Davidson Discusses Global Organized Violence in Vision Lecture

Posted: November 27, 2013 at 5:02 am, Last Updated: December 3, 2013 at 6:16 am

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By Justin Lafreniere

Janine Davidson

Janine Davidson

In her Vision Series lecture, Janine Davidson, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University, will give insight into the changing and dangerous world of organized violence and discuss the uncertain and shifting boundaries of crime and war.

The lecture, Cracks in the Armor: How the Global Order and the Modern State Empower Organized Violence, will be given Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, at 7:15 p.m. in the Founders Hall Auditorium on George Mason’s Arlington Campus. The event is free and no tickets are required. An informal reception with light refreshments will follow the lecture.

Terrorist militias, gangs, pirates, drug cartels and cyber criminals defy a binary definition of the illegality of their actions, and yet present a great threat to personal, national and international security in the coming decades. Citing militia kidnappings paired with blatant offensive raids, the increased proliferation of military weapons and tactics in the illegal activities of drug cartels, and the impunity of pirates from legal or military retribution, Davidson sees the distinction between criminal acts and acts of war as problematic when it comes to dealing with organized violence.

Exploring these issues at the local, national and international levels, Davidson stresses that meaningful change against organized violence will be found in a questioning and possible realignment “of the proper roles and missions for law enforcement and military institutions.” She particularly emphasizes the necessity of adaptive models for both national and international bodies to maintain peace.

The “crime-war gap” designed to promote stability and liberty, Davidson argues, prevents national security and international organizations from effectively managing the growing crisis of groups committing organized and destabilizing acts of violence. “What makes the problem more confounding is that some of our legal or institutional solutions may have negative consequences of their own, with respect to individual liberty or government oversight,” Davidson says.

Davidson received her PhD in international studies from the University of South Carolina. At Mason, she teaches courses on national security, civil-military relations and public policy, among other topics. She began her career as a pilot, flying C-17 and C-130 cargo aircraft in combat support and humanitarian operations in the Middle East, Asia and Europe, and served as a pilot instructor at the Air Force Academy. From 2009 to 2012, she served as the Department of Defense’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans and received the 2012 Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

In 2013, she was appointed by President Obama to serve as a member of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force. She formerly taught at Davidson College and held several other private-sector positions. Her book, “Lifting the Fog of Peace: How Americans Learned to Fight Modern War,” was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2010. She has published articles relating to national security decision-making and defense strategy in the journals Presidential Studies Quarterly and Building Peace and Foreign Affairs, among others.

Write to Robin Herron at rherron@gmu.edu

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