Shameless Self-Promotion: Cato Edition

[Updated Below]

As I made note of previously, blogging will be somewhat more sporadic than usual (if that’s possible) as I slog through my final year of coursework and prepare for comps next fall. That said, I always manage to find a few minutes for my all-time favorite activity: shameless self-promotion!

Today marks the release of a paper I co-authored with Christopher Preble and Benjamin Friedman of the Cato Institute on American nuclear strategy. In the paper, we argue that a smaller nuclear arsenal will not hurt U.S. security and by shifting to a submarine-based monad, instead of the . . .
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Max Boot Responds! And He's Still Wrong…

Earlier this week, Max Boot responded to my post from Sunday night on the differences between Israel's Iron Dome and U.S. missile defense efforts. Unfortunately Mr. Boot obscures the issue even further in his response than he did in his initial post. The new post misrepresents the history of missile defense, fails to properly address the errors in his initial post, continues to ignore the conceptual differences between Iron Dome and national missile defense, and erects a strawman argument as to the motives of those opposed to his views. Needless to say, I am less than impressed.

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Iron Dome Does Not Vindicate SDI

Sure, Max Boot makes terrible historical analogies, but I’ve always just assumed that the disagreements I have with him are based on honest differences and not utter ignorance. After today, I’m no longer sure that’s the case. Writing at Commentary Magazine’s Contentions blog, Boot argues,

The latest Gaza war is only a few days old, but already one conclusion can be drawn: missile defense works. This is only the latest vindication for the vision of Ronald Reagan… who made missile defense a major priority for the U.S. and our allies.

Boot is referring to the Iron Dome system co-developed . . .
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Addressing Bigger Problems at the Missile Defense Agency

Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin reported last week that the Pentagon’s inspector general is recommending disciplinary action against Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency. According to the IG’s report O’Reilly has a history of verbally abusing his staff and suggests the department’s leadership take “corrective action.” As Rogin relays:

The report found that O'Reilly regularly yelled and screamed at subordinates, often in public, demeaned and belittled employees, and behaved in such a way as to result in the departure of at least six senior staffers from MDA during his tenure.

“We determined that LTG O'Reilly's behavior . . .
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The Neverending (LCS) Story 3: Building Ships is Hard

How many defense contractors does it take to build a ship? More specifically, how many defense contractors does it take to build a light frigate? That doesn’t leak or corrode? I don’t know the answer but the number is higher than 14 (rough count based on Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics LCS websites). Because that’s how many companies are involved in building the two different versions of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)—a procurement program that has so many problems on so many levels it boggles the mind.

We have written about U.S. military procurement generally and the Littoral Combat . . .
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">Much Ado About Poland

Mitt Romney delivered his long-awaited speech to the Republican National Convention last night accepting the party’s nomination for president. The foreign policy section of the speech ran through the usual litany of complaints about Obama—his non-existent “apology tour,” he doesn’t reference American exceptionalism a minimum of 75 times in every speech, etc.—and was notable for not mentioning the decade-plus war in Afghanistan at all. But one thing he did mention, Obama’s supposed betrayal of Poland by removing ten planned missile defense interceptors, reflects an odd, but infuriating habit among conservatives.

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The offending sentence came toward the . . .
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The U.S. Navy Now or 1917?: A Quick Answer to Politico's "Epic Fail"

There’s a ridiculous meme making the rounds from defense budget-boosters that needs to be put to rest.  Mitt Romney broadcast it to a national audience at the South Carolina Republican primary debate on January 16th when he claimed that the United States Navy “is smaller than its been since 1917.  Following the debate the nonpartisan political “fact check” organization, PolitiFact, gave the former Massachusetts governor a “Pants on Fire” rating for the statement.  Which, in turn, led to Politico’s “Morning Defense” news round up giving PolitFact an “Epic Fail” for its rating.  So who’s right:  Romney and Morning Defense . . .
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The Historical Uncertainty of Middle Eastern Nuclear Proliferation

There seems to be one area of agreement between hawks and doves on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program:  the veritable certainty of a nuclear proliferation “casacade” in the Middle East whereby Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, and others respond to an Iranian nuclear weapon with nuclear programs of their own.  Fears of that scenario were understandably raised recently when Prince Turki al-Faisal, a member of the royal family and former head of Saudi intelligence, explicitly stated that the Kingdom would consider pursuing its own nuclear capability were Tehran to obtain a nuclear weapon of its own.  Max Boot cited . . .
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Needlessly Kicking a Bear

Recent announcements by Russian President (for now) Dimitry Medvedev raise the specter of a new round of confrontation between the United States and its former superpower rival.  In response to planned American missile defense deployments in Europe Medvedev has said Moscow will deploy Iskander missiles, target land-based interceptor sites that will be activated later this decade, and shut down the Northern Distribution Network to Afghanistan that runs through Russian territory—a serious problem in its own right but even more so given the recent deterioration in U.S-Pakistan relations.  Russia, as well as its Soviet predecessor, has a history of making . . .
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Interceptor Test Failures and a Flawed Approach to Testing Missile Defense

A test of the advanced SM-3 Block IB interceptor, set to be deployed as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach in 2015 ended in yet another failure for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).  This comes on the heels of last December’s failure of a ground-based interceptor, as well as a previous one in January of last year, and does not bode well for the tight schedule promised by the Obama administration’s planned Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe—where more advanced versions of the SM-3, namely the Block IIA and IIB, are set to be deployed in . . .
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