Even as another arctic blast hit the Beltway this week, the debate over the defense budget remains hot. Here are a few articles on the issues shaping that and other defense debates for your weekend reading pleasure:
– Janine Davidson of the Council on Foreign Relations adapted comments she recently made at the New America Foundation’s “Future of War” conference into an essay identifying four myths both driving and, in her estimation, endangering U.S. defense policy.
– One of the myths Davidson identifies is the perception that special operations forces (SOF) as a panacea for a variety complex international problems. Michael Noonan of the Foreign Policy Research Institute agrees and had an essay to that effect at War on the Rocks this week, arguing that the focus on surgical strikes such as the raid that killed Osama bin Laden has led to a misperception about what SOF actually do.
– Also writing at War on the Rocks, Tim Kane of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution argues that the military must break away from its obsolete defined benefit retirement system if it wishes to fix the leading driver of growth in the defense budget since 2000.
– Drawing on the philosopher Isaiah Berlin’s distinction between “foxes,” who know many things, and “hedgehogs,” who know one big thing, Franz-Stefan Gady of the Diplomat bemoans the tendency of hedgehogs to dominate American defense debates with misleading historical analogies to “Munich” and “appeasement” or one-size-fits-all strategies ill-suited for a complex world.