- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.
Call me a military personnel policy wonk, but I think this is a great idea: Letting officers and sailors take a mid-career sabbatical.
I especially like the way the program is structured, providing medical benefits while the service member is taking time off. Also, by aiming for high performers, the Navy is likely to get people who are going to do things like move to Cairo to learn Arabic. When they return to active duty, they are likely to bring new energy and skills with them. Also, this might be a way of keeping people who otherwise would just leave to pursue their dreams or pressing needs. In the Army, this could be a way of say, helping a wife after years of deployments by being a stay-at-home dad for three years while the wife gets an college degree.
Gordon Lubold is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy. He is also the author of FP's Situation Report, an e-mailed newsletter that is blasted out to more than 70,000 national security and foreign affairs subscribers each morning that includes the top nat-sec news, breaking news, tidbits, nuggets and what he likes to call "candy." Before arriving at FP, he was a senior advisor at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, where he wrote on national security and foreign policy. Prior to his arrival at USIP, he was a defense reporter for Politico, where he launched the popular Morning Defense early morning blog and tip-sheet. Prior to that, he was the Pentagon and national security correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, and before that he was the Pentagon correspondent for the Army Times chain of newspapers. He has covered conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in South Asia, and has reported on military matters in sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and Latin America as well as at American military bases across the country. He has spoken frequently on the sometimes-contentious relationship between the military and the media as a guest on numerous panels. He also appears on radio and television, including on CNN, public radio's Diane Rehm and To the Point, and C-SPAN's Washington Journal. He lives in Alexandria with his wife and two children.| Situation Report |