Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

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Showing posts for "Civil-Military Relations"

In Revised USAID Policy, A New Model for Civil-Military Cooperation

by Janine Davidson and Zachary Austin
American soldiers carry relief supplies for families affected by Typhoon Durian from a cargo plane after its arrival at the Manila International airport December 7, 2006.  (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters) American soldiers carry relief supplies for families affected by Typhoon Durian from a cargo plane after its arrival at the Manila International airport December 7, 2006. (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters)

By Janine Davidson and Zachary Austin

From stabilization operations in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to humanitarian activities across the globe, today’s military is routinely called on to perform missions removed from the conventional battlefield. In these tasks, the military rarely acts alone; the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is often close at hand. USAID has announced a new policy on cooperating with the Department of Defense (DOD) that is poised to realign their relations with DOD, redefining a partnership critical in managing today’s conflicts.

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On Memorial Day, Those Sacrifices Less Remembered

by Janine Davidson
A member of the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) takes part in a "Flags-In" ceremony, ahead of Memorial Day, at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington May 21, 2015. In advance of Memorial Day, soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) place American flags at the foot of more than 228,000 graves during the annual "Flags-In" ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery." (Carlos Barria/Courtesy Reuters) A member of the Third U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) takes part in a "Flags-In" ceremony, ahead of Memorial Day, at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington May 21, 2015. In advance of Memorial Day, soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) place American flags at the foot of more than 228,000 graves during the annual "Flags-In" ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery." (Carlos Barria/Courtesy Reuters)

Twenty-three-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Corporal Sara A. Medina went to Nepal to help people. She died in a helicopter crash on May 12, alongside five other Marines. Thirty-year-old U.S. Air Force Captain William DuBois was killed on November 30 when his F-16 went down shortly after takeoff, in the midst of combat operations against the self-declared Islamic State. U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene and Specialist John Dawson were killed respectively on August 5 and April 8 while providing assistance to Afghan forces. One man was fifty-five. The other was twenty-two. These are the men and women, along with countless others from previous generations, for whom Memorial Day exists.

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Ash Carter’s “Force of the Future” Personnel Reforms Can’t Come Soon Enough

by Jesse Sloman
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter delivers remarks to troops at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait February 23, 2015. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter delivers remarks to troops at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait February 23, 2015. (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters)

Last week, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter gave a speech at his former high school that laid out his vision for reforming the military’s manpower policies. For those like myself who have argued that the current system is inflexible, antiquated, and poorly adapted for the needs of millennial service members, it was refreshing to see a sitting defense secretary stake out such a forward-thinking position on personnel issues. Carter laid out an array of different policy proposals, three of which I found particularly intriguing: Read more »

Digging into the Compensation Commission’s Proposals: Great for Troops AND the Pentagon Bottom Line

by Jesse Sloman
Alphonso Maldon, Jr., chairman of the Department of Defense Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, asks for service members' ideas for improvement aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 25, 2014. (Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System) Alphonso Maldon, Jr., chairman of the Department of Defense Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, asks for service members' ideas for improvement aboard Camp Pendleton, Calif., March 25, 2014. (Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System)

Last week, the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) released its long-awaited final report, outlining fifteen recommendations for updating military pay and benefits. The Pentagon, Congress, military advocacy organizations, and think tanks are all studying the proposed reforms to determine who stands to gain, who stands to lose, and what their positions will be.

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Charts, Charts, Charts: Everything You Need to Understand the Military Compensation Debate

by Janine Davidson and Jesse Sloman
Snapshot of a graph depicting the growth of per-soldier costs over time.  The cost of an active duty U.S. service member nearly doubled between 1998 and 2014. (Emerson Brooking/Defense in Depth, Council on Foreign Relations) Snapshot of a graph depicting the growth of per-soldier costs over time. The cost of an active duty U.S. service member nearly doubled between 1998 and 2014. (Emerson Brooking/Defense in Depth, Council on Foreign Relations)

This week marks the much-awaited release of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission’s (MCRMC) final report. This independent panel was established in 2013 “to conduct a review of the military compensation and retirement systems and to make recommendations to modernize such systems.” Proponents and opponents of future changes are preparing themselves for a bitter legislative and bureaucratic fight as soon as the report hits the street.

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Does America Have a Warrior Caste?

by Amy Schafer
Members of the Armed Forces Color Guard and drummers from he U.S. Air Force Band, all based in Washington, D.C., perform during the Super Bowl XLV game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Feb. 6, 2011. U.S. Air Force photo (Senior Airman Melissa Harvey/U.S. Army Flickr) Members of the Armed Forces Color Guard and drummers from he U.S. Air Force Band, all based in Washington, D.C., perform during the Super Bowl XLV game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Feb. 6, 2011. U.S. Air Force photo (Senior Airman Melissa Harvey/U.S. Army Flickr)

Who is truly bearing the burden of repeated deployments and protracted conflicts? Who comprises our shrinking all-volunteer force? As the daughter of an A-10 pilot, I see my fellow military brats enlisting and being commissioned at incredible rates. Anecdotally, it has seemed at least one child in every military family tends to serve, while the ROTC programs in the Ivy League are some of the smallest in the country, and military service is left unconsidered as a viable career option for most young Americans.

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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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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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It’s Time to Talk About the Role of U.S. Civilians in Modern War

by Janine Davidson and Guest Blogger for Janine Davidson
usaid-iraq-afghanistan Rear Admiral Gregory Smith (L), director of the Multi-National Force – Iraq’s Communications Division, and Denise Herbol, deputy director of USAID – Iraq, in Baghdad January 13, 2008. (Wathiq Khuzaie/Courtesy Reuters)

By Janine Davidson and Phillip Carter

There is a new bill currently languishing in Congressional committee, the “Combat Zone Tax Parity Act,” which would grant federal civilian employees deployed to combat zones the same tax benefits as the military servicemen who fight alongside them. It comes long overdue.

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Introducing Defense in Depth

by Janine Davidson
A view of the Pentagon and Washington, DC. A view of the Pentagon and Washington, DC (Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense).

Defense in Depth is a new blog about the art, politics, and business of American military power. I will track the big issues facing policymakers as they grapple with downshifting in Afghanistan, rebalancing to Asia, and maintaining a ready and capable force structure amidst sustained fiscal pressures.

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