Happy New Year! The Defense Download is back after a brief break for the holiday season. This new round-up is intended to highlight what we at the Cato Institute are keeping tabs on in the world of defense politics every week. The three-to-five trending stories will vary depending on the news cycle, what policymakers are talking about, and will pull from all sides of the political spectrum. If you would like to recieve more frequent updates on what I’m reading, writing, and listening to—you can follow me on Twitter via @CDDorminey.
- "2018 Was a Long Women's March Through Congress," by Lyric Thompson and Christina Asquith. The 116th Congress was sworn into office today—the most diverse Congress in the history of the institution.
- "With Mattis Out, How Will the Pentagon Transition Under Shanahan?" NPR's Morning Edition hosted by Rachel Martin, featuring Todd Harrison. With Mattis departing and Shanahan assuming the post of Secretary of Defense—at least temporarily—there could be changes in store with new leadership.
- "US Withdrawal Plan from Afghanistan Won't Include SOF Strike Units," Matthew Cox and Richard Sisk. President Trump's announcement that he intends to withdraw troops from Syria has renewed rumors of an imminent withdrawal from Afghanistan as well. Military.com reporters spoke to defense officials familiar with plans.
- "This Map Shows Where in the World the US Military Is Combatting Terrorism," Stephanie Savell and 5W Infographics. This is a new release of the Costs of War project's research—showing that the U.S. is militarily engaged in 80 countries. That's 40 percent of all the countries in the world.