Thomas Donnelly

Thomas Donnelly

Biography: 

Thomas Donnelly, a defense and security policy analyst, is the codirector of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of numerous articles, essays, and books, including Operation Just Cause: The Storming of Panama and Clash of Chariots: A History of Armored Warfare. He is currently at work on Empire of Liberty: The Origins of American Strategic Culture. From 1995 to 1999, he was policy group director for the House Committee on Armed Services. Donnelly also served as a member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission and is a former editor of Armed Forces Journal, Army Times, and Defense News.

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The Status of U.S. Navy Readiness: Too Small, Too Old, and Too Tired

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Seventeen sailors have been killed this year in accidents involving two destroyers, the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald.

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A Brutal, But Reasonable, Response To North Korea

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Applying the adjective “reasonable” in a North Korean context is, well, not reasonable. It’s not that the Pyongyang regime is entirely irrational, but it is certainly “differently rational” in a way that is nearly impossible for consent-of-the-people democracies to comprehend. In imagining conventional military options to change the Kim regime or to eliminate its offensive capabilities—that is, to remove the threats North Korea poses to its neighbors, the East Asian balance of power and, now, the United States itself—“effectiveness” is a better measure. This is a case where brutality looks reasonable.

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Beyond The Terror War

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Since the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the story of the Middle East has been one of inconclusive struggles of the weak against the weak. That the Ottomans lasted as long as they did is in substantial measure a testament to the constant chaos of Arab and Persian politics. 

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Guns and Robots

by Thomas Donnellyvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 7, 2017

We’ve paid too much attention to weapons of the future and too little to our forces today. 

Background EssayAnalysis and Commentary

You Say You Want A Revolution?

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

To paraphrase the Beatles: Well, you know, you’d better free your mind instead; you may want a revolution but ought to settle for some evolution.

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Pipe Dreams of a Normal Iran

by Thomas Donnellyvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 27, 2017

Permit the rise of Iran? That wouldn’t just be foolish. It would represent an abdication of the West’s moral legitimacy. 

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Obama’s Foreign Policy: No Easy Fix

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Monday, October 31, 2016

All of the Obama administration’s strategic initiatives will have lives that endure beyond the next president’s term, and three of them are quite likely to have even more profound effects.

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Ready or Not? Not

by Thomas Donnellyvia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 21, 2016

How budget cuts and shortsighted thinking have gutted both our capacity and our readiness. 

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Leading From Below

by Thomas Donnellyvia Military History in the News
Friday, September 23, 2016

Complaining about the weaknesses of European military forces has long been a favorite sport of American politicians, defense officials and pundits; this is one issue on which populists and the Establishment agree. Indeed, presidential candidate Donald Trump’s threats to withdraw from NATO unless European members pay up are really only different in quantity than in quality than Barack Obama’s “free-rider” rhetoric. Many of these complaints have merit; the failure to meet the defense-spending target of 2 percent of gross domestic product is to fall before a pretty low hurdle.

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Time Is On Iran’s Side

by Thomas Donnellyvia Strategika
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The conclusion of the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal—formally the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”—last year has created a new and profoundly different set of strategic realities across the Middle East. While this shift is hardly irreversible, it is moving rapidly, and, by the time the next American president figures out where the restroom is in the White House, the process will, like quick-drying cement, be well set.

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