Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

Farewell for Now

by Janine Davidson Tuesday, March 22, 2016
The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) transits the Gulf of Aden on October 23, 2014. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt/U.S. Navy Flickr) The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) transits the Gulf of Aden on October 23, 2014. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt/U.S. Navy Flickr)

On March 17, I was confirmed by the United States Senate to become the thirty-second under secretary of the Navy. It is an honor to be chosen to help guide the Navy through challenging times ahead. As the daughter of a Navy Supply Corps officer of thirty-five years, it also holds deep personal meaning: the chance to join the leadership of a service that has left such a strong mark on both myself and my family. I’m grateful to President Obama and eager to get started.

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The Moral Cost of Torture

by Robert A. Newson Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Demonstrator Maboud Ebrahimzadeh is held down during a simulation of waterboarding outside the Justice Department in Washington November 5, 2007. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters) Demonstrator Maboud Ebrahimzadeh is held down during a simulation of waterboarding outside the Justice Department in Washington November 5, 2007. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)

By Robert Newson

When I am asked about torture or, more frequently, when I feel the need to speak out against torture, I don’t talk about the fact that it doesn’t work (it doesn’t), nor the fact that it contributes to the enemy’s narrative and recruiting (it does). Instead, I talk about its gravest cost—what it does to the Americans whom we ask to conduct torture and what it does to the character and fiber of an entire nation that embraces it.

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As China’s Military Modernizes, Woody Island Deployments Are Just the Beginning

by Lauren Dickey Monday, February 22, 2016
Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China, on their armoured vehicles equipped with anti-tank missiles, arrive at Tiananmen Square during the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, September 3, 2015 (Damir Sagolj/Courtesy Reuters) Soldiers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China, on their armoured vehicles equipped with anti-tank missiles, arrive at Tiananmen Square during the military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, in Beijing, China, September 3, 2015 (Damir Sagolj/Courtesy Reuters)

By Lauren Dickey

China continued to make waves in the South China Sea last week with its deployment of surface-to-air missile launchers and a radar system on the contested Woody Island. While this development undoubtedly challenges both the claims of littoral states and the U.S. regional presence, China’s actions should be thought of as part of a much broader agenda aimed at modernizing the capabilities and operations of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Beyond China’s posturing lies an important process of structural and organizational reforms that will shape the war-fighting capabilities of the PLA for the decade ahead. While a lot remains unknown, President Xi Jinping’s planned comprehensive reforms of the PLA appear to target the development of a leaner, stronger Chinese fighting force, an enhanced power projection capability, and an even greater focus on deterring threats along the periphery.

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FY17 Coast Guard Request Strikes Balance Between Rebuilding the Fleet and Managing Risk

by Ronald A. LaBrec Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Polar Star, the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, completes ice drills in the Arctic in this July 3, 2013 handout photo.  (Petty Officer 3rd Class Rachel French/U.S. Coast Guard/Courtesy Reuters) Polar Star, the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, completes ice drills in the Arctic in this July 3, 2013 handout photo. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Rachel French/U.S. Coast Guard/Courtesy Reuters)

The hot-off-the-presses fiscal year 2017 presidential budget request includes a $10.3 billion top line request for the Coast Guard and several areas of progress for Coast Guard modernization. Despite record funding for acquisition, construction and improvement (AC&I) of capital assets in 2016, the FY17 request continues a general trend of lower AC&I funding that began in 2013. The investment in several key shipbuilding programs, however, is important as the service focuses on meeting its missions with an ancient fleet. The majority of the service’s offshore ships are between thirty and fifty years old. While most have gone through major service-life extension projects they are reaching the end of their useful lifespan and are becoming increasingly unreliable and costly to maintain.

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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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