Oct. 1, 2017

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

Oct. 1, 2017

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.

Oct. 1, 2017

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

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.

Oct. 1, 2017

Joint Publication 5-0, Joint Planning

The Joint Staff Director, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5), approved a new Joint Publication (JP) 5-0, Joint Planning. The publication, signed by the Director, Joint Force Development (J7), will be the fifth iteration of joint doctrine on planning since 1995.

Oct. 1, 2017

The U.S. Government’s Approach to Food Security: Focus on Campaign Activities

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., stresses the importance of effective cooperation with nonmilitary organizations to promote a common operational framework and allocate critical information and resources. Per his direction, the joint force continues to inquire about and examine the nuances between organizational workforce cultures and methodologies. One area where military and nonmilitary workforce approaches differ is security. This article focuses on an aspect of security known in international circles and endorsed by the United Nations (UN) as human security.1 Threats to human security can be categorized in seven dimensions, one of which is food security.2 Complementing an initial installment on health security also published in Joint Force Quarterly, this article addresses the U.S. Government’s approach to food security with a focus on combatant command campaign activities.

Oct. 1, 2017

Robotic Swarms in Offensive Maneuver

For many years, military scientists have contemplated the advent of swarming tactics as an evolution within maneuver warfare, and futurists have contemplated the execution of the tactics by cooperative teams of semi-autonomous drones.1 These projections expound on strengths demonstrated by hive-minded organisms such as bees or ants, which work cooperatively to defeat larger invaders through non-hierarchal communications. Other swarm theorists reference the deadly effectiveness of the ephemeral, loose formations of horse archers of the Asian steppe against less flexible foes.2 Whatever the source of inspiration, few authors move beyond the abstract employment of robotic swarms. To fully explore swarm utility in fire and maneuver, swarms should be inserted into the tactical concepts of today—chiefly, the five forms of offensive maneuver recognized under Army doctrine.

Oct. 1, 2017

Butter Bar to Four Star: Deficiencies in Leader Development

This article carefully unpacks the ideas that rigid cultural norms, faulty officer management practices, and significant flaws in professional military education (PME) generate damaging gaps in the development of commissioned Army officers in the Active component.

Oct. 1, 2017

The Risk of Delay: The Need for a New Authorization for Use of Military Force

In September 2014, President Barack Obama announced a four-part plan to systematically destroy the so-called Islamic State (IS), a plan that included sustained military operations in Iraq, into Syria, and “wherever [the terrorists] are.” While President Obama welcomed congressional support for the effort in order to show the world that America was united in confronting this new danger, he claimed the executive branch had the authority to unilaterally approve such use of military force against IS. The President’s justification rested on two congressional resolutions passed into law over a dozen years earlier: the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs). Despite specifically authorizing the use of military force against those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and the terrorist threat posed in Iraq, respectively, the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs have remained the primary basis for our nation’s counterterrorism efforts abroad for over 15 years. Yet during this period, the world has witnessed the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, death of Osama bin Laden, proliferation of new terrorist groups across the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa, and the international expansion of IS.

Oct. 1, 2017

Winners of the 2017 Essay Competition

NDU Press Congratulates the Winners of the 2017 Essay Competitions.