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fromtheeditor What’s Next? I


Military Offi cer explores the past, present, and future with a look at Grace Hopper’s legacy, retirement-ready resources, and opinion pieces about America’s post-2014 role in Afghanistan.


In a laboratory workshop at Harvard University in 1944, America’s fi rst general- purpose computer came to life. Measuring 50 feet long, 8 feet deep, and 8 feet tall, the Mark I computer was a far cry from the personal computer that would show up on household desktops some 40 years later and especially from the handheld version that comes in the form of today’s smartphone. A member of the team who helped de-


velop the Mark I was Grace Hopper, a Navy lieutenant junior grade who, over the next four decades, would play a signifi cant role in establishing the computer as the indis- pensable tool of modern society it is today. In recognition of Women’s History


Month, we asked Mark Cantrell to look at the legacy Hopper left behind. Read about this pioneer of the digital universe in “Amazing Grace,” page 52. March also provides us an opportunity


to explore diff erent aspects of retirement. Our special section, “Planning Ahead,” page 57, features two articles to help you do just that. In “7 Steps to Early Retirement,” page 58, Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®, a benefi ts expert in MOAA’s Transi- tion Center, speaks with three people who chose to retire before age 60 to fi nd out how each made the transition a success. In “A Tale of Two CCRCs,” page 70, Don Vaughan highlights two couples’ vastly diff erent ex- periences when researching and selecting a continuing-care retirement community to call home. The Community Source listing, page 85, completes the retirement section.


We round out this issue of Military Of-


fi cer with a selection of writing from two points of view regarding Afghanistan. With international troops set to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, there has been much discussion as to whether there will be a continued American presence be- yond the end of the year. To examine “America’s Future in Af-


ghanistan,” page 96, we asked retired Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, dis- tinguished fellow at the Brookings Insti- tution and a former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, for his insights as to why the U.S. should retain a presence after 2014. We asked Dr. M. Chris Mason, a senior


research fellow with the Program for Culture and Confl ict Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., and a retired Foreign Service offi cer who served as the Afghanistan policy offi cer for the Bureau of Political Military Aff airs at the State Department, to give us his thoughts as to why leaving Afghanistan might be the more prudent action. What do you think? As always, we


welcome your feedback. Log on to MOAA Connect* and search for the “America’s Future in Afghanistan” discussion to let us know your thoughts on the subject.


— Capt. Gordon J. Hume, USN (Ret)


*online: Log on to connect.moaa.org to access the “America’s Future in Afghanistan” discussion. 12 MILITARY OFFICER MARCH 2014


PHOTO: SEAN SHANAHAN


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