April 1, 2009  

In this issue

In a speech delivered in Prague in April, President Barack Obama pledged “America’s commitment to take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons,” beginning with work to reduce the U.S. arsenal.

A desirable but idealistic goal? Or a naïve and potentially dangerous pledge?

In this month’s cover story, Gene Myers calls the nuclear issue a “wicked problem” for the new administration. He makes a compelling argument for why the U.S. must continue to possess a credible nuclear deterrent and calls for the president to abandon his promise of no new nuclear weapons or fissile material.

Air Force ISR deputy chief Lt. Gen. David Deptula and retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Harold “Buck” Adams co-author a perspective column on jointness, a term they say is misunderstood. (Buck, by the way, holds a world speed record, set in the SR-71 flying between London and L.A. in 3 hours, 47 minutes.)

Chris Preble, meanwhile, urges the new administration to rebalance our military means with our strategic ends.

And the strategy and tactics that the U.S. should apply as it ramps up its military presence in Afghanistan are analyzed in a two-part package. David Katz recommends leveraging soft power to shape and reformulate the tribal populations. Marine Lt. Col. Glen Butler calls for the commissioning of a Joint Army/Marine Corps Afghanistan/Pakistan Study Group that seeks advice from those corporals and captains with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Russia seems determined to restore its superpower status and its navy. Navy War College professor Milan Vego analyzes the Russian Navy’s capabilities and what platforms and weapons the U.S. Navy needs to maintain its maritime dominance.

And leading us off this month, Harvey Sapolsky’s essay suggests a way industry can survive congressional fervor for defense acquisition reform without resorting to that other Capitol Hill fashion du jour — a government bailout.