EXPERTS AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT & APPEARANCES
Defense Priorities—a conservative think tank focused on promoting a realistic national defense strategy—is making several foreign policy analysts, military experts, and defense fellows available for comment and broadcast media interviews. View our available specialists below. Read Politico’s profile on Defense Priorities.
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Andrew J. Bacevich
Daniel L. Davis
WASHINGTON, DC—With the recent announcement of potential talks between President Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, Defense Priorities president Edward King issued the following statement:
“The top priority for the United States is to ensure that North Korea never uses their nuclear weapons, which is why we must maintain our overwhelming conventional and nuclear superiority. While everyone should be extremely skeptical Kim Jong-un will give up his nuclear deterrent, talking is critical to avoid miscalculation and accidents and ensure North Korea never crosses any red lines.
“President Trump is smart to take advantage of this opening. Everyone recognizes a war on the Korean Peninsula would gravely harm American security and prosperity, which is why deterrence and diplomacy are the best available options.”
WASHINGTON, DC—TODAY, Defense Priorities senior fellow and military expert Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, USA, Ret. will testify before the Congressional Progressive Caucus Peace and Security Task Force and the House Liberty Caucus for an ad-hoc hearing on the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
In 2016, the Congressional Research Service issued a report showing that, since its enactment, this authorization has been cited as the statutory authority for military or related actions at least 37 times in 14 countries. Lt. Col. Davis will testify and answer questions about the current AUMFs and the implications from a new congressional authorization.
WHAT: AD-HOC CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON AUMF
DATE: TODAY, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2018
TIME: 2:30 PM — 3:30 PM EST
LOCATION: Room 2358-C, Rayburn House Office Building
- Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, USA, Ret.
Senior Fellow & Military Expert, Defense Priorities
- Rita Siemion
International Legal Counsel, Human Rights First
- Michael McPhearson
Executive Director, Veterans For Peace
***LIVE STREAM AVAILABLE HERE.***
WASHINGTON, DC—In response to the recently released White House FY2019 budget, Defense Priorities President Edward King offers the following statement:
“Our $20-trillion debt is a threat to our national security, yet proposed government spending continues the reckless addiction of deficit spending. To the Trump administration's credit, the overall budget seeks to keep the debt from exploding relative to the status quo.
“The defense budget states that it reflects the recent National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, yet neither of those summaries provides details on relative priorities.
“If major powers are a renewed focus, what current, lower-priority missions will the administration forego? Might we stop dumping the $45 billion per year into nation building in Afghanistan or avoid sliding into a similar no-win situation in Syria? What is our strategy to ensure our rich allies share the burden of common defense? What efficiencies can be implemented within the Pentagon?
“The budget and related strategies should do more to review U.S. military activities around the world—reasonable alternatives must be explored for those that do not provide benefits to American taxpayers commensurate to their costs, especially in a time of $1-trillion annual deficits.”
WASHINGTON, DC—The New York Times today published an opinion editorial by Barry R. Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science and Director of Security Studies Program at MIT and author of Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy. In this piece, Posen outlines the sacrifices the United States would have to make in order to deprive North Korea of its nuclear capabilities and missile systems. He concludes that the complexity, risks, and costs of preventive war against North Korea are too great—thus deterrence paired with diplomacy is the best available policy option.
The key problem for the United States is the likely possibility that North Korea has the missiles to deliver nuclear bombs to South Korea and Japan. If one of these weapons were to reach its target, an entire city would be annihilated.
And even if an American first strike knocked out North Korea’s nuclear capacity, millions of South Korean civilians, and American and South Korean soldiers, would be vulnerable to retaliation with conventional or chemical weapons. Pyongyang could devastate Seoul and kill tens of thousands of people.
North Korea may have as many as 250 mobile missile launchers, some of which could fire nuclear-tipped missiles. If some of these mobile units were dispersed at the time of an American attack, it’s unlikely that the United States could destroy all of them before one fires a missile.
An American attack that truly caught North Korea by surprise could minimize the effectiveness of a North Korean counterattack—but not eliminate the possibility. And surprise would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.
The complexity, risks and costs of a military strike against North Korea are too high. A combination of diplomacy and deterrence, based on the already impressive strength of South Korean and United States conventional and nuclear forces, is a wise alternative.
Read the entire op-ed in The New York Times.
WASHINGTON, DC—In case you missed it, The Atlantic has featured an editorial by Ford International Professor of Political Science and Director of Security Studies Program at MIT Barry R. Posen in which the current states of affairs in Afghanistan is examined. According to Posen, from a strategic perspective, a dramatic reduction of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan—or even a complete drawdown—would likely realign regional behavior in ways that would drive current U.S. adversaries apart, force them to deal with difficult local problems, and encourage other regional powers to seek better ties with Washington. From an American perspective, it is a win-win.
As Posen explains in The Atlantic:
Afghanistan is a good place to create problems for America’s adversaries. And the best way to do that is to get out.
Those who instead advocate a dramatic increase in the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan would say that the best way to fight terrorists is to remain on the offensive. The problem with that argument is, of course, that America has been on the offense for 16 years in Afghanistan and elsewhere and victory remains elusive. Terrorist groups motivated by a particularly toxic interpretation of Islam remain strong, and in fact have emerged in new places. Nothing about this strategy, by the way, need prohibit U.S. raids on known terrorist hideouts in Afghanistan.
Some may also argue that Washington cannot afford to undermine its prestige by leaving Afghanistan in the lurch. Given the lives, money, and time that it has poured into building a stable Afghanistan, it is Afghans who have let the U.S. down, not the reverse—pouring more resources into a losing effort won’t enhance confidence in U.S. judgment or its staying power.
Read the entire editorial HERE via The Atlantic.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—This evening, President Trump announced his "new strategy" for America's longest war, the war in Afghanistan. Both President Trump and Secretary of Defense Mattis admit we are not winning the war in Afghanistan, yet they believe doubling down on failed, status quo strategies will lead to different results. Defense Priorities could not disagree more.
Defense Priorities Founder and President Edward King issued the following statement:
"President Trump successfully campaigned on a more realistic foreign policy—one that abandons failed nation-building efforts, decreases U.S. involvement in Middle Eastern civil wars, and instead prioritizes American security.
"What the president announced tonight is not a 'new strategy,' but rather a continuation, or expansion, of the failed status quo—a seemingly endless commitment to stay in Afghanistan and the region.
"This is now President Trump's war.
"After more than 15 years and 3 presidents, nearly 10,000 American troops are still in Afghanistan, and even the Administration admits that the U.S. is not winning the war. It's long past time for new thinking to enhance American security."