Books

“Arnold Punaro is more devoted and committed to the well-being and effectiveness of our men and women in uniform than anyone I have known. In this valuable book, he warns that our nation’s ability to preserve peace through strength is in jeopardy if the current alarming trends continue. Our nation has greatly benefited from Punaro’s military experience, his knowledge, his keen insights, his sound judgment and his common sense. This book may be his most important contribution yet to America’s security.”

Senator Sam Nunn, Former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee

The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force

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Its capabilities unrivaled and its global reach unmatched, America’s military is the envy of the world. Yet, to those in the know, like retired Marine Major General Arnold Punaro, a former Staff Director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, there is compelling need for improvement in its support elements. From the glacial pace of acquisitions to the spiraling growth of the defense agencies to the fully-burdened costs of the All-Volunteer Force, the Department of Defense’s non-warfighting elements are not getting enough bang for the buck. Every recent Secretary of Defense has pushed business-minded reforms as a high priority, citing the need to convert overhead to warfighting capacity.

Despite substantial increases in defense spending over the last decades, the number of warfighters is still declining. The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force lays out, in clear and compelling detail, the major factors that contribute to this adverse trend that has outlasted efforts to reverse it by strong Defense Secretaries and even Presidents.

Drawing on his half-century of experience in national security, Gen. Punaro offers a no-nonsense look at the inefficiencies that have plagued the Pentagon’s creeping bureaucracy for decades. With calls for defense reform emanating from both the executive and legislative branches, this timely book provides a road map for thoughtful and balanced improvements.

Praise for The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force

“For more than 40 years, Arnold Punaro has championed bold, innovative ideas for improving the performance of the U.S. military establishment. He has a keen and rare knack for cutting through bewildering detail to precisely identify the heart of a problem. Arnold combines vast energy and insightful intellect to produce profound ideas. He has much of value to say; we must listen.”

Jim Locher, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense

Praise for The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force

“The national security of the United States is “at risk” given growing security threats, increasing fiscal pressures, bloated bureaucracies, and long-standing business-related challenges. Arnold Punaro has significant experience in three critical dimensions needed to make informed observations and recommendations concerning how to reform the Pentagon. First, he was a Major General in the U.S. Marines Corps (USMC). Second, he was the top staff person on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Third, he has significant experience inside the Pentagon, including many years of experience on the Defense Business Board (DBB). Just as importantly, he is a dedicated patriot who is committed to improving the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, and our country. This book can help the responsible leaders make the needed choices to help create a better future.”

Honorable David Walker, Distinguished Visiting Professor (Crowe Chair) - USNA, Former U.S. Comptroller General Peterson Foundation

Praise for The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force

“Arnold Punaro is one of America's foremost thought leaders on all aspects of defense management. Drawing upon his distinguished service in the military, on Capitol Hill and in industry, he has for decades been an invaluable advisor to Secretaries of Defense, other senior defense officials, and key legislators of both political parties. This book is must-reading for all who recognize the need to reform and modernize the Defense Department as it contends with the challenges of the twenty-first century.”

Dov S. Zakheim, Former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officern

Praise for The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force

“Whether in uniform, working in the government, or as one of the top thought leaders on national security, Arnold Punaro has invested his life focused on strengthening U.S. national security. When Gen. Punaro speaks, people listen because he is non-partisan, evidence-based, and thoroughly committed to making sure that the United States military is prepared for the future. This book will change the way you understand the current defense establishment and how you think about the challenges and opportunities ahead for the nation.”

David M. Van Slyke, Dean, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Praise for The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force

“To understand the Pentagon is to understand that it is a place of enduring competition -- between American and its adversaries, rival Constitution powers given to the President and the Congress, the tensions of land, sea, air and space in the military departments, and the push of each new generation of technology against the status quo. I have teamed with Arnold Punaro, and at other times sat across the table in House-Senate negotiations, but he has watched it all and is always committed to doing right for the men and women that serve in the armed forces of the United States.”

