Keeping the Edge

From Belfer Center Studies in International Security

Keeping the Edge

Managing Defense for the Future

Edited by Ashton B. Carter and John P. White




Most national security debates concern the outcomes of policies, neglecting the means by which those policies are implemented. This book argues that although the US military is the finest fighting force in the world, the system that supports it is in disrepair. Operating with Cold War-era structures and practices, it is subject to managerial and organizational problems that increasingly threaten our military's effectiveness.Keeping the Edge goes beyond questions of Pentagon reorganization and weapons procurement to explore how the US defense establishment can improve its readiness, logistics, and ability to attract and retain qualified personnel. It also looks at how the US military can exploit information technology more effectively, improve its intelligence, and counter asymmetric threats. More comprehensive than the usual exhortation to cut waste, fraud, and abuse at the Pentagon, the book in fact recommends changes in many government agencies, not just the Department of Defense. It shows how the US can improve its ability to implement its policies and to anticipate and adapt to a changing and uncertain world.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262032902 352 pp. | 6.125 in x 9.25 in


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262531948 352 pp. | 6.125 in x 9.25 in


Ashton B. Carter

Ashton B. Carter is Ford Foundation Professor of Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Co-director of the Preventive Defense Project.

John P. White

John P. White is Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government and an Affiliate of the Preventive Defense Project.