Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

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Farewell for Now

by Janine Davidson
March 22, 2016

The aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) transits the Gulf of Aden on October 23, 2014. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt/U.S. Navy Flickr)


On March 17, I was confirmed by the United States Senate to become the thirty-second under secretary of the Navy. It is an honor to be chosen to help guide the Navy through challenging times ahead. As the daughter of a Navy Supply Corps officer of thirty-five years, it also holds deep personal meaning: the chance to join the leadership of a service that has left such a strong mark on both myself and my family. I’m grateful to President Obama and eager to get started.

Of course, this transition is also bittersweet. Today marks my final day at the Council on Foreign Relations and my final day writing for Defense in Depth. My time at the Council has been extraordinarily rewarding: a chance to write, think, reflect, and breath; to interact with a wide cross-section of the foreign policy community; to duck downstairs for a lunch event and, without fail, learning something fascinating and new. I’ve enjoyed every minute of this job and am sorry to leave it.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most is this blog—the ability to publish a few quick thoughts and have them bounced to defense-minded readers across the globe. I’ve enjoyed your frequent comments and notes along the way. Among my “greatest hits” have been a discussion of the Asia-Pacific rebalance and force levels; a breakdown of the debate regarding the future of the A-10 “Warthog;” writing on the role of contractors and U.S. civilians in modern war; an interactive, graphical analysis of NATO member defense spending trends; my thoughts on the national security legacy of 9/11; an argument that we should never turn our backs on the Afghan translators who have risked everything to help the United States; and a reminder of the invisible cost of combat readiness.

In the process, I’ve also been lucky to work with an extraordinary group of contributors. They are an expansive list, ranging from highly decorated colonels to award-winning journalists to a few extremely talented undergraduates. Among a sample: Sean Liedman’s assessment of cruise missile use and messaging by the Russian military; Lauren Dickey’s frame-by-frame analysis of a fascinating Chinese propaganda film; Jesse Sloman’s deep statistical breakdown of military retirement modernization; Amy Schafer’s writing on the civil-military divide and American “warrior caste;” Robert Newson’s incisive, early questions regarding U.S. intervention against the self-declared Islamic State; and Emerson Brooking’s discussion of the Islamic State’s propaganda apparatus.

My work at CFR has been considerably aided by an outstanding group of interns and program staff. I’m grateful to Amy Schafer, Sam Ehrlich, Zachary Austin, Andrew Ziebell, and Emerson Brooking for the hard work they’ve done on my behalf. Additionally, I owe Lauren Dickey, Jesse Sloman, and Benjamin Fernandes debts of gratitude for their frequent writing, researching, and other contributions to my program.

Finally, I’d like to thank you—my readers. It is your support and interest that has made all of this possible. As I look to the adventure ahead, I’ll remain forever grateful for my time at the Council. It has been an honor and a privilege.


Post a Comment 2 Comments

  • Posted by Tyler P. Harwell

    Bye for now. May the road rise up to meet you and the wind be always at your back.

  • Posted by sdigiuseppe

    great post

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