Joint Force Quarterly 107

Joint Force Quarterly 107

(4th Quarter, October 2022)

Focus on U.S. Transportation Command

  • Project Convergence
  • 2022 Essay Competition Winners

Download Full PDF  →



The Surrender Monument, Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1900 (Detroit Publishing Company/Library of Congress)

Executive Summary

By William T. Eliason

War—any war—leaves its mark on society and must be considered in everyday life, especially the unfinished work of the postwar period and any efforts to return to the prewar status quo. Today’s military and our recent veterans know what war and its aftermath look like. To some, making war is easier than keeping the peace. With this 107th edition of the Chairman’s journal, we invite you to comment on war, peace, and the in-between, as that is where you will always find the joint force.

Drones sit in takeoff position before drone swarm demonstration during NATO’s Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems Technical Interoperability Exercise in Vredepeel, Netherlands, on November 10, 2021 (Courtesy NATOChannel)

Countering Swarms: Strategic Considerations and Opportunities in Drone Warfare

By Jonathan B. Bell

The Department of Defense and the U.S. Government face a significant national security challenge in adversarial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). The available technology to create swarms of these capabilities results in multilayered and unmanageable threats. This article addresses ways to prepare for and respond to this looming challenge, colloquially known as “drone swarms.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky reviews military plans during
working trip to Dnipropetrovsk region, July 8, 2022, to counter Russia’s invasion and crimes against Ukrainian state (President of Ukraine)

Great Power Use of Lawfare: Is the Joint Force Prepared?

By Stephen R. Schiffman

When military professionals and scholars discuss the ways the character of war has changed, they focus most on the gray zone. U.S. adversaries have become increasingly adept at achieving their goals in a manner that is deliberately designed to remain below the threshold of conventional military conflict and open interstate war. One such method, the use of lawfare, involves using law as a weapon to achieve a particular objective. This article serves as a primer on the topic of lawfare, discusses its use by Russia, China, and the U.S., and finally, reviews ways in which senior leaders must respond with changes to the organization of legal capabilities.

Essay Competitions

Front row, left to right: Dr. Brandy Lyn Brown, Marine Corps War College; Dr. Jeffrey A. Turner, Joint Forces Staff College–Joint Advanced Warfighting School; Dr. Nicholas M. Anthony, Jr., Joint Forces Staff College–Joint Combined Warfighting School; Dr. David P. Hadley, College of International Security Affairs; Dr. Elizabeth D. Woodward, Air War College; Dr. Richard P. Samuels, Air War College; Dr. John G. Terino, Air Command and Staff College; Dr. Jim Chen, College of Information and Cyberspace; Carl J. (“Cj”) Horn III, Air Force Cyber College; Dr. Robert T. Davis II, Command and General Staff College; Ms. Leigh Caraher, U.S. Army War College; Dr. Antulio J. Echevarria II, U.S. Army War College; Dr. Charles Chadbourn, U.S. Naval War College; Ms. Caroline V. Schweiter, NDU Press. Back row, left to right: Dr. John J. Church, NDU Press; Dr. Todd Holm, Marine Corps War College–Electronic Warfare School; Dr. Jeffrey D. Smotherman, NDU Press; Dr. Sinan Cidad, Marine Corps Staff College; Dr. Thomas Sheppard, Marine Corps Staff College; Dr. James R. Van de Velde, Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy; Mr. John O’Brien, College of Information and Cyberspace; Dr. William T. Eliason, NDU Press; Dr. Mark A. Bucknam, National War College; Captain Alex J. Lega, USAF, Air University Global College of PME; Dr. Amy R. Baxter, Air University Global College of PME; Dr. Paul J. Springer, Air Command and Staff College; Ms. Joanna E. Seich, NDU Press; Ms. Shira Klapper, NDU Press. Not shown: Dr. Donald W. Chisholm, U.S. Naval War College; Dr. Grant R. Highland, Joint Forces Staff College; Captain Todd S. Glasser, USN, National War College; Dr. James Kiras, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies; Dr. Nicholas E. Sarantakes, U.S. Naval War College; Dr. Naunihal Singh, U.S. Naval War College; Dr. Mark G. Sorensen, Command and General Staff College; Dr. Donald Stoker, Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.

