Janine Davidson

Senior Fellow for Defense Policy


Defense strategy and policy, military operations, national security, and civil-military relations

All Publications


Why No One Is Buying the Air Force’s Argument To Ditch the A-10

Author: Janine Davidson
Defense One

Janine Davidson evaluates the heated, often emotional discussion surrounding the Air Force's decision to retire the A-10 Warthog. She argues that the A-10 debate speaks to larger issues surrounding the future of close air support, and that—while there are good arguments to divest from the A-10—the Air Force has so far done a poor job communicating them.

See more in United States; Defense Technology

Ask CFR Experts

If there are no U.S. or NATO troops in Afghanistan after 2014, what happens?

Asked by Tom Gordon

There are good reasons to worry about a precipitous departure of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan. The country remains fragile and the Taliban still threaten key areas. Withdrawing all troops would leave the Afghans to fend for themselves against a resurgent Taliban. And because the United States uses its presence to monitor and target al-Qaeda and other threats, such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons from the region, leaving the country completely would mean having less warning or ability to respond.

Read full answer

See more in Afghanistan; Defense and Security

Recent Activity from Defense in Depth

CFR Events


Risk and Military Planning


Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow for National Security Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Janine Davidson, Senior Fellow for Defense Policy, Council on Foreign Relations, Theo Farell, Head of the War Studies Department, King's College London


John A. Nagl, Headmaster, The Haverford School; Former President, Center for a New American Security; Visiting Professor, King's College London
March 25, 2014 9:45-10:45 a.m.

This meeting is on the record.



Video Interview

Analysis: What's Next for Ukraine?

Janine Davidson analyzes the security situation in eastern Ukraine on WSJ Live, responding to reports that Russia has bombarded Ukrainian military sites.


Video Interview

Will US-Russia tensions escalate?

Janine Davidson appears on MSNBC's PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton to assess the political fallout and military consequences of the MH17 tragedy.


Video Interview

The Iraq Crisis

Janine Davidson discusses the crisis in Iraq on Defense News TV, assessing options available to the United States to help achieve conciliation within the Iraqi government.


Radio Interview

No Quick or Easy Solution On Iraq, Expert Says

On Wisconsin Public Radio's Joy Cardin Show, Janine Davidson analyzes the courses of action available to President Obama following an uptick in violence by Sunni extremists in Iraq.


Video Interview

U.S. Weighs Potential Military Response in Iraq

Janine Davidson assesses the availability—and potential ramifications—of potential U.S. military options following a dangerous deterioration in Iraqi security on PBS NewsHour.


Radio Interview

Obama’s Foreign Policy Shift

On KQED Radio Forum, Janine Davidson discusses the significance of President Obama's May 29 foreign policy speech at West Point, as well as the feasibility of a globally focused U.S. foreign policy in a time of dwindling resources.


Video Interview

The Next Big Challenge in Afghanistan is Payroll

On Marketplace World, Janine Davidson responds to news of a residual force of 9,800 American troops in Afghanistan, to remain after the end of formal combat operations in December 2014.


Video Interview

Boost in Air Force Reserves

On DefenseNews TV Janine Davidson argues for better integration of Air Force reserve and Air Guard units, whose skills will become of increasing use in midst of budgetary drawdown.



Dr. Janine Davidson is senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her areas of expertise include defense strategy and policy, military operations, national security, and civil-military relations.

Before joining CFR, Davidson was an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University where she taught courses on national security, civil-military relations, counterinsurgency, and public policy. From 2009 to 2012, she served in the Obama administration as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans, where she oversaw the development of guidance for military campaign and contingency plans. She also led policy efforts for U.S. global defense posture, including the military's rebalance to Asia, and international agreements related to U.S. forces stationed overseas.

Previously, Dr. Davidson served as director for stability operations capabilities in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (2006–2008), where she founded and directed the Consortium for Complex Operations (2007–2008), an innovative interagency project to enhance education, training, coordination, and performance in complex emergencies and interventions. As an associate at DFI International (2003–2004), Dr. Davidson researched reserve affairs and Air Force mobility operations and strategy. As a research and adjunct fellow at the Brookings Institution (2004; 2008) and as director of counterinsurgency studies at Hicks and Associates (2005–2006), she conducted research on counterinsurgency, peacekeeping, and military adaptation and learning.

Dr. Davidson began her career in the United States Air Force, where she was an aircraft commander and senior pilot for the C-130 and the C-17 cargo aircraft. She flew combat support and humanitarian air mobility missions in Asia, Europe and the Middle East and was an instructor pilot at the U.S. Air Force Academy

Recent publications include "Civil-Military Friction and Presidential Decision-Making: Explaining the Broken Dialogue," Presidential Studies Quarterly, (March 2013); "Beyond the Last Resort: The U.S. Military and Conflict Prevention," Building Peace (Fall 2013); "Obama's New Global Posture: The Logic of U.S. Foreign Deployments," co-author Michele Flournoy, Foreign Affairs, (July/August 2012), "Misinterpreting DoD's Strategic Guidance Repeats Mistakes, Ignores Emerging Trends and Leads to Failure,", (July 2012); and "Making Government Work: Pragmatic Priorities for Interagency Coordination," Orbis, (Summer 2009). Her 2010 book, Lifting the Fog of Peace: How Americans Learned to Fight Modern War, was published by the University of Michigan Press.

In 2012, Dr. Davidson was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, and in 2013 she was appointed by President Obama as a member of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force. She received her PhD and a Master's of Arts degree in international studies from the University of South Carolina and a BS in architectural engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder.