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What to Read: Defense - Great Decisions

What to Read: Defense

 

America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, David Ignatius (2009) Basic Books

America’s status as a world power remains at a historic turning point. The strategies employed to win the wars of the twentieth century are no longer working, and the US must contend with the changing nature of power in a globalized world.

In America and the World, two of the most respected figures in American foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft, dissect the challenges facing the US today: the Middle East, Russia, and China, among others. In spontaneous conversations the two authors explore their agreements and disagreements. Defining the center of responsible opinion on American foreign policy, America and the World is an essential primer on a host of urgent issues at a time when our leaders’ decisions could determine how long our nation remains a superpower.

Wired For War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century

P.W. Singer (2009) Penguin Books

In Wired for War, P. W. Singer explores the great­est revolution in military affairs since the atom bomb: the dawn of robotic warfare. We are on the cusp of a massive shift in military technology that threatens to make real the stuff of I, Robot and The Terminator. Blending historical evidence with interviews of an amazing cast of characters, Singer shows how technology is changing not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and the ethics that surround war itself. Traveling from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to modern-day “skunk works” in the midst of suburbia, Wired for War will tantalize a wide readership, from military buffs to policy wonks to gearheads.

Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It

Richard A. Clarke, Robert Knake (2012)

Richard A. Clarke warned America once before about the havoc terrorism would wreak on our national security—and he was right. Now he warns us of another threat, silent but equally dangerous. Cyber War is a powerful book about technology, government, and military strategy; about criminals, spies, soldiers, and hackers. It explains clearly and convincingly what cyber war is, how cyber weapons work, and how vulnerable we are as a nation and as individuals to the vast and looming web of cyber criminals. This is the first book about the war of the future—cyber war—and a convincing argument that we may already be in peril of losing it.

National Security for a New Era (4th Edition)

Donald M. Snow (2010) Pearson

This text examines national security from two fundamental fault lines–the end of the Cold War and the 9/11 terrorist attacks–and considers how the resulting era of globalization and geopolitics guides policy. Placing this trend in conceptual and historical context and following it through military, semi-military, and non-military concerns, National Security in a New Era treats its subject as a nuanced and subtle phenomenon that encompasses everything from the nation to the individual.

Budgeting for Hard Power: Defense and Security Spending Under Barack Obama 

Michael O’Hanlon (2009) Brookings Institution Press

These are extraordinary times in U.S. national security policy. America remains engaged in both Iraq and Afghanistan while facing a global economic downturn. Homeland security concerns still abound in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Even as the financial crisis places considerable pressure on the U.S. budget, President Obama will have to spend a great deal of time and money on national security, hard power, and war. How should these competing demands be prioritized? How much money will be needed? How much will be available, and how should it be spent?

Budgeting for Hard Power continues the long and proud tradition of Brookings analysis on defense spending. As with previous volumes, this book examines the budgets of the Pentagon and the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons programs. But Michael O Hanlon takes his analysis further, addressing the wide range of activities crucial for American security as a result of 9/11 and the ongoing wars. He considers homeland security resources and selected parts of the State Department and foreign operations budgets—offering a more complete overall look at the elements that make up America’s “hard power” budget, a concept that he and Kurt Campbell wrote about in Hard Power: The New Politics of National Security (2006).