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Heritage Foundation

by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D.

On July 7, Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev will meet for their first full-fledged summit in Moscow.

The two countries may have a window of opportunity to re-launch their relationship, which has been set back by Russia's intransigent positions and its litany of demands. While some in the U.S. believe that rhetoric alone can revitalize the deteriorating relationship between the two nations, only concrete steps by Russia--such as responding positively to the U.S. initiatives--will prove that the two sides are opening a new page.

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by James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Richard Weitz, Ph.D. and Martin Edwin Andersen

The Heritage Foundation's Maritime Security Working Group--composed of representatives from academia, the private sector, research institutions, and government--produces cutting-edge policy recommendations for making the seas safer for the United States, its friends and allies, and global commerce. The fourth occasional report by the group addressing the most pressing issues confronting maritime security examines the issue of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the appropriate U.S. response.

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by Lisa Curtis

Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission May 20, 2009

My name is Lisa Curtis. I am a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own, and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation.

Pakistan and China have long-standing strategic ties, dating back five decades. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari wrote in a

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by Bruce Klingner

Pyongyang's eagerness to conduct a nuclear test so quickly after its long-range missile launch shows it has abandoned the façade of negotiations and is no longer interested in diplomatic entreaties.

The rapid pace of North Korea's provocations since January indicates that North Korea is intent on achieving a viable nuclear weapon and ICBM delivery capability and recognition as a nuclear weapons state. North Korea's longstanding goal to develop the means to threaten the U.S. and its allies with nuclear weapons underscore the critical need for America to develop and deploy a missile defense system.

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by James Phillips

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets President Barack Obama at the White House on May 18, two major issues will dominate their agenda:

1. How to revive stagnant Arab-Israeli peace negotiations; and

2. How to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.

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by Sally McNamara

Ivo Daalder, a former presidential campaign adviser to Barack Obama, was sworn in today as United States Ambassador to NATO, replacing career diplomat Kurt Volker. Mr. Daalder will be responsible for handling America's most important multilateral alliance at a time when it is facing serious challenges including:

* A resurgent Russia;

* Inequitable burden sharing of the mission in Afghanistan;

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by Sally McNamara

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with President Obama at the White House this week, a privilege normally reserved for fellow heads-of-state. Moscow has reciprocated this extraordinary display of friendship by pulling out of the NATO-Russia Council meeting set for May 19, and expelling two NATO officials from their Moscow offices after NATO expelled two Russian diplomats suspected of spying.

After meeting President Obama, Minister Lavrov delivered a public speech outlining multiple Russian concerns, including deployment of U.S. missile defenses in Europe and NATO's eastern expansion. Lavrov also stated that Moscow is open for cooperation with NATO allies and regional powers on Afghanistan.

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by Lisa Curtis

Testimony before the Committee on Foreign Affairs U.S. House of Representatives

Developing and implementing an effective U.S. policy toward Pakistan is one of the most complicated yet important foreign policy challenges the Obama Administration faces. Pakistan is in the midst of societal and political shifts that are challenging its leadership's ability to maintain stability and even raising questions about the potential for an Islamic revolution in the country. Pakistan has long suffered from ethnic and sectarian divisions in different parts of the country. But the more recent

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by Mackenzie Eaglen

As Congress begins consideration of the second emergency supplemental spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan--a bill that provides funding for the last six months of fiscal year (FY) 2009--Members must scrutinize the request to ensure all of the military's needs are met.

Congressional Quarterly is reporting that Representative John Murtha (D-PA) is considering providing an additional $10 billion to the $75.5 billion portion of the request specifically for the military. A back-of-the-envelope calculation and some common sense indicate that $10 billion will be the minimum additional amount needed above the President's request to meet current military requirements. Congress should support an emergency supplemental request that adds significantly more funding, specifically for military procurement.

Reduced War Funding Request, yet Missions Are Increasing

Before Congress can accurately consider the pending second 2009 supplemental, it should review previous supplementals. According to the Congressional Research Service, "while Congress provided $188 billion for war costs in FY 2008--$17 billion more than the prior year--this total was $14 billion less than the Administration's initial request, including both reductions in DoD's investment accounts and substitutions of almost $6 billion in non-war funding."[1] During the two years that covered the "surge" of forces into and out of Iraq, Congress provided $171 billion in 2007 and $188 billion in 2008. By comparison, this year--a year when the U.S. is also sending additional forces into combat, only this time to Afghanistan--President Obama is proposing a total of $141 billion (which includes the enacted supplemental for the first half of the year submitted by President Bush).

