Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

Best of 2014: The ISIS Propaganda Machine Is Horrifying and Effective. How Does It Work?

by Emerson Brooking Wednesday, December 31, 2014
This undated screen capture of an Islamic State propaganda video sees a masked jihadi standing before a computer generated map of IS territorial control. (Source: Counter Jihad Report)

Defense in Depth will be on hiatus until January 5, 2015. In lieu of new updates, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: Emerson Brooking’s assessment of ISIS’ sophisticated online propaganda machine, originally published August 21, 2014.

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Best of 2014: Understanding What Air Strikes Can Do—and What They Can’t

by Clint Hinote Tuesday, December 30, 2014
A U.S Air Force KC-10 Extender refuels an F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft prior to strike operations in Syria in this September 26, 2014 photo released on September 29, 2014. These aircraft were part of a strike package that was engaging ISIL targets in Syria. (Russ Scalf/Courtesy Reuters)

Defense in Depth will be on hiatus until January 5, 2015. In lieu of new updates, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: Colonel Clint Hinote’s discussion of the utility of air strikes with regard to the campaign against ISIS, originally published September 30, 2014.

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Best of 2014: If the Air Force Has Such a Good Argument for Divesting the A-10, Why Is No One Buying It?

by Janine Davidson Monday, December 29, 2014
a10 divestment U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft are serviced on the flight line at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina in this handout photograph taken on December 2, 2005. A U.S. Congressional panel has rejected the military's proposal to retire the entire fleet of A-10 close-air support planes, as the annual defense policy bill continues to make its way through the House of Representatives. The White House said retiring the planes would save $4.2 billion through 2019. (Tech. Sgt. James Arrowood/Courtesy Reuters)

Defense in Depth will be on hiatus until January 5, 2015. In lieu of new updates, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: my evaluation of arguments made by the Air Force to divest from the A-10 Warthog, originally published May 20, 2014. Congress was ultimately unswayed, voting to keep virtually all of the fleet intact in the final FY2015 defense budget.

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Best of 2014: What Hawks and Doves Both Miss on the Military Rebalance to Asia

by Janine Davidson Tuesday, December 23, 2014
aircraft carrier philippines A Philippine Navy patrol boat drives past the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier George Washington (L) docked after its arrival at a Manila bay October 24, 2012. (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters)

Defense in Depth will be on hiatus until January 5, 2015. In lieu of new updates, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: my discussion of real progress made on military elements of the U.S. rebalance to Asia, originally published April 25, 2014.

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Best of 2014: Putin’s Actions and the Future of War

by Janine Davidson Monday, December 22, 2014
Masked members of a pro-Russian defense unit take an oath to the Crimean government in the city of Simferopol on March 10, 2014. Masked members of a pro-Russian defense unit take an oath to the Crimean government in the city of Simferopol on March 10, 2014 (Vasily Fedosenko/Courtesy Reuters).

Defense in Depth will be on hiatus until January 5, 2015. In lieu of new updates, I’ll be posting some of our best stories and analysis from the past year. Today: my assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea, originally published March 11, 2014.

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A Taliban Resurgence; A Preview of Cyberwar To Come

by Janine Davidson Saturday, December 20, 2014
People light candles in memory of victims of the Taliban attack on the Army Public School, along with others in a rally in Peshawar, December 17, 2014. At least 132 students and nine staff members were killed on Tuesday when Taliban gunmen broke into the school and opened fire, witnesses said, in the bloodiest massacre the country has seen for years. (Khuram Parvez/Courtesy Reuters)

Your Weekend Reader, parsing the best stories of the week. Defense in Depth will be on hiatus until January 5, 2015. In lieu of new updates, I’ll be posting some of our best stories from the past year. 

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With Final FY15 Defense Budget, the Devil’s in the Details

by Janine Davidson Thursday, December 18, 2014
U.S. Representative Buck McKeon (R-CA) (L) holds up a media release as he and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) (R), chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, hold a news conference to talk about progress between the two chambers on the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington December 9, 2013. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters)

After a process that could generously be described as touch-and-go, President Obama signed a $1.1 trillion dollar omnibus and continuing resolution spending package—the “cromnibus”—on Tuesday evening. It obligates $554 billion dollars for defense spending, which includes $490 billion for the base Pentagon budget and another $64 billion to the Overseas Contingency Fund (OCO). As Military Times reports, this marks an $18 billion dollar decrease from FY14—although the entirety of that reduction comes from a reduced OCO concurrent with the drawdown in Afghanistan. This top-line figure lines up almost exactly with President Obama’s original March request.

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With Normalized U.S.-Cuba Relations, Border Security Just Got a Lot More Complicated

by Pat DeQuattro Thursday, December 18, 2014
A U.S. Coast Guard boat takes part in a staged interdiction of a smuggling boat during training exercise off the coast of south Florida March 8, 2007. (Hans Deryk/Courtesy Reuters)

President Obama’s surprise announcement yesterday about normalization in U.S.-Cuba relations will significantly change the nature of border security and border control on the waters in the Florida Straits that separate Cuba and South Florida.

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In the Last Days of Afghanistan, Too Many Shadows of Vietnam

by Robert A. Newson Wednesday, December 17, 2014
A shadow cast by a U.S. soldier from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment shades spent brass strewn on the ground during a joint training mission, near forward operating base Gamberi in the Laghman province of Afghanistan December 12, 2014. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters)

Recently, the Council on Foreign Relations hosted a screening of Rory Kennedy’s film Last Days in Vietnam. The stunning documentary, with never-before seen-footage, tells the story of courageous Americans at the U.S. embassy and on ships at sea who put their lives and their careers on the line to rescue 77,000 South Vietnamese during the fall of Saigon. These heroes did all they could as individuals to meet an American obligation to those who stand with us in our foreign wars—those who risk their lives and the lives of their families against a common enemy. The film also tells the story of an American government that came very slow and far too late to uphold this obligation.

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Untangling the Circular Logic of America’s Torture Apologists

by Janine Davidson Tuesday, December 16, 2014
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (L) listens as President George W. Bush makes remarks about the U.S. defense budget after meeting with military leaders at the Pentagon in Washington, November 29, 2007. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

To watch former Vice President Dick Cheney’s interview on Meet the Press this weekend was to take a fantastical and frightening trip back to a very dark, post-9/11 America. In this world, bad guys can and should be tortured for however long it takes to catch more bad guys. If (inevitable) rumors of the process end up creating new bad guys, it’s beside the point. It’s a system that feeds itself, as amoral as it is strategically unwise.

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