Subscribe via RSS Feed

Author Page for Robert Farley

rss feed

The National Security State

[ 14 ] January 7, 2014 |

I have a listicle of books on the national security state over at the National Interest:

The following list is of the important books of 2013 that should be on your radar for 2014.

My specific interests are in the history and the nature of the organizations that make up our national security state. Broadly speaking, the books below are about our national security state, how it came to be, what it has become, and what it worries about. We talk a great deal about grand strategy, but the production of grand strategy and the delineation of the national interest depends, to large extent, on how we structure our national security institutions.


They’ve Lost New England…

[ 14 ] January 6, 2014 |

James Carroll:

THE PENTAGON was built to wage wars abroad, but much of its war-making has been inside the building. Interservice rivalry is a hackneyed phrase that fails to convey either the brutality of the bureaucratic infighting over budgets and resources that has always defined the place, or the actual cost in blood, treasure, and a succession of shaming military defeats that have resulted from the Pentagon’s endemic in-house competitiveness. For more than 70 years, the very structure of America’s military establishment has been tragically misaligned, and you don’t have to be a peacenik to think it’s time for a major reform.

In 2014, under pressures both of shrinking funds and of dramatically shifting strategic needs, this can begin to change. And, as a heretical article in a recent issue of Foreign Affairs dares suggest, the place to start might well be the abolition of the US Air Force.


Syllabi! Podcasts!

[ 6 ] January 5, 2014 |

The snowstorm bearing down upon Lexington has resulted in the cancellation of school tomorrow, meaning that a theoretical productive day has now become a Happy Family Day.  Fortunately, I’ve already finished my Defense Statecraft syllabus and my Airpower syllabus. The Defense Statecraft blog is about to enter its 10th year of service. Podcasts for Defense Statecraft are available here, podcasts for Airpower will be created and made available depending on how successful we are in landing guest speakers.

Stay warm.

December 2004 Archive

[ 5 ] January 3, 2014 |

The December 2004 archives are now complete.  Some highlights:

UAVs and F-35s

[ 9 ] January 2, 2014 |

Another piece on the the future of the F-35 at the Diplomat:

The question of how UAVs will contribute to air superiority goes to the core of the utility not just of the UCLASS, but also of the F-35C.  If we envision the JSF as the centerpiece of a networked system-of-systems that includes subsurface, surface, and unmanned aerial assets, part of a chain of capabilities between see-er and shooter, it begins to look like a much more formidable weapon, its drawbacks as a fighter notwithstanding.

2013 Pundit Blogger Accountability Act Compliance Report

[ 44 ] January 2, 2014 |

Started strong, went down hill.

World Series Champion: Cincinnati Reds
Number of new Venezuelan Presidents: 1
Academy Award, Best Picture: Lincoln
Afghanistan Coalition fatalities: 315 (+/- 15) (160)
North Korean nuclear tests: 1
Sunsets on the Syria under President of Bashar al-Assad: 75 (+/- 7)
College Basketball National Champion: Louisville Cardinals
Heisman Trophy: Marcus Mariota
Israeli strikes on Iran: 0
Egyptian Military Coups: 1
Supreme Court vacancies: 1
2013 3rd Quarter GDP growth: 3.2% (+/-.2%) (4.1%)
Number of former Russian aircraft carriers delivered to Indian Navy: 0
Barack Obama approval rate, 12/31/13: 51.3% (+/- .3%) (41.3)

And for this year:

World Series Champion: Cincinnati Reds
Number of countries playing host to Edward Snowden: 1 (Russia)
Academy Award, Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
Senkaku/Diaoyou related incidents resulting in shots fired: 1
Afghanistan Coalition fatalities: 80
North Korean nuclear tests: 1
Sunsets on the Syria under President of Bashar al-Assad: 365
College Basketball National Champion: University of Kentucky Wildcats
Heisman Trophy: Marcus Mariota
Israeli strikes on Iran: 0
Number of successful Scottish independence referendums: 0
Supreme Court vacancies: 1
2014 3rd Quarter GDP growth (as per revisions by 12/31/14, +/-.2): 3.0%
F-22 crashes: 1
Barack Obama approval rate, 12/31/14 (+/- .3%): 44.5%
Number of Republican seats won, US Senate (as of 12/31/14): 48
Number of Republican seats won, US House: (as of 12/31/14, +/-2): 235