President Obama's proposal constitutes a reduction in supplemental spending for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan of about $44 billion from FY 2008. Granted, some of the supplemental funding for personnel was moved to the base defense budget where it belongs, thereby reducing the need for at least $10 billion in the war funding bill in 2009. Yet this reduced supplemental request is supposed to fund a military that is now being asked to do even more: The bill must cover all ongoing operations, a significant 21,000-troop increase in Afghanistan, and the beginning of a troop drawdown in Iraq.

Congress must realize that any potential savings from the reduction of operations in Iraq will not be realized within the next year and most likely not the year after either. If U.S. military force levels are reduced in Iraq, the cost of redeploying combat forces will likely be significantly more expensive than maintaining current force levels. According to scenarios run by the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of reducing the number of forces deployed in and around Iraq by 50,000 over one year and then continuing declining until all troops are withdrawn within two years would require an additional $166 billion over a nine-year period.[2]

In addition, force levels are currently scheduled to grow in Afghanistan even before any troops are scheduled to return from Iraq--also increasing war-related costs for the rest of 2009 and undoubtedly 2010. Finally, Congress must be reminded that during numerous budget hearings, members of the Joint Chiefs have repeatedly testified that the services--particularly the U.S. Army--will continue to need billions of dollars for at least three years after Iraq operations wind down in order to repair and replace equipment damaged during combat operations.

All Indicators Show the Current Supplemental Request Is Too Small

These mission changes, combined with force increases in Afghanistan, confront Congress with the question of whether the current supplemental request for the military provided by the White House is sufficient. An analysis by James McAleese of McAleese & Associates, P.C., indicates that the White House proposal included major funding reductions in the pending supplemental request that target both Army tracked combat vehicles and communications along with Navy and Air Force aircraft procurement before arriving on the Hill. The premature contraction of funds in the supplemental spending bill for procurement has already hurt the Army, particularly in regard to programs for wheeled and tracked vehicles like the Abrams, Bradley, and Stryker.

The analysis continues by noting that President Obama is attempting to save money through the warfighting supplemental by only extending funds for operations and maintenance on a flat-line basis while cutting procurement to below 2007 levels needed to match the pace of operations. Reports indicate that the White House has reduced the military's procurement request for the 2009 supplemental by a startling $27 billion. Given the procurement cuts being proposed by Secretary Gates in the forthcoming core Pentagon budget request for fiscal year 2010, the procurement cuts in the supplemental request are even more disturbing. A clear pattern may be emerging where President Obama embarks on a procurement holiday similar to that of the 1990s.

Congress Must Stop the Ambush on the Military's Procurement Accounts

The military's procurement account funds equipment and weapons systems. This critical pot of money buys new trucks, tanks, helicopters, drones, fighter jets, cargo and transport aircraft, and ships. It also helps reset the equipment that has been heavily used at wartime rates or damaged from military operations. Resetting Army and Marine Corps equipment and vehicles is not a luxury; it is a necessity.

Therefore, Congress must draw a stark line in the sand and oppose the White House's proposed procurement cuts in the pending warfighting supplemental request. Congress should support early efforts by Chairman Murtha to add an additional $10 billion--at least--in procurement funds to the emergency supplemental spending bill. Providing a penny less than the full funding needed to protect America's armed forces would be unfathomable and unconscionable. The Joint Chiefs of Staff must not be muzzled in providing their open and honest assessment of current military needs and what may be lacking in the White House request. Congress must first ask the military directly what it needs to stay protected and prevail in combat. Then, Congress must provide the appropriate additional funding--quickly.

Mackenzie M. Eaglen is Senior Policy Analyst for National Security in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

Copyright 2009 The Heritage Foundation. www.heritage.org Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved.

 

by Mackenzie Eaglen

A widespread assumption is taking root: President Obama's fiscal year (FY) 2010 defense budget request is an increase from President Bush's 2009 defense budget. This assumption raises the question: Is the defense budget really growing? The answer: maybe. Indeed, it is difficult to simply answer yes or no because, until the President's detailed budget request reaches Capitol Hill, Congress has to compare apples and oranges.

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It is common knowledge that Russia is highly critical of the USA's plans to build missile defense shields in Poland and the Czech Republic. It is also well known that President Barack Obama is ambivalent about the agreements, signed while George Bush was still in office. Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country seeks "international cooperation" between Russia and the U.S. over launching a third missile defense site in Central Europe.

