Daniel Gouré, a close associate of a number of George W. Bush administration hardline foreign policy figures and frequent commentator on defense issues, is vice president of the Lexington Institute, a conservative, defense-oriented think tank, where he heads the national security program. His frequent calls for expanding missile defense and the U.S. military closely reflects the mission of the Lexington Institute, which proclaims on its website: "By promoting America's ability to project power around the globe we not only defend the homeland of democracy, but also sustain the international stability in which other free-market democracies can thrive." Gouré has supported the work of a number of neoconservative outlets, including the Project for the New American Century and Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, where he serves as an advisory board member.
In the December 2002 issue of Policy Review, published by the Hoover Institution, Gouré highlighted the role he saw for nuclear weapons in future U.S. security calculations: "In preparing to confront ... 21st century threats, the United States will need a full range of military capabilities, including strategic nuclear forces. Although the size of the nuclear arsenal continues to decline, nuclear weapons may actually become more important to American security. ... The United States must have a strategic nuclear force posture that is large (relative to the size of the anticipated arsenals of other states), responsive, flexible, and credible."
In April 2007, Gouré praised the Bush administration's withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty as a "monumental step over vociferous objections." According to Gouré, the ABM Treaty was "no longer relevant or enforceable, and ... it was unduly restricting the Department of Defense's ability to develop and deploy effective missile defenses." Still, Gouré lamented that the administration "went on to squander the opportunity" by failing to create a viable missile defense system that "can protect the homeland." Gouré called on the Missile Defense Agency to invest more in the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) program to be deployed on U.S. naval vessels ("Want Real Missile Defense Soon? Put KEI to Sea," April 23, 2007).
Gouré sees missile defense as an important element in U.S. and Israeli efforts to prosecute the "war on terror," pushing roles for both KEI systems and the Tactical High-Energy Laser (THEL) missile defense. During Israel's 2006 Lebanon War, Gouré suggested that the THEL program, which had been left in abeyance after a joint project of the U.S. Army and the Israeli Ministry of Defense, should be taken down from the shelf. "It is evident by now that the traditional Western superiority in conventional military forces is all but neutralized in the face of the strategic challenge posed by terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas armed with short-range rockets. ... Continuing on the current path of employing massive conventional firepower against a foe that shields itself behind women and children is a self-defeating strategy. The West needs its own asymmetric approach to the threat of terrorist rockets. It needs to deploy advanced defenses against rockets and missiles of all ranges" (" Defeating Hezbollah: An Alternative to Bombs," July 31, 2006) .
Gouré's vision for U.S. military dominance extends beyond the realm of mere technological superiority. In April 2007, Gouré acknowledged that in "the next year or two" the U.S. military is "simply going to at some point have a problem with recruiting the next generation of soldiers, active or reserve" (" Pressure on Personnel Forces United States to Extend Tour of Duty ," Australian Broadcasting Corporation, April 12, 2007). A few months earlier, in December 2006, shortly before Bush's troop surge announcement, Gouré called for an expansion of the army by 100,000 troops: "The nation needs an active-duty Army of 600,000 well-equipped soldiers" ("The Nation Needs a Bigger Army," December 20, 2006).
In April 2006, Gouré came out in support of Donald Rumsfeld, who was at the time besieged by calls for his resignation as secretary of defense. "Self confidence," Gouré said, "is an important weapon in our arsenal" in the "long war against religious fanaticism" ("Rumsfeld Should Stay as Head of Defense," All Things Considered, National Public Radio, April 13, 2006). Rumsfeld, Gouré said, "will not allow human frailties, particularly his own, from standing in the way of efforts to protect our nation and defeat our enemies." In December 2006, after Rumsfeld's resignation, Gouré warned against a return to "caution," citing "audacity" as a political virtue lost with the resignation of Rumsfeld ("Where Is the Audacity in Today's Leaders?" All Things Considered, National Public Radio, December 1, 2006).
Some observers question Gouré's role as a commentator on major news networks, including on NBC and National Public Radio, because of his ties to defense contractors and the Pentagon. In December 2005, the left-wing media watchdog, Media Matters, objected to Gouré 's commentary for NPR, claiming that NPR had failed to disclose his connections with the Bush administration and its defense establishment.
He has worked with SRS Technologies, a defense contractor that received a $6 million contract for the Missile Defense Agency in 2004 (Asia Times, May 25, 2004). Gouré has also been an analyst with the Science Applications International Corporation, a defense contractor with $8 billion in contracts in Iraq. According to a Vanity Fair article, SAIC provides "brainpower" to defense operations in the form of "expert" consultants. SAIC has a higher return on revenue than ExxonMobil (Bartlett and Steele, "Washington's $8 Billion Shadow," Vanity Fair, March 2007).
Gouré sees large defense contractors as an essential part of modern warfare. In 2004, defending Halliburton, Gouré complained that "They [Halliburton] aren't getting scrutiny, they're getting grief" ("Halliburton's Troubles Mount," Newsday.com, February 10, 2004). In 2007, Gouré said: " [Halliburton] is a classic, global, heavily mechanized, and highly mobile company. ... You are not going to be able to conduct a modern war without them" ("The Halliburton Connection," The Week, March 30, 2007).
On Iraq, Gouré has been at times full of praise and at others deeply critical. In defense of his political "audacity" argument, Gouré said: "Bush decided on military action [in Iraq] despite lack of consensus in the international community. ... No terrorist organization has ever been defeated by reliance on civil procedure and peacetime rules. Bush understood this. That's what made him so audacious" ("Where Is the Audacity in Today's Leaders?"). In April 2006, Gouré suggested that the formation of a new Iraqi government could afford a "second liberation of Baghdad" (Sara Baxter, "Freeing Baghdad—Again," The Australian, April 18, 2006).
By July 2006, however, Gouré was warning of civil war: "The first effort has failed miserably because of a lack of adequate resources and troops and U.S. forces ... this is no longer about insurgents, but about militias. We are in an incipient civil war" (Julian Borger, Guardian, July 26, 2006). "Does that mean that you can't win this thing [the Iraq War]? This is winnable in about 10 years," Gouré told the Associated Press. "But you could lose it, Iraq could descend into chaos and become a problem for everybody in about an hour and a half."
"What is the one thing that we've learned about the global war on terrorism? The one unalterable thing is that it takes numbers" (Kudlow and Company, CNBC, April 19, 2007). But Gouré goes on to explain that the problems in Iraq do not all stem from a mere lack of troop strength. Treating "the Sunni parts of Iraq, not as liberated territory but as conquered territory," "the dismissal of the Iraqi army," and "deep debaathification created a really strong incentive, particularly amongst Sunnis to oppose the intervention. You could've had double the number and it would not have prevented that process from starting."
Gouré has participated in several events at the conservative Heritage Foundation, usually speaking on military-related topics. In May 2006 he was a panelist at a talk entitled "An Assessment of the U.S. Military and its Global Impact"; in March 2006 he spoke on "Avoiding the Hollow Force: Maintaining a Trained and Ready Military."