The Chairman’s Nightstand—What the Chairman is reading now August 2012

General Martin E. Dempsey
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

American Force: Dangers, Delusions, and Dilemmas in National Security  

By: Richard K. Betts

Why I read it: This book is a timely read on the choices and consequences surrounding the use of military force. Dr. Betts lends insight to the issues surrounding the question of military intervention. He does so in a way that helps put choices—past and present—into a constructive strategic context.

Why it matters: Dr. Betts makes the argument that the U.S. does not do a good enough job of reconciling what we want to achieve with the resources available.  He contends that when we do make the choice to intervene, we too often minimize our resource commitments and put our goals at risk.  He sees this leading to indecisive undertakings.  He cautions about the unpredictable character of conflict: “A decision on force is a gamble, but there are no acceptable rules for judging the odds of success.”  His thought-provoking arguments are worthy of our consideration.”

Past books from The Chairman’s Nightstand:

May 2012: “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” by Stephen Greenblatt

May 2012: “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power” by Rachel Maddow

June 2012: “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” by Ben Fountain

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  • David Alan Dickens

    I love it, general…

  • http://twitter.com/tweetcrhanna Christina Hanna

    Sounds thought provoking…. Through a twitter link, I learned of an online library for members, vets, and families. I prefer the feel of the ole’ fashion paper copy, but finances are tight. What are the restrictions to accessing the library resources?