Third Way Perspectives
May 15th, 2013
Last week, the Pentagon came out and said it: Cyberintrusions on Defense Department computer systems, as well as economic and defense industrial base sectors are “directly attributable to the Chinese government and military.” China’s cyberintrusions are a serious matter. But why does China’s hacking strike everyone as beyond the pale?
Of course China wants to steal our secrets – after all, espionage is considered the second oldest profession. It’s also hardly surprising that China is cyberspying on America’s defense industrial base to gain military advantage. Governments, no doubt including ours, do this all the time.
No, the real affront here is that the Chinese government is using all the cybertools of the state to break into private sector companies and steal information and ideas for purely commercial advantage. Given that half of China’s economy is owned or effectively controlled by the Chinese government, China has a particular incentive to share ill-gotten secrets with its extensive roster of state-owned enterprises and national champion companies. Beijing is providing them with significant – and highly unfair – advantages over their global commercial competitors. Read the rest of this entry »
January 9th, 2013
Washington is abuzz with speculation that the President’s nomination of former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel is in jeopardy. The reason? Remarks he made on gays and a perceived “softness” on Israel. Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina called Hagel’s nomination “in-your-face.” Despite these sorts of barbs, Hagel is a shoo-in for confirmation. That’s why Hagel and the Obama administration should take the confirmation process as an opportunity to build bridges, not burn them.
December 13th, 2012
This piece was originally featured on The Hill.
Two widely respected Pentagon leaders have issued two sets of warnings about grave risks to our national security. The problem: both claims are dire but seem diametrically opposed. However, they can be reconciled if the President and congressional negotiators resolve the apparent tension in ways that both protect our national security and help to restore our economic strength.
The first warning comes from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who has said that the cuts to the Pentagon budget that would result from sequestration would be “devastating.” He warned that such cuts could “hollow out the force.”
The second is from Admiral Mike Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has repeatedly warned that “the greatest threat to our national security is our debt.” He started making that claim during his tenure in the Pentagon and has repeated it often since his retirement last year. His point is that the U.S. is running unsustainable ratios of debt-to-GDP, and our weakened economy has impacted our ability to influence and move global events. The Department of Defense, which consumes about half of all discretionary federal spending, must face some fairly large budget cuts. Read the rest of this entry »
July 6th, 2011
Does the United States really need an Office of the Director of National Intelligence to protect itself?
After all, Gen. David Petraeus, the most-lauded U.S. general in two generations, was confirmed by the Senate as CIA director June 30, and Leon Panetta — widely regarded as one of the most effective managers-who-is-also-a-Democrat — was sworn in as defense secretary July 1. The U.S. now has the national security dream team overseeing the vast majority of its intelligence community.
Better yet, there’s now a military man at the CIA and an intelligence guy at the Defense Department — so Petraeus and Panetta have a deep understanding of the other’s organization. Do they really need James Clapper, the current director of national intelligence, telling them how to “get along”? The answer, clearly, is no. The ODNI was a bad idea that hasn’t improved with age.