Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

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Weekend Reader: The Tragedy of MH17, Iron Dome, and Much-Needed Reform For Those MIA

by Janine Davidson
July 18, 2014

iron-dome An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod July 8, 2014. (Baz Ratner, Courtesy Reuters)


MH17: simply a tragedy295 airline passengers are dead and all sides are deflecting blame in one of the worst disasters in aviation history. Theories are flying as to the origin and employment of the surface-to-air missile that shot MH17 down: read my own analysis here.

Demystifying the technology behind Iron DomeIn the past two weeks, the Iron Dome missile defense platform has emerged as Israel’s most lauded technology, intercepting incoming projectiles with a high degree of accuracy at roughly $20,000 per interception. Is it worth the money? The U.S. Congress certainly thinks soand is funding it to the tune of an additional $175 million dollars.

Meanwhile, as the Israeli Defense Force initiates a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, Fred Kaplan at Slate provides a critical analysis of long-term Israeli strategy.

Troubles plague the effort to recover those deemed Missing in Action. This is the conclusion of a new Inspector General investigation, as reported by Pro Publica. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced much-needed reform in this process, yet the changes will not take place until 2015and this same effort has been tried and failed before.

Does the Pentagon need to buy less—and invest more? This is the argument of former Chief of Staff of the Air Force Norton Schwartz, who argues that acquisitions reform must shift focus to research and development. In the long run, he says, the lack of incentives for new technology development will lead to a dearth of innovation across the U.S. military.

Weekend Reader Bonus: check out this Eurofighter Typhoon from a pilot’s perspective!

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