Feb. 1, 2018

Low-Cost Access to Space: Military Opportunities and Challenges

Space activity is critical to the American way of war. The commercialization of space has potentially radical implications for U.S. national security through its impact on a range of military and intelligence functions and on the ability of the nation to effectively project power around the globe.

Jan. 10, 2018

Joint Doctrine Update

Joint Doctrine Update.

Jan. 10, 2018

Born Multinational: Capability Solutions for Joint, Multinational, and Coalition Operations

U.S. military operations are conducted in a multinational environment. Given the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s emphasis on working with allies and other international partners, there are many advantages to certain capabilities being born multinational. A multinational development team offers the benefits of both inherent interoperability and a broad set of perspectives, insights, and knowledge sources.

Jan. 10, 2018

Department of Defense Terminology Program

The Department of Defense (DOD) Terminology Program was formalized in 2009 by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and falls under the responsibility of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS).1 The program is overseen by the director of Joint Force Development (DJ7) to improve communications and mutual understanding through the standardization of military and associated terminology within DOD, with other U.S. Government departments and agencies, and between the United States and international partners. It includes U.S. participation in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) terminology development as well as other terminology forums.

Jan. 10, 2018

A COG Concept for Winning More Than Just Battles

While current U.S. doctrine makes the center of gravity (COG) concept the centerpiece in operational planning, there is a broad call for either revising or killing the concept. However, if the COG concept is to remain the centerpiece in military planning, it must not only help link actions, effects, and objectives but also link the JFC level of command with the national strategic level of command.

Jan. 10, 2018

Social Science Goes to War: The Human Terrain System in Iraq and Afghanistan

The gap between academia and the military has existed at least since the early 1960s, when Project Camelot crystallized political opposition to the American military/security apparatus by activist academicians. As a result, the military/security community established its own think tanks, designed to replicate social and hard science capabilities, reducing the political noise and fallout inherent in the engagement with a potentially hostile academic community. On the other side of the divide, many academics reacted with anger to social scientists engaged in military activity, political beliefs fusing with concerns of academic freedom and fanned with the flames of opposition to the Vietnam War in what they saw as colonialism and rampant militarization of American society.

Jan. 10, 2018

Elite Warriors: Special Operations Forces from Around the World

Special operations forces (SOF) have existed in some form and played roles in warfare since the advent of conventional military operations. For example, in biblical times, King David had a special forces platoon. World War II brought growth, greater recognition, and prestige for special forces like the British Commandos, Special Air Service, and the American Office of Strategic Services. The last two decades have witnessed explosive growth in various forms of unconventional or SOF.

Jan. 10, 2018

Unwinnable: Britain’s War in Afghanistan, 2001–2014

For years, the British enjoyed a reputation of counterinsurgency excellence. Their campaigns—Malaya, Kenya, Oman, Northern Ireland—were hailed as successes in this difficult form of war. Afghanistan, however, turned out to be painful for the British. They committed a peak of over 9,500 troops, eventually drawing down to a few hundred by the end of 2014. They faced numerous battlefield reverses. Eventual successes were overshadowed by the arrival of 20,000 U.S. Marines. Britain’s counterinsurgency reputation came out of the campaign tarnished.

Jan. 10, 2018

Implementing Guidance for Security Cooperation: Overcoming Obstacles to U.S. Africa Command’s Efforts

U.S. Africa Command’s lack of operationalization of its security cooperation processes, combined with the sheer size of its area of responsibility and the significant changes with the new NDAA, create unique challenges. This article outlines four main areas where USAFRICOM can improve its efforts to operationalize and synchronize its security cooperation efforts.

Jan. 10, 2018

Achieving Secrecy and Surprise in a Ubiquitous ISR Environment

As foreign and commercial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities proliferate, our ability to leverage secrecy and surprise for battlefield advantage is in danger of being severely degraded or lost altogether. We must take prudent near-term steps to address this concern.