I lead a double life. Most of the month, I’m a national security expert in Washington, D.C., offering my views on how the United States can compete with China to shape the course of the 21st century. But one weekend each month, I wake up before sunrise, put on a uniform, and fulfill my duty as an officer in the Navy Reserve.
I joined almost four years ago, motivated by a combination of family history and idealism.
My maternal grandparents, German Jews, fled to the United States just before World War II. Without a refuge in America, they would have been annihilated in the Holocaust. None of their descendants had served in the U.S. military. Our debt to America remained unpaid.
I also wanted to have skin in the game. As a civilian working in foreign policy, I could make recommendations for military action without fear of having my own life disrupted or, at worst, cut short. This felt fundamentally unjust.
So I contacted a recruiter, filed an application, endured the poking and prodding of a Navy physician, and signed up for eight years of service.
I’m now halfway through. And despite occasional frustrations, thankful to serve.
What have I learned?
Read the full article in USA Today.
More from CNAS
CommentaryAmerica never committed to training Afghan forces. I know because I tried.
I first met Maj. Sboor in 2009 as he waited to take over his own Afghan army battalion. We were working together as operations officers of partnered Afghan and U.S. infantry u...
By Dr. Jason Dempsey
VideoCNAS: Bold Ideas for National Security
This year, CNAS experts brought bold ideas and bipartisan cooperation to the national security conversation. In 2020, the CNAS team will continue tackling the biggest security...
By Susanna V. Blume, Kara Frederick, Kayla M. Williams, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Richard Fontaine, Kristine Lee, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Ely Ratner, Paul Scharre, Elizabeth Rosenberg & Carrie Cordero
CommentaryThe ACFT and the Problems with the Military's Cult of Physical Fitness
A new hurdle for U.S. Army recruitment and retention is coming in the form of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), scheduled to become the Army's physical test by October 2020...
By Emma Moore
Increasing Diversity in the Military: Recruiting and Retaining Talented Women
I. Boots-on-the-Ground Assessment Chairwoman Speier, Ranking Member Kelly, distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss a topic I believe i...
By Kayla M. Williams