Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

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CIA Interrogation Report; How ISIS Was Hatched in Iraq’s Camp Bucca Prison

by Janine Davidson
Senate Intelligence Committee chair Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (R) talks to reporters after coming out of the Senate in Washington December 9, 2014. "Enhanced interrogation" techniques used by the CIA on militants detained in secret prisons were ineffective and never produced information which led to the disruption of imminent terrorist plots, a declassified report by the Senate Intelligence Committee found. (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters) Senate Intelligence Committee chair Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (R) talks to reporters after coming out of the Senate in Washington December 9, 2014. "Enhanced interrogation" techniques used by the CIA on militants detained in secret prisons were ineffective and never produced information which led to the disruption of imminent terrorist plots, a declassified report by the Senate Intelligence Committee found. (Gary Cameron/Courtesy Reuters)

Your Weekend Reader, parsing the best stories of the week:

The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its controversial report on CIA interrogation methods this past Tuesday.  The report characterized the CIA as brutal, ineffective, and misleading. Many questions remain as to the involvement of Bush administration officials in authorizing and overseeing this program. Republican Senators on the committee (with the exception of Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) have issued their own report rebutting many claims of impropriety. Likewise, six former CIA directors and deputy directors penned a Wall Street Journal op ed assailing the report’s credibility. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) crossed the partisan boundary to endorse the document, including his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam as testimony.

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It’s Ash Carter; Iran Joins the Anti-ISIS Air Campaign; The FY15 NDAA Inches Ahead

by Janine Davidson
Ashton Carter listens while U.S. President Barack Obama announces that he will be his choice to replace outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel while in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, December 5, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters) Ashton Carter listens while U.S. President Barack Obama announces that he will be his choice to replace outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel while in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, December 5, 2014. (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters)

Your Weekend Reader, parsing the best stories of the week:

Ashton Carter is officially announced as the twenty-fifth secretary of defense. The best profile of Carter has been written by the man himself—an autobiographical account of his early life and interest in defense policy, published as a faculty profile by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. His appointment has received praise from Senators Carl Levin and John McCain alike. Carter takes office at a time when crises balloon around the globe and the Pentagon’s bureacratic challenges continue to mount: he’ll have little chance to learn on the job. At Slate, Fred Kaplan asks a significant but largely unexplored question: in today’s complex world, what makes a person qualified to lead the United States’ largest public or private institution?

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The Next Secretary of Defense Should Be Comfortable with Military and Civilians Alike

by Janine Davidson
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel walks out to welcome New Zealand's Minister of Defence Gerry Brownlee at the Pentagon in Washington, November 24, 2014. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel walks out to welcome New Zealand's Minister of Defence Gerry Brownlee at the Pentagon in Washington, November 24, 2014. (Yuri Gripas/Courtesy Reuters)

In the wake of the November 24 announcement of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s pending resignation, the New York Times asked me to share my thoughts on what qualities the next secretary should embody. I was fortunate to join John Nagl, Lawrence Korb, and Kiron Skinner in this discussion. To view the full feature, please follow this link. See my own take below: Read more »

Defense #Longreads for a Long Weekend (II): Chinese Might; “Little Sparta” in Arabia

by Janine Davidson
Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy recruits march during a parade to mark the end of a semester at a military base of the North Sea Fleet, in Qingdao, Shandong province December 5, 2013. (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters) Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy recruits march during a parade to mark the end of a semester at a military base of the North Sea Fleet, in Qingdao, Shandong province December 5, 2013. (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters)

CFR brings together inquiring minds who specialize across a range of regions and issues. In preparation for the long weekend, I asked CFR’s junior staff to recommend articles and essays that help illuminate security challenges around the world. Today, it’s all about east Asia, as well as a remarkable profile of the United Arab Emirates. This follows yesterday’s segment.

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Defense #Longreads for a Long Weekend: The Scramble for Iraq; Border Insecurity; Lost Memories of WWII

by Janine Davidson
U.S. Marine Corp Assaultman Kirk Dalrymple watches as a statue of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad's Firdaus Square, in this file photo from April 9, 2003. A powerful blast ripped through the Mount Lebanon Hotel March 17, 2004 which is located behind Firdaus Square. The war started on March 20 Baghdad local time, March 19 Washington D.C. local time. (Goran Tomasevi/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Marine Corp Assaultman Kirk Dalrymple watches as a statue of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein falls in central Baghdad's Firdaus Square, in this file photo from April 9, 2003. A powerful blast ripped through the Mount Lebanon Hotel March 17, 2004 which is located behind Firdaus Square. The war started on March 20 Baghdad local time, March 19 Washington D.C. local time. (Goran Tomasevi/Courtesy Reuters)

CFR brings together inquiring minds who specialize across a range of regions and issues. In preparation for the long weekend, I asked CFR’s junior staff to recommend articles and essays that help illuminate security challenges around the world. Today, it’s about Iraq, the U.S. Border Patrol, and a remarkable World War II retrospective. Tune in tomorrow for part two.

