This pamphlet aims to help both newcomers and seasoned observers learn how to grapple with the problems of national defense. Intended for readers who are frustrated with the superficial nature of the debate on national security, this handbook takes advantage of the insights of ten unique professionals, each with decades of experience in the armed services, the Pentagon bureaucracy, Congress, the intelligence community, military history, journalism and other disciplines. The short but provocative essays will help you to:
- identify the decay – moral, mental and physical – in America’s defenses,
- understand the various “tribes” that run bureaucratic life in the Pentagon,
- appreciate what too many defense journalists are not doing, but should,
- conduct first rate national security oversight instead of second rate theater,
- separate careerists from ethical professionals in senior military and civilian ranks,
- learn to critique strategies, distinguishing the useful from the agenda-driven,
- recognize the pervasive influence of money in defense decision-making,
- unravel the budget games the Pentagon and Congress love to play,
- understand how to sort good weapons from bad – and avoid high cost failures, and
- reform the failed defense procurement system without changing a single law.
The handbook ends with lists of contacts, readings and Web sites carefully selected to facilitate further understanding of the above, and more.
Download the whole book in .pdf format (2.4 MB).
I wrote Essay 6: Confused Alarms of Struggle and Flight: A Primer for Assessing Defense Strategy in the post-Iraq World.