The Good

  • Iraq and Afghanistan: In his first 100 days, President Obama has largely continued to implement the strategic course laid out by the Bush Administration in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, which makes sense. U.S. vital interests do not change because of partisan shifts in power, and neither do the facts on the ground, the resources available to the nation, or the enemy’s objectives.

The Bad

  • Dumbing Down Missile Defense: In his first 100 days, the President approved a roughly 20% cut for missile defense and abandoned deploying defenses to Western Europe.
  • Appeasing North Korea and Iran: The White House downplayed the U.S. response to North Korea and Iran’s provocative missile launches and failed to obtain a serious U.N. Security Council response to either incident. Despite the advances made in these two countries, the President wants focus on “regional missile threats.”
  • Change on Cuba: In his first 100 days, the President ended 50 years of U.S. policy on Cuba, claiming it had not worked. If a similar strategy were followed with the Soviet Union, the U.S. would have abandoned containment long before the Cold War ended. This new policy may leave other dictators questioning the seriousness of U.S. opposition to oppression and systemic violations of human and civil rights.

The Ugly

  • Gutting the Defense Budget: In his first 100 days, President Obama proposed a budget that would cut deep into defense procurement programs while phasing out supplemental spending to cover the costs in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will now also cut into the “core” Pentagon budget.
  • “Cold War” Weapons: These cuts were justified as eliminating “Cold War” weapons systems including the F-22 stealth fighter and next generation Navy destroyer. All the programs designated for elimination were started after the Cold War ended and were justified by Presidents on both sides of the aisle.
  • Ho-Hum on Homeland Security: In his first 100 days, President Obama has been ambivalent and contradictory on homeland security and counterterrorism policies since 9/11, including avoiding the discussion altogether and reversing strategies at the border and with immigration enforcement. The Administration lacks a coherent approach to homeland security.
  • Detainee and Counterterrorism Policy: President Obama has promised the closure of Guantanamo Bay and repudiated interrogation policies and has been unclear about reauthorizing vital counterterrorism tools granted by the USA PATRIOT Act. While dismissing past policy, the President has not offered any credible alternatives to address pre-9/11 problems in combating terrorism identified by the 9/11 commission.

Hit the Reset Button

  • The Lesson of 100 Days: The President must start over on national security and reconsider unwarranted missile defense and Pentagon procurement cuts, finalize and implement change in reorganizing the National Security Council, and place serious effort in engaging with Congress and the American people on matters of national security.