The defense world continued to assess the Obama administration 2016 budget request this week, and the Senate voted 93-5 to confirm the country’s 25th secretary of defense. Here are a few links on a variety of defense policy topics for your weekend reading pleasure:

– Despite a sensationalist headline, Politico offered an interesting look this week at Ash Carter’s worldview.

– Using the Air Force’s proposed Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) as an example, Mark Thompson of Time explains why major weapons programs almost always cost more than the Pentagon says they will.

– Christopher Preble of the Cato Institute demonstrates why hawkish arguments that tie defense spending to an arbitrary measure of GDP are misguided.

– Writing at The National Interest, Jerry Hendrix of the Center for a New American Security argues that fiscal austerity and military innovation often go hand-in-hand.

– Finally, for a longer read, the RAND Corporation released a report this week on China’s military modernization program that find the People’s Liberation Army is not ten-feet tall after all.