Haffa Defense Consulting - Our Approach

Academically and in practice, “American defense policy” can be thought of as a subset of American foreign policy which, in turn, is included under the broader topic of “national security policy.” Declared U.S. national security policy, found in the President’s 2010 National Security Strategy document, discusses the wide-ranging goals and cross-cutting government agency responsibilities in underwriting those objectives. In that document, the Obama administration makes the case for greater inter-agency cooperation in the pursuit of U.S. security objectives. Indeed, the acronym “DIME” has long been used to reference the diplomatic, informational, economic and military levers the U.S. can pull as it seeks to secure its overseas interests, as well as those of its friends and allies. Our work here focuses on the military instrument of national power. From an analytical perspective, there is a wide range of academic, operational, and business approaches to describe and explain American defense policies and to help develop appropriate responses and initiatives.

  • Analyze and strategize about foreign and national security policy challenges related to current and emerging threats.
  • Investigate how changes in the international political system, such as the rise in importance of non-state actors, are altering the character of inter-state conflict.
  • Describe and explain key concepts such as asymmetric warfare, counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency, conventional deterrence, cyber conflict, space power, and game-changing technologies such as directed energy and unmanned systems with the purpose of suggesting their impact on U.S. defense policies.
  • Understand how the roles and missions, force size, and structure of the U.S. armed forces may change as they adapt to meting these shifting security challenges.
  • Validate convergent threats to public and private sectors and consider the role of the defense and national security industrial complex in meeting these threats.
  • Predict how fiscal pressures on U.S. discretionary spending over the next five years will impact the Defense budget. Which accounts will prosper? Which will suffer?

Academic approaches:

Academic approaches have great power in providing frameworks for analyses of defense policy issues, and in mining the relevant literature to ensure that differing policies and prescriptions can be critically evaluated. Indeed, taking actions based on current and projected American defense policies requires a comprehensive understanding of the past. For example, U.S. policy regarding the popular uprising in Egypt cannot be understood or forecast without consideration of post-Cold War U.S.-Egyptian relations, Egypt’s historical role as an anchor for stability in the Middle East, U.S.-Egyptian military-to-military relations, and the linking of that bilateral relationship to larger security issues in the Middle East.

Haffa Defense Consulting draws upon Professor Haffa’s extensive teaching experience, including his pioneering work in American defense policy at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Department of Political Science. The course he currently teaches in the American Public University system, “U.S. National Security,” adopts a “grand strategy” approach to compare and contrast how the elements of national power have been applied to achieve desired foreign policy objectives since the end of the Cold War. In his course “American Defense Policy” taught at Johns Hopkins University, Professor Haffa describes the principal actors in the defense policy-making process to analyze the array of military capabilities providing plausible responses to a range of military contingencies. That course focuses on nuclear, conventional, and irregular warfare issues and forces, the relationship between objectives, military strategies and resources, and interactions among the “iron triangle” of actors: the Pentagon, the Congress and the Defense industry.

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Operational perspectives:

Operational perspectives are essential tounderstanding the varying capabilities brought to the battle space by the U.S. armed forces, including their respective concerns about roles, missions, autonomy, and budgets. While administrations come and go, priorities shift, and Defense budgets rise and fall, the uniformed military acts as a bureaucratic bulwarkmoving prudently to ensure that personnel, operations, and investment accounts and performance remain in balance. One should not move too quickly in proposing or reacting to shifts in Defense policy without considering the culture and “personalities” of the armed services.

Here, Dr. Haffa’s military experience and contacts come to the fore, injecting an understanding of service capabilities and priorities in any analysis of Defense policy. In addition to his own combat and Cold War military experience, Colonel (USAF-RET) Haffa’s continued interaction with strategic planners in the armed forces, with the National Defense University, and with think tanks in Washington, D.C. ensures that a joint, multi-service perspective will be included in any analysis deliberating the right strategies and tactics to be planned and employed against plausible adversaries in hypothetical contingencies. For example, his participation in wargame seminars and discussions, such as those sponsored by the Office of Net Assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and implemented by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), placed him at the tableduring the development of the operational concepts supporting the “AirSea Battle” doctrinal initiative.

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Industrial insights:

The Defense industry may be the leg of the “iron triangle” least well understood and frequently underestimated in its contributions to implementing American defense policy. From the time of Dwight Eisenhower’s admonitions regarding the “military-industrial complex” to the present, the defense industry is frequently portrayed under a critical light. And, if not being seen as suspect, industry’s role oftenseems an afterthought; one searches in vain for references to industry in the series of QDRs. And despite well-meaning words in the 2010 version of that document, a constructive dialogue between vendor and customer was noticeably lacking as the Obama Administration announced major curtailments in military programs and sought efficiencies that, while well meaning, could have benefitted from an industrial perspective.

Dr. Haffa’s written work and public appearances over his two-decade career in the Defense industry have repeatedly called for a more productive military-industry dialogue. He has worked closely with initiatives launched by the Brookings Institution, CSBA, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to elevate the importance of managing the defense industrial base as a strategic asset. At Northrop, Dr. Haffa was a frequent spokesperson representing the views of the defense industry to the public and the media, including appearing on the Nightly Business Report, being interviewed by National Public Radio, and participating in TechAmerica’s 2010 panel on “The Future of the Defense industry.” As a speaker on the roster of the American Committees on Foreign Relations, he has made presentations to such Committees in California, Connecticut and Alabama on declared U.S. space policy and its implications for industry. In a presentation to the World Future Society annual conference, he explained how a defense company used “alternative futures” methodology to guide investment in research and development.

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