An excerpt of Lavrov's statement, via Itar-Tass:

"In the course of the discussion on the third launch area for the global missile defence, the United States did not assume obligations regarding the terms of access to the third launch area facilities by Russian officials.

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by Lisa Curtis

Pakistan is in the midst of rapid political shifts that are challenging the leadership's ability to maintain cohesion within the country and even raising questions about the potential for an Islamic revolution by year's end.

Pakistan has long suffered from ethnic and sectarian divisions in different parts of the country. But the recent threat from a well-armed and well-organized Islamist insurgency pushing for the establishment of strict Islamic law in parts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) adds a new and more dangerous dimension to the country's challenges.

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by Baker Spring

In an April 5 speech in Prague, President Barack Obama reiterated his campaign commitment to "seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons." Unfortunately, he also made two completely incompatible pronouncements regarding the future of the U.S. nuclear force.

First, President Obama stated, "As long as these [nuclear] weapons exist, the United States will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal to deter any adversary and guarantee that defense to our allies--including the Czech Republic."

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"The problem of piracy is not new, and the international law system long ago addressed it by defining piracy as a violation of the 'law of nations'. Given that, the question of who prosecutes pirates really turns more on mundane issues like who has the resources to do so, and what will be the diplomatic consequences of one nation versus another pursuing criminal charges.

One of the more interesting questions, however, is how do companies recover the costs they suffer as a result of piracy. Vessel owners have insurance for damage to their ships and any ransoms they might be forced to pay, but what about the other costs? Who pays for cargo that is not delivered on time, has spoiled as a result of lengthier trips that avoid troubled

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by Baker Spring

In an April 6 press briefing at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced sweeping changes in defense modernization. Included in this announcement were proposed changes to the nation's missile defense program.

In most instances, the changes to the missile defense program are at odds with the current and future missile defense needs of the United States and Secretary Gates's own stated principles regarding these needs. As a result, Congress and the American people need to understand why there are serious contradictions in Secretary Gates' announced plan.

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by Jena Baker McNeill and Brett D. Schaefer

When Somali pirates seized the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama, taking the ship's captain hostage, resulting news coverage focused U.S. public attention on piracy and lawlessness in Somalia.

Piracy is a growing problem that benefits from the instability in Somalia. In the near term, effectively safeguarding maritime traffic requires a balanced public/private effort with the use of force limited to protecting commerce and maintaining freedom of the seas. Also required is an effective strategy to resolve Somalia's troubles and establish and bolster the rule of law.

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by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D.

The Russian and Eurasian Policy Project was inaugurated to assist policymakers in the legislative and executive branches who will formulate U.S. policies toward Russia and Eurasia. The project's task force is composed of leading experts on Russia and Eurasia who have extensive policy experience in Russian and Eurasian affairs and national security in both Republican and Democratic Administrations. This task force report is intended to be both prescrip tive and descriptive in recommending policies that are realistic, possible to implement, and balanced.

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By Sally McNamara

President Obama celebrated NATO's 60th birthday this weekend in Strasbourg and Kehl, gathering with heads-of-state from 27 other nations as the transatlantic security alliance marked its diamond jubilee.

Croatia and Albania formally joined the alliance; France reintegrated into its military command structures; Anders Fogh Rasmussen was appointed as Secretary General; and NATO leaders agreed to start work on a new Strategic Concept. However, other thorny issues remain, including Eastwards enlargement, adequately resourcing the mission in Afghanistan, NATO-Russian relations and missile defense.

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by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D. and Owen Graham

After attending the three summits--G-20, NATO, and the EU--President Obama arrived in Ankara, Turkey, Sunday for the final stop on his inaugural European tour. Obama's visit to Turkey highlights the importance Washington attaches to this country as a key regional player, a veteran NATO ally, and an influential Muslim state.

During the NATO summit on Saturday, the alliance unanimously chose Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark's prime minister, as the next secretary general. Turkey was initially against the nomination, however, alleging that Rasmussen was insensitive to

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On March 30, 2009, Riki Ellison, Chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) informed the membership of MDAA that a letter has been sent to Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates urging him to make sure all of our missile defense assets are in place to protect Alaska, Hawaii and regions of the United States prior to the North Korea "Space Launch" and missile test scheduled for later this week. The letter to Secretary Gates said:

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