iOS app Android app

D. Robert Worley
GET UPDATES FROM D. Robert Worley
D. Robert Worley is a strategic advisor, military force structure analyst, expert in training and readiness of higher echelon military forces, author, and teacher. He is currently a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Advanced Governmental Studies where he teaches graduate courses in national and international security, and he is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. He currently provides advice and subject matter expertise on strategic and operational level joint and interagency operation in support of the Army’s Mission Command Battle Laboratory at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was an invited lecturer on national security strategy to senior Taiwanese officials and an invited speaker at the National War College, service colleges, and other U.S. government agencies.

Robert previously carried out studies at the Institute for Defense Analyses’ Joint Advanced Warfighting Program. He carried out military experiments in the Middle East and a counterterrorist study in the Horn of Africa. He served as an advisor on a counterterrorist strategy to the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. He authored Shaping U.S. Military Forces: Revolution or Relevance in a Post-Cold War World while the topic of force transformation was the subject of Pentagon processes. He authored Waging Ancient War: The Limits of Preemptive Force after the 9/11 attacks. Robert authored The National Security Council: Recommendations for the New President for the 2009 presidential transition, and he recently authored Orchestrating the Instruments of Power: A Critical Examination of the U.S. National Security System. He has published in Georgetown’s National Security Studies Quarterly, Joint Forces Quarterly, Small Wars Journal, and with the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute.

Robert previously conducted studies at the Rand Corporation’s Army Research Division and National Security Research Division. He specialized in the study of command and control in higher echelon headquarters and later in the training and readiness of those same headquarters. He participated in high level, interagency wargaming at the Rand Strategy Assessment Center, Naval War College, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Joint Warfighting Center, and Army Battle Labs.

Robert has degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Southern California, and the University of California at Los Angeles. He also has postdoctoral graduate degrees in government and in national security studies from Johns Hopkins University and Georgetown University, respectively. He completed the Security Studies Program for Senior Executives at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He has served on the faculties of UCLA’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Arts and Sciences, where he was received the Excellence in Teaching award for 2007.

Robert served as an enlisted Marine from 1967 to 1971, attaining the rank of sergeant, and serving one tour of duty in Vietnam.

Entries by D. Robert Worley

Exporting Liberal Democracy, Market Capitalism, and Rule of Law

(3) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 7:18 PM

U.S. foreign policy emphasizes the spread of liberal democracy, market capitalism, and the rule of law. A legitimate debate can be had about the wisdom of making these the basis of foreign policy. And a legitimate debate can be had about whether to pursue these policy objectives by example, encouragement...

Read Post

War Powers: Constitutional or Imperial Presidency

(4) Comments | Posted September 25, 2013 | 6:35 PM

The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. One of the anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall, a Mrs. Powel, asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" Without hesitation, Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."...

Read Post

War Powers and the Use of Force in Syria

(18) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 8:17 PM

If President Obama follows the practice of post-WWII presidents, he may use military force without consultation or authorization from Congress. If President Obama follows the letter of the War Powers Resolution, he may use military force for 60 to 90 days without congressional authorization. If President Obama follows the Constitution,...

Read Post

Shaping U.S. Military Forces: Organize, Train, and Equip to Do What?

(22) Comments | Posted August 6, 2013 | 10:19 PM

Even before the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall and 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, the post-Cold War military force drawdown had begun. In the summer of 1992, the highly respected Senator Sam Nunn addressed the Armed Services Committee urging a thorough overhaul of the uniformed services' roles and...

Read Post

Sizing U.S. Military Forces: How Much Is Enough?

(9) Comments | Posted July 9, 2013 | 6:21 PM

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is now established in his new position. He is facing some critical personnel issues including horrible rape and suicide rates. He cannot ignore these systemic issues, but neither can he ignore his responsibility to manage the postwar drawdown of military forces.

There's nothing new about...

Read Post

Allies or Protectorates

(21) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 12:13 AM

After World War II, the U.S. deliberately built a system of protectorates. For curious reasons, voices from Congress, the administration, and the news media continue to refer to our allies rather than to our protectorates. Which best characterizes our system today -- a system of allies or a system of...

Read Post

Credibility: Past Actions or Current Calculus?

(1) Comments | Posted June 14, 2013 | 4:38 AM

One often hears partisans refer to U.S. credibility as something that must be preserved, even treated as a vital interest, something worth fighting for. But there are competing theories on the source of credibility. The two most prominent theories are Current Calculus and Past Actions theories.

