PRISM Vol. 10, No. 1 | Sept. 30, 2022
Graham Allison and Jonah Glick-Unterman
The era of uncontested U.S. military superiority is likely over. While America’s position as a global military superpower remains unique—both China and Russia are now serious military rivals and even peers in particular domains. If there is a “limited war” over Taiwan or along China’s periphery, the United States would likely lose—or have to choose between losing and stepping up the escalation ladder to a wider war. Choices the administration and Congress will make in 2022 and beyond can significantly impact the current trajectories. But the decisions likely to have the greatest positive impact are the hardest to make and execute.
Joint Force Quarterly 108 | Jan. 16, 2023
Michael A. Baker
Current best practices motivate decisionmakers and planners facing complex competitive environments to focus energetically on problem elimination. Practitioners are inadvertently encouraged to frame their goal as an endstate—a set of desired conditions without problems—and to conflate endstate with vision. This problem-elimination thinking creates a situation where real outcomes are confused with idealistic vision. Shining light on cognitive bias in decisionmaking and pushing back against problem-elimination thinking may help decisionmakers avoid the costly decisions and unproductive pendulum swings famously plaguing strategic and policy decisions.
The rivalry between the United States and China is not only one of military-strategic and economic challenges but also one of ideas. The West has had the advantage of presenting the more compelling image to the rest of the world. While China makes propaganda efforts, the United States enjoys soft power—the attractiveness of its culture, political ideas, and policies—and this gives America an international advantage. With a recent analysis suggesting that China’s economy will overtake that of the United States in 2028, China’s attempts to rebrand its image will not only have more resources but also find an increasingly eager international audience that seeks to engage the newly emerging number one global economy.
Joint Force Quarterly 108 | Jan. 18, 2023
Daniel S. Hall
Combining cutting-edge communications with psychosocial science to employ psychological capitulation strategies has changed the character of modern war. Adversaries combine half-truths with psychodynamic behavioral constructs to compete for strategic cognitive terrain. The U.S. military currently lacks the authorizations and capabilities required to protect societies against gray propaganda. Peter Singer and Emerson Brooking quoted an unattributed U.S. Army officer as saying, “Today we go in with the assumption that we’ll lose the battle of the narrative.” The United States can no longer accept loss in the information fight.
Joseph L. Billingsley (Ed.)
Kristen Gunness and Phillip C. Saunders
Thomas F. Lynch III