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The relationship between the military and the society it serves has a significant impact on policy decisions and even budgets. The veneration of service members in the United States today manifests benignly in the refrain, “Thank you for your service,” and the much appreciated discounts at the local home improvement center, but this reverence can a…
 
Corruption is often viewed as a byproduct of unrest and ineffective government. Former adviser to the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff Sarah Chayes, in her book Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security, makes the case that corruption is the single largest source of unrest in the world. With this lens, it is possible to bette…
 
Combat troops tend to get the majority of the attention in the coverage of our overseas wars. But there is an often-overlooked cadre of troops that perform a key role in our overseas campaigns and can affect both the duration and outcome of a conflict. The United States has a long history with military advisors. Soldiers in the Continental Army wer…
 
Military leaders are faced with a dilemma unique among the professions. While doctors get to practice medicine, architects get to design buildings, and educators get to teach students on a daily basis, military professionals spend the vast majority of their careers preparing to do a job they rarely, and in some fortunate cases, never have to actual…
 
Military scholars and practitioners continue to debate the significance and merit of John Boyd’s ideas more than 20 years after his death. Colonel Boyd is the legendary Air Force fighter pilot who, in addition to revolutionizing aerial combat tactics and aircraft design, also changed the way Americans think about conflict and warfare. He profoundly…
 
The Navy’s version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, recently declared ready for combat, has netted unacceptably low “fully mission capable” rates—meaning it’s in fact almost never fully ready for combat—according to a document obtained by the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). The fact that the Navy is pu…
 
Former Army Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey issued a challenge to the Army in 2012 to change its institutional culture. In his transformative “Mission Command White Paper,” he wrote that “education and training are keys to achieving the habit of mission command; our doctrine must describe it, our schools must teach it, and we must train individually …
 
Instructors at The Basic School, the Marine Corps’ six-month-long course for all newly commissioned officers, are using training methods used in institutions like Harvard Business School and Columbia University to make better decision-makers. The Case Method Project at Quantico, Virginia, uses decision-forcing exercises, or scenarios used to place …
 
Navy LT Wes Van Dorn raised concerns for years about the safety of the MH-53E helicopters in his squadron. Aging equipment and shoddy maintenance plagued the entire fleet for years which he believed seriously jeopardized the lives of his crew. Tragically, he was proven correct when faulty wiring sparked a fire in his helicopter, causing it to crash…
 
Officials in the F-35 Joint Program Office are doing paper reclassifications of potentially life-threatening design flaws to make them appear less serious, likely in an attempt to prevent the $1.5 trillion program from missing another schedule deadline and budget cap.The Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) o…
 
After receiving his grades from the Army’s Command and General Staff College, Major Jamie Schwandt decided to assign his own grades for the instructors and the institution itself. He did not paint a flattering portrait of the school. He took issue with the school’s leadership, the course content, and even the method of taking attendance. When he pu…
 
Jeff Groom, a former Marine Corps helicopter pilot, recently published a highly satirical, and occasionally irreverent, account of his experiences in uniform, American Cobra Pilot: A Marine Remembers a Dog and Pony Show. He talks with POGO’s Jack Shanahan Military Fellow Dan Grazier about his transition from being a highly motivated and idealistic …
 
The F-35 has now entered an unprecedented seventeenth year of continuing redesign, test deficiencies, fixes, schedule slippages, and cost overruns. And it’s still not at the finish line. Numerous missteps along the way—from the fact that the two competing contractors, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, submitted “flyoff” planes that were crude and undevel…
 
The A-10 has proven itself to be one of the most venerable and capable aircraft in the U.S. arsenal. It is also an aircraft most people in the Air Force never wanted, and they have spent years actively working to send it to the scrap yard. It is the first aircraft ever designed from the very beginning to be solely dedicated to supporting ground tro…
 
The A-10 has proven itself to be one of the most venerable and capable aircraft in the US arsenal. It is also an aircraft most people in the Air Force never wanted and have spent years actively working to send it to the scrap yard. It is the first aircraft every designed from the very beginning to be solely dedicated to supporting ground troops. Ge…
 
Congress has authorized—and the Pentagon has spent—nearly $40 billion purchasing approximately 189 F-35s that, in their current configuration, will never be able to perform the way they were expected to when taxpayer dollars were used to buy them. This is hardly the right way to do business. POGO’s Jack Shanahan Military Fellow Dan Grazier explores…
 
The doctrine of both the Army and Marine Corps are based on a foundation of mission command, a leadership philosophy where commanders tell subordinates what they want done but allow the subordinate leaders to figure out how to do it. For such a leadership philosophy to work, the entire organizational culture must be optimized for that, to include t…
 
Secretary of Defense James Mattis once wrote, “Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.” He wrote this to impart the importance for mil…
 
DOT&E Releases Analysis and It Isn’t PrettyPresident Trump called the F-35 “fantastic.” It appears he didn’t read the latest brutally honest report from the Pentagon’s testing office. POGO wades through the complicated language of the report to show there are still many unresolved problems with the program.The F-35 still has a long way to go before…
 
Dr. Tim Kane speaks to CDI’s Dan Grazier about his recommendations to modernize the Pentagon’s antiquated personnel system.No other issue has the potential to fundamentally reform the military than optimizing the way the Pentagon manages the men and women in uniform. Yet little has been done to update a system which has roots deeply set in early in…
 
When the Marine Corps needed a new capstone document to capture its emerging warfighting philosophy in the 1980s, the person chosen to draft it was not a general, but a junior officer, then-captain John Schmitt. He explains how he came to write one of the most widely read military documents in the world today on the latest episode of Pentagon Labyr…
 
Military pilots aren’t flying as much as they used to. Rising operational costs and poor choices in the past to purchase aircraft that are too expensive to practically operate mean that many fly less than 10 hours a month. This is contributing to a shortage of skilled military pilots, which threatens our national security. Lt. Col. Carl Forsling US…
 
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