Joint Force Quarterly 102

Joint Force Quarterly 102

(3rd Quarter, July 2021)

Military Power Reimagined

  • Hydrocarbons and Hegemony
  • Force Integration in Resistance Operations

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Logistics Specialist (Submarine) 1st Class Anna Donelan, assigned to Gold crew of Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS Ohio, scans for contacts while standing lookout watch on bridge, Pacific Ocean, January 22, 2021 (U.S. Navy/Kelsey J. Hockenberger)

Executive Summary

By William T. Eliason

In many parts of joint warfighting, getting the right situational awareness (SA) is essential to success, especially to those of us in a position of military or civilian leadership. I must admit to a lack of SA in recent years as I, like many, have been drawn into an information cycle centered around less-traditional media sources. Because I live and work in the Nation’s capital area, I fully accept that I live in a “bubble,” where I may not have an accurate picture of events. But in recent years, with the rise of social media platforms—including active disinformation campaigns, both foreign and domestic—getting and keeping good SA is increasingly difficult. Where does one scan to find an objective view? As always, we look forward to hearing from you about what you think we need to do in the years ahead.

U.S. Marine with Marine Air Control Squadron 1, Marine Air Control Group 38, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, assembles communication device during Exercise Summer Fury 20, at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, July 31, 2020 (U.S. Marine Corps/Juan Anaya)

Fighting as Intended: The Case for Austere Communications

By Scott Pence

Modern command and control (C2) systems depend on connectivity to collect information, issue orders, detect changes in the environment, and exploit successes. While the United States focused on counterinsurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, competitors invested in technologies that can neutralize that connectivity.

Antitank missile gunners with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, fire Javelin missile while conducting live-fire combat rehearsal during Fuji Viper 21.3, at Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji, Japan, April 12, 2021 (U.S. Marine Corps/Jonathan Willcox)

Improving the Battle Rhythm to Operate at the Speed of Relevance

By Matthew Prescott

The art and science of decisionmaking begin with the establishment of an effective, efficient, and agile battle rhythm. Combat and stability operations throughout the past 20 years have enabled commanders and staffs to execute real-world operations based on established battle rhythms. Unfortunately, current operational-level exercises to evaluate joint force commands and their components in the U.S. Armed Forces and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization increasingly observe battle rhythms that do not effectively provide the commander and subordinates with timely information to make decisions.

Battle Group Poland—multinational coalition of U.S., UK, Croatian, and Romanian soldiers who serve with Polish armed forces 15th Mechanized Brigade—performs winter live-fire training during Operation Raider Lighting, at Bemowo Piskie training area, Poland, January 16, 2019 (U.S. Army/Arturo Guzman)

Military Power Reimagined: The Rise and Future of Shaping

By Kyle J. Wolfley

The belief that the U.S. military finds itself in a “complex environment”—one in which conventional war is rare, but Great Power competition has returned, coupled with the persistent threat of violent nonstate actors—is so commonplace that it can now be considered a truism. This article better conceptualizes a type of military operation that is often misunderstood and understudied and that has the potential to become one of the most frequent tools of interstate competition in the coming decades.

JPME Today

Tank driver, at Fort Knox, Kentucky, June 1942 (Library of Congress/Alfred T. Palmer)

Hydrocarbons and Hegemony

By Anand Toprani

There is a widespread notion today that the United States inherited from Great Britain and defended a liberal world premised on the free exchange of goods and capital (particularly by sea). This article suggests we can better understand the origins of this system and its possible future by integrating hydrocarbons—specifically coal and oil—into our analysis.

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Mario Aceves, Medical Readiness Training Exercise chief enlisted manager, uses Spanish-language skills to speak with woman during exercise New Horizons 2018, May 14, 2018, in Coclé Province, Panama (U.S. Air Force/Dustin Mullen)

Linking Foreign Language Capabilities with Expeditionary Requirements

By Douglas J. Robb, Brian H. Neese, and Cara Aghajanian

Whether combined forces are jumping out of airplanes together, turning wrenches side by side, or providing direct patient care as a clinical team, security cooperation activities must bridge the culture and language divides between our partner militaries.


A U.S. Special Operations soldier returns fire while conducting multi-day Afghan-led offensive operations against the Taliban in Mohammad Agha district, Logar Province, Afghanistan, July 28, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Byers)

A Lesson from an Ancient: Facilitating Retreat and Desertion Among Insurgencies

By Joseph N. Rudolphi

Even in our modern age we look to old ideas for wisdom, but old does not mean obsolete, and old voices can offer counsel.