Winners of the 2022 Essay Competitions

By NDU Press

NDU Press hosted the final round of judging on May 12–13, 2022, during which 31 faculty judges from 18 participating professional military education (PME) institutions selected the best entries in each category. There were 97 submissions in this year’s three categories—the second most entries ever. First Place winners in each of the three categories appear in the following pages.

U.S., Indian, Korean, and German special operations forces conduct visit, board, search, and seizure training during Rim of the Pacific 2022, Pearl Harbor, July 1, 2022 (Courtesy
Royal Canadian Armed Forces/Djalma Vuong-De Ramos)

Building an Enduring U.S.-India Partnership to Secure a Free, Open, and Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region

By Jeffrey D. Graham

The United States has a national interest in a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. China poses the greatest threat to this interest by using its growing economic and military power to deprive the U.S. of intellectual property and military secrets, to limit economic and security choices for countries in the region, and to attempt to rewrite the rules governing the Indo-Pacific. A robust U.S.-India economic and security partnership could effectively counter China’s aggressive behavior, disregard for international law and norms, and efforts to recast international institutions.

Air Force 2nd Lieutenant Alexis Shirley and 2nd Lieutenant Trisha Crisp, 333rd Training Squadron cyber warfare officers, complete cyber tasks in cyber escape room inside Stennis Hall, at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, November 10, 2021 (U.S. Air Force/Seth Haddix)

Transparent Cyber Deterrence

By Ryan Tate

The United States is under constant attack from state-enabled malicious cyber actors. These malicious activities are estimated to cost the U.S. economy as much as $242 billion annually. The majority of cyber attacks on the United States and its allies originate from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, whose governments have adopted symbiotic relationships with state and nonstate malicious cyber actors. The U.S. Government must consider additional options that directly raise the costs of malicious cyber activities to deter them.

Army Lieutenant Colonel Katherine Hetz (right), general surgeon, with Charlie Company, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Ghanaian army nurse assess patient during surgical procedure at 37th Military Hospital, in Accra, Ghana, June 14, 2022, as part of medical readiness exercise during African Lion 22 (U.S. Army/Ethan Ford)

Health Diplomacy: A Powerful Tool in Great Power Competition

By Kimberly Sandberg, Kevin Pickard, Jr., Jay Zwirblis, and Speight H. Caroon

Today, China is looking to compete with the United States for influence and access across Africa. Policy experts within the Department of Defense have focused on China’s effort to reach parity with the United States within traditional military domains; however, they have contributed less regarding the military policy implications of China’s expansion of medical and pharmaceutical assistance, an area that likely will continue to be a key line of operation in the post-pandemic world.

Special Feature

General Jacqueline D. Van Ovost is Commander of U.S. Transportation Command (DOD)

An Interview with Jacqueline D. Van Ovost

By William T. Eliason

The character of war is changing, and our nation faces direct challenges across all domains, including daily adversarial activity in the cyber realm. From competition to conflict, these changes drive accompanying shifts in how U.S. Transportation Command is approaching the application of our global logistics capability. From ensuring the joint force can defend our homeland, support our allies and partners, protect our interests abroad, deter potential adversaries, and transport combat power to prevail, this command stands ready to deliver.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Poticha, a New Hampshire Air National Guardsman, marshals a KC-46A tanker at Pease Air National Guard Base, N. H., Dec. 11, 2020.