“And Making Hideous Noises at Night”

[ 94 ] January 2, 2014 |

I saw this and immediately thought “Loomis,” before recollecting that one of Erik’s few redeeming traits is his love of felines:

Foreign Entanglements: Biggest FP Stories of 2013

[ 1 ] January 2, 2014 |

On the latest episode of Foreign Entanglements, Matt and I discuss the top foreign policy stories of 2013:

Goodbye, 2013

[ 40 ] December 31, 2013 |

From all at LGM, please have a happy, safe New Year celebration!

“On the fatal third time, Santa Anna breached the wall and he killed them one and all”

[ 134 ] December 30, 2013 |

Oregon wins. When I arrived at the University of Oregon in the autumn of 1992, Nick Aliotti was the linebackers coach.  He was shortly promoted to defensive coordinator, and after several years of tumult settled into the job permanently in 1999. Tonight he retired, after his defense scored 14 against the Texas Longhorns while allowing only seven.

Goodbye Coach Aliotti, and thank you.

[EL]: This is a good time to remind everyone that in fact the Mexicans did not kill everyone in the Alamo. The women and Tejanos were spared, the slaves set free. It is only in Texas mythology that everyone dies. I love telling my students this. Even in Rhode Island, they all think everyone was slaughtered. Also, Hook ‘em Ducks!

[RF] Loomis is well known to be an apologist for Texian behavior in Texas’ First War of Treason in Defense of Slavery.

[EL] Farley reminds me of some of my favorite times blogging. Josh Trevino, in between shifts as a foreign agent for Malaysia and who know what other governments, used to go ballistic when I said that slavery was the major reason for Texas secession. Of course he was partially right–anti-Catholicism, racism, and white supremacy were also major reasons. Anyway, I wrote this back in the day.

End of the Year Linkage

[ 34 ] December 30, 2013 |

Some links for the penultimate day of 2013…

The Future of Scottish… Scotch… Scots(?) National Security Policy

[ 108 ] December 29, 2013 |

Brandon Valeriano has some thoughts on how an independent Scotland might conceptualize its national security:

In March of 2015, a cry goes out in the town centre, everyone reacts quickly.  Valuables are hidden underground; women and children are stored in hideaways to be kept safe until the danger is over.  The sacred and expensive items in the church are removed and the priests flee – they are often the first targeted.  The town moves to the defenses, but there is little that they can do to counter the oncoming scourge.  The Vikings are off the coast of Scotland, again.

Given that House Windsor has decided against a name that could strike terror into the hearts of the hill-savages-beyond-the-wall, the Scottish position indeed seems relatively secure.  If independence happens, this will make Scotland a remarkably interesting case study for security scholars; how do states that fundamentally face no security threats conduct security policy? The answer, most likely, is that Scotland will tend to take as models those countries it most closely resembles, although even in this context Canada and Ireland offer remarkably different defense profiles.

My guess is that if political entrepreneurs take sufficient advantage of Scottish nationalism to actually win independence, the new Scotland will feel compelled to compete with England in military terms, although the nature of this competition is far more likely to be “look how cool our new fighter is compared to the English” rather than “let’s re-fortify Hadrian’s Wall.”  For these reasons, unless the Eurofighters are passed directly to the new (presumably independent) Royal Scotland Air Force, I expect that Scotland would go a different direction, opting for either the Gripen or the Rafale.  This is to say nothing of the eventual disposition of the Royal Navy in case of Scottish independence, a problem that will be enormously complex and costly to work out.