U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, emplace brazier charge during exercise Rock Shock 2, in Grafenwoehr Training Area, August 12–13, 2019 (U.S. Army/Ryan Lucas)

Deconflicting Exercises and Experimentation Under Global Integration

By Francis J.H. Park

Since its introduction to the joint force in the 2016 National Military Strategy (NMS), global integration has led to sweeping changes not only in strategy but also in the processes and instruments that implement it. A fuller understanding of those activities and their differences will better enable those responsible for visualizing tomorrow’s force and the strategic choices that will shape the future U.S. military.

U.S. Air Force nurse assigned to 18th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron talks with other medical personnel while participating in simulated mass casualty aeromedical evacuation during exercise Cope North 21, at Northwest Field, Guam, February 10, 2021 (U.S. Air Force/Duncan C. Bevan)

Thrust and Agility from Trust and Antifragility: A Combatant’s Guide to Expeditionary Medical Leadership

By James A. Chambers

According to Mihnea Moldoveanu and Das Narayandas, leadership development represents an increasingly critical component of national readiness, and its importance is not restricted to the military. Specifically, modern training should increasingly emphasize individual initiative, relational and communication skills, and organizational capabilities.

Sailor monitors subsurface contacts while standing watch in sonar control room aboard Arleigh Burke–class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain during target-tracking training evolution as part of Malabar 2020, Indian Ocean, November 3, 2020 (U.S. Navy/Markus Castaneda)

Avoiding Great Power Phony Wars

By Brent D. Sadler

For some, the end of the Cold War in 1991 was a vindication of democracy’s supremacy over dogmatic Marxist ideology—a victory underwritten by the free flow of capital leading to sustained improvements in prosperity wherever capitalism was embraced. That period in history is over, however, having been replaced with the stark realism of Great Power competition.

Falcon 9 Starlink L24 rocket successfully launches from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, April 28, 2021 (U.S. Space Force/Joshua Conti)

Cyber Threats and Vulnerabilities to Conventional and Strategic Deterrence

By Mark Montgomery and Erica Borghard

Scholars and practitioners in the area of cyber strategy and conflict focus on two key strategic imperatives for the United States: first, to maintain and strengthen the current deterrence of cyberattacks of significant consequence; and second, to reverse the tide of malicious behavior that may not rise to a level of armed attack but nevertheless has cumulative strategic implications as part of adversary campaigns. The Department of Defense (DOD) strategic concept of defend forward and U.S. Cyber Command’s concept of persistent engagement are largely directed toward this latter challenge.


Jedburghs get instructions from Briefing Officer in London,  England, ca. 1944. (Office of Strategic Services/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)

Force Integration in Resistance Operations: Dutch Jedburghs and U.S. Alamo Scouts

By Kevin D. Stringer

Joint special operations forces (SOF) integration with conventional forces (CF) is a difficult undertaking in missions ranging from humanitarian to combat, yet all future military operations against peer adversaries will require the close cooperation of SOF and CF for success. This axiom is especially true for liberation operations entailing collaboration with national resistance groups in occupied territories, where the latter will be engaged by U.S. SOF formations as part of their unconventional warfare mandate.

Book Reviews

Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security

Cult of the Irrelevant: The Waning Influence of Social Science on National Security

Reviewed by Paula G. Thornhill

Can the policy and academic communities work together more effectively to address America’s toughest national security problems? In Cult of the Irrelevant, Michael Desch takes readers on a 100-year examination of the relationship between national security practitioners and social scientists in an effort to answer this question.

Gods of War: History’s Greatest Military Rivals

Gods of War: History’s Greatest Military Rivals

Reviewed by Jon Mikolashek

Since humanity has waged war, scholars have debated the greatest captains, commanders, and warriors. Continuing this long tradition of friendly and sometimes competitive discussion is James Lacey and Williamson Murray’s Gods of War

An Open World: How America Can Win the Contest for Twenty-First-Century Order

An Open World: How America Can Win the Contest for Twenty-First-Century Order

Reviewed by Christopher P. Mulder

In An Open World, Dr. Rebecca Lissner and Dr. Mira Rapp-Hooper provide a compelling argument for a new U.S. strategy of “global openness.” Readers will find much to consider as the book is presented as an executable blueprint for a new Presidential administration. It is worth noting that many elements of their strategy are already in motion on the global stage.

Net Assessment and Military Strategy: Retrospective and Prospective Essays

Net Assessment and Military Strategy: Retrospective and Prospective Essays

Reviewed by Frank Hoffman

Net Assessment and Military Strategy, a timely collection of essays, offers an important look at the history, application, and future of the multidisciplinary analysis approach called net assessment.

Joint Doctrine

Joint Doctrine Update

By The Joint Staff

Joint Publications (JPs) under revision and signed within the past six months.