Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

Janine Davidson examines the art, politics, and business of American military power.

The World Next Week: Gulf States React to the Iran Deal; Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Invasion of Kuwait

by Janine Davidson Friday, July 31, 2015
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, pictured, accompanied by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, speaks at a joint news conference at the Chief of Mission Residence, Paris, France, Friday, May 8, 2015, following a meeting with the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council. (Courtesy Reuters/Andrew Harnik/Pool U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, pictured, accompanied by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, speaks at a joint news conference at the Chief of Mission Residence, Paris, France, Friday, May 8, 2015, following a meeting with the foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council. (Courtesy Reuters/Andrew Harnik/Pool

I had the opportunity to appear again on CFR’s “The World Next Week,” a weekly podcast in which I served as co-host alongside Robert McMahon. The whole episode is worth a listen. Among other things, we discussed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s reaction to the Iran deal, the twenty-fifth anniversary of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and the cumulative cost of U.S. operations against the self-declared Islamic State. Read more »

The End of Mullah Omar; Turkey’s Complex New Front in the Anti-ISIS Fight

by Janine Davidson Friday, July 31, 2015
An armed man escorts others carrying the coffins of the victims of Monday's bomb attack in Suruc, during a funeral ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, July 22, 2015. (Murad Seze/Courtesy Reuters) An armed man escorts others carrying the coffins of the victims of Monday's bomb attack in Suruc, during a funeral ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey, July 22, 2015. (Murad Seze/Courtesy Reuters)

After a long hiatus, Defense in Depth is back, wrapping up an eventful week:

Mullah Omar, the elusive and now erstwhile Taliban leader, has been dead for years, as the Taliban has now confirmed to western media. The BBC originally broke the story on Wednesday, citing sources that claimed Omar died in a Pakistani hospital in 2013. While Omar has been incorrectly reported dead many times before, multiple corroborating statements suggest that this time is for real. His successor has already been appointed; observers are concerned Omar’s death could spell the end of a negotiated peace with the Taliban. While it remains to be seen whether the Taliban will splinter in wake of this news, so far, the insurgents’ summer offensive against the Afghan government continues unabated.

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Greatest Hits: Untangling the Circular Logic of America’s Torture Apologists

by Janine Davidson Friday, July 24, 2015
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (L) listens as President George W. Bush makes remarks about the U.S. defense budget after meeting with military leaders at the Pentagon in Washington, November 29, 2007. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (L) listens as President George W. Bush makes remarks about the U.S. defense budget after meeting with military leaders at the Pentagon in Washington, November 29, 2007. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

Defense in Depth will be on “summer slowdown” mode until July 22. In lieu of the Weekend Reader, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: my response to Vice President Dick Cheney’s defense of enhanced interrogation techniques, originally published December 16, 2014.

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Greatest Hits: Before Calling for More U.S. Troops, Let’s Figure Out What Their Mission Is

by Robert A. Newson Wednesday, July 22, 2015
U.S. soldiers from D Troop of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment walk on a hill after finishing with a training exercise near forward operating base Gamberi in the Laghman province of Afghanistan December 30, 2014. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. soldiers from D Troop of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment walk on a hill after finishing with a training exercise near forward operating base Gamberi in the Laghman province of Afghanistan December 30, 2014. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters)

By Robert Newson

Defense in Depth will be on “summer slowdown” mode until July 24. In lieu of the Weekend Reader, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: Robert Newson assesses policy options in light of the deteriorating security environment in Yemen, originally published January 29, 2015.

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Greatest Hits: How Serious Is the Rebalance? U.S. Military Record Tells (Part of) the Story

by Janine Davidson and Lauren Dickey Monday, July 20, 2015
The Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) participates in a simulated straits transit. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher B. Janik/U.S. Navy/Flickr) The Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) participates in a simulated straits transit. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher B. Janik/U.S. Navy/Flickr)

By Janine Davidson and Lauren Dickey

Defense in Depth will be on “summer slowdown” mode until July 22. In lieu of the Weekend Reader, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: Lauren Dickey and I provide an overview of U.S. military elements of the Asia-Pacific rebalance, originally published April 16, 2015.

