Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

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Introducing Defense in Depth

by Janine Davidson
March 6, 2014

A view of the Pentagon and Washington, DC. A view of the Pentagon and Washington, DC (Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense).


Defense in Depth is a new blog about the art, politics, and business of American military power. I will track the big issues facing policymakers as they grapple with downshifting in Afghanistan, rebalancing to Asia, and maintaining a ready and capable force structure amidst sustained fiscal pressures.

America’s defense department is at a crossroads. After over a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and no apparent end in sight in the fight against al-Qaeda, America’s armed forces are battle hardened, but tired, and their equipment is worn and in need of upgrades. “What’s next” for America’s military is hotly debated. But to understand these debates, we must delve into the art of military strategy and the changing nature of war, as well as the day to day business involved in projecting military power across the globe.

As a former Air Force cargo pilot who most recently helped craft strategy and policy in the Pentagon, I am keenly aware of the need for informed civil-military debate when deciding when and how to go to war. With an emphasis on how the military actually operates, I will focus on the facts, theories, and politics underlying the use of military force. I hope to inform the debate regarding how to structure and pay for America’s armed forces, how to project military power strategically, effectively, and efficiently, and how to use lethal force wisely while keeping the promise to those who serve.

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  • Posted by Bill Cherry

    As a first consideration:

    Recently we have learned that populations, liberated from their oppressive regimes, may not — as we had hoped — quickly, easily and, mostly on their own, adopt ways of life and ways of governance which are more compatible with the wants, needs and desires of the West.

    This has caused us to, once again, seek to achieve our desired ends (states and societies transformed more along modern western political, economic and social lines) via the regimes. (Our instruments of power and persuasion being better suited to “bend” regimes — rather than populations — in this desired direction.)

    As evidence of this recent change, we note that:

    a. Diplomacy (which recognizes the priority of the regime) is once again in the lead and that

    b. Our military forces are now used to (via BPC, etc.) help regimes stand against populations within and outside of various countries that oppose state and societal westernization.

    Should we consider this recent change (casting our lot with the regimes rather than with the populations) a wise move?

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