James Kitfield

James Kitfield James Kitfield a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress and a Defense One contributor. He is a former senior correspondent for National Journal and has written on defense, national security and foreign policy issues from Washington, D.C. for more than two decades.
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Coast Guard official fills leadership void in Katrina relief effort

September 23, 2005 NEW ORLEANS -- Standing in a deserted air terminal in the early-morning dark of September 14, America's man of the moment realized that his honeymoon had lasted not quite 24 hours. The newspapers in Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen's hands all led with criticisms from the Louisiana governor that...

Poor communications slowed military's hurricane response

September 19, 2005 Where was the cavalry? As the bodies were pulled from Louisiana nursing homes and hospitals, and as the nation began to contemplate the detritus of Hurricane Katrina, the question was really uttered more like a recrimination. And in a nation understandably proud of having the best and most powerful military...

Military's Northern Command steps up response efforts

September 2, 2005 PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The Joint Operations Center at U.S. Northern Command is an electronic window into America. And as Hurricane Katrina churned its way across the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, gathering energy and pushing a storm surge before it, the view from that window...

Caught in the Undertow

August 15, 2005 The Navy does battle to maintain the size of its fleet. After taking numerous shots across the bow of its DD(X) destroyer program in recent months, the Navy recently sounded an all-hands-on-deck in support of the next-generation ship. Leading the spirited defense was none other than Chief of Naval Operations...

Losing Altitude

August 15, 2005 Budget-pressed Air Force leaders sweat over replacing aging aircraft. Study the flight line of a modern Air Force base, and you can catch a glimpse of history's most potent instrument of global power projection. It includes sleek F-15 and F-16 fighters, batwing B-2 stealth bombers, massive C-17 strategic transports, barrel-chested...

Eyes on the Army

August 15, 2005 The service's ambitious agenda has huge implications for modernizing the U.S. military. Pentagon officials view the Army as the litmus test for fundamentally transforming the U.S. military. It's not just that the Army is engaged in unconventional counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor is it the fact that the...

Big Budget, Bad News

August 15, 2005 Defense has more to spend than ever, but it can't afford the weapons it's developing. The United States is a nation at war, and the vaunted "arsenal of demo-cracy" is humming along, pumping on all cylinders. After all, operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, funded this year with an off-budget supplemental...

Defense budget cuts compel military transformation

January 28, 2005 The Bush administration's much-touted "transformation" of the United States military has always been something of a faith-based initiative. It is founded on an unshakable belief in the transformative powers of Information Age technology and best business practices, and a conviction that emerging dangers to U.S. security are too unpredictable to...

Army chief struggles to transform service during war

October 29, 2004 The phone call reached him while he was driving his pickup truck on state Route 6 near Waco, Texas, and at first, retired Gen. Peter Schoomaker thought it was a joke. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's office was calling. By the time Schoomaker realized it was no joke, he was already...

Army learns to live in state of high anxiety

September 17, 2004 BAUMHOLDER, Germany -- This remote village, nestled below hills crowned with church steeples and the ruins of medieval castles, lies at an unlikely crossroads, between a Cold War that lasted 50 years and the hot wars of the 21st century. Generations of U.S. soldiers have passed through the large white...

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