Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

The Invisible Cost of Combat Readiness

by Janine Davidson Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Corporal Derek Detzler, a bugler with the 2nd Marine Division Band, performs Taps during the 32nd Beirut Memorial Observance Ceremony in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Oct. 23, 2015. (Cpl. Todd F. Michalek/U.S. Marine Corps Flickr) Corporal Derek Detzler, a bugler with the 2nd Marine Division Band, performs Taps during the 32nd Beirut Memorial Observance Ceremony in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Oct. 23, 2015. (Cpl. Todd F. Michalek/U.S. Marine Corps Flickr)

Last night, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for twelve Marines lost off the Hawaii coast, missing since Thursday evening. It was a nighttime training mission: according to an eyewitness, two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters collided in a fireball, plummeting into choppy seas. Rescuers have recovered all four of the emergency rafts, but no survivors.

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Now Is the Time to Strengthen NATO’s Resolve

by Michael R. Fenzel and Aaron Picozzi Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend a meeting on Russian air force's activity in Syria at the national defence control center in Moscow, Russia, November 17, 2015.  (Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin/Courtesy Reuters) Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend a meeting on Russian air force's activity in Syria at the national defence control center in Moscow, Russia, November 17, 2015. (Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin/Courtesy Reuters)

By Michael Fenzel and Aaron Picozzi

The November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris and late October bombing of Russian Metrojet flight 9268 have not only crystallized the threat of the self-declared Islamic State to the world, but also created an unlikely opportunity to open a dialogue with Russia. However, these tragedies do not change the long-term threat Russia poses to stability in Europe. Russia’s encroachment in Eastern Europe is a threat to the security and stability of the continent and tests the resolve of NATO in an unprecedented way. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent military intervention in Syria is further evidence of his ambition to broaden Russian influence and capitalize on regional instability.

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Cold War II? Not Yet, But the Temperature Is Falling

by Sean R. Liedman Monday, November 23, 2015
Russian servicemen, dressed in historical uniforms, hold a barrage balloon as they take part in a military parade rehearsal in Red Square near the Kremlin in central Moscow, Russia, November 6, 2015. (Maxim Shemetov/Courtesy Reuters) Russian servicemen, dressed in historical uniforms, hold a barrage balloon as they take part in a military parade rehearsal in Red Square near the Kremlin in central Moscow, Russia, November 6, 2015. (Maxim Shemetov/Courtesy Reuters)

“The assault on free institutions is world-wide now, and in the context of the present polarization of power a defeat of free institutions anywhere is a defeat everywhere.” – NSC-68, April 14, 1950

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U.S. Coast Guard Unveils a New Model for Cooperation Atop the World

by Ronald A. LaBrec Monday, November 2, 2015
The Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks through ice in the Arctic circle, July 14, 2015. This image was taken by an aerostat, a self-contained, compact platform that can deploy multiple sensor payloads and other devices into the air. (U.S. Coast Guard/Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System) The Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks through ice in the Arctic circle, July 14, 2015. This image was taken by an aerostat, a self-contained, compact platform that can deploy multiple sensor payloads and other devices into the air. (U.S. Coast Guard/Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System)

The United States Coast Guard announced Friday the creation of a new international forum for cooperation in the Arctic. Signed at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, the new Arctic Coast Guard Forum will include coast guards or similar agencies from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the United States.

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An Extraordinary Gathering: Debriefing the 2015 Annual Conference of the Association of the U.S. Army

by Michael Fenzel Friday, October 23, 2015
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter delivers remarks at The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) 2015 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington October 14, 2015. (Carlos Barria/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter delivers remarks at The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) 2015 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington October 14, 2015. (Carlos Barria/Courtesy Reuters)

 By Michael Fenzel

“Guns and tanks and planes are nothing unless there is a solid spirit, a solid heart, and great productiveness behind it.”

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With Naval Strikes into Syria, Russia Is Now Messaging with Missiles

by Sean R. Liedman Thursday, October 8, 2015
On October 7, Russian warships launched twenty-eight cruise missiles into Syria from the landlocked Caspian Sea. (Russian Ministry of Defense/YouTube) On October 7, Russian warships launched twenty-eight cruise missiles into Syria from the landlocked Caspian Sea. (Russian Ministry of Defense/YouTube)

By Sean Liedman

The Russian Navy’s initial firing of twenty-six cruise missiles from ships in the Caspian Sea into Syria yesterday generated little effect on the Syrian battlefield—but that may not be the primary objective. Russian President Vladimir Putin capitalized on this opportunity to showcase this new sea-based, long range precision strike capability as a strategic messaging tool aimed at a variety of audiences: Read more »

Six Questions That Should Now Guide U.S. Defense Planning in Syria and Iraq

by Emerson Brooking Monday, October 5, 2015
Russian Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack planes perform during the Aviadarts military aviation competition at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia, August 2, 2015. (Maxim Shemetov/Courtesy Reuters) Russian Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack planes perform during the Aviadarts military aviation competition at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia, August 2, 2015. (Maxim Shemetov/Courtesy Reuters)

By Emerson Brooking

Into one of the most complex conflicts in modern history, Russia has leapt seemingly overnight. Russian President Vladimir Putin has waded in like the Donald Trump of geopolitics: brash, disruptive, and unbowed by international criticism. This combination, fresh fuel for the Syrian tinderbox, will drastically raise the risk of military miscalculation.

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Vladimir Putin’s Naval Ambitions Have Only Begun

by Sean R. Liedman Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during celebrations for Navy Day as it rains in Baltiysk, Kaliningrad region, Russia, July 26, 2015. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin, Courtesy Reuters) Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during celebrations for Navy Day as it rains in Baltiysk, Kaliningrad region, Russia, July 26, 2015. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin, Courtesy Reuters)

By Sean Liedman

Defense in Depth is proud to welcome Captain Sean R. Liedman, U.S. Navy, who will be serving as a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations for the 2015-2016 term. Today, he assesses recent shifts in Russian naval planning and deployment, and considers what might come next.

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Understanding the Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Precision Strike

by Zachary Austin Wednesday, September 16, 2015
A B-2 Spirit flies into position June 11, 2014, during a refueling mission over the North Atlantic Ocean. The B-2 is conducting training flights and regional familiarization in the U.S. European Command area of operations. The B-2 is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. (Sgt. Paul Villanueva/U.S. Air Force Flickr) A B-2 Spirit flies into position June 11, 2014, during a refueling mission over the North Atlantic Ocean. The B-2 is conducting training flights and regional familiarization in the U.S. European Command area of operations. The B-2 is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. (Sgt. Paul Villanueva/U.S. Air Force Flickr)

By Zachary Austin

On average, it took 1,000 sorties of B-17 bombers dropping nearly two-and-a-half million pounds of “dumb” bombs to successfully knock out a significant Nazi target in 1944. By contrast, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a B-2 bomber could reliably achieve the same result with a single 2,000 pound “smart” bomb—and then go on to strike up to fifteen more targets in a single mission.

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