Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

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Weekend Reader: the WWI Centennial, the Future of War, and the A-10 Warthog

by Janine Davidson
August 1, 2014

wwi-centennial Yeoman Serjeant Bob Loughlin walks among the art installation "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" marking the anniversary of World War I at the Tower of London, July 28, 2014. The evolving installation by artist Paul Cummins will be formed of 888,246 ceramic poppies, to honor military fatalities during WWI. (Neil Hall/Courtesy Reuters)


World War I began July 28, 1914—100 years ago this week. The articles (and occasionally grasping historical parallels) have been coming fast and furious ever since. I especially recommend three. The Washington Post features an incredible gallery of WWI landscapes, then and now. Graham Allison in The Atlantic offers a clear-headed assessment of the similarities—and differences—between the conditions of 1914 and 2014. Finally, Stephen Walt in Foreign Policy breaks down the most significant lesson of WWI. He argues that historians focus too much on why the war began…and not enough why it lasted so long.

General Dempsey pens a level-headed assessment of organizational challenges facing the future U.S. military. He argues, as many others have, that the future of war is complex and networked—and that effective American institutions must be similarly agile. In a separate story that ties perfectly to this vision, this week General Amos—in one of his last acts as Commandant—lays the foundation for MARSOC as a full-featured career path within the Marine Corps.

The A-10 is back in the news. General Mike Hostage, Air Combat Command commander, states that the A-10 no longer meets the requirements for deployment in the Middle East. He names the F-35 as the airframe’s logical successor—though as Kelley Sayler notes in The Best Defense, the F-35 continues to have plenty problems of its own. Meanwhile, at least one A-10 has a new and unexpected mission set: chasing tornadoes. If Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton had an A-10, this movie might have gone very differently:

And in case if you missed it, First Lady Michelle Obama pens a compelling op ed on veteran homelessness. She lauds the 182 local leaders who have now pledged to end veteran homelessness in their communities by 2015.

Weekend Reader bonus: videos and pictures of RIMPAC are out, and they’re inspiring. One awesome video of the 42-ship flotilla below.

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