Monday, September 30, 2013

Military Transition Pointers

I recently completed a transition from the military to civilian employment. This is my effort to share some of the lessons I learned in the process. First, I’ll provide a little information about myself as a baseline. This post is targeted primarily at officers and senior SNCOs with a college degree and 10 or more years of service, to include retirees at the 20-plus year mark, aiming at civilian employment outside of the defense sector. Many of the lessons here will carry over to military members separating earlier or those looking for defense sector employment, but my experience is not in those demographics.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

An Essay and a Quote

My latest essay at War on the Rocks is out, in which I argue that this is not the diplomacy you're looking for. The rush to war with Syria has turned into a tumble into a Russian led diplomatic effort that is a lose-lose for everyone. Our focus on war and dismissal of due diplomatic process has led us into a dead end that ultimately damages both American credibility and the reputation of diplomacy, not to mention the continued tragedy that is Syria.

I was also quoted today in the Washington Post on a story about the Obama Administration and the President's uneasy role of Commander in Chief, alongside Panetta, Gates, Cordesman and others. Read the story here.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Moral Abstractions, Real Tragedies, and False Solutions

As the debate over unilateral American intervention in Syria continues, it is relatively clear that US public opinion does not favor a new adventure there. Nonetheless, the Obama Administration continues to push for Congressional authorization, promising a "full-court press" in coming days. While Obama and Kerry have spoken on the issue, remarks by Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power seem to have resonated most with the foreign policy audience and may begin to change the discussion.

Power's remarks played carefully on notions of moral indignation, then providing a nuanced and circumscribed call for limited intervention to prevent future use of weapons of mass destruction, explaining that the latest chemical attack killed far more than even the worst of Assad's conventional barrages against civilian neighborhoods. While I found her words to be compelling in a way, and I truly am conflicted in my feelings about the entire issue of Syria, I think that a deeper deconstruction of the bases of the case for intervention helps me to remain steadfastly against military action.