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Greatest Hits: The Warrior Ethos at Risk: H.R. McMaster’s Remarkable Veterans Day Speech

by Janine Davidson Thursday, July 16, 2015
Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities an Integration Center and deputy commanding general of futures for the U.S. Army Training Doctrine Command, speaks at Georgetown University's Veterans Day ceremony. (Georgetown University Office of Communications) Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities an Integration Center and deputy commanding general of futures for the U.S. Army Training Doctrine Command, speaks at Georgetown University's Veterans Day ceremony. (Georgetown University Office of Communications)

Defense in Depth will be on “summer slowdown” mode until July 20. In lieu of the Weekend Reader, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: H.R. McMaster’s powerful Veterans Day speech, originally published November 18, 2014.

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Greatest Hits: How No-Fly Zones Work

by Clint Hinote Tuesday, July 14, 2015
F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Wing in Tucson fly over an eastern Arizona training range April 8, 2015. (Master Sgt. Jeffrey Allen/U.S. Air Force Flickr) F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Wing in Tucson fly over an eastern Arizona training range April 8, 2015. (Master Sgt. Jeffrey Allen/U.S. Air Force Flickr)

Defense in Depth will be on “summer slowdown” mode until July 20. In lieu of the Weekend Reader, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: Clint Hinote’s great explainer on how no-fly zones work, originally published May 5, 2015.

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Greatest Hits: Everything You Need to Understand the Military Compensation Debate

by Janine Davidson and Jesse Sloman Friday, July 10, 2015
Snapshot of a graph depicting the growth of per-soldier costs over time. The cost of an active duty U.S. service member nearly doubled between 1998 and 2014. (Emerson Brooking/Defense in Depth, Council on Foreign Relations) Snapshot of a graph depicting the growth of per-soldier costs over time. The cost of an active duty U.S. service member nearly doubled between 1998 and 2014. (Emerson Brooking/Defense in Depth, Council on Foreign Relations)

Defense in Depth will be on “summer slowdown” mode until July 20. In lieu of the Weekend Reader, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: Jesse Sloman and I unpack the military healthcare and compensation debate, originally published January 28, 2015.

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In Revised USAID Policy, A New Model for Civil-Military Cooperation

by Janine Davidson and Zachary Austin Wednesday, July 8, 2015
American soldiers carry relief supplies for families affected by Typhoon Durian from a cargo plane after its arrival at the Manila International airport December 7, 2006.  (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters) American soldiers carry relief supplies for families affected by Typhoon Durian from a cargo plane after its arrival at the Manila International airport December 7, 2006. (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters)

By Janine Davidson and Zachary Austin

From stabilization operations in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to humanitarian activities across the globe, today’s military is routinely called on to perform missions removed from the conventional battlefield. In these tasks, the military rarely acts alone; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is often close at hand. USAID has announced a new policy on cooperating with the Department of Defense (DOD) that is poised to realign their relations with DOD, redefining a partnership critical in managing today’s conflicts.

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Five Key Takeaways from the New U.S. National Military Strategy

by Janine Davidson Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, aboard a CH-47 traveling from Bagram to Kabul, Afghanistan, for meeting with ISAF, CENTCOM, State Dept. and Afghanistan military leadership Aug. 20, 2012. (D. Myles Cullen/U.S. Army Flickr) Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, aboard a CH-47 traveling from Bagram to Kabul, Afghanistan, for meeting with ISAF, CENTCOM, State Dept. and Afghanistan military leadership Aug. 20, 2012. (D. Myles Cullen/U.S. Army Flickr)

General Martin Dempsey, outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has just released a new, remarkably readable National Military Strategy (NMS). This document, alongside the President’s National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Secretary of Defense’s National Defense Strategy (NDS), forms the three pillars  of top-level U.S. defense strategy. The NMS offers the Chairman’s professional assessment of the global threat environment, which he describes as “the most unpredictable I have seen in forty years of service.” While the entire document is worth a read, here are five big takeaways from the new strategy:

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