Dr. Earl Tilford's blog

Camelot & the Syrian crisis

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Nov. 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the end of Camelot. During its tenure, President John F. Kennedy’s administration set national security precedents that have influenced the way Washington has approached military commitments to the present day.

For instance, in January 1961, after inheriting a crisis in Laos, the newly inaugurated president asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff for advice. Only the Air Force was optimistic about the prospects for intervention, as long as nuclear weapons could be used to close four passes from North Vietnam into Laos. Read More»

A more immediate threat

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On July 23, 2012, Syria — one of seven nations not to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention — admitted owning a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. A foreign ministry spokesman warned that Damascus would use these weapons against any force intervening in its civil war. NATO estimates that Syria produces several hundred tons of chemical/biological (chem/bio) agents annually. Read More»

Merge Air Force into Army, convert Pentagon into shopping mall

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[Editor’s note: This is Part II of Dr. Tilford’s series on “Restructuring the Department of Defense.]

The U.S. Department of Defense must restructure to accommodate deep budget cuts and, more importantly, be ready for the challenges of 21st-century warfare. Those challenges will include unconventional operations and wars fought in vastly expanded battle spaces. Reforms are needed in three areas. Read More»

DoD must be reorganized for today’s wars

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In 1914, on the eve of the Great War, the Duke of Cambridge wrote, There is a time for all things. There is even a time for change; and that is when it can no longer be avoided.

Speaking of change, the current debt crisis could force drastic cuts in the Department of Defense budget, perhaps as high as 50 percent.

In the immediate post-Cold War era, DoD futurists envisioned a 25-year period of strategic pause before the nation faced a major peer competitor sometime between 2015 and 2020. Read More»

Tuscaloosa’s Ground Zero

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The Warrior River borders the University of Alabama campus, separating old Tuscaloosa from up-scale housing developments to the north. Tuscaloosans know a “north of the river” address connotes six-figure incomes. The schools, public and private, are excellent. It’s the country club set. The Warrior River forms a barrier separating Tuscaloosans by class and largely, although not entirely, by race. Read More»