Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

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Weekend Reader: Elsewhere in the World…Ukraine, the A-10, and That Future Battleground No One’s Talking About

by Janine Davidson
June 20, 2014

ukraine-rebel-crisis-separatist-crimea An armed pro-Russian separatist stands guard in Seversk (Siversk), located near the town of Krasny Liman, Donetsk region, June 19, 2014. (Shamil Zhumatov/ Courtesy Reuters)


Ukraine is quickly becoming “the foggiest of wars.” Julia Ioffe, embedding for a week with pro-Russian separatists, reports on the confused dynamics, motivations, and even basic facts behind the “foggy” war. More broadly, direct evidence emerges that the Russian government has provided the separatists with tanks and other military hardware. In light of recent events and with no clear message from NATO, some Ukrainians argue an invasion is yet to come.

House Appropriations becomes first congressional committee to vote to divest the A-10 Warthog. In the past week, there have been numerous new arguments both for retiring the Warthog and for keeping it flying. Elsewhere, a look back at the procurement struggle surrounding the defunct A7-F “Strikefighter” offers lessons for the current fight.

Africa: “the battleground of the future.” This, at least, is the assessment of Brig. Gen. James B. Linder, head of Special Operations forces in U.S. Africa Command. The New York Times offers an in depth look at the United States’ quiet, increasingly complex struggle to stem a range of emerging terrorist groups based across Africa.

On Iraq, General Petraeus breaks his silenceHis stance is clear: “This [the situation in Iraq] cannot be the United States being the air force for Shia militias, or a Shia on Sunni Arab fight.” Meanwhile, testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey reiterate that the United States had no serious alternative to withdrawal following Prime Minister Maliki’s failure to renew the Status of Forces Agreement.

FBI was likely involved in capture of Benghazi ringleader—using a team that’s looking more and more like dedicated Special ForcesWhile encouraging news, this is also reflective of a trend of increasing militarization of U.S. domestic law enforcement.

A tricky path toward the militarization of spaceA new Russian and Chinese draft treaty that would ban space-based weapons has been opposed by the United States due to lack of effective verification measures. CFR’s own Micah Zenko recently examined the potential for international escalation posed by space-based assets and counterspace capabilities.

Weekend Reader Bonus: Jordanian and U.S. fighter jet crews in a race to take off fastest. Who wins? Watch.

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