Joint Force Quarterly 104

Joint Force Quarterly 104

(1st Quarter, January 2022)

Hypersonic Missiles and Joint Warfighting

  • Challenges to Creative Thinking
  • Retaining Female Leaders

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General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers remarks at Sunset Ceremony for Pearl Harbor survivors at Arizona Memorial Visitors Center, commemorating 50th anniversary of Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1991 (DOD/Gloria Montgomery)

Executive Summary

By William T. Eliason

After nearly 2 years of loss in the pandemic, it seems hard to see where we are, where we have been, and certainly where we are going. For the team that publishes this journal, the loss of General Colin Powell was personal. Without his simple tasking in 1993, Joint Force Quarterly would not exist. Having been the editor in chief now for 11 years, General Powell was on my shoulder every day in spirit, and his vision for what he saw as an important component of jointness has been our team’s guiding force.

Colin Luther Powell

In Memoriam: General Colin Powell Photo Retrospective

By NDU Press

In 1993, as the first Black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell founded this journal, Joint Force Quarterly—or simply JFQ, and introduced its inaugural issue that summer. His vision was to create a dynamic publication that would educate and inspire current and future military leaders serving across the joint force and “to provide for a free give-and-take of ideas among a wide range of people from every corner of the military.” Nearly 30 years later, and with over 100 JFQs published, our editorial team and contributing authors have consistently strived to carry forward his integrity, leadership, and steadfast commitment to our county’s warfighters. We offer this photo retrospective in honor of an extraordinary hero whose vision and determination shaped this journal and our nation.

Airmen with 912th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron line up AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon Instrumented
Measurement Vehicle 2 as it is loaded under wing of B-52H Stratofortress at Edwards Air Force Base, California, August 6, 2020 (U.S. Air Force/Giancarlo Casem)

Analyzing the Potential Disruptive Effects of Hypersonic Missiles on Strategy and Joint Warfighting

By Bruce M. Sugden

There are conflicting assertions about the implications of the United States, Russia, and China developing and deploying high-speed maneuvering weapons delivery systems—more commonly referred to as hypersonic missiles to conduct warfare. The often hyped and much-anticipated technical promise of hypersonic missiles raises questions that go to the heart of long-held U.S. operational and strategic assumptions. To better understand military operations featuring hypersonic missiles, DOD should initiate a campaign of experimentation, “a process of discovery about new military operational concepts and capabilities.”

Marines with Ground Combat Element, Marine Rotational Force–Darwin, man fire support command center and process intelligence collected from small unmanned aerial surveillance
drone Raven RQ-11B as part of force-on-force training in Mount Bundey Training Area, Northern Territory, Australia, July 20, 2020 (U.S. Marine Corps/Harrison Rakhshani)

Design Thinking at the Enterprise Level: Integrating Defense All-Source Analysis

By James Kwoun

There is no shared understanding within the Defense Intelligence Enterprise about how all-source analytic organizations at different echelons should collaborate to support civilian and military decisionmakers. Although leaders within the enterprise and the broader Intelligence Community (IC) have taken steps to enhance horizontal integration between all-source analytic organizations, insufficient focus on the vertical integration of analysis throughout the Department of Defense (DOD) persists. A design thinking framework applied at the enterprise level should mitigate this problem and encourage the informed interactions necessary to integrate all-source analysis across DOD.

Liang Wannian, co-leader of World Health Organization–China joint expert team, attends news conference in Beijing, March 31, 2021, on WHO-China study on origins of COVID-19 (Reuters/Thomas Suen)

Misleading a Pandemic: The Viral Effects of Chinese Propaganda and the Coronavirus

By JohnRoss Wendler

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the world, including strained diplomatic ties and blurred perceptions of who or what is responsible for its origins. In response to allegations, China crafted an intricate social media campaign to clear its name. Social media propaganda toward Western countries has become increasingly complex, systematic, and effective. The joint force should examine this campaign as an opportunity to better understand the changing character of war and the deliberate weaponization of social media among Great Power competitors.

