Tag Archives: Chuck Hagel

Do Biofuels Further National Security?

In what could be a brutal twist of irony, the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) claimed in a recent report that U.S. biofuel subsidies, partly aimed at augmenting national security, are helping to stoke instability in countries considered vital to American security. According to the institute’s modeling, the rise in prices in 2011—which spurred food riots in Egypt and elsewhere—can partly be blamed on corn ethanol subsidies causing a redistribution of American maize from exports to fuel production, causing the price of food to climb. Their quantitative observations “suggest that protests may reflect not only long-standing political failings of governments, but also the sudden desperate straits of vulnerable populations. If food prices remain high, there is likely to be persistent and increasing global social disruption.”

Though biofuel amounts to a small proportion of DoD energy outlays (about 7 percent), its financial feasibility will be determined by whether the market grows and costs come down. But that exact market growth could make the Middle East more unstable, precipitating national security risks and a rise in the price of oil biofuels were supposed to help protect against in the long run.

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There’s Only One Way to Find Out

Chuck Hagel’s road to the Pentagon has been “a bit” more bumpy than anyone realized. The reasons for this are many: off-color comments on social issues, domestic politics, and Iran sanctions, to name a few.Whether or not one agrees with the nomination, the choice of a qualified Republican senator getting significantly more flak from his own party than Leon Panetta is pretty remarkable. Regardless, it looks like he’ll go through.

Chuck_Hagel_official_photo

Be happy, Chuck! Looks like you finally got the job

His opponents were quite riled up after a major electoral setback and so-so debt ceiling performance. After Mitt Romney’s choice not to make foreign policy a major issue during the 2012 campaign, conservatives thought this was an issue where they could deal the administration a major blow. At the moment, this looks like a defeat for Republicans. But given the electorate’s apathy on foreign affairs and short memory, playing hardball with President Obama might strengthen the base without too much downside.

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Today’s Links

  • At Fort Sill, the Army holds a meeting to discuss Anti-UAS measures:

U.S. ground forces detect an enemy unmanned aircraft performing reconnaissance  over their forward operating base. Now the soldiers must determine how to  neutralize the Unmanned Aerial System threat: whether to jam the electronic  signal from its ground controller, kill the ground controller or shoot down the  Unmanned Aerial System, or UAS.

  • The Afghan Army is not retaining its soldiers too well these days, but at least they’re not joining the Taliban:

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