Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

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

by Janine Davidson and Zachary Austin Wednesday, July 8, 2015
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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Understanding the United States’ New Caribbean Border Counternarcotics Strategy

by Pat DeQuattro Tuesday, March 17, 2015
The crew of the Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter Margaret Norvell interdicts a go-fast with two drug smugglers and eighteen bales of cocaine in the Caribbean Sea, January 31, 2015. (Ricardo Castrodad/Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System)

The illegal trade in drugs, people and weapons is a $750 billion global criminal enterprise that undermines the governance and rule of law of those countries impacted by the cultivation, transportation and distribution of the illicit products and trafficking. Many countries in the illicit drug transit corridors are gripped by staggering unemployment, poverty and widespread violence at the hands of traffickers who are attempting to supply our nation’s demand for cocaine. Documented cocaine flow from South America into the Central and Eastern Caribbean region has doubled over the past four years from forty-two metric tons in 2010 to ninety-five metric tons in 2013, and now represents approximately 15 percent of total documented cocaine flow in the Western Hemisphere.

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In Planning for the Future, U.S. Army Must Look to the Fight Against Boko Haram

by Michael W. Rauhut Wednesday, March 11, 2015
A Chadian soldier poses for a picture at the front line during battle against insurgent group Boko Haram in Gambaru, February 26, 2015. (Emmanuel Braun/Courtesy Reuters)

The collective security response to Boko Haram’s emergence as a regional existential threat reveals a growing appreciation and desire for effective countermeasures to the terrorist group, now potentially allied with ISIS.  Eric Schmitt’s recent New York Times article, “African Training Exercise Turns Urgent as Threats Grow” reflects proven foreign internal defense approaches, but absent a broader, enduring landpower network—a network of established relationships with partnered land forces able to shape security environments—any progress may prove temporary.

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Four Things You Didn’t Know About the U.S. Air Force’s Role in Fighting Ebola

by Janine Davidson Wednesday, October 29, 2014
A group of 30 U.S. military personnel, bound for Liberia to help in global efforts to fight the Ebola virus outbreak, board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Leopold Sedar Senghor International Airport in Dakar, Senegal, October 19, 2014 in a picture provided by the US military. (Maj. Dale Greer/Courtesy Reuters)

With so much misinformation circulating about the scale and domestic danger of the Ebola threat, less attention has been paid to the U.S. military’s effort to stem the disease’s spread in Africa. Operation United Assistance is now well underway, drawing the joint armed services together with a wide range of interagency and multinational partners. While the headquarters of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division have been the most visible element of this operation, much of the behind-the-scenes work has been conducted by the U.S. Air Force. I spoke with Air Force participants to get a sense of this contribution:

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New VA Reform Bill Is a Stopgap, Not a Solution

by Jesse Sloman Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Captain Benjamin Jackson carries Specialist Brian Sanchez while running with Staff Sergeant Anthony Lewis (L) and Private First Class Armando Martinez during the physical fitness portion of a 24 hour Cavalry "Spur Ride" exercise for members of the US Army's 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment in Fort Drum, New York September 29, 2010. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters)

This commentary comes courtesy of Marine Corps veteran and CFR research associate Jesse Sloman.  He argues that while the recently unveiled $15 billion dollar Millers-Sanders VA healthcare bill is a step in the right direction, it fails to address deep and systemic problems within the veteran care system. A lasting solution must also confront looming demographic challenges that threaten to upend the whole institution. This, in turn, will require both creativity and political bravery.

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