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On Tuesday, AEI, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the New America Foundation (NAF) joined to discuss an issue that will undoubtedly face the next administration: U.S. defense spending in the context of American grand strategy. Former under secretary of defense for policy Michèle Flournoy predicted that the “sequester” mechanism — which would draw at least $500 billion from the defense budget — will be addressed in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections. Flournoy also described the inflection point the U.S. faces because of the world’s changing strategic climate and the impact today’s decisions will have in years to come.
David Barno of CNAS then sketched the budgetary environment in which defense decisions are increasingly made, observing that using more limited budgets to maximize defense will be necessary. NAF’s Michael Waltz called for reforming the U.S. arms export regime in order to maintain American jobs in the arms sector and to keep programs alive.
Tom Donnelly of AEI posed the question of whether it is possible to retain U.S. military power given trends toward a social democratic state. He likewise contended that the challenge of the last decade has not been the quality of U.S. armed forces, but rather their quantity.
The next event in this series — taking place on July 17th at the New America Foundation — will consider U.S. foreign policy in the greater Middle East.
On Tuesday, May 15, join the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for a New American Security and the New America Foundation to discuss an issue sure to face the next administration: U.S. defense spending in light of American grand strategy. With the “sequestration” mechanism set to cut at least $500 billion from the Department of Defense, on top of budget reductions in recent years, discussants will consider how these cuts could affect defense policy. Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy will provide introductory remarks.
This event continues a unique collaboration among these institutions in the presidential campaign season, "Election 2012: Informing the National Security Agenda." Past conversations covered the U.S. role in the world and policy in East Asia, and a later event will consider U.S. relations with the greater Middle East.
MICHÈLE FLOURNOY, Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
DAVID BARNO, Center for a New American Security
THOMAS DONNELLY, AEI
MICHAEL WALTZ, New America Foundation
DANIELLE PLETKA, AEI
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David Barno, a highly decorated military officer with over 30 years of service, has served in a variety of command and staff positions in the United States and around the world, including command positions at every level. He served many of his early years in special operations forces with Army Ranger battalions, including combat in both the Grenada and Panama invasions. In 2003, he was selected to establish a new three-star operational headquarters in Afghanistan and to command the 20,000 U.S. and Coalition Forces in Operation Enduring Freedom. From 2006-2010, Barno served as the director of the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. Concurrently, he was the chairman of the Advisory Committee on Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans and Families from 2007-2009. He frequently serves as an expert consultant on counterinsurgency and irregular warfare and professional military education and the changing character of conflict, supporting a wide range of government and other organizations. Barno is widely published and has testified before U.S. Congress numerous times. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute of Strategic Studies.
Thomas Donnelly is a defense and security policy analyst and the co-director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at AEI. He is the co-author, with Frederick W. Kagan, of “Lessons for a Long War: How America Can Win on New Battlefields” (2010). Among his recent books are: “Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Land Power” (2008), coauthored with Frederick W. Kagan, “Of Men and Materiel: The Crisis in Military Resources” (2007), co-edited with Gary J. Schmitt, “The Military We Need” (2005) and “Operation Iraqi Freedom: A Strategic Assessment” (2004). From 1995 to 1999, he was policy group director and a professional staff member for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services. Donnelly also served as a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He is a former editor of Armed Forces Journal, Army Times and Defense News.
Michèle Flournoy, former under secretary of defense for policy, is a member of the board of directors of the Center for a New American Security. As under secretary of defense for policy, Flournoy served as the principal staff assistant and adviser to the secretary of defense and the deputy secretary of defense for all matters of national security, defense policy and the integration and oversight of U.S. Department of Defense policy and plans to achieve national security objectives. Prior to these roles, Flournoy was appointed president of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in January 2007. Before co-founding CNAS, she was a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where she worked on a broad range of defense policy and international security issues. Flournoy has also served as a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Strategy. She was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1998 and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2000. She is a former member of the Defense Policy Board and the Defense Science Board Task Force on Transformation.
Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI. Before joining AEI, she served for 10 years as a senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. She writes frequently on national security matters with a focus on domestic politics in the Middle East and South Asia regions, U.S. national security, terrorism and weapons proliferation.
Michael Waltz is a national security fellow at the New America Foundation, vice president of the defense contracting firm Metis Solutions and a co-founder and partner at the advisory firm Askari Associates, which provides strategic advice and consulting services to foreign governments and commercial entities, particularly in the Middle East. Waltz has held a number of key positions as a civilian policy adviser and in the reserve component of the Special Forces community, serving as former vice president Cheney’s special adviser for South Asia and counterterrorism as well as the director for Afghanistan policy responsible for providing recommendations to the under secretary of defense for policy and the secretary of defense. At the Pentagon, Waltz also served in the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics. Waltz commanded a U.S. Army Special Forces unit in the reserve component with multiple deployments to the greater Middle East. There, Mike commanded a number of special operations forces teams in four provinces along the border region with Pakistan. In previous deployments, Mike worked closely with United Arab Emirates, Czech, French, Kuwaiti and Australian Special Forces units in southern Afghanistan, the Gulf region and other locales. He founded the Sumar Ghul Foundation, which cares for the families of fallen Afghan National Army soldiers and is a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Virginia Military Institute.