Rudy DeLeon, SVP of National Security & International Policy, New American Progress. Former Deputy Secretary of Defense, Former USD P&R, Former Secretary of the Air Force

Praise for The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force

“In TheEver-Shrinking FightingForce, General Arnold Punaro considers the dilemmas of runaway costs, excessive bureaucracy, and unconstructive politics in America’s defense operations – problems that have been decades in the making. Punaro, with his deep leadership experience in the Marine Corps, on the Hill, and in the private sector, has unique vantage points on subjects as disparate as the Congressional appropriations process, the doctrine of civilian control of the military, and contracting of military hardware and services. His proposed reforms, grouped into three areas (leadership, legislative, process-oriented) are practicable and well-timed, as the bill for U.S. defense operations approach three-quarters of a trillion dollars, annually.”

Matthew R. Auer, Arch Professor of Public and International Affairs Dean, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia

Praise for The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force

“Arnold Punaro is more devoted and committed to the well-being and effectiveness of our men and women in uniform than anyone I have known. In this valuable book, he warns that our nation’s ability to preserve peace through strength is in jeopardy if the current alarming trends continue. Our nation has greatly benefited from Punaro’s military experience, his knowledge, his keen insights, his sound judgment and his common sense. This book may be his most important contribution yet to America’s security.”

Senator Sam Nunn, Former Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Founder and Co-Chair, Nuclear Threat Initiative

Praise for The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force

“No one has more experience with the Department of Defense in varying roles and capacities than Arnold Punaro. Passionate to protect America, he documents the growing deficiencies of the Department. This book is a call to action and a blueprint for reform. ”

John Hamre, CEO, Center for Strategic and International Studies. Former Deputy Secretary of Defense and Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller

Praise for The Ever-Shrinking Fighting Force

“Arnold Punaro’s entire adult life has been dedicated to national security issues, whether in a Marine uniform in Vietnam, in the Senate Armed Services Committee as Staff Director, or in industry as Chairman of the NDIA.

Over 23 years ago, he led a very powerful group of former defense experts in a comprehensive study of the way the Department of Defense is organized and how it spends its immense budget. The study proposed the most complete set of recommendations ever advocated. Had any of the succeeding administrations adopted any or all of the recommendations proposed, The Department of Defense and our country would be in a much better place today and would be doing much more with less wasted resources.

Arnold Punaro’s second book, also aimed at explaining the problems we face, offers solutions that should be implemented. The incoming administration would do well to pay close attention to his recommendations; they will make the task of providing for our national security much more efficient and more relevant in the face of the 21st century challenges.”

General Jim Jones, USMC (Ret), Former U.S. National Security Advisor. 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps. Former Commander, U.S. European Command & Supreme Allied Commander Europe

On War and Politics

The Battlefield Inside Washington’s Beltway

Arnold Punaro is the ultimate Washington insider. During his 35 years of service in the Marine Corps, both active and reserve, he rose to the rank of Major General. After being wounded in battle and decorated for valor in Vietnam, he redeployed to a different battlefield: Washington politics. For almost fifty years, he has toiled at the intersection of the political and defense establishment, has served in key positions in the Pentagon, Congress and industry and has been a key participant in all the major defense and intelligence legislation of this era. Punaro’s distinguished career of public service has given him an unrivaled perspective on the events and factors that have shaped defense policy, along with a clear vision on how to solve the tough, pressing challenges facing our nation today.

Praise for On War and Politics

“Arnold Punaro’s memoir, On War and Politics, contains a lifetime of wisdom, highlighting important lessons learned from his service as a Marine officer in Vietnam and beyond to his rise to power as a senior staffer in the United States Senate and then as a business leader. Anyone who wants to understand the politics of U.S. defense and security policy would do well to read Arnold’s book. His book is the story of an American patriot.”

William S. Cohen, Former Secretary of Defense

Praise for On War and Politics

“Best book on the congressional-military-industrial complex I’ve read in several FYDPs.”

