Jan. 10, 2018
Geographic Component Network Analysis: A Methodology for Deliberately Targeting a Hybrid Adversary
In late September 2014, nearly 3 months to the day after the so-called Islamic State (IS) declared the establishment of its caliphate, President Barack Obama noted that IS represented a hybrid threat, calling the group “a terror network with territorial ambitions and some of the strategy and tactics of an army.”1 Since then, copious pages of academic publications have been devoted to analyses of the group’s organizational structure, ideological appeal, centers of gravity, and holistic strategies to counter its rapid progress in securing and governing vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. Curiously, this discussion has included little regarding the proper method to systematically analyze and deliberately target IS entities at the operational and tactical levels of war.
Scipio Africanus and the Second Punic War: Joint Lessons for Center of Gravity Analysis
Publius Cornelius Scipio (236–183 BCE), known more widely by the nom de guerre Scipio Africanus, was a Roman statesman and general whose actions during the Second Punic War (218–201 BCE) demonstrate the eternal qualities embodied by modern concepts of joint warfare. Scipio employed said concepts at all levels of war and showed an atypical ability to integrate military and political objectives into a single system. Although the period of antiquity was a time when the concepts of strategy were only nascent, the study of Scipio highlights practically every aspect of modern joint planning and operations. In analyzing Scipio, Basil H. Liddell Hart proposed that his “[m]ilitary work has a greater value to modern students of war than that of any other great captain of the past.”1 In fact, despite warfare’s advancements in technology and industry, Hart’s observation of Scipio is as applicable to today’s joint planner as it was nearly a century ago.
The Need for an Innovative Joint Psychological Warfare Force Structure
It has been over 30 years since the first Department of Defense (DOD) Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Master Plan was published in 1985, advocating for a permanent joint psychological warfare element. Such an element could provide “DOD-wide psychological operations with strategic focus and the capability to orchestrate and coordinate the military PSYOP effort in conjunction with other U.S. Government agencies.”1 Since then, the authors of numerous other documents and members of working groups such as Unified Quest 2015 and 2016 have all advocated for some type of strategic influence command that could specifically align, synchronize, harmonize, unify, integrate, improve, counter, collaborate, direct, and deconflict all forms of influence and persuasion efforts among all elements of diplomacy, informational, military, and economic (DIME), and joint, interorganizational, and multinational organizations (JIMs).2 However, even with all of these voices and efforts spanning many decades, such an organization has not come to fruition.
A 21st-Century Military Doctrine for America
We need to start thinking about a military doctrine that is appropriate to the realities the United States faces in the 21st century. This should prove to be a painful process because it will be forced by unpleasant realities and will involve changes to long-held and entrenched ideas about who we are and how we use military power to express U.S. concepts and values on domestic and international stages. It may take two or three decades to arrive at where we need to be, but we must start thinking about it now.
Multidomain Battle: Converging Concepts Toward a Joint Solution
The mission of the Department of Defense (DOD) is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and to protect the security of the Nation. To accomplish this mission, the various Services within DOD—individually and collectively—must be trained and ready today, while simultaneously preparing for evolving threats in the future. Historically, each Service (the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard) has pursued separate and unique conceptual approaches to the dual requirements of deterrence and protection. These differences have been based largely on each Service’s primary operational domain—the limitations and opportunities presented by operating on land, on the sea, and in the air. We would then try to synchronize a series of federated solutions, developed somewhat in isolation to deal with the problems posed in a specific domain, into a joint solution. But as advancements in cyber and the electromagnetic spectrum, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology, three-dimensional printing, and a host of others continue to accelerate and proliferate across multiple domains, and as our potential adversaries adjust their strategies by utilizing these advancements asymmetrically in order to counter our strengths, we can no longer develop domain-specific solutions that require time and effort to synchronize and federate.
Jan. 9, 2018
Women, Regardless: Understanding Gender Bias in U.S. Military Integration
Women have been part of the U.S. military and its campaigns since the American Revolution. With the advent of the Women’s Army Corps in 1943, women could officially enlist for military service. During this time, female enlistees faced unofficial slander campaigns that sharply reversed enlistment. Over the last 70 years, women’s roles in the Army have morphed as fast as—or in some cases faster—than society has changed. Many of these changes have been good. For instance, many women have succeeded and excelled in newly accessible jobs, specialties, and skills. However, women still face stereotypes about who they are and how capably they perform their duties. These attitudes and beliefs threaten the integrity of the Armed Forces as well as their mission.
The Bureaucratization of the U.S. Military Decisionmaking Process
Making a decision is one of the most important responsibilities of a military commander at any level of command and is especially critical in combat. Traditionally, combat decisions are made by using the commander’s estimate of the situation. The term estimate highlights the central role that the commander has in the entire decisionmaking process; the commander, and nobody else, should be solely responsible for making a decision. Hence, the commander must be deeply involved in each step of the estimate process. Making a decision is largely an art and not a science. The commander’s experience and judgment are the most critical factors in making a sound decision.
Surfing the Chaos: Warfighting in a Contested Cyberspace Environment
On a crisp fall day in mid-October 1805, two fleets met to decide the fate of Europe at the Battle of Trafalgar. The combined fleets of the French and Spanish navies were larger, with heavier and more powerful ships, and their commander, Admiral Villeneuve, had even correctly deduced the battle strategy of his opponent. Contrary to the accepted naval practice of lining up parallel so that respective admirals could maintain control, Admiral Lord Nelson divided his smaller force into two columns directed perpendicularly against the enemy fleet. This produced a chaotic but decisive battle. And even though Nelson was killed, his more aggressive and self-synchronizing forces defeated the French and Spanish fleet on a scale not matched until modern times.
The Power of Partnership: Security Cooperation and Globally Integrated Logistics
Anyone who has ever been involved with efforts to build the military capacity of U.S. partner countries has stories. There were the Iraqi soldiers, thoroughly equipped and armed by the United States, who nevertheless found themselves short on ammunition, machine guns, and artillery as they fought—and lost—a decisive battle to defend Mosul against the so-called Islamic State (IS).1 Then there were the elite Malian commandos who had been trained and equipped to undertake counterterrorism missions by U.S. special operations forces for years, only to wither before ragtag Tuareg and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb fighters because they lacked mobility and were not dependably resupplied.2 And, of course, stories are numerous from dozens of countries where U.S. personnel have watched as millions of dollars’ worth of military equipment fell into rust or disrepair because of a logistics system unable to integrate and maintain the new assistance.
Multidomain Battle: Time for a Campaign of Joint Experimentation
The term multidomain has reached beyond mainstream military parlance to dominate defense-related discussions, concept papers, and op-eds. While the idea of operating across warfighting domains is hardly original, the rapid growth of capabilities tied to the newly minted space and cyber domains is forcing a re-examination of all previous military concepts and doctrine. This article explores the debate around multidomain battle (MDB). Developing a new warfighting concept (as opposed to a slogan or bumper sticker) is difficult because new concepts need to demonstrate that they are sufficiently better than the status quo at addressing the challenges and opportunities in order to justify the disruptive effects of the change. This, as it should be, is a high bar.