March 29, 2016
Errors in Strategic Thinking: Anti-Politics and the Macro Bias
How can military professionals improve U.S. strategic performance? If General Martin Dempsey, who served as President Barack Obama’s principal military advisor, is correct, American strategic performance too often surprises and disappoints. Strategic discontent, which arises from the failure to conjoin strategic intent and actual outcomes, may well be the default expectation, whereas strategic satisfaction is the rare surprise.
Strategy 2.0: The Next Generation
There is widespread concern and a great deal of collective handwringing these days about defense strategy. Seasoned observers will note that this is not a new problem. The environment that General Shalikashvili described in introducing the 1994/1995 Autumn/Winter issue of Joint Force Quarterly in the epigraph above is strikingly familiar 20 years later: conflicts in regions formerly at peace, the changing role of alliances and the range of situations in which we are called upon to use the military, the ambiguity and proliferation of threats around the world, and the ever-quickening pace of change in science and technology that nourishes competitors and substantially reduces the time it takes for a force to go from state-of-the-art to obsolescence.
Rediscovering the Art of Strategic Thinking: Developing 21st-Century Strategic Leaders
At a time when global instability and uncertainty are undeniable, the demand for astute American global strategic leadership is greater than ever. Unfortunately, tactical superficiality and parochial policies of convenience are undermining joint strategic leader development and the ability to operate effectively around the world. Tactical supremacy and the lack of a peer competitor have contributed to strategic thinking becoming a lost art. This critical shortfall has been recognized for a number of years. General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), and Tony Koltz stated in their 2009 book Leading the Charge that leaders today have no vision and consequently have “lost the ability to look and plan ahead.” Trapped within rigid bureaucracies, today’s joint strategic leaders immerse themselves in current operations, reacting to, rather than shaping, future events.
Fighting Ebola: An Interagency Collaboration Paradigm
An old fable tells that a single stick by itself is weak; bundled with others, however, the stick will be much stronger. Likewise, during the world’s 2014–2015 response to the Ebola crisis in Liberia, interagency, intergovernmental, and international forces were strong and firmly united, moving forward with a singular agenda. If, on the other hand, all 100-plus organizations had not been united by the Liberian government to stamp out Ebola, the effort would have been weak and ineffective.
Cheap Technology Will Challenge U.S. Tactical Dominance
The convergence of dramatic improvements in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, materials, additive manufacturing, and nanoenergetics is dramatically changing the character of conflict in all domains. This convergence is creating a massive increase in capabilities available to increasingly smaller political entities—extending even to the individual. This new diffusion of power has major implications for the conduct of warfare, not the least of which are the major hazards or opportunities that it presents to medium and even small powers. The outcome will depend on the paths they choose.
If We Fight Joint, Shouldn't Our History Reflect That?
American forces are fighting joint as never before in conjunction with the armed forces of allied nations. Joint and combined operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and current operations over Iraq and Syria have demonstrated conclusively that the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 came at the right time and has subsequently produced impressive results.
Jan. 1, 2016
The Future of Department of Defense Global Health Engagement
The term global health has come into common usage in recent years and encompasses various matters relevant to health, including diseases that cross international borders, factors that affect public health globally, and the interconnectedness of health matters around the globe. Diseases that have been unevenly distributed across the world have been of concern to militaries for centuries, perhaps throughout history. Historians record that the decimation of Napoleon’s army during his invasion of Russia was the result of starvation, severe weather, and disease, the most important of which was typhus, which killed over 80,000 troops.1 His retreating army then spread typhus throughout Europe. Likewise, typhoid fever was a serious problem in World War I and the American Civil War.2 Spanish troops were severely affected by yellow fever during the Spanish-American War, and Spanish influenza had disproportionate and decisive effects during World War I.3 Colonization of Africa, Asia, and Latin America by Western powers led to increased awareness of diseases that were generally exotic to the imposing country, motivating interest in developing means of prevention and control of diseases. Examples of efforts emanating from such interest include the work of Walter Reed and William C. Gorgas in defining the transmission and prevention of yellow fever, research regarding cholera and diarrhea in Bangladesh, and the establishment of research laboratories (for example, the Pasteur Institute and Medical Research Council laboratories in Africa). Conversely, the invasion and colonization of foreign lands has also long been known to result in the introduction of exotic disease into the occupied lands, with the importation of smallpox and syphilis into North America by colonists as outstanding examples.
The Aegis Warship: Joint Force Linchpin for IAMD and Access Control
Under defense strategic guidance, U.S. combatant commanders have been rebalancing joint forces along the Asia-Pacific Rim with recalibrated capabilities to shape the regional security environments in their areas of responsibility. The mission of what the 2012 guidance calls “Joint Force in 2020” is to project stabilizing force to support our allies and partners, and to help maintain the free flow of commerce along sea lines of communication in the globalized economic system.
Oct. 1, 2015
Strategic Development of Special Warfare in Cyberspace
How does the United States develop a strategic cyber-enabled special warfare capability? Why are regional powers such as Iran and Russia better prepared for cyber-enabled special warfare operations than the United States?
Transforming Defense Analysis
The Defense Intelligence Enterprise is on the precipice of tremendous change. The global environment is experiencing a mind-numbing quantity and diversity of challenging crises.