlove assumed command of EUCOM from retiring Adm James Stavridis on May, 10.
U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove has officially taken the helm as Commander U.S. forces in Europe; as Commander, European Command; and as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in a Friday ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany.
Breedlove was previously commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa. He is a 1977 graduate of Georgia Tech, a command pilot with 3,500 hours primarily in F-16s and was previously Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Read More
The following is a paper from the NATO Defense College Rome, published in March, 2013.
From the report:
In case you did not know, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has an Alliance Maritime Strategy (AMS). The document, approved on 05 January 2011, was the first of its kind in over a quarter of a century. In spite of this post-Cold War milestone, however, the strategy was endor- sed by the member states with little fanfare. Since its declassification in March of the same year, it has been quietly buried in the NATO official website, largely out of sight from the popular media and (by extension) from the European and North American populace whose security and prosperity it is ostensibly designed to safeguard.2 The average person on the street (or, perhaps more aptly expressed in this context, on the sea- front) should therefore be forgiven if he or she has never heard of, let alone read, a dedicated maritime strategy for the Atlantic Alliance in the 21st century. But exist it does. Read More
Ukrainian Defense Minister Pavlo Lebedev and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, February 22, 2013. Atlantic Council Photo
When it comes to maritime security, piracy has become one of the most prevalent issues for NATO to deal with. In considering which nations are most involved in combating maritime piracy, Ukraine is probably not the first name that comes to mind. As it turns out, this non-NATO, non-EU Eastern European nation is heavily involved in the fight against piracy at sea. Ukraine has even become a valuable ally to NATO in anti-piracy campaigns, something not exactly expected from a nation so closely aligned with Russia on the geopolitical map. Read More
Afghan President Hamid Karzi onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in 2008. US Navy Photo
Hamid Karzai welcomes the withdrawal of 34,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the next year, the Afghan president said in a statement released Wednesday.
Despite billions of dollars being raised and spent during the 2012 election cycle, last Tuesday changed very little in terms of the balance of power. Control of the House, Senate and White House remains the same, though Democrats picked up a handful of seats in Congress and the names and faces on the four defense committees also will be reshuffled in the next session. Still, there is a long list of priorities to be taken care of before the new Congress is sworn in at the beginning of January. Here are some of the biggest items in the national security arena:
What it is: In order to avert a crunch on U.S. borrowing last year, Congress and the President agreed to a deal that raised the debt ceiling but required the House and Senate to cut spending over the long term. The Budget Control Act required a bipartisan panel from the House and Senate to craft compromise legislation that would slash the debt by $1.5 trillion dollars. In the event a compromise could not be reached, an automatic trigger was put into place that would go into effect in January 2013. The trigger was designed to be a poison pill that compelled cooperation, but the deadline for compromise lapsed in November and started the clock ticking toward automatic across-the-board cuts totaling $500 billion each to defense and domestic discretionary spending over the next decade. In DOD, personnel accounts would be spared but shipbuilding plans, fighter programs, and ground vehicle modernization would all suffer equal cuts.
The so-called congressional super committee in 2011
Inside politics: Moderates in the House and Senate have backed a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases that include an end to the Bush-era tax cuts, reforms of the tax code and some changes to entitlement programs. Once, dubbed the “grand bargain,” widespread support has been fickle as each of the factions on the Hill and at the White House angled for better, more politically palatable deals. House Republicans as a bloc have steadfastly refused to back any bill that would increase taxes, but most agree that more revenues must be a part of any deal to cut long-term expenditures. Some Democrats have opposed any change to entitlements, though most members agree that the current system is not wholly sustainable.