Image credit: Getty Images

November 22, 2018

On Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for America and the opportunity to serve in the Navy Reserve

By Daniel Kliman

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.

  • Commentary
    • October 27, 2021
    Sharper: Women Who Serve

    With the proposed 2022 National Defense Authorization Act set to include an amendment requiring women to register for Selective Service, the role of women in the military is o...

    By Nathalie Grogan & Anna Pederson

  • Reports
    • September 28, 2021
    The Role of County Veteran Service Officers

    Executive Summary This assessment examines the role of county veteran service officers (CVSOs) throughout the United States. The report highlights the services and support ava...

    By Katherine L. Kuzminski, Nathalie Grogan & Elena LoRusso

  • Commentary
    • Inkstick
    • September 23, 2021
    Don’t Ask Us to Serve

    Since the repeal of DADT, the lives of queer servicemembers have improved, but major challenges remain that threaten to undermine these gains and stall further progress....

    By Cody Kennedy

  • Commentary
    • Inkstick
    • September 17, 2021
    Closing the Gaps Between Servicemembers and the American Public

    We have been a nation at war — sort of. Due to the longest wars in American history being shouldered by a tiny percentage of the population, the vital civil-military relations...

    By Nathalie Grogan

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia