April 1, 2017
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.
In Memoriam: General John W. Vessey, Jr., USA
We mourn the passing and celebrate the life and service of General John W. Vessey, Jr., the longest serving U.S. Soldier, who died on August 18, 2016, at the age of 94. He began his 46-year service by enlisting in the Minnesota Army National Guard when he was just 16. General Vessey rose to the rank of first sergeant in World War II and received a battlefield commission as a second lieutenant in 1944 during the Battle of Anzio while serving as an artillery forward observer.
An Interview with David L. Goldfein
To see what the Air Force does for the Nation as part of the joint force, there are several lenses you should look through. I’d begin by looking at what we do from a deployed-in-place outlook and what we do to deploy forward. It’s actually easier to describe what we do to deploy forward, and that tends to be what is most on the radar for not only leaders in Washington, DC, but also the American people.
Toward a Unified Metric of Kinetic and Nonkinetic Actions: Meaning Fields and the Arc of Effects
There is a critical need for new thinking on how the United States can better meet the full spectrum of kinetic and nonkinetic 21st-century security challenges. Revolutionary changes in information technologies, communications, and the composition of both nation-state and nonstate actors necessitate a change in our approach toward national security. Though emerging cyber capabilities tend to dominate current defense dialogues, technological advances in the traditional domains of land, sea, air, and space also demand a concept for holistically assessing the reality of our national security environment and the effects of actions we take toward those ends. In short, we need a unified cognitive approach for assessing and measuring kinetic and nonkinetic actions.
Information Warfare in an Information Age
In the past week, how many devices have you used that were connected to the Internet or relied on an algorithm to accomplish a task? Likely, the number is upward of 10 to 15, and most of those devices are used daily, if not hourly. Examples may include a Fit-Bit, cell phone, personal computer, work computer, home monitoring system, car, Internet television, printer, scanner, maps, and, if you are really tech savvy, maybe your coffee pot or refrigerator.
The Rise of the Commercial Threat: Countering the Small Unmanned Aircraft System
The Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) is a disruptive commercial technology that poses a unique and currently undefined threat to U.S. national security. Although, as with any new technology, the parameters of the capabilities regarding military use have yet to be fully discovered, recent events highlight the potential danger. In September 2013, an unarmed sUAS hovered near the face of German Chancellor Angela Merkel while she delivered a campaign speech. In January of 2015, an sUAS defied restricted airspace and landed, initially undetected, on the White House lawn. And more recently, in August of 2016, at least five sUASs disrupted wildfire fighting efforts near Los Angeles, grounding helicopters for fear of mid-air collisions. Likewise, sUAS altercations with law enforcement are increasing, as the Federal Aviation Administration now receives over 100 adverse UAS reports per month.4 These examples emphasize the intrusive, undetectable, and potentially lethal nature of this emerging technology.
Forensic Vulnerability Analysis: Putting the “Art” into the Art of War
Is warfare art or science? The debate, touched upon by Sun Tzu in the 6th century BCE, is still raging today. Most scholarly literature states that war is a combination of both art and science. Many military scholars side with the argument that the planning and execution of warfare are art, but the tools used to wage war are science. However, in this technology-centric era of large data collection, asymmetric adversaries that employ emerging technologies, nation-states that leverage technology superior proxies, weapons that evoke a Star Wars familiarity, and a generation of warfighters that is more comfortable around instantaneous data flows than long-term incremental research, science is taking a more prominent role in warfare. For example, watch the current Department of Defense (DOD) recruiting videos. Except for the Marine Corps, which is still looking for The Few, The Proud, most if not all Service recruiting videos focus on technology (for example, jet fighters, cyber warriors, and space warriors).
Operational Graphics for Cyberspace
Symbols have been part of military tactics, operations, and strategy since armies became too large for personal observation on the battlefield. In joint military operations, it is crucial to have a set of common symbols familiar to all users. The inability of cyber warriors to easily express operational concepts inhibits the identification of cyber key terrain, development of tactics and strategies, and execution of command and control.
The Need for a Joint Support Element in Noncombatant Evacuation Operations
The U.S. Government’s first duty is to protect and defend the citizens of the Nation. Loss of confidence in the government’s ability and willingness to safeguard citizens can shift the public narrative and may even compel policymakers to alter strategic direction. Noncombatant evacuation operations (NEOs) from threatened areas overseas are therefore an important strategic matter, particularly in today’s world of viral videos and globalized travel.
Policing in America: How DOD Helped Undermine Posse Comitatus
With the recent events of police shootings and domestic terrorism, many are calling into question whether our law enforcement strategies are standing up to the ideals that police everywhere are known to follow—aptly, to protect and to serve. Claims of lingering societal racism and police brutality are under constant scrutiny by social and police reform activists and media coverage.1 Other studies state these claims are myths being reported daily as facts and are, sadly, finding their way into changing public policy.2 Tension between these arguments was succinctly stated best as “if you’re pro–Black Lives Matter, you’re assumed to be anti-police, and if you’re pro-police, then you surely hate black people.”3 But why should this concern the Department of Defense (DOD)?