Air Mobility Command: The Meaningful Maneuver for Joint Force Victory

By Michael A. Minihan

In April 2021, General Jacqueline Van Ovost penned a white paper where she outlined Air Mobility Command’s deliberate shift in mindset and tactical approach to staying ready to compete with the high-end adversaries of tomorrow. Fifteen months later, AMC has found itself as the linchpin for several high-profile global operations. These often-unnoticed daily operations, continue to spotlight the unique strategic advantage that AMC offers the joint force. Future conflicts will likely be demanding, ambiguous, contested, and violent. To secure victory for America, the joint force will require the placement of forces to achieve the strategic advantage in conflict, also known as maneuver. AMC will be the meaningful maneuver for the joint force, and we will deliver victory.

Midshipman Sayanna Pillay, assigned to U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, takes bearing with gyro repeater on USS Gerald R. Ford, underway in Atlantic Ocean, March 25, 2022 (U.S. Navy/Nolan Pennington)

Military Sealift Command: Joint Maritime Mobility

By David Bassett and James Regan

Military Sealift Command (MSC) provides a high-value service to the U.S. Navy and joint force and is constantly evolving to meet challenges across an increasingly contested maritime environment. Long focused on efficiency in force employment, MSC is evolving to focus on effectiveness in force development and force generation to assure readiness for strategic competition, crisis, or conflict. Key lines of effort are needed to build and reinforce the strategic advantage afforded to the United States as a maritime nation.

An Air Force C-5M Super Galaxy flies behind a KC-135R Stratotanker for a refueling over Nova Scotia, Canada, April 15, 2021.

Strategic Mobility in the Context of U.S. National Defense Strategies

By Bruce Busler

U.S. mobility capabilities appear formidable but are dwindling and aging. These airlift, air refueling, and sealift capabilities separate the United States as a superpower from both our closest allies and our Great Power adversaries. That said, the mobility enterprise cannot be taken for granted and must not be further discounted. The speed and expanse of an Indo-Pacific conflict would require velocity at scale. Credible mobility capabilities—requisite capacity and necessary readiness for their employment—will continue to remain necessary and relevant to current and future defense strategies. Sustaining and recapitalizing these forces must be a DOD focus to ensure the mobility enterprise remains a national comparative advantage.

A soldier secures a truck to the deck of the USAV General Brehon B. Somervell at Waipio Point, Hawaii, Oct. 17, 2021.

The Surface Deployment and Distribution Command: Operating Within the Larger Sustainment Enterprise

By Fred Teeter

The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command is the global intermodal surface connector. It exists to move, deploy, and sustain the Armed Forces to deliver readiness on time, on target, every time. The organization executes this mission as a key member of the Joint Deployment and Distribution Enterprise, which is committed to integrating, synchronizing, and providing global deployment and distribution capabilities to deliver and sustain the U.S. military in support of the Nation’s objectives.


Army Staff Sergeant Elise Denning, assigned to Artificial Intelligence Integration Center, conducts maintenance on unmanned aerial system in preparation for Project Convergence
21 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, October 20, 2021 (U.S. Army/Destiny Jones)

Project Convergence: A Venue for Joint All-Domain Command and Control Experimentation

By James M. Richardson

What does the joint force need to do right now to succeed during future conflicts in 2030, 2040, or beyond? The answer is clear: we must experiment together. We must assess the characteristics of the future operating environment (in terms of the physical environment, the threat, and the state of technology). We must develop, test, and refine concepts for how we will operate in that environment. We must also develop and deliver joint capabilities that give our Servicemembers advantage over any adversary in that environment. None of this happens without experimentation. Together, we must learn, fail, learn again, and fail again so that we eventually succeed.

