The Best Defense

What if defense spending doesn’t matter that much, and national R&D is a better measure of the future of national security?

I was reading a new CNAS study on technology and defense yesterday and this thought occurred to me: If we really are in an era of rapid technological change, then maybe current defense spending doesn't matter so much, and the real measure of competition with other nations should be defense spending plus all R&D in the country, including by non-defense corporations?

The report notes that, "a survey of defense experts by the Center for a New American Security found that 71 percent of these experts believe that future innovation is more likely to be derived from commercial technologies than from purely defense technologies."

The report, by Ben FitzGerald and Kelley Sayler, ends with a series of recommendations, but the more I read of them, the more I thought that what we really need to do is shut down the entire Defense acquisition system and start over with a clean slate and 10 people in a room, none of them veterans of the existing system.

via Wikimedia Commons

The Best Defense

Meditating on Bergdahl: Of course he’s a knucklehead, but he’s OUR knucklehead

By D.J. Skelton

Best Defense guest columnist

Members of the Armed Forces volunteer to defend the constitution and protect those citizens who live under it. Sometimes we forget who those citizens are: Murderers, Thieves, Rapists, Drug Dealers, Child Molesters, Road Ragers, Assholes, Tax Evaders, and the list goes on.

There are also the White Collar and Blue Collar Americans who bust their butt 12 hours a day to buy a single family home in a nice neighborhood, with a white picket fence, a BBQ grill and an American flag proudly waving on the front porch and live the American dream.

Regardless of which group, the fact is each of these American citizens had the CHOICE to live their life. The CHOICE to be who they wanted to be. The CHOICE to live where why wanted to live. The CHOICE to do what they wanted to do and when.

It is this CHOICE that makes this country the best country in the world. It is in the preservation of the American's ability to CHOOSE that the Service Member is willing to die. That I am proud to have given an eye. Even if that CHOICE was to be a knucklehead and walk off an American base during combat, that CHOICE was worth any soldier's life who went out to retrieve him.

Bowe is an American. He is OUR knucklehead, no one else's. He will have his opportunity to explain his actions. If those actions do not embody the American way of life, as it is outlined in our Rule of Law, then he will be held accountable.

DJ Skelton is an Army major and currently a student at the Naval Post Graduate school in Monterey, CA. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, a former Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard University, and past military fellow at the Center for New American Security think tank in Washington, DC.  He has worked as a Military Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He is also the author of Our Hero Handbook: A comprehensive guide to wounded warriors and their families.

Teddy Kwok via Flickr