Joint Force Quarterly 100

Joint Force Quarterly 100

(1st Quarter, January 2021)

Countering Chinese Coercion

  • Remotely Piloted Airstrikes
  • Logistics Under Fire

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Pictured (left to right, top to bottom): General Mark A. Milley, USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General John E. Hyten, USAF, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General James C. McConville, USA, Chief of Staff of the Army; General David H. Berger, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps;
Admiral Michael M. Gilday, USN, Chief of Naval Operations; General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., USAF, Chief of Staff of the Air Force; General John W. Raymond, USSF, Chief of Space Operations; General Daniel R. Hokanson, USA, Chief of the National Guard Bureau.

From the Chiefs of the Joint Staff

By The Chiefs of the Joint Staff

The American people have trusted the Armed Forces of the United States to protect them and our Constitution for almost 250 years. As we have done throughout our history, the U.S. military will obey lawful orders from civilian leadership, support civil authorities to protect lives and property, ensure public safety in accordance with the law, and remain fully committed to protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

American flag flies outside Capitol Building during 59th Presidential Inauguration ceremony in Washington, January 20, 2021, when President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President
Kamala D. Harris took oath of office on West Front of U.S. Capitol (DOD/Carlos M. Vazquez II)

Executive Summary

By William T. Eliason

Whether you are on the ground halfway around the world or standing point here at home in Washington, DC, whether you are in uniform or civil service, in defending our Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic you are defending both a way of life and a precious set of values all freedom-loving people around the world believe in. Your team here at NDU Press supports your efforts and wants to hear from you as you work the difficult issues and tasks in the days and months ahead. Stay safe.

Sailor and multipurpose canine from Naval Special Warfare Group One practice crevasse self-recovery techniques during austere high-altitude environment training, at Knik Glacier, Alaska, September 11, 2020 (Naval Special Warfare Group One)

The Evolution of Special Operations as a Model for Information Forces

By Christopher E. Paul and Michael Schwille

U.S. special operations forces (SOF) writhed from perennial neglect before a dedicated combatant command—U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM)—was created, an assistant secretary was appointed, and major force program funding was allocated. This article draws an analogy between historical SOF and contemporary information forces and suggests that the history and evolution of SOF could serve as a possible model and provide cautionary lessons for the future development of information forces.

Sailor communicates with combat information center while standing watch on bridge as USS Germantown transits Luzon
Strait, South China Sea, September 5, 2020 (U.S. Navy/Taylor DiMartino)

Harnessing the Power of Information: A Better Approach for Countering Chinese Coercion

By Kurt Stahl

China has implemented an incremental approach toward coercive activities in the Indo-Pacific region, placing the United States and its allies in a deteriorating position to counteract Beijing effectively. An information-centric strategy offers the best opportunity to counter Chinese influence and advance U.S. interests in the region without a greater risk of military conflict.

Infantrymen with Company D, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Iowa Army National Guard, load Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station during eXportable Combat Training Capability rotation at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, July 19, 2019 (U.S. Army National Guard/Zachary M. Zippe)

Beyond Bean Bags and Rubber Bullets: Intermediate Force Capabilities Across the Competition Continuum

By Susan LeVine

Nonlethal weapons technological advancements could provide a variety of counterpersonnel and countermateriel effects without destruction. Could this new generation of capabilities provide senior leaders and operational commanders intermediate force options that support the full spectrum of military objectives? If so, how do they fit in the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) focus on increased lethality?

Airman with 57th Munitions Squadron secures door on BSU-33 conical fin assembly for BDU-50 inert bomb at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, March 13, 2019 (U.S. Air Force/Perry Aston)

The “Next Training Revolution”: Readying the Joint Force for Great Power Competition and Conflict

By Thomas C. Greenwood, Terry Heuring, and Alec Wahlman

After two decades of conducting counterinsurgency (COIN) operations and nation-building in the Middle East, the United States seeks to regain the strategic advantage with its Great Power competitors, China and Russia. The COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating effect on the medical, economic, social, and “psychological” well-being of the United States and international community renders this a herculean task. It also forecloses the likelihood that the United States will be able to spend its way out of this geostrategic conundrum.

