Mackubin Owens

About Mackubin Owens

Mackubin Thomas Owens is a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia, and editor of Orbis, FPRI’s quarterly journal. He recently retired after 29 years as Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. From 1990 to 1997, Dr. Owens was also Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly defense journal Strategic Review and Adjunct Professor of International Relations at Boston University. Owens is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Leadership and Democratic Statesmanship in Wartime (2009) and US Civil-Military Relations after 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain (January 2011) and coauthor of US Foreign and Defense Policy: The Rise of an Incidental Superpower (2015) and The Evolution of the Executive and Executive Power in the American Republic (2014). Before joining the faculty of the War College, Owens served as National Security Adviser to Senator Bob Kasten, Republican of Wisconsin, and Director of Legislative Affairs for the Nuclear Weapons Programs of the Department of Energy during the Reagan Administration. Dr. Owens is also a Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam, where as an infantry platoon and company commander in 1968-1969, he was wounded twice and awarded the Silver Star medal. He retired as a Colonel in 1994. Owens earned his Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Dallas, a Master of Arts in Economics from Oklahoma University, and his BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Kavanaugh’s ‘Popeye Moment’

People of a certain age will remember what I like to call a “Popeye moment.” Popeye, confronted by some injustice, exclaims “that’s all I can stands, ‘cause I can’t stands no more!” before downing a can of spinach and righting the wrong. The Greeks had a name for a Popeye moment: thumos, righteous indignation. This is

By | 2018-10-03T11:35:57+00:00 October 3rd, 2018|

Renegotiating America’s Role in the World: Avoiding the British Precedent

After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Great Britain pursued a grand strategy of primacy, based on the concept of what Robert Gilpin has called “hegemonic stability.” For nearly a century, Britain provided an international “public good,” underwriting the security upon which global stability, interdependence and prosperity depend. By balancing power on the

By | 2018-08-19T20:29:34+00:00 August 20th, 2018|

Civil-Military Relations in the Age of Trump

Healthy relations between America’s civil and military populations depend upon the mutual trust, respect, and understanding between civilian and military leaders. This promotes the exchange of candid views and perspectives as part of the decision-making process. While the military must have a voice in developing strategy, the military must also realize that politics

By | 2017-12-18T18:24:59+00:00 December 13th, 2017|

Is There an Emerging ‘Trump Doctrine’?

The candidacy and subsequent election of Donald Trump to the presidency caused a great deal of consternation among the U.S. foreign policy establishment, Democrat and Republican alike. His campaign rhetoric suggested that he had no coherent view of U.S. foreign policy, other than the gauzy commitment to “making America great again” and “America

By | 2017-11-25T11:14:40+00:00 November 25th, 2017|

How Bergdahl’s Case Perverts Military Justice

In his 60-year old classic study of U.S. civil-military relations, The Soldier and the State, the late Samuel Huntington observed the traditional attitude of liberal American society toward the military was “conform or die.” During periods of peace, when security was not at stake, he contended, liberalism’s policy was “extirpation,” the attempt to

By | 2017-11-06T13:01:19+00:00 November 6th, 2017|

What Would a Fair Transgender Policy in the Military Look Like?

President Trump’s announcement via Twitter last week that he would discontinue administrative directives ordering the armed forces to accommodate transgender men and women in the military has met with an all-too-predictable response. Democrats are apoplectic, engaging in a mix of virtue signaling and flag waving. Thus my congressman, U.S. Rep. David N. Cicilline

By | 2017-08-03T15:56:47+00:00 July 30th, 2017|

James Mattis the Teacher

I guess that in this day and age, we shouldn’t be surprised that a high school student was able to obtain Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’s cell phone number and call him up for an interview. But should we be surprised that Mattis accepted the call and then answered a series of questions?

By | 2017-07-15T14:50:58+00:00 July 12th, 2017|