JPME Today

Naval War College students in National Security Affairs Department participate in Theater Security Decision Making Final Exercise in Spruance Auditorium, November 6, 2019, in Newport, Rhode Island (U.S. Navy/Tyler D. John)

Challenges to Creative Thinking: Identifying Officer Background Beliefs in Limited Information Environments

By Zachary Zwald, Jeffrey Berejikian, Samantha Jane Daly, and Jeffrey Hannon

The nature of the current threat environment presents a challenge to U.S. national security that necessitates creative thinking by military officers. In 2020, the Joint Chiefs of Staff released a guidance document stating that the “profound and rapidly changing character of war and conflict” requires “the development of strategically minded joint warfighters who think critically and can creatively apply military power to inform national strategy.” This article conveys the results of the first empirical analysis of the background beliefs, or operative theories, that officers employ when applying military power to inform national strategy. It then outlines the implications of these findings and recommends ways to develop strategically minded military officers.

UH-1Y Venom crew chief with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 164 (Reinforced), 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, fires Gun Aircraft Unit-17 machine gun during live-fire close-air support
training event for Operation Octave Quartz, in Somalia, December 22, 2020 (U.S. Marine Corps/Kassie McDole)

Competing Regionally: Developing Theater Strategy

By Derek S. Reveron, James L. Cook, and Ross M. Coffey

The past two decades have been tough for strategists. Large-scale efforts in Central Asia and the Middle East did not bring the successes policymakers demanded, despite considerable blood and treasure expended, and though free of U.S. combat casualties, the record in both Europe and the Indo-Pacific is not much better. U.S. attempts to reset relations with Russia did not prevent invasions of its neighbors or stop significant Russian intelligence operations in cyberspace. The U.S. military buildup in the Indo-Pacific and clear redlines did not deter the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from militarizing the South China Sea, undermining U.S. alliances in the region, or from using the power of trade to reinforce China’s national security positions. In Latin America and the Caribbean, both Russia and the PRC made inroads with their traditional partners, muting efforts to unify the region’s commitment to democracy, cooperation, and transparency. And in Africa, U.S. and European efforts to squelch terrorism, aid developing economies, and become the partner of choice ran up against alternative proposals from Moscow and Beijing, as they continue to strengthen their positions beyond their regions. The limits of the United States’ ability to preserve its hegemony and restrain competitors have compelled the national security community to refocus on Great Power competition to inform strategy development at the regional level.


Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Laquetta Spann, 374th Operations Support Squadron chief radar approach controller, Yakota Air Base, Japan, provides remarks as panel speaker
during Pacific Air Forces’ first Women, Peace, and Security symposium, hosted from Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam, Hawaii, March 30, 2021 (U.S. Air Force/Nick Wilson)

The Women, Peace, and Security Act: Implementation Strategies for a Modern Department of Defense

By Kyleigh Cullen

Peace negotiations are more likely to succeed and achieve longer lasting results when women are involved in the process. Women’s civil society groups and the first all-woman United Nations (UN) peacekeeping team were notably active in the peace process following Liberia’s civil conflict. The Graduate Institute in Geneva conducted an in-depth analysis of 40 post–Cold War peace processes, revealing that negotiators reached an agreement more often when women’s groups had a prominent role in the negotiation process. Acknowledging the benefit of female involvement, the UN passed Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). Subsequently, more than 80 nations, including the United States, have developed their own National Action Plans on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS). The U.S. National Action Plan makes a statement on policy related to WPS and identifies objectives, actions, and reporting criteria for Federal agencies and departments. Approximately a year after the U.S. National Action Plan was published, the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development created formal implementation plans, including integration strategies and planned actions to accomplish national objectives.

Air Force Staff Sergeant Jalah Patten, 86th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control tower watch supervisor, left, shows members of Ukrainian armed forces tower simulator system during their visit to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, August 5, 2021 (U.S. Air Force/John R. Wright)

Building Institutional Capacity in the Ukrainian Armed Forces: Sustainment Planning for U.S.-Provided Equipment

By Gary D. Espinas, Tigran Mikaelian, and Michael McCarthy

Over a 3-year period (2017–2019), a combined team from U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) worked closely with their Ukrainian counterparts to establish a simple but effective sustainment planning process, which provides comprehensive upkeep for U.S.-provided equipment. The 2019 DOD Sustainment Train, Advise, and Assist of Foreign Forces Award not only recognizes the important contribution made by ISG and USEUCOM to the UAF but also acknowledges that institutional capacity-building is a critical and effective security cooperation tool that DOD can employ to improve the capabilities of our strategic partners while meeting our own national security objectives.


