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.