Congressional Research Service. December 6, 2012.
On May 1, 2012, President Obama gave a speech from Bagram Air Field in which he laid out U.S. government approaches for “winding down” the war in Afghanistan. While a number of observers have challenged the logical plausibility of a unilateral decision to “wind down” a war, the Administration’s commitment to decreasing U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan is clear. Many observers point to a coalescing vision of the way forward—shared by the governments of the United States, Afghanistan, and other international partners—that includes bringing the current campaign to a close by the end of 2014, and pursuing a political settlement among the parties in conflict, while extending U.S. and other international commitments to Afghanistan beyond 2014. In evaluating this emerging vision, some observers emphasize that the overall level of ambition has been lowered, while others stress that the timeline for international engagement has been extended. At this apparent turning point in both strategic thinking and activity on the ground, this short report considers issues that may be of interest to Congress as it considers the strength and duration of further U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, to 2014 and beyond.
http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/201981.pdf [PDF format, 18 pages].
Center for Transatlantic Relations. July 2012.
This assessment is organized into four parts. The first presents our assessment of the growing gaps in current and near- to mid-term future military capabilities across Europe. The second part describes the headline trends that will define the major features of European military capabilities out to 2030. The third part develops four initiatives, two from the NATO summit and two NDU initiatives, that could optimize both European capabilities and transatlantic military cooperation over the next one to two decades. These initiatives are Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s Smart Defense, the new “NATO Forces 2020” set of programs, a bolder capabilities concept developed by an NDU-led team in 2011 called Mission Focus Groups (MFGs), and proposals to revitalize USEUCOM as the centerpiece of transatlantic interoperability. The final part describes the primary obstacles and concerns NATO will have to address effectively in order to close the widening capabilities gap. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The Brookings Institution. July 2012.
There have long been debates about the sustainability of the transatlantic alliance and accusations amongst allies of unequal contributions to burden-sharing. But since countries on both sides of the Atlantic have begun introducing new – and often major – military spending cuts in response to the economic crisis, concerns about the future of transatlantic defense cooperation have become more pronounced. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The Brookings Institution. May 22, 2012.
America’s broken relationship with Pakistan crashed again in Chicago. The details are not yet clear, but the damage to the already severely dysfunctional relationship with Islamabad is a major step backwards. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. May 21, 2012.
“This was a big undertaking, some 60 world leaders not to mention folks who were exercising their freedom of speech and assembly, the very freedoms that our alliance are dedicated to defending. And so it was a lot to carry for the people of Chicago, but this is a city of big shoulders. Rahm, his team, Chicagoans proved that this world-class city knows how to put on a world-class event. [...]”