Air Force B-1B Lancer, on multilateral mission including Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia air forces, flies over Persian Gulf on presence patrol above U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, October 30, 2021 (U.S. Air Force/Jerreht Harris)

Above or Beyond: Overflight Considerations for U.S. Military Aircraft

By Graham William Jenkins

One of the most valuable attributes of airpower in warfare is the ability to fly to anywhere from anywhere, avoiding terrain and hostile forces alike. But despite this seeming omnipresence, straightline “crow’s-flight” distances are illusory. A complicated patchwork of bilateral arrangements, open-skies regimes, and international legal frameworks divides the sky into national airspaces and flight information regions, projecting into low-Earth orbit itself in a straight line from territorial borders on the ground.

Soldiers from 25th Infantry Division Artillery completed Jungle 5K and swim test train-up at Lightning Academy Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, May 14, 2021, as practice for upcoming Jungle Operations Training Course (U.S. Army/Jessica Scott)

Retaining Female Leaders: A Key Readiness Issue

By Benjamin Ramsey, Ann Bednash, and John Folks

America’s joint force is at a difficult crossroads where the pressure of the “fight tonight” readiness mentality conflicts with long-term strategic competition with peers. The 2018 National Defense Strategy describes the changing character of war and the new challenges the joint force will face during “the reemergence of long-term strategic competition, rapid dispersion of technologies, and new concepts of warfare and competition that span the entire spectrum of conflict.” An enduring mission of the Department of Defense (DOD) is to provide combat-capable, technically proficient personnel, but there is a readiness issue undermining the joint force.

Ships and aircraft from U.S. Navy, Royal Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and Royal Australian Navy, led by USS Carl Vinson, HMS Queen Elizabeth, and JS Kaga, transit in formation during Maritime Partnership Exercise 2021, October 17, 2021, in Bay of Bengal (U.S. Navy/Haydn N. Smith)

Defending Taiwan in an Expanded Competitive Space

By Joel Wuthnow

Taiwan’s defense has always been precarious, and the dangers are only likely to grow as China’s power increases. Looking at Taiwan’s defense through a competitive strategy lens suggests different options for confronting the PLA in wartime. China’s military structure is built on the notion that the PLA must be prepared to fight in many theaters at once. By necessity, it contains a centralized command and control and logistics system designed to manage and reallocate forces in a war. Targeting those critical links would complicate Chinese decisionmaking, reduce the PLA’s capacity to mass forces, and support U.S. and Taiwan operations in the main theater.

Hawaii National Guardsman assigned to Task Force Hawaii administers COVID-19 vaccine to Department of Education employee at Kealakehe High School, March 6, 2021, Kona, Hawaii (U.S. Army National Guard/John Schoebel)

Health, Pandemic Preparedness, and Multidomain Operations

By Samir S. Deshpande, Amy B. Adler, Susan P. Proctor, Vincent F. Capaldi, James P. McClung, Toby D. Elliman, and Deydre S. Teyhen

Historically, infectious disease has been one of the most significant threats to U.S. Servicemembers on the battlefield, constituting the largest source of mortality through World War I and a significant source of casualties and nonbattle injury through the present day. During World War II, General Douglas MacArthur famously expressed his frustration with malaria’s operational impact: “It’s going to be a very long war if for every division I have facing the enemy, I have one sick in hospital and another recovering from this dreadful disease.” More recently, David Matson, an infectious disease clinician, vividly described the impact of diarrheal disease: “I expect that our imaginations cannot fathom the problems attendant from the absolute urgency for relief from explosive vomiting and diarrhea when experienced within an armored vehicle under fire and at ambient temperature of >40°C.”


