April 17, 2017

Chapter 5 | The Officer at Work: Leadership

Leadership—convincing others to collaborate effectively in a common endeavor—is the primary function of all Armed Forces officers. Only a few officers are commanders at any particular moment, but every officer is a leader. Indeed the Army and Marine Corps insist that leadership is the common responsibility of every Soldier and Marine.1 The Air Force says “Any Airman can be a leader and can positively influence those around him or her to accomplish the mission.”2 A consequence is that almost every officer considers himself or herself good at leadership, but perspectives on method differ depending on individual circumstances and experiences. This chapter discusses leadership from four different but overlapping viewpoints: accomplishing the mission and taking care of the troops; three concepts of leadership; Service approaches; and “tribal wisdom,” views of leadership expressed by senior professionals.

April 17, 2017

Chapter 4 | The Officer at Work: The Ethical Use of Force

Being a person of virtue and good character is integral to being a professional. It is necessary, but not sufficient. A physician may be a person of unassailable character, but to be fully successful in the practice of medicine, she will need to know and be able to apply both the technical skills and the ethical principles that inform and guide such matters as end-of-life treatment options, or whether to be fully truthful with a terminal patient. An attorney might be a person of unquestionable virtue, but he will need to know and be able to apply the principles and rules that spell out the limits on what he is permitted to do in prosecuting a defendant on behalf of the United States, that is, to recognize those actions that might violate his obligations as an officer of the court.

April 17, 2017

Chapter 3 | The Officer in the Profession of Arms

Armed Forces officers are the appointed leaders of the uniformed component of an executive department of government. They are viewed as professionals, contingent upon their demonstrated abilities to deliver competent, reliable, discretionary service of a unique and necessary kind. Because they serve in a hierarchy of rank and authority, all Armed Forces officers are simultaneously leaders and followers, bound by their oath and commission to loyal subordination as well as effective direction of others. They are called upon by overlapping demands to display a number of virtues, some inherent in the terms of their commissions; some reflecting values adopted for all members by their respective departments to ensure faithful reliable service; still others of the sort commonly found in all skilled professions to guarantee the excellence and continued relevance of the discretionary service on which are based the claims for authority to practice their unique skills. The Armed Forces officer is expected to synthesize all these virtues into a harmonious whole, and to practice their application self-consciously, until they become second nature.

April 17, 2017

Chapter 2 | The Profession of Arms

Humans fight as individuals and as groups. Some fight primarily for money, some for love of fighting, and some for lack of alternative opportunities. Others fight for love of country and civic duty. As noted by General Sir John Hackett, “From the beginning of . . . recorded history physical force, or the threat of it, has always been freely applied to the resolution of social problems.”1 Human societies—from tribes and city-states to empires, organized religions, and nation-states—have regularly established and relied on groups of specialists who, willingly or unwillingly, assumed the burden of fighting, killing, and dying for the larger group. Whatever the formal name or title given to these groups, theirs is the profession of arms.

April 17, 2017

Chapter 1 | The Commission and the Oath

You become an officer in the Armed Forces of the United States by accepting a commission and swearing the oath of support for the Constitution required by Article VI of “all executive and judicial Officers [the President excepted], both of the United States and of the several states.”1 The commission and the oath constitute an individual moral commitment and common ethical instruction. They legitimize the officer’s trade and provide the basis of the shared ethic of commissioned leadership that binds the American military into an effective and loyal fighting force. They are the foundation of the trust safely placed in the Armed Forces by the American people. The commission and oath unite all Armed Forces officers in a common undertaking of service to the Nation.

April 17, 2017


In 2007, the National Defense University and the NDU Press published a new edition of The Armed Forces Officer. That book was written in the period from 2002 to 2005 as a 21st-century version of a work originally published by the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 1950. Three subsequent editions followed throughout the last half of the 20th century. The 2007 edition was drafted by representatives of the national Service academies, with additional contributions by the Marine Corps University.

April 11, 2017

Joint Force Quarterly 85 (2nd Quarter 2017)

What do you see happening in the joint force today? Are we a better fighting force 30 years after Goldwater-Nichols? What do you see as the important issues today and going forward? Our JFQ audience wants to hear what you have to say. You have made JFQ “one of the most thoroughly read and influential journals” in the military profession, as General Powell had wanted. Only you can continue to let leadership know what you are thinking. JFQ is here to help you do just that.

April 1, 2017

Executive Summary

The old saying that history is written by the victors does not hold in all cases, but it still has a certain truth to it. Being able to know, with any certainty, what happened in the past is always a challenge, especially for the warrior scholars among us. As Editor in Chief, I have relied on the oral histories of those who have been involved over the years in producing JFQ. As you might expect, we have been fortunate to have many talented people at NDU Press with a common purpose of making General Colin Powell’s vision for the journal a reality.

April 1, 2017

Joint Doctrine Update

Joint Doctrine Update.

April 1, 2017

Joint Publication 3-20, Security Cooperation: Adapting Enduring Lessons

Today’s security environment demands that the Department of Defense (DOD) employ a robust strategy and assortment of capabilities across the entire range of military operations and in support of America’s national security interests. A preponderance of these activities falls under the umbrella of security cooperation (SC) in which few, if any, U.S. forces participate directly in combat operations. As DOD continues to develop the “four plus one” threat baseline described by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Force Development Directorate has taken steps to better align joint doctrine with the National Military Strategy as part of an approach that emphasizes the need for adaptive doctrine. Within this effort, the need to synergize U.S. capacity and capabilities with those of its partners remains paramount.