It’s 100 degrees in Pentagon City, a boxy development of midrise residential and commercial buildings half a mile south of its polygonal namesake. The salient condition here is that of sterile, blazing concrete, a white-desert hue a few shades rougher than the polished sandstone and marble across the Potomac. From this terrain of baked cement a man materializes. He wears cream chinos, a yellow-checkered shirt, and a pair of Oakley sunglasses. Lt. Col. Jason Dempsey ’08GSAS, who is in Washington apartment hunting, advances through the heat toward the shelter of the Ritz-Carlton.
He enters the air-conditioning of the hotel lounge, removes his Oakleys, settles into a chair, and orders a double espresso. Dempsey is a prolific talker, genial, straight-shooting, two-fisted, equal parts West Point and West 116: an academic ingrained in civil-military theory, a soldier-scholar who directed operations for an infantry battalion in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, a current White House Fellow posted in the Office of the First Lady, and a meticulous political scientist whose recent book, Our Army: Soldiers, Politics, and American Civil-Military Relations, includes the first-ever random-sample survey of the political attitudes of enlisted soldiers.
And now, in this interview-friendly lounge, where Tripp had tea with Lewinsky while wearing a body microphone — good acoustics here — Dempsey will talk about the Army, Our Army, politics, Columbia, and his year on the Afghan-Pakistani border. He’ll talk about anything except for his former boss, the retired general Stanley McChrystal, who talked too much to Rolling Stone. There is still such a thing as protocol.
Read the full article at Columbia Magazine.