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. In ON WAR AND POLITICS: The Battlefield Inside Washington’s Beltway, Punaro presents stories from his personal and public life—from sobering accounts of his days in combat in Vietnam to colorful anecdotes about political luminaries such as John McCain, the Clintons, the Presidents Bush, Colin Powell, Robert Gates, and Ash Carter; from revelations about backroom politics in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill to insights into how decisions are really made inside the Beltway. Punaro draws lessons from his military, government, and industry service to propose how we might attack the serious legislative and fiscal problems facing our country, especially the military.
As someone who has spent most of his professional career trying to reform the Pentagon—namely the wasteful and ineffective spending of the Department of Defense—Punaro is unsparing in his criticisms of both Republicans and Democrats and the partisanship he believes is having devastating consequences on the readiness and warfighting capacity of our armed forces. He presents radical proposals for much-needed reforms to military spending, including cutting entitlements and drastically reducing DoD’s overhead and non-combat related spending.
ON WAR AND POLITICS is a richly-drawn, intimate portrait of a man who has devoted his life in service of his country, one with significant lessons for today’s leaders and civilians alike.