Fashions come and go in all walks of life, including the defense business. This week, five of Washington’s best-known think tanks revealed their views on what’s in and what’s out in modern warfare. It’s sort of like Fashion Week for warfighters. What’s out? National missile defense, aircraft carriers and the Army. None of the think tanks wants to spend much money on protecting the homeland from ballistic missiles, buying more aircraft carriers, or modernizing the Army. What’s in? Air power, especially if it’s unmanned and/or stealthy, undersea warships, and nuclear-deterrent modernization. Everybody but the wayward Cato Institute seems to like those items. There’s also a lot of faith in Silicon Valley-style technologies like robots and networked space constellations. Whether the new and fashionable proves useful in real-world conflicts remains to be seen. I have written a commentary for The National Interest here.
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