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Tensions Broil in Ukraine; Cyber Wargames; The First Armed Drone Operator Breaks Silence

by Janine Davidson
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (R) and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden walk into a hall before a news conference in Kiev, November 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Biden on Friday condemned Russian behavior in Ukraine as "unacceptable" and urged it to abide by a September peace deal by adhering to a ceasefire and removing military forces from the country. (Courtesy Reuters) Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (R) and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden walk into a hall before a news conference in Kiev, November 21, 2014. U.S. Vice President Biden on Friday condemned Russian behavior in Ukraine as "unacceptable" and urged it to abide by a September peace deal by adhering to a ceasefire and removing military forces from the country. (Courtesy Reuters)

Your Weekend Reader, parsing the best stories of the week:

Ukraine: “a slow collapse?” That’s the opinion of the New York Times editorial board. Meanwhile, the United States steps up delivery of non-lethal aid to Ukraine, including its first Humvees. The ceasefire continues to fray: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warns that Ukraine’s planned economic blockade of the eastern separatists “paves the way for a new invasion.” Pavel Felgenhauer, writing in the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor, concludes that eastern Ukraine’s Donbas has effectively become a Russian protectorate. The crisis isn’t over.

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The Warrior Ethos at Risk: H.R. McMaster’s Remarkable Veterans Day Speech

by Janine Davidson
Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities an Integration Center and deputy commanding general of futures for the U.S. Army Training Doctrine Command, speaks at Georgetown University's Veterans Day ceremony. (Georgetown University Office of Communications) Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities an Integration Center and deputy commanding general of futures for the U.S. Army Training Doctrine Command, speaks at Georgetown University's Veterans Day ceremony. (Georgetown University Office of Communications)

On November 11, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, Director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, gave the keynote address at Georgetown University’s Veterans Day ceremony. His message was simple and powerful: the study of war should not be confused with its advocacy; today’s stakes are higher than ever; the warrior ethos is threatened by both tech evangelists (who believe all conflict might be resolved at a safe distance) and a growing gap between the U.S. military and civil society. It’s a remarkably lucid speech by one of the Army’s most energetic leaders. You can read the whole text below:

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Admiral Greenert Speaks: What Should the U.S. Navy’s New Maritime Strategy Look Like?

by Janine Davidson and Guest Blogger for Janine Davidson
U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert inspects an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at the PLA Navy headquarters outside of Beijing July 15, 2014. (Stephen Shave/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert inspects an honor guard during a welcoming ceremony at the PLA Navy headquarters outside of Beijing July 15, 2014. (Stephen Shave/Courtesy Reuters)

By Janine Davidson and Sam Ehrlich

Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations,visited the Brookings Institution earlier this month to discuss future Navy strategy. Greenert, who has held the position of CNO for three years, touched on issues pertaining to Asia and the Pacific, sequestration, U.S. Naval arms and technology developments, and strategy for Navy’s assured access around the world. Greenert remained hopeful that the official Maritime Strategy would be decided by the end of this calendar year, and his remarks offered a preview as to what that strategy might include.

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Fight Against ISIS Continues To Scale; Uncertainty Swirls Around Iran Nuclear Talks

by Janine Davidson
Syrian fighters fire a machinegun against Islamic State positions from a location west of Kobani during fighting on November 4, 2014 A Syrian rebel flag covers the front of the truck. (Yannis Behrakis/Courtesy Reuters) Syrian fighters fire a machinegun against Islamic State positions from a location west of Kobani during fighting on November 4, 2014 A Syrian rebel flag covers the front of the truck. (Yannis Behrakis/Courtesy Reuters)

Your Weekend Reader, parsing the best stories of the week:

On November 10, President Obama called for more funds to be allocated in the fight against ISIS. The key figures highlighted in the 34-page letter from the Office of Management and Budget include: Read more »

Celebrating Veterans in an Unlikely Place

by Janine Davidson
United States Marine Corps Sergeant Richard Douglas (L) stops to talk with former U.S. Marine and Korean War veteran Fernando Orbegoso (R) during the Veterans Day parade on 5th Avenue in New York (Mike Segar/Courtesy: Reuters). United States Marine Corps Sergeant Richard Douglas (L) stops to talk with former U.S. Marine and Korean War veteran Fernando Orbegoso (R) during the Veterans Day parade on 5th Avenue in New York (Mike Segar/Courtesy: Reuters).

This weekend I was invited back to my alma mater, the University of Colorado at Boulder, to speak at their 2-week community event honoring veterans. The event, Veterans Speak, was dedicated to increasing awareness and bridging the gap between those who have served and the rest of society.  Sponsored collaboratively by Boulder’s Dairy Center for the Arts, the University, and the Veterans Memorial Museum in Broomfield, it was the first of its kind in Boulder.

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