Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

Does America Have a Warrior Caste?

by Amy Schafer Thursday, January 22, 2015
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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In Much-Needed Manpower Reform, U.S. Navy Set To Be the Next Proving Ground

by Jesse Sloman Monday, January 5, 2015
A U.S. Navy sailor holds the U.S. flag during a takeover ceremony, where the U.S. took control of the Naval Aggrupation Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) from Spain, at Malaga port in Malaga, southern Spain, July 8, 2014. (Jon Nazca/Courtesy Reuters)

The Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Admiral William Moran, visited the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) last month to discuss his vision for reforming the current manpower system. Since assuming his position in 2013, VADM Moran has been pushing hard to implement programs that will better align the Navy’s manpower policies with the expectations and aspirations of its younger sailors—especially millennials, those individuals born between 1980 and the mid-2000s.

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Congress Just Took an Important Step Toward Real Military Compensation Reform

by Jesse Sloman Thursday, December 4, 2014
U.S. troops march during a military parade celebrating Romania's National Day in Bucharest December 1, 2014. (Radu Sigheti/Courtesy Reuters)

On Tuesday, the U.S. House and Senate reached an agreement on the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill, setting the Pentagon’s expenditures and budget, is one of  the least controversial items on Congress’ annual agenda; an NDAA has been passed every year for the past 52 years.

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Want To Fix Retention? Start by Making the Military a Real Meritocracy

by Amy Schafer Monday, July 14, 2014
Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 15, Combat Logistics Regiment 17, 1st Marine Logistics Group, run in formation along Red Beach Training Area, Dec. 6, 2013. (Sgt. Sarah Fiocco, USMC/Courtesy Marines Flickr)

This commentary comes courtesy of Amy Schafer, research intern for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. She notes that an inflexible promotions structure and rigid “all or nothing” pension system push too many talented servicemembers to leave the military early in pursuit of other opportunities. A better system, Schafer argues, would emulate some of the best practices of Silicon Valley by rewarding high achievers and allowing more freedom in choice of assignment.

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