Summer Reading 2017: Defense One’s Top Picks

A soldier reviews maps earlier this year at Fort Hood, Texas.

U.S. Army photo by Spc. Brandon Banzhaf

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A soldier reviews maps earlier this year at Fort Hood, Texas.

Here are some big ideas for you while soaking up the sun or just relaxing on your summer vacation.

Tomorrow Soldier: How The Military Is Altering the Limits of Human Performance
Breakthroughs in biometric science mean future troops will fight with weapons that understand them — inside and out. // Patrick Tucker

Trump Wanted a Cheaper Air Force One. So the USAF Is Buying a Bankrupt Russian Firm’s Undelivered 747s
The service is reportedly getting a good deal on the jets, which list for around $390 million and are now sitting in the Mojave Desert. // Marcus Weisgerber

Why John McCain Matters More than the GOP RealizesWithout McCain, Republicans have no clear leader on defense issues. Not that they ever listen to him, anyway. // Kevin Baron

Voices from the Battle for Mosul: Podcast
We spoke with current and former US military officials about how Iraq and its allies broke ISIS’s nearly 3-year grip on Iraq’s second city — and what comes next. // Ben Watson

Flow of Foreign Fighters to ISIS Stopped, Trump Tactics Working, McGurk Says
In four key areas, the Trump administration is taking the fight to ISIS in a way that Obama did not, to great effect according to the policy head who worked under both. // Patrick Tucker

Which Cyberattacks Should the United States Deter, and How?
In theory, there is no reason why the principles of deterrence should not apply to cyberspace. However, there are a number of reasons why it does not work in practice. // Michael Sulmeyer of the Cyber Security Project at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

The US Army’s Next Big 5 Must Be Capabilities, Not New Platforms
The service’s weapons are increasingly unsuited for tomorrow’s battlefields, but there’s too little time and money to start from scratch. // Rhys McCormick and Andrew Hunter of the Center for Strategic and International Studies

‘Dunkirk’ Should Remind Us What Wars Are Like (And That We’re Still Fighting Them)
After our veterans screened the movie’s powerful and familiar portrayals of combat, we think Americans should be talking more about our endless presence in Afghanistan and the multi-front war against ISIS. // Allison Jaslow, executive director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

The Dangerous Politicization of the US Military
By asking active duty personnel to lobby Congress in their own self-interest, President Trump crossed an important line. // Andrew Exum, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy from 2015-2016

Trump’s Special Ops Pick Says Terror Drones Might Soon Reach the US from Africa. How Worried Should We Be?
Technological advancement could produce ocean-spanning consumer UAVs. But extremists won’t necessarily bother with them. // Caroline Houck

3D-Printed Gun Designs Are Selling for $12 on the Dark Web
A new report shows just how easy it is becoming to download designs for difficult-to-trace arms. // Patrick Tucker

A Mercenary-Led Surge Won’t Solve Afghanistan
Private military contractors have spotted an opportunity as America’s longest war grinds on. // Sean McFate of the Atlantic Council. 

We Don’t Need a ‘Space Corps’
The US military’s top space commander wants deeper integration and more resources, not a separate Space Corps. // Gen. John W. Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command

I Could Kill You with a Consumer Drone
As a former intelligence soldier who now sells drones for a living, I can tell you that this problem is bigger than almost anyone realizes. // Brett Velicovich, former Army intelligence soldier and founder of Expert Drones. 

The Summer of Misreading Thucydides
There’s a delicious irony in the Trump team’s affection for the historian—who repeatedly shows how populists lead societies to ruin. // Kori Schake of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

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