JPME Today

MQ-9 Crew Chief at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, December 19, 2016 (U.S. Air Force/J.M. Eddins, Jr.)

Beneath the Crosshairs: Remotely Piloted Airstrikes as a Foreign Policy Tool

By Roderic K. Butz

Without a clearly identified endstate and coordinated whole-of-government strategy, remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) strikes alone increase risk to national policy objectives, destabilize fragile regions, and isolate key partners.

Soldier with Cyber Electromagnetic Activities section, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, points toward nearby objective during final day of training with section’s new electronic warfare equipment, Fort Riley, Kansas, April 6, 2018 (U.S. Army/Michael C. Roach)

It’s Not Just About Cyber Anymore: Multidisciplinary Cyber Education and Training Under the New Information Warfare Paradigm

By Joshua A. Sipper

Education and training have been complementary philosophical cognitive frameworks necessarily focused on harmonious, yet separate, areas of information delivery to people in a vast array of careers. Much research has compared and contrasted these two philosophies, revealing the need for an understanding of how best to target learning in order to accommodate the needs of students, of organizations in need of talent, and of society as a whole. The fact is that we need welders and plumbers just as badly as we need doctors and lawyers. However, the way we train and educate across these vastly different career trajectories must by necessity flow and work in different ways.

Marine attached to “Lucky Red Lions” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 lowers payload from MV-22B Osprey to USS Henry M. Jackson in vicinity of Hawaiian Islands, Pacific Ocean, October 21, 2020 (U.S. Marine Corps/Matthew Kirk)

Logistics Under Fire: Changes for Meeting Dynamically Employed Forces

By Stephanie Myers, Eric Shirley, Brian Joseph Anderson, and Steven Hejmanowski

The United States has not faced contested lines of logistics since World War II. Over time, U.S. forces have become dangerously comfortable with having what they need, when they need it. The most notable difference between logistics during World War II and logistics now is that our supply lines are spread much thinner. The Department of Defense (DOD) can no longer rely on established forward bases and uncontested lines of supply.


Former Secretary of State John Kerry raises hands with Afghan
presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani, left, and Abdullah Abdullah, right, at United Nations Mission Headquarters in Kabul, on July 12, 2014, after announcing deal to settle election dispute (U.S. Department of State)

Independent and Credible: Advising Afghan Security Forces During the 2019 Presidential Election

By Forest Pierce

The 2019 Afghan presidential election presented a unique opportunity to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Resolute Support (RS) mission. Specifically, RS leaders needed to align the coalition to support election security operations while reinforcing the independence and credibility of the Afghan-led process. Assessing this challenge required knowledge of recent Afghan history, the roles of election stakeholders, and the capabilities of the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF).

Dolli Lane, 96th Medical Group laboratory technician, reviews sample through microscope November 19, 2015, at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after recently discovering rare spirally twisted bacteria, known to cause tickborne relapsing fever, and cultured by Centers for Disease Control (U.S. Air Force/Ilka Cole)

The Myths of Lyme Disease: Separating Fact from Fiction for Military Personnel

By Montgomery McFate

No one is immune to, and there is no cure for, tickborne diseases. Just one tick bite can destroy a person’s career. Given the dire health consequences, the poor diagnostic tools, the effects of climate change in increasing tick habitats, and the endemic nature of the disease in geographical areas where the military lives, works, and plays, Lyme should be a serious concern for the entire joint force.


