Nerea Cal: Why the US Military Values a PhD in Political Science

Nerea Cal
September 8, 2023

Graduate Student and U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Nerea M. Cal has an article on Democracy Paradox entitled “Why the US Military Values a PhD in Political Science.”


In the summer of 2021, reports of the chaotic and rushed withdrawal from Afghanistan dominated the news, with harrowing images of Afghans – desperate to escape what would surely be oppressive rule by a Taliban government – clinging to the landing gear of U.S. Air Force cargo aircraft as they departed Kabul Airport. I watched with a mix of horror, sadness, and disappointment as twenty years’ worth of American foreign policy and the blood, sweat, tears, and treasure of thousands of Americans and Afghans ended in debacle.  Ten years earlier, as a young Army captain and Blackhawk helicopter pilot, I flew through those very skies and landed at that airport dozens of times. This was not how any of us thought it would end, though perhaps we should have seen it coming.