  • Current Calculus theory concludes...
Read Post

Beneath Hagel's Confirmation Hearings

(10) Comments | Posted February 18, 2013 | 9:26 PM

Chuck Hagel's nomination as secretary of defense brought two old issues to the forefront -- the Iraq war and U.S.-Israeli relations. Beneath the ankle biting lies a significant competition over U.S. grand strategy.

Years ago, during the Reagan administration, I first heard an argument to invade Iraq and topple Saddam...

Read Post

From 9/11 to Targeted Killing

(8) Comments | Posted February 8, 2013 | 7:37 PM

At the end of the Cold War, an American political consensus on the nature of the geostrategic environment dissolved along with the Soviet Union. A vigorous debate soon followed, but no consensus was reached. The events of 9/11 provided the next shock, and a new assessment of the geostrategic environment...

Read Post

Judicial Activism and the Second Amendment

(23) Comments | Posted January 4, 2013 | 6:37 PM

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of the State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The Second Amendment appears to have a plain meaning to the lay person. For most of American history the amendment has protected a state's...

Read Post

Issues, Principles and Party Realignment

(11) Comments | Posted December 12, 2012 | 7:06 PM

Neither party stands for anything permanent. The parties have abandoned, adopted and traded principles in their lifetimes more so than most of us. As individuals, we can hold dear to our principles or hold dear to our party, but not both.

George Washington stated flatly that the parties are the...

Read Post

Government Power in the Balance

(4) Comments | Posted November 29, 2012 | 9:05 AM

While researching for a recent book, I was surprised how many times the idea of power balancing came up as a solution to a variety of problems. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. Balancing is an important, perhaps the most important, component of governmental design as...

Read Post

Media Nostalgia, For What It's Worth

(0) Comments | Posted November 14, 2012 | 12:35 PM

There's nothing new about politicians playing fast and loose with facts. The election behind us, I thought I'd reflect on the oft maligned and amorphous media, the public's primary source of political information. The old approach was to check facts before reporting them. The new approach is to allow advocates...

Read Post

The Foreign Policy Debate 2012 and Grand Strategy

(20) Comments | Posted October 23, 2012 | 12:36 AM

Monday's presidential debate focused on foreign policy. Rarely do such debates actually refer to a grand strategy, instead talking about crises and countries piecemeal. The audience is left to infer a strategy if there is one. Below, I'll first sketch out the strategy options and then attempt to place the...

Read Post

Afghanistan: The Ends, Ways, and Means

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2012 | 2:28 PM

Insider attacks and the election bring the war in Afghanistan to the front page again. There are calls to accelerate the drawdown and calls to stay the course. One argument for staying the course is to recall the extraordinary costs already expended. What will withdrawal say to those who served...

Read Post

Republican Peace?

(1) Comments | Posted October 16, 2012 | 2:40 PM

Promoting democracy has become justification for military intervention. In a previous article, I wrote about the democratic peace theory and the questionable empirical evidence cited to support it. In this article I focus on how the framers codified the theory in the U.S. Constitution and how those checks...

Read Post

Strong on Defense

(3) Comments | Posted October 15, 2012 | 5:46 PM

As the presidential election approaches, we are likely to hear both candidates claim to be "strong on defense." Sounds good. Given today's hyper-partisanship it's worth noting that there is broad-based public support for a strong defense establishment. The economy will almost certainly dominate the 2012 election, but national security will...

Read Post

American Exceptionalism and Other Isms

(6) Comments | Posted October 4, 2012 | 4:40 PM

The notion of American exceptionalism has popped up in the last few election cycles. I thought I knew what it meant, but apparently it means quite different things to different people, including Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Chris Matthews. Whatever it means, apparently, if you don't...

Read Post

Iran, Netanyahu and the Bomb

(28) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 4:36 PM

Benjamin Netanyahu recently dismissed an unnamed American writer as setting "a new standard for human stupidity" for suggesting that a nuclear-armed Iran would make the Middle East more stable. I'm not sure which writer he's referring to, but I am aware of an article by Ken...

Read Post

In Defense of Conservative Thought

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2012 | 12:12 PM

One of the weaknesses of the two-party system is that there are only two parties, and a multitude of disparate political factions must take sides if they are to participate in governance. Both parties once contained liberals, moderates, and conservatives. Like-minded people could reach across the aisle and form issue-specific...

Read Post