Sailor updates status board in combat information center aboard USS Antietam during naval surface fire support exercise mission, Pacific Ocean, September 26, 2020 (U.S. Navy/James Hong)

Fight Tonight: Reenergizing the Pentagon for Great Power Competition

By Brandon J. Archuleta and Jonathan I. Gerson

From General Ulysses S. Grant and the Wilderness Campaign to General Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Normandy invasion, war planning has long been considered central to the study of U.S. military history. But due to a confluence of political circumstances and a series of unique demands placed on the U.S. military from the end of the Cold War through the war on terror, the Pentagon’s bureaucratic capacity for strategic planning gradually eroded, eventually giving way to an overreliance on operational plans and grand tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan. Circumstances have changed, however. As Russia and China espouse revisionist aims and U.S. global hegemony comes increasingly into question, it is more important than ever for the Department of Defense (DOD) to reenergize its war-planning apparatus and prepare for what will likely be a prolonged era of Great Power competition (GPC).

Airman with New Horizons mobile forward surgical team listens to heart and lungs of Belizean girl during medical readiness training exercise, May 1, 2014, in Santa Teresa, Belize (U.S. Air Force/Kali L. Gradishar)

Modernizing the Operational Design of the Medical Readiness Training Exercise

By Brian H. Neese and Douglas J. Robb

Each year, the U.S. military deploys hundreds of medics to see patients in direct patient care training exercises throughout the Americas, Asia, and other regions around the world. “More patients mean better training” is the mantra of mission planners, commanders, and public affairs teams. Only cursory efforts are made during these missions toward building partnerships and host-nation institutional capacity. Geographic combatant commanders, however, expect to leverage these operational readiness training exercises, funded by humanitarian and civic assistance (HCA) dollars, to promote regional security and stability, while host nations want to improve their populations’ health, health systems, and institutional legitimacy. At great cost in money and opportunity, the legacy health fair–style medical readiness training exercise (MEDRETE) and its thousands of patients seen grossly underdeliver on all counts.

Photograph taken from Japanese plane during torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island; view looks about east, with supply depot, submarine base, and fuel tank farm in right center distance; torpedo has just hit USS West Virginia on far side of Ford Island (center); other battleships moored nearby are (from left): USS Nevada, USS Arizona, USS Tennessee (inboard of West Virginia), USS Oklahoma (torpedoed and
listing) alongside USS Maryland, and USS California; on near side of Ford Island (left), are USS Detroit and USS Raleigh, USS Utah and USS Tangier; Raleigh and Utah have been torpedoed, and Utah is listing sharply to port; Japanese planes are visible in right center (over Ford Island) and over Navy Yard at right, Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 (Navy Ministry, Empire
of Japan/U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command)

A New Look at Operational Art: How We View War Dictates How We Fight It

By Chad Buckel

The War of 1812, the Banana Wars, World War I, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan all saw brilliant battlefield victories with limited strategic success. These failures are not a product of the American intellect, spirit, ingenuity, or will. They are a failure of the American view of war and a failure of our model for operational art. The current method by which the United States views the interplay of the levels of war is insufficient to translate tactical victories into strategic and political successes, requiring a new way of viewing operational art and warfare.

Marines assigned to Battery R, 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, launch High Mobility Artillery Rocket System from Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System during Operation Steel Knight, aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, December 7, 2017 (U.S. Marine Corps/William Chockey)

Multidomain Ready: How Integrated Air and Missile Defense Is Leading the Way

By Jonathan C. Stafford

The U.S. military’s dominance in the traditional domains of land, sea, and air has been a key advantage that has greatly helped ground forces succeed in recent conflicts. However, strategic competitors have begun to challenge U.S. dominance in these domains with advanced surface-to-air missiles, antiship cruise missiles, tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs), antisatellite weapons, mobile sea mines, drones, electronic warfare, and cyber/electronic warfare. Along with these new technologies, new tactics, such as the use of Russian paramilitaries in Ukraine1 and of Chinese fishing boats to enforce territorial claims in the South China Sea,2 have further challenged U.S. military dominance.


