Foreign and Defense Policy

What exactly does ‘balancing risks’ mean for U.S. national security?

Almost from day one, the Obama administration’s national security team has tossed around the words “balancing risks” as though they were some magic mantra that indicated just how sophisticated they would be, compared with those yahoos in the previous administration, when it came to matching up strategy and resources. Well, at least one senator has had enough of these word games. Yesterday, Senator John McCain, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, penned a letter to General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, demanding that he and his colleagues clarify for Congress exactly what specific risks are in fact associated with the president’s latest drawdown of the defense budget. The letter is worth reading in full:

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