Author Archive

Mara E. Karlin

Director of Strategic Studies, SAIS

Mara Karlin is Director of Strategic Studies and Associate Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her most recent position in the U.S. Defense Department was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development.

Three Urgent Questions for the Air Force’s New Chief of Staff

The service has too long delayed the hard choices that would prepare it to deter China.


Two Cheers for Esper’s Plan to Reassert Civilian Control of the Pentagon

One might believe that leaving more decisions to uniformed experts would depoliticize policy. The opposite is true.


Toward A Smaller, Smarter Force Posture in the Middle East

The National Defense Strategy’s turn toward Russia and China requires the U.S. military to alter its Gulf assets.


Before You Help a Fragile State’s Military, Ask These Uncomfortable Questions

A checklist for a Pentagon that rarely looks into why so many of its partner-building efforts fail.


How Should the Pentagon Reshape Its Mideast Posture? Four Indicators to Watch

A tour of possible scenarios reveals what U.S. policymakers ought to be focused on as they chart the future of regional force posture.


Bridging America's Civil-Military Gap — At Sea

As a former senior defense official, I wanted to help my undergraduate students learn about the military. Fortunately, so did several of my veteran shipmates.


Ending the Iran Deal is An Invitation to War

Two former Pentagon officials game out the dangerous consequences of de-certifying the agreement.


As Independence Vote Nears, Iraqi Kurds Play a Risky Game of Chicken

Kurdistan’s president called the referendum to extract concessions from Baghdad. What if it doesn’t work?


It’s Long Past Time to Rethink US Military Posture in the Gulf

The rift between Qatar and other Gulf nations should prompt a long-overdue review of what the Pentagon keeps in the region, and where.