American Defense Policy.
American Defense Policy is a collection of articles from individuals with distinguished educational backgrounds who serve in key positions within the government and private sector. The book addresses both the process and content of defense policy.
Part 1 begins with the context of American defense policy. Paul Carrese's article "American Power and the Legacy of Washington: Enduring Principles for Foreign and Defense Policy" is an exceptional outline of the difficulty of writing a constitution that protects the freedoms earned through bloodshed in the War for Independence. Most of all, it highlights George Washington's professionalism as both a soldier and statesman whose devotion to the Republic challenges every American to consider the interest of the country before oneself or one's party. Additional articles in this section help develop the history of defense policy from the "just war" theory on the morality of war and how it may be applied to American defense issues facing policy makers in the next 20 years.
Part 2 focuses specifically on the process of defense policy making. In the opening chapter, Richard Kohn discusses the intent of the constitution in the separation of powers, which Louis Fisher's article points out have been degraded by increasing executive power to employ the military without the consent of Congress. This continuously requires Congress to control involvement by limiting or withholding funds to control the president's use of the military in foreign affairs. Roger Barnett's "Legal Constraints" is an excellent review of just cause and the proportionality of war, which has led to many conventions and treaties establishing the Law of Armed Conflict. The remainder of part 2 explains the role of the media in developing policy and the command and control structure for the military, including an article covering the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act. It concludes with the allocation of resources through the Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System.
Part 3, "The Changing Instruments of American Defense Policy," initially reviews the history of change within the military from technical revolution to today's transformational defense policy. Andrew Krepinevich's article points out four elements to military revolutions and seven historical lessons learned. All of the essays emphasize that advantages are limited over time as military technology and techniques proliferate to adversaries. It moves on to examine the integration of military force with other instruments of national power to achieve national objectives. Barry Posen's article is a superb overview of the US military position in today's world, offering a realistic view of primacy versus selective engagement in supporting US foreign policy. Finally, this section looks at the development of professional policy makers through the implementation of the professional military education (PME) program. The Center for Strategic and International Studies article outlines the various stages of PME. It summarizes the requirement for ever-changing curricula within the PME program to prepare military leaders for rapidly changing technological advances, increased jointness, and complex issues involved in developing national security policy.
Part 4 discusses the outcome of defense policy across four areas: civil-military relations, conventional forces, nuclear policy and missile defense, and homeland security. Most of these areas have changed drastically as a result of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 (9/11) and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The essays on civil-military relations review the question of professionalism. Must military members forfeit certain constitutional rights to remain as apolitical advisers in the development of defense policy in order to maintain civilian control? What is the role of retired generals? How can we change PME to teach military professionals how to engage in the political process? These questions will be discussed for centuries to come but are more difficult to answer as military leaders face new roles of diplomacy in implementing US policy around the world. The essays on conventional forces look at the roles of air, land, sea, and space with advances in technology and changing strategies. Gen Richard B. Myers's article on "Shift to a Global Perspective" brings to light the importance of senior leaders' ability to understand the political-military situation on a worldwide scale. This view of the world and the way actions in one area affect another are key to making decisions and developing defense policy that will successfully support the national security strategy. The articles on nuclear policy continue the debate over developing the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator to kill deep-earth targets. The missile-defense studies cover the feasibility of this system and the
concept of the capabilities-based acquisition program in regard to the ground-based, midcourse defense system.
The book concludes with a review of the 9/11 attacks and the challenges of securing the homeland. Bruce Hoffman's quick look at terrorism and detailed examination of Osama bin Laden as the chief executive officer of terrorism should make everyone realize how difficult it will be to contain this vast network. The remaining articles raise questions on how we prosecute terrorists in the United States and how we use the military in homeland security without violating the Posse Comitatus Act.
Many changes have already been implemented, such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence. But within these agencies, one finds the need to embrace the interagency concept in order to connect the dots in foiling future terrorist attacks. As one can surmise from this section, it is one thing to develop American defense policy but quite another to implement it.
As with all books based on a collection of essays, some articles stand out from the others, but each one generates questions worth researching and discussing. American Defense Policy is unquestionably an excellent book for anyone beginning in the field of defense policy; it gives people in the business a chance to reflect on the changes in developing defense policy today in comparison to those faced by our founding fathers.
Lt Col Brian S. Brandner, ANG
Air Force Fellow
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|Publication:||Air & Space Power Journal|
|Article Type:||Book review|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2008|
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