Holding the Government Accountable

The Pentagon's Challenge to President-elect Obama

Together with the deepening economic crisis, President-elect Obama will face a continuing meltdown in the Pentagon. This deep seated deterioration in America's defenses consists of shrinking, aging combat forces that are less ready to fight—all at sharply increased cost. President George W. Bush accelerated these negative forces with his pursuit of disastrously unfolding wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the source is not just the stress on men and equipment from those conflicts. The Clinton administration made all these forces worse in the 1990s, only to be significantly outdone at worsening them by Donald Rumsfeld, and even Robert Gates. In truth, these forces are decades old, and they have been exacerbated by both Republicans and Democrats in both the Pentagon and Congress for many years.

Today, it is very unclear if President-elect Obama has been apprised of the fundamental nature of the problems he faces in the Pentagon, unrelated to the wars. If he does indeed comprehend them, it is equally unclear if he seeks to reverse the deterioration.

"America's Defense Meltdown: Pentagon Reform for President Obama and the New Congress" is a anthology written by 13 retired military officers, Pentagon insiders and experienced civilian experts. It lays out for the new president, Congress and the "think-tank" community in Washington a description of the scope and depth of our national defense problems, and—more importantly—it proposes solutions derived from the nature of the problems, rather than the willingness—or lack thereof—among politicians and bureaucrats in the Pentagon and Congress to address them.

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