Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

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Weekend Reader: In Memoriam, the Dogs of War, and Beyond the QDR

by Janine Davidson
May 23, 2014

memorial day weekend reader A member of the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) carries flags during a "Flags-In" ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington May 22, 2014. The soldiers will place American flags in front of more than 220,000 graves for the Memorial Day. (Kevin Lamarque/Courtesy Reuters)


May 26 is Memorial Day. More than 8,000 coalition troops have given their lives in thirteen years of hard fighting. May 26 is a day to honor them, and the 843,000 fallen Americans  who have come before them.

The U.S. dogs of war…and their role on the most dangerous battlefields on the planet. National Geographic runs a superb feature on the training and role of U.S. war dogs, deployed to great effect in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although the dogs are often regarded with a degree of emotional distance—after all, they are designated first and foremost as (very enthusiastic) pieces of equipment—as time goes on, the bond between dog and handler becomes subconscious and very, very powerful.

The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review lacks specifics—and glances over painful new budgetary realitiesThis is the argument of Nora Bensahel in a bold new policy brief from CNAS. Tom Ricks takes to her core argument (that the Pentagon must be more forward-thinking), but thinks her prescriptions on the best way to maintain the U.S. technological edge fall short. Bensahel, in turn, fires back.

The new FM 3-24 is out. Take a look. Responses are all over the map.

How to escape from North Korea? Reading this new feature from the Times of Israel would be a good start. The article maps out the remarkable “underground railroad” that shuttles North Korean refugees from the Chinese border to the relative sanctuary that lies beyond it. It also categorizes the many dangers that these refugees face along the way.

Weekend Reader bonus: Admiral McRaven speaks to UT-Austin…and brings down the house. This is how you do a commencement speech.


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