Soldiers with Southern landing force on beach at Massacre Bay, Attu Island, Aleutian Islands, May 11, 1943 (U.S. Navy/Library of Congress)

Remembering the “Forgotten War”: The Joint Operations Flaws of the Aleutian Campaign

By Jessica D. Pisano

The lessons that can be gleaned from the Aleutian campaign of 1942–1943 may seem outdated, but they remain significant in today’s global environment. The 2019 Department of Defense Arctic Strategy underscores the importance of deterring and defeating Great Power aggression in the Arctic, specifically addressing challenges in understanding the operational environment, joint training proficiency, lack of a robust logistics infrastructure, and communications and technology complexity, all of which are further complicated by the Arctic’s rapidly changing physical environment.1 In the past 2 years, the Army, Navy, and Air Force have all released their own Service-specific Arctic strategies that echo the importance of the Arctic. Diminishing sea ice is making Arctic waters more accessible and navigable, increasing both commercial traffic and military presence.2 Furthermore, thawing permafrost is destabilizing the already inadequate infrastructure and complicating land accessibility in the Arctic region.

Book Reviews

China as a Twenty-First-Century Naval Power: Theory, Practice, and Implications

China as a Twenty-First-Century Naval Power

Reviewed by Edward B. Fienning

Over 3 years, starting in 264 BCE, the Roman military built and launched 1,000 galleys to defeat Carthage in the First Punic War. This intentional, rapid transition from land to maritime power was unprecedented and resulted in 600 years of Roman military and economic dominance. It was a feat not to be repeated in any meaningful way until American naval expansion during World War II. However, according to retired Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt’s comprehensive and insightful work, China as a Twenty-First-Century Naval Power, China is on the precipice of exceeding historical precedent. In this comprehensive review of rapid Chinese naval expansion, the former director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy (J5) at U.S. Pacific Command applies 34 years of commissioned service focused on the Pacific theater to provide a holistic and clear-eyed analysis of Chinese maritime power.

Information Warfare: Forging Communication Strategies
for Twenty-First Century Operational Environments

Information Warfare

Reviewed by Christopher Paul

What is communication strategy? What steps should defense leaders and planners take to build such a strategy? Curiously, in James Farwell’s Information Warfare, he answers the second question without ever answering the first. Farwell seeks to provide “a concise treatise on the steps for developing and implementing a communication strategy and includes key historical and contemporary examples for deeper insight.” The book includes 12 chapters, most of which are insightful. The book does not end with a traditional chapter of conclusions, but it does include a useful “Winning Communication Strategy Workbook” as a terminal appendix.

The Kill Chain: Defending America in the Future of High-Tech Warfare

The Kill Chain

Reviewed by Daniel Sukman

In March, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command commander warned in testimony to Congress that China could attempt to take control of Taiwan in the next decade. In The Kill Chain, by Christian Brose, the former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee under the former chairman, the late Senator John McCain, posits that the United States is rapidly falling behind China and, to an extent, Russia, in the development of combat capabilities, platforms, and systems designed for the future of war. If this trend continues, the ability to defend Taiwan in an armed conflict against China will be increasingly in doubt.

Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944–1945

Twilight of the Gods

Reviewed by Paula G. Thornhill

Twilight of the Gods completes Ian Toll’s superb trilogy of America’s war in the Pacific during World War II. As with his first two volumes, this dynamic, gifted writer tells a compelling story about how the United States ultimately triumphed in the Pacific. Major amphibious operations, such as Iwo Jima and Okinawa, get considerable attention, as do major sea battles such as Leyte Gulf. His recounting of the Philippines campaign is particularly well done—easy to follow, detailed, and completely gripping. Twilight of the Gods, however, is more than the retelling of epic battles. Toll offers an exceptionally well-researched, integrated narrative built around the Services’ imperfect and, at times, remarkably parochial efforts in 1944–1945 to fight and ultimately defeat Japan. As joint force members read this book, they will find invaluable lessons even more powerful because of the myriad primary and secondary sources that underpin them.

Joint Doctrine

Joint Doctrine Update

By The Joint Staff

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