Barry Watts

Barry Watts


Prior to joining CSBA in 2002, Barry Watts headed the Office of Program Analysis and Evaluation at the Defense Department (2001-2002). Following retirement from the Air Force in 1986 until 2001, Mr. Watts was with the Northrop Grumman Analysis Center, which he directed from 1997 to 2001.

During his Air Force career, Mr. Watts flew a combat tour in Vietnam in F-4s, taught logic and philosophy at the U.S. Air Force Academy, served two tours in the Office of Net Assessment, and headed the Red Team in the Air Staff’s Project Checkmate.

Mr. Watts has written on a wide variety of military topics, including a number of CSBA monographs: Nuclear-Conventional Firebreaks and the Nuclear Taboo (2013); The Defense Industrial Base (2011, co-authored with Todd Harrison); The Revolution in Military Affairs (2011); Regaining Strategic Competence (2008, co-authored with Andrew Krepinevich); The Case for Long-Range Strike (2008); The Past and Future of the Defense Industrial Base (2008); U.S. Combat Training, Operational Art, and Strategic Competence: Problems and Opportunities (2008); Six Decades of Guided Munitions and Battle Networks (2007); U.S. Fighter Modernization (2007, co-authored with Steve Kosiak); Long-Range Strike: Imperatives, Urgency and Options (2005); and The Military Use of Space: A Diagnostic Assessment (2001).

He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.

Author Bibliography for Barry Watts

Precision Strike: An Evolution

November 2, 2013 • By Barry WattsAnalysis

Since the 1991 Persian Gulf War, precision strike weapons systems have become ever more central to the American way of war. Starting in the 1970s, the possibility of integrating precision-guided…

Sustaining the U.S. Defense Industrial Base as a Strategic Asset

September 18, 2013 • By Barry Watts

Since World War II, the Department of Defense (DoD) has been able to count on America’s defense industrial base (DIB) always being ready to design and produce the world-class weaponry…

The Evolution of Precision Strike

August 6, 2013 • By Barry Watts

The proliferation of precision-strike capabilities may soon challenge the U.S. military’s ability to project power overseas and alter America’s role in the world, argues a new report published by the…

Nuclear-Conventional Firebreaks and the Nuclear Taboo

April 18, 2013 • By Barry Watts

This study offers insights into the motivations of countries to acquire nuclear weapons, and how those countries view the role of nuclear weapons in their military and national security strategy.

Can the Aging U.S. Air Force Modernize?

September 26, 2012 • By Barry Watts and James G. RocheAnalysis

In an era of fiscal austerity, the investment decisions the U.S. military services make in the coming years must give others pause as they consider military competition or conflict with the United States. For the Air Force, this means preserving a highly credible capability to strike any targets anywhere on the globe while recapitalizing its aging inventory of combat aircraft.