The Trump Administration’s Ban on Transgender Soldiers

On Wednesday, July 26, the President Trump issued the following series of tweets announcing a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military: After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017 ….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming….. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017 ….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Continue reading The Trump Administration’s Ban on Transgender Soldiers

The 2018 Budget Proposal: Less State, More Defense

News outlets have been reviewing the Trump administration’s proposed budget for FY 2018. The proposal makes deep cuts to several federal agencies and spending categories, while also increasing funding to a select few agencies. The article linked above discusses the budget breakdown in greater depth, comparing different programs and agencies to see where the cuts fall. Notably, some programs and agencies associated with foreign policymaking receive deep cuts. Here’s a quick breakdown of the Post’s report concerning some of the key agencies and programs that deal with foreign affairs. The State Department, USAID, and various international programs housed within Treasury receive Continue reading The 2018 Budget Proposal: Less State, More Defense

On Michael Flynn’s Tenure as National Security Advisor

News broke late last night that President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor (NSA), retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, resigned his position amidst mounting concerns that he had improper and possibly illegal exchanges with Russia’s ambassador, and concerns that he was possibly compromised and vulnerable to blackmail. I’m not going to wade into these weightier issues. Flynn’s appointment to be President Trump’s NSA has long been controversial for a number of reasons, and I doubt that we’ve heard the last of this particular case as investigations into his relations with Russian officials appear to be ongoing. Instead, I was curious as to Continue reading On Michael Flynn’s Tenure as National Security Advisor

How the US military’s overseas troop deployments affect global defense spending

This post is based on the article “Regions of Hierarchy and Security: US Troop Deployments, Spatial Relations, and Defense Burdens”, by Michael Allen (Boise State University), Michael Flynn (Kansas State University), and Julie VanDusky–Allen (Boise State University), which is forthcoming in International Interactions. Since the end of World War II, the United States has deployed tens-of-thousands of military personnel overseas. In spite of their importance to foreign policy, relatively little research has focused on understanding the effects of these deployments. However, recent years have seen an increase in research on the effects of such deployments on a wide range of Continue reading How the US military’s overseas troop deployments affect global defense spending

So You’re on the Job Market, Part II: Expectations (Repost-ish)

Note: This is essentially a reposting of an earlier post from 2014. I have made a few minor tweaks to the original, but it’s more or less the same post. Anyone with different backgrounds or experience is welcome to share their advice in the comments section (provided it’s constructive).  In a previous post I outlined some of the steps graduate students can take to prepare for their time on the job market. I want to emphasize again that much of this really reflects my own set of experiences and training (i.e. three years applying for tenure track jobs at research Continue reading So You’re on the Job Market, Part II: Expectations (Repost-ish)

How Do U.S. Troop Deployments Affect Respect for Human Rights?

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Carla Martinez Machain. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Kansas State University. Can U.S. troops abroad improve respect for human rights? A recent conversation with a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who had deployed to Guinea as part of a series of U.S. military training exercises for military personnel in sub-Saharan Africa revealed that much of the training local troops receive involves human rights training, both theoretical and practical.  In a particularly amusing anecdote, he recounted going as far as having long conversations with local soldiers on why Continue reading How Do U.S. Troop Deployments Affect Respect for Human Rights?

Terrorist Groups and Reputation Building

The following is a guest post by Seden Akcinaroglu and Efe Tokdemir. Seden is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. Efe is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. This post is based on research from their recent article, “To instill fear or love: Terrorist groups and strategy of building reputation”, in the Conflict Management and Peace Science. In an earlier post dated February 24th 2016, the authors explain the data and the measurement in detail. Terror Groups and Their Actions: Multiple Messages Send to Multiple Audiences Terrorism is once again Continue reading Terrorist Groups and Reputation Building

Mapping subnational administrative areas

Between teaching classes and a couple of projects that I’ve been working on lately, I’ve been finding Stata’s spmap command to be a really useful tool for generating maps to display data. One project in particular has involved the collection of some new data for examining various developmental outcomes at the subnational level. To some extent this is new territory for me, but the idea of being able to display the geographic distribution of some of the key variables that we’re interested in was really attractive. I’ve found shapefiles for generating global maps, as well as maps of the US, but Continue reading Mapping subnational administrative areas

Terrorism vs. Terror Organizations: Violence Is Not The Only Tool

The following is a guest post by Seden Akcinaroglu and Efe Tokdemir. Seden is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. Efe is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Binghamton University. This post is based on research from their recent article, “Reputation of Terror Groups Dataset: Measuring popularity of terror groups”, in the Journal of Peace Research.  The word ‘terrorism’ often includes a negative connotation, and the events in the last few years such as the multiple explosions in Paris resulting in 130 civilian killings, or children abducted and raped by Boko Haram Continue reading Terrorism vs. Terror Organizations: Violence Is Not The Only Tool

It’s not always the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Military Deployments Edition

During the Russian invasion of Crimea, I previously mentioned that I, Julie VanDusky-Allen, and Michael Flynn, were working on a research project that examined the effect that hosting varying amounts of foreign (i.e. US) troops has on the defense spending of local and regional governments. Earlier this week, that article became available in Foreign Policy Analysis’ Early View. If you have taught game theory long enough, or if you have read enough anecdotes by people who have, one thing that you learn is that students, once they have learned and consumed the lessons from the Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD), seem to see it everywhere—even when it Continue reading It’s not always the Prisoner’s Dilemma: Military Deployments Edition