Jan. 9, 2018
The Bureaucratization of the U.S. Military Decisionmaking Process
Is risk management overemphasized in the decisionmaking process? Is caution more valued than boldness in action?
Surfing the Chaos: Warfighting in a Contested Cyberspace Environment
To win in the new cyber-contested battles of the future, a combatant must still command, but let go of control and surf the chaos.
The Power of Partnership: Security Cooperation and Globally Integrated Logistics
Logistics ought to be substantially integrated into security cooperation efforts, and security cooperation ought to be thoughtfully integrated into the discipline of logistics. While this premise may seem obvious, it is too often overlooked or misunderstood.
Multidomain Battle: Time for a Campaign of Joint Experimentation
Concepts on the scale of multidomain battle (MDB) require a campaign of experimentation that provides compelling evidence for the concept by fleshing out its operational and institutional contexts.
The Future Is Plural: Multiple Futures for Tomorrow's Joint Force
Multidimensional challenges cannot rely on dartboards or algorithms fed by Big Data. The central question for senior leaders in defense is improving their assessment of risk in ambiguous contexts.
War exacts a toll over time unlike any other human experience. And meeting the demands of combat takes more than one individual’s effort, budget, and ideas to succeed. The joint force has to adapt, adjust, acquire, repurpose, retrain, recruit, and perform a whole range of other functions to continue to meet the mission of protecting our Nation, allies, and partners around the world.
Oct. 1, 2017
Asadism and Legitimacy in Syria
On July 11, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted that Syrian President Bashar al-Asad had lost his “legitimacy,” presaging a U.S. policy favoring regime change in Syria.1 In August 2011, President Barack Obama stated that the “future of Syria must be determined by its people, but [Asad] is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for [Asad] to step aside.” However, nearly 6 years later, Obama has left office, while Asad rules a contiguous stretch of population centers and the majority of Syrians left in Syria. Mainstream analysis explains Asad’s resilience as a result of external factors, namely Russian and Iranian support, lack of alignment of foreign aid to opposition forces, and a subdued U.S. response to Asad and prioritization of fighting the so-called Islamic State. Likewise, analysis on the internal factors focuses the narrow but loyal support the regime enjoys from the ruling Alawite sect.3 The illegitimacy of the regime is assumed.
Toxic Culture: Enabling Incivility in the U.S. Military and What to Do About It
Core values are the heart and soul of U.S. military Services and their cultures. Military organizational, strategic, operational, and tactical strength lies in the degree to which the Services’ systems, processes, and behaviors of personnel align with their stated core values, the collective practice of which creates organizational culture. Yet even with the emphasis on core values such as respect and selfless service, the Department of Defense (DOD) continues to experience toxic and counterproductive behaviors that sabotage culture and values, as well as performance, productivity, force protection, health, readiness, and actions of personnel.1 Although DOD has not conducted comprehensive research on toxic behavior, there is extensive private-sector research regarding the impact, cost, tolerance, enabling, and reduction of toxicity. This article applies private-sector research to assess DOD policies and practices and to recommend courses of action. Although the implications and cost of toxicity are beyond the scope of this article, a brief discussion is relevant for demonstrating its significance. Private-sector research has identified relationships between toxic behaviors and adverse effects on mental and physical health (including suicide, stress-related illness, and post-traumatic stress), increasing demands on an already overburdened healthcare system; job satisfaction and commitment; individual and collective performance (cognition and collaboration); employee turnover; and the creation of an organizational culture that tolerates other inappropriate behaviors including sexual harassment and discrimination.2 In addition to the impact on direct targets of toxicity, research has identified the transmission of adverse effects to bystanders and family members.3
Increasing Partner-Nation Capacity Through Global Health Engagement
Why the Department of Defense (DOD) and international military sector writ large engage in global health is well documented.1 How DOD conducts global health engagement (GHE) in a systematic way is not. While pundits representing the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, combatant commands, Service components, and other organizations codify DOD policy for GHE, individuals and units implementing this broad guidance from 2013 to today continue to do so in a patchwork manner.2 Using the Indo-Asia Pacific region as a case study, this article presents the background regarding the current state of GHE in the region, develops a standardized GHE approach for engagement, and informs a partner-nation 5-year strategy.
Human Terrain at the Crossroads
The U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS) was created in 2007 amid fears of defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Responding to clear needs expressed by military leadership, HTS was offered as an experimental effort to embed academic social scientists with Army and Marine Corps units to dramatically increase local sociocultural knowledge on the battlefield.1