Troops and crewmen aboard Coast Guard–manned LCVP as it approaches Normandy beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944 (National Archives and Records Administration/U.S. Coast Guard Collection)

Behind Enemy Plans: A Process-Tracing Analysis of Germany’s Operational Approach to a Western Invasion

By Bradley Podliska, Karin Hecox, and Oliver Sagun

Sixty-four years after Moltke’s observation, two mid-level German commanders, faced with the herculean task of changing the course of history on an early June 1944 morning, failed in their duties. In using structured and qualitative analysis to examine German strategy and operations in the events leading up to and on D-Day, the loss can be traced to Admiral Theodor Krancke, commander of Naval Group West, and Field Marshal Hugo Sperrle, commander of Luftwaffe Third Air Fleet. Infighting, conflicting authorities, and lack of warfighting capabilities clearly hampered German command and control of operations on the Normandy coast. The Germans did have a plan, however, and Krancke and Sperrle proved to be the weak links: Both failed to execute when facing an Allied invasion on the Western Front.

Book Reviews

The Battle for Pakistan: The Bitter U.S. Friendship and a Tough Neighbourhood

The Battle for Pakistan: The Bitter U.S. Friendship and a Tough Neighbourhood

Reviewed by Gerald J. Krieger

History may not repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” “This famous and oft-attributed warning of Mark Twain is taken up by Shuja Nawaz, a leading South Asia political and strategic analyst, in his latest book, The Battle for Pakistan. Nawaz is a prolific author serving as a distinguished fellow in the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council. His latest book provides a detailed examination of the relationship between Pakistan and the United States from 2007 to 2019 and offers readers insights into navigating the future of the relationship. The author explores watershed moments, providing unique context and conversations that took place behind the scenes to clarify the 70-year-old relationship that sometimes resembles a Hollywood drama. His interviews with Pakistani military and political leaders, as well as American diplomats, offer unique insights for joint force planners by capturing the nuances of a complex relationship, allowing readers to peer behind the veil of Pakistani politics and critically examine missteps and misperceptions by both countries in the hope of forging a more cooperative future.

Grand Improvisation: America Confronts the British Superpower, 1945–1957

Grand Improvisation: America Confronts the British Superpower, 1945–1957

Reviewed by Daniel Marston

Grand Improvisation is an engaging and well-researched dive into U.S. and British statecraft during the often overlooked power transition between the two nations following World War II. Derek Leebaert immediately sets out to challenge the common historical narrative that “the British Empire was too weak and too dispirited to continue as a global imperial power; thus, a confidently prosperous, well-armed America assumed leadership of the West.” Furthermore, he makes the case that “America’s biggest postwar difficulty—perhaps more than the Soviet threat—was the inability to say no to the British Empire. In effect, serious people in Washington believed that ‘no acceptable foreign policy’ was available to the United States if it was not aligned with its sprawling, problematic ally.” He continues, “History’s largest empire [British] was battling to maintain its standing.”

Restoring Thucydides: Testing Familiar Lessons and Deriving New Ones

Restoring Thucydides: Testing Familiar Lessons and Deriving New Ones

Reviewed by Robert D. Spessert

Thucydides’s The History of the Peloponnesian War offers national security pundits a plethora of persuasive “dead man quotes.” However, they and their audiences have rarely digested, and infrequently understood, the context and history surrounding the phrases they employ. Professors Andrew Novo and Jay Parker of the National Defense University provide an insightful remedy for students of history and strategy in Restoring Thucydides.

Joint Doctrine

Naval Aircrewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Jansen Schamp, assigned to Dragon Whales of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 28, reassures family after rescue from Pine Forrest Elementary School shelter, once flood waters from Hurricane Harvey reached its grounds, Vidor, Texas, August 31, 2017 (U.S. Navy/Christopher Lindahl)

Military Health System Preparedness in Humanitarian Action

By Paul L. Reed and Thomas D. Kirsch

The Department of Defense (DOD) will continue to have a more prominent and active role in support of disaster relief operations due to the increasing frequency and severity of disasters worldwide.The need for defense support to civil authority (DSCA) in domestic disasters is occurring in increasingly complex circumstances, along with analogous humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities overseas.

Joint Doctrine Updates

By The Joint Staff

Joint Doctrine Updates.