At its site here, the Center for Defense Information announces the imminent release of its new book "America's Defense Meltdown." Really this is a guide on how to think about, pay for, reconfigure, equip, deploy, withdraw, modernize, simplify, support, strengthen, lead, motivate, inspire, and in all other ways improve America's military establishment.
I hardly need to mention why such a book is useful, at a time when the United States and its new Administration must figure out how to manage whatever comes next in Afghanistan and Iraq, the ongoing challenge of possible terrorism, America's new financial realities, and on down a very long list.
What is most remarkable about the book is the array of authors who have joined to produce this anthologized volume. If I started listing a few, I would have to name them all (PDF of full list here
.) They include the closest colleagues and collaborators of the late Air Force colonel John Boyd
plus leading defense analysts and practitioners of the next generation. They have amply earned the right to be listened to. What I said in a blurb on the book's jacket* is, if anything, not enthusiastic enough:
The talent, judgment, and insight collected in this book are phenomenal. Over the last generation, the authors have been more right, more often, about more issues of crucial importance to American security than any other group I can think of. It is a tremendous benefit to have their views collected in one place and concentrated on the next big choices facing a new Administration. This really is a book that every serious-minded citizen should read.
For more about the book, from one of its organizers, Chet Richards, see this
. Check it out.
* On blurbs: I have a bias in favor of giving blurbs for books, because in my experience most books deserve a better chance and a broader audience than they're likely to receive. Obviously there are exceptions. But I try to be very precise about the aspects of a book I compliment and the kinds of readers I recommend it to. Thus this comment really does reflect my respect for the authors and their collective contribution.
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is a staff writer for The Atlantic
and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. He and his wife, Deborah Fallows, are the authors of the new book Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America,
which has been a New York Times
best seller and is the basis of a forthcoming HBO documentary.