Mark Thompson, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter for TIME

Praise for On War and Politics

“Arnold Punaro is a Washington Institution who has done much of the work over the past several decades required to build the most capable military in the history of the planet….while the elected politicians have mostly taken the credit. Bipartisan, fair, patriotic, brave, and principled. He is a model for public service and doing things the right way.”

Dr. John Hillen, Professor, George Mason University and Former Assistant Secretary of State

Praise for On War and Politics

“The book has a kind of realness, good and bad, that is so often missing in the meticulously well edited, yet yearningly hollow, works of beltway and military leaders today. That is what makes On War and Politics a must read, because in an era of carefully crafted and framed stories, Punaro comes at the reader with his art of making the real world beautiful, and the reader walks away knowing Arnold Punaro and feeling sense of awe at the story of a real person.”

The Strategy Bridge

Praise for On War and Politics

On War succeeds at all levels. It is a personal, yet riveting, journey of the author’s life, set against the most important military conflict and national security issues of the times.”

Marine Corps Gazette

Praise for On War and Politics

“The well-known―inside the Beltway―citizen Marine and his co-author ‘in the actual writing of the book’ offer anecdotes about a lifetime of service to the Corps and Congress. The Vietnam veteran enlisted in 1968 and ‘never intended to make the Corps a life’s work.’ When he arrives on Capitol Hill for a 1973 internship he ‘hadn’t even voted in the previous election.’ Unlike other recent Washington memoirs, the book due in October acknowledges few enemies, but there are a few soft slaps. That other Marine, Oliver North, proves that ‘charisma goes a long way, but not all the way.’ And after Punaro’s 1998 committee suggests creating a nationwide security department, the post-9/11 formation of Homeland Security ‘seems akin to buying the fire truck after the house has burned to the ground.’”

Military Times

Praise for On War and Politics

“Arnold Punaro has been deeply involved in many of our nation’s military battles over the last four decades—from the jungles of Vietnam to the jungles of Capitol Hill as a top leader in the Marine Corps Reserve, a key player in the defense industry, and a trusted advisor to the Pentagon. This book is informative, and if we’re smart, Arnold’s thoughts will guide us in dealing with today’s security challenges.”

Sen. Sam Nunn, Former Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee

Praise for On War and Politics

“Few people know Washington and the Pentagon with greater intimacy than Arnold Punaro and nobody can speak to the evolution of Defense policy better than him. His no nonsense style and candor make this a must-read for those who can only wonder about how Washington really works.”

George J. Tenet, Former Director, CIA

Praise for On War and Politics

“In uniform and out, from the jungles of Vietnam as a young Marine to the halls of Congress as Staff Director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Arnold Punaro has been intimately involved in most of the major defense policy battles of the last forty years. This unique combination of first-hand experience, told with Arnold’s forthrightness and self-deprecating humor, make his On War and Politics a must-read.”

Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret.), Former National Security Advisor

Praise for On War and Politics

“His experiences make interesting reading, his historical analysis a major addition to the public policy record, and his insights and analysis a thought-provoking contribution to the ongoing policy debate.”

General Jim Jones, Former National Security Advisor

Praise for On War and Politics

“The word ‘insider’ in Washington is the ultimate compliment but it’s often overused. Arnold Punaro is the real thing. In his career, he’s advised the mighty, he’s found solutions to policy dilemmas, and all along has performed the impossible: keeping his reputation, integrity, and influential friends through a long career of speaking truth to power.”

Fred Kempe, CEO, The Atlantic Council

Praise for On War and Politics

“Arnold knows where the bodies are buried, and put some of them there himself; he remains an outspoken voice in Washington calling insistently for defense policy reform. On War and Politics is eagerly anticipated by the defense policy community.”

Dr. John Nagl, Headmaster, The Haverford School, Author of Knife Fights and Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife

Praise for On War and Politics

“Arnold Punaro is a classic Washington insider, someone who knows everybody—and where the skeletons are hidden, too. I’d pay good money to read anything he writes about what he learned in DC.”

Tom Ricks, Contributing Editor, Foreign Policy