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Authors & Insights: A Discussion on Defense with Mark Esper and Evelyn Farkas


WASHINGTON, D.C. – After the recent publication of his book “A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times,” McCain Institute John S. McCain Distinguished Fellow and former U.S. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark Esper joined McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas for the latest installment of the Authors & Insights series.

This bipartisan discussion between two defense experts touched on Dr. Esper’s tenure as U.S. Defense Secretary and current events relating to China, Russia, Ukraine and nuclear non-proliferation.

Click HERE to view the full conversation.

Excerpts from the conversation:

America relies on the military too much for foreign policy making.
“I do think our foreign policy has become too militarized, meaning in my view that we too often use the military instrument or pursue foreign policy through the military.”

Misspent dollars, not waste, fraud and abuse plague the Pentagon’s budget.
“I never found much fraud, waste or abuse, but I found misspent dollars on legacy things, things we didn’t need and things that were not a high priority. This is really going back to my tenure as Secretary of the Army, and you bring up the famous Eisenhower speech, when I was doing my PhD, I came across his notes and he actually wrote about the military-industrial-Congressional-complex, but he struck Congressional at the last moment. And it’s a shame because Congress is a big player in this.”

The civility of leaders like John McCain is sorely missed in American political discourse.
“I’m always reminded of that famous moment in a town hall he was taking questions from the audience and an older woman says something about President Obama, about him being a Muslim or something like that, and McCain to his detriment said no no no, I disagree with him, he’s a good man we just have different views. That was a very important leadership moment and for him to do that it spoke to not only the civility of John McCain but the civility we need in our political atmosphere.”

Publish Date
June 21, 2022