Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

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

Now Is the Time to Strengthen NATO’s Resolve

by Michael R. Fenzel and Aaron Picozzi Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend a meeting on Russian air force's activity in Syria at the national defence control center in Moscow, Russia, November 17, 2015.  (Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin/Courtesy Reuters) Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend a meeting on Russian air force's activity in Syria at the national defence control center in Moscow, Russia, November 17, 2015. (Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin/Courtesy Reuters)

By Michael Fenzel and Aaron Picozzi

The November 13 terrorist attacks in Paris and late October bombing of Russian Metrojet flight 9268 have not only crystallized the threat of the self-declared Islamic State to the world, but also created an unlikely opportunity to open a dialogue with Russia. However, these tragedies do not change the long-term threat Russia poses to stability in Europe. Russia’s encroachment in Eastern Europe is a threat to the security and stability of the continent and tests the resolve of NATO in an unprecedented way. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent military intervention in Syria is further evidence of his ambition to broaden Russian influence and capitalize on regional instability.

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Cold War II? Not Yet, But the Temperature Is Falling

by Sean R. Liedman Monday, November 23, 2015
Russian servicemen, dressed in historical uniforms, hold a barrage balloon as they take part in a military parade rehearsal in Red Square near the Kremlin in central Moscow, Russia, November 6, 2015. (Maxim Shemetov/Courtesy Reuters) Russian servicemen, dressed in historical uniforms, hold a barrage balloon as they take part in a military parade rehearsal in Red Square near the Kremlin in central Moscow, Russia, November 6, 2015. (Maxim Shemetov/Courtesy Reuters)

“The assault on free institutions is world-wide now, and in the context of the present polarization of power a defeat of free institutions anywhere is a defeat everywhere.” – NSC-68, April 14, 1950

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U.S. Coast Guard Unveils a New Model for Cooperation Atop the World

by Ronald A. LaBrec Monday, November 2, 2015
The Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks through ice in the Arctic circle, July 14, 2015. This image was taken by an aerostat, a self-contained, compact platform that can deploy multiple sensor payloads and other devices into the air. (U.S. Coast Guard/Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System) The Coast Guard Cutter Healy breaks through ice in the Arctic circle, July 14, 2015. This image was taken by an aerostat, a self-contained, compact platform that can deploy multiple sensor payloads and other devices into the air. (U.S. Coast Guard/Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System)

The United States Coast Guard announced Friday the creation of a new international forum for cooperation in the Arctic. Signed at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, the new Arctic Coast Guard Forum will include coast guards or similar agencies from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the United States.

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With Naval Strikes into Syria, Russia Is Now Messaging with Missiles

by Sean R. Liedman Thursday, October 8, 2015
On October 7, Russian warships launched twenty-eight cruise missiles into Syria from the landlocked Caspian Sea. (Russian Ministry of Defense/YouTube) On October 7, Russian warships launched twenty-eight cruise missiles into Syria from the landlocked Caspian Sea. (Russian Ministry of Defense/YouTube)

By Sean Liedman

The Russian Navy’s initial firing of twenty-six cruise missiles from ships in the Caspian Sea into Syria yesterday generated little effect on the Syrian battlefield—but that may not be the primary objective. Russian President Vladimir Putin capitalized on this opportunity to showcase this new sea-based, long range precision strike capability as a strategic messaging tool aimed at a variety of audiences: Read more »

Six Questions That Should Now Guide U.S. Defense Planning in Syria and Iraq

by Emerson Brooking Monday, October 5, 2015
Russian Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack planes perform during the Aviadarts military aviation competition at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia, August 2, 2015. (Maxim Shemetov/Courtesy Reuters) Russian Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack planes perform during the Aviadarts military aviation competition at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia, August 2, 2015. (Maxim Shemetov/Courtesy Reuters)

By Emerson Brooking

Into one of the most complex conflicts in modern history, Russia has leapt seemingly overnight. Russian President Vladimir Putin has waded in like the Donald Trump of geopolitics: brash, disruptive, and unbowed by international criticism. This combination, fresh fuel for the Syrian tinderbox, will drastically raise the risk of military miscalculation.

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Vladimir Putin’s Naval Ambitions Have Only Begun

by Sean R. Liedman Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during celebrations for Navy Day as it rains in Baltiysk, Kaliningrad region, Russia, July 26, 2015. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin, Courtesy Reuters) Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during celebrations for Navy Day as it rains in Baltiysk, Kaliningrad region, Russia, July 26, 2015. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin, Courtesy Reuters)

By Sean Liedman

Defense in Depth is proud to welcome Captain Sean R. Liedman, U.S. Navy, who will be serving as a military fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations for the 2015-2016 term. Today, he assesses recent shifts in Russian naval planning and deployment, and considers what might come next.

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Why Putin’s ICBM Announcement Does Not Signal a New Nuclear Arms Race

by Adam Mount Thursday, June 25, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu arrive for the opening of the Army-2015 international military forum in Kubinka, outside Moscow, Russia, June 16, 2015. (Vasily Maximov/Courtesy Reuters) Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu arrive for the opening of the Army-2015 international military forum in Kubinka, outside Moscow, Russia, June 16, 2015. (Vasily Maximov/Courtesy Reuters)

By Adam Mount

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave brief remarks at the opening ceremony of ARMY-2015, an exposition where Russia’s defense contractors demonstrated new military technology for foreign weapons buyers. The speech was relatively sedate. It omitted much of the aggressive rhetoric that has become commonplace for the Kremlin, amounting to little more than a sales pitch for Russia’s military systems. Highlighting several pieces of Russia’s plan to modernize its military, Putin mentioned that, “This year we will supply more than forty new intercontinental ballistic missiles [ICBMs] to our nuclear force.”

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Russia’s Sale of the S-300 to Iran Will Shift Military Balance Across the Middle East

by Clint Hinote Monday, April 20, 2015
Belarusssian S-300 mobile missile launching systems drive through a military parade during celebrations marking Independence Day in Minsk July 3, 2013. (Vasily Fedosenko/Courtesy Reuters) Belarusssian S-300 mobile missile launching systems drive through a military parade during celebrations marking Independence Day in Minsk July 3, 2013. (Vasily Fedosenko/Courtesy Reuters)

By Clint Hinote

It’s been widely reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to sell the Russian-made S-300 missile system to Iran. This sale has been planned for years, but it was put on hold in 2010 when the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1929. Although this resolution did not specifically prohibit the sale of missile systems like the S-300, it did call for all states to “exercise vigilance and restraint” in supplying weapons to Iran. Since then, Russia has refrained from selling these weapons. Now Russia has changed its mind.

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The 2015 Munich Security Conference: Debate Among Allies? Yes. Disunity? No.

by Janine Davidson Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko holds Russian passports to prove the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine as he addresses during the 51st Munich Security Conference at the 'Bayerischer Hof' hotel in Munich February 7, 2015. (Michael Dalder/Courtesy Reuters) Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko holds Russian passports to prove the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine as he addresses during the 51st Munich Security Conference at the 'Bayerischer Hof' hotel in Munich February 7, 2015. (Michael Dalder/Courtesy Reuters)

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the fifty-first Munich Security Conference. This annual event provides a high level forum for transatlantic leaders—and increasingly leaders from other parts of the world—to meet and debate major security issues. The sidebar meetings and “bilats,” among the participants are as important as the major plenary sessions, where leaders take the opportunity to express their country’s positions or in many cases propose new approaches to solving problems. Munich is where the major powers annually reaffirm their continued commitment to transatlantic cooperation in service to core Western values: democracy, rule of law, human rights.

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