Solving the North Korea problem
Aug
28
12:00pm12:00pm

Solving the North Korea problem

  • U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, SVC 201 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

RSVP HERE

To Kim Jong-un, North Korea's nuclear weapons are a deterrent that guarantees his survival and his stranglehold on power. His weapons program is about self-preservation. Everyone else is appalled that one of the world’s worst regimes is capable of such destruction. Now what?

If diplomacy can’t convince North Korea to give up its bombs, only a massive and costly use of military force can. The Korean War of the early 1950s cost nearly 3,000,000 lives and devastated the Korean Peninsula. What would a new war bring? Another possibility is containing and deterring a nuclear North Korea—a policy which worked for decades against much stronger and more threatening regimes. But is Jong-un a rational actor capable of being deterred?

How can China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and other neighbors help advance our mutual interests without enabling North Korea’s worst impulses? Are the Departments of State and Defense prepared for these challenges? What is Congress’ role in facilitating outcomes or authorizing force?

Rob Givens served as Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations of U.S. Forces Korea. Doug Bandow was a special assistant to President Reagan and just returned from a visit to Pyongyang in June.

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Alliance burden sharing and the future of NATO
Jul
6
12:00pm12:00pm

Alliance burden sharing and the future of NATO

  • Cannon House Office Building, Room 121 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

RSVP HERE

NATO members agreed in 2014 that all countries in the alliance would increase military spending to 2% of GDP, with 20% for major equipment purchases, by 2024. Only the United States, Greece, Britain, Estonia, and Poland currently do so. The average U.S. treaty ally only spends 1.5% of GDP on defense, less than half of U.S. spending.

Major members, like Germany (1.19%), are not on a trajectory to meet that target.

America benefits from strong, capable allies and partners. But in a changing world, many important questions must be asked. How much should U.S. taxpayers contribute to the defense of wealthy European allies? How can the United States encourage our fellow NATO members to take their own security seriously? What is the future of NATO as the threat from the Soviet Union becomes an increasingly distant memory? Should the alliance venture beyond European security concerns, “out of area,” to address problems in the Middle East and North Africa?

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Afghanistan: In search of a strategy
Jun
21
12:00pm12:00pm

Afghanistan: In search of a strategy

  • U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, HVC 201 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

RSVP HERE

The perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, attacks had to face justice. An authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against them became law within a week. U.S. troops began hunting down al Qaeda terrorists and their Taliban protectors in Afghanistan within a month. NATO invoked its Article V mutual defense provision for the first and only time.

Sixteen years and two presidents later, nearly 10,000 American troops are still there. The Trump administration has been reviewing the mission and appears poised to decide about the future of operations there, including the possible deployment of additional U.S. soldiers.

The initial mission made sense, but is further commitment from the American people warranted? What are our vital national security interests in Afghanistan? What is the strategy behind the proposed troop surge, and what objectives would they seek to accomplish? What demands should fall on the government in Kabul in exchange for continued investments from the U.S.? What does success look like, and what is the estimated timeline?

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Budgeting for the common defense
Apr
18
12:00pm12:00pm

Budgeting for the common defense

  • U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, SVC 215 (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

RSVP HERE

After years of divided government, the shift to unified control has emboldened Republicans and alarmed Democrats. Competition over priorities in this busy legislative year will amplify tensions among defense hawks, deficit hawks, moderates, and others. Different ideas exist about requirements to provide for the common defense.
 
America’s defense budgeting unfortunately lacks strategic clarity. The amount and composition of military spending depends on politicians’ demands on the U.S. Armed Forces. Deciding which missions DoD should pursue—and which they shouldn’t—as well as understanding capabilities and intentions of allies and potential adversaries are crucial. Furthermore, military force is only one element of statecraft. Diplomacy, commerce, assistance, and other areas are important as well.

A balanced grand strategy requires that all aspects are coordinated to advance America’s national security interests. Please join us for a discussion of these issues.

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