Esira Naidrodro (right), customs officer with Fiji Revenue and Customs Service, and Epironi Turaganivalu (second from right), fisheries assistant with Ministry of Fisheries, Fiji, conduct boarding of China-flagged fishing vessel off coast of Fiji, April
18, 2022, along with other Fijian team members and U.S. Coastguardsmen from USCGC Munro (U.S. Coast Guard/Nate Littlejohn)

Pivoting the Joint Force: National Security Implications of Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported Fishing

By Scott C. Apling, Martin Jeffery Bryant, James A. Garrison, and Oyunchimeg Young

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing exploits states, weakens regimes, and presents “one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems due to its potent ability to undermine national and regional efforts to manage fisheries sustainably.” IUU fishing in Exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and international waters is a facet of Great Power competition; it jeopardizes global security as state and nonstate actors engage in competition and confrontation over an increasingly scarce resource. The IUU fishing industry disrupts sustainable food sources, upsets the already fragile ecosystem, endangers global fishing stocks and food access, creates tensions among nation-states, and threatens geopolitical stability—all of which could lead to armed conflict.

OKINAWA, Japan (May 11, 2022) A Navy corpsman assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, applies a tourniquet on a simulated casualty during a counter assault exercise in Okinawa, Japan, May 11, 2022. During this force-on-force exercise, an infantry company with 3/2 rapidly deployed into the double-canopy jungles of the Northern Training Area to defend against an assault from another infantry company with 1st Battalion, 3d Marines. This exercise was designed to increase 3d Marine Division’s ability to seize and defend key maritime terrain, such as islands or coastal areas, and conduct Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations in the western Pacific. 3/2 is deployed under 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division as part of the Unit Deployment Program. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Micha Pierce)

The Strategic Survivability Triad: The Future of Military Medicine in Support of Combat Power

By George A. Barbee

Future conflicts will be complex and will occur in multidomain environments. This problem requires a solution to protect the force. The answer is the deliberate convergence of three existing and distinct overarching medical concepts employed in the chain of survival. These three critical medical concepts combined—henceforward introduced as the Strategic Survivability Triad (SST)—are early intervention, rapid control of noncompressible hemorrhage, and early blood administration. The SST will provide the force with a sustainable capability needed in future conflicts to enable combat power projection, improve survivability, and mitigate risk. In addition, this will provide options for commanders and policymakers in the attainment of national objectives.


210108-M-JX780-1031 BALEDOGLE MILITARY AIRFIELD, Somalia (Jan. 8, 2021) – U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Andreu Mitchell, an anti-tank missileman with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 1/4, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, observes his surroundings from a security post. The 15th MEU is conducting operations under Joint Task Force – Quartz in support of Operation Octave Quartz. The mission of OOQ is to relocate U.S. Department of Defense forces in Somalia to other East Africa operating locations while maintaining pressure on violent extremists and supporting partner forces. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brendan Mullin)

Information Suppressing Fire: Repositioning Forces in Somalia

By Dagvin R.M. Anderson, Philip Buswell, and Andrew Caulk

For most Americans, the film Black Hawk Down is the first thing that comes to mind when they think about Somalia. Images of destroyed helicopters and dead U.S. Servicemembers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu are now part of our national memory. Almost three decades later, the Battle of Mogadishu remains one of the most memorable information operations (IO) defeats of the modern U.S. military. Today, America works with the federal government of Somalia to promote stability and to prevent al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate, from conducting attacks against American interests and the homeland. When Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) received orders in mid-November 2020 to move all forces out of Somalia by January 15, 2021, the risk of another Black Hawk Down incident was at the forefront of senior leader considerations. Therefore, the main objective of what became Operation Octave Quartz (OOQ) was to safely reposition all U.S. forces in Somalia. Deterrence was critical to mission success.

Book Reviews

Air Power Supremo

Air Power Supremo: A Biography of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor

Reviewed by Benjamin S. Lambeth

In the pantheon of air power pioneers from the dawn of military aviation to the advent of the jet age nearly four decades later, Marshal of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Sir John Slessor never gained the stature and name recognition of such earlier air warfare icons as General Billy Mitchell of the U.S. Army Air Service. Yet viewed in hindsight, Slessor was uncommonly instrumental in the development of effective air doctrine, concepts of operations, and organizing principles during his 37 years as an airman, combat commander, and senior leader.

A Sacred Oath

A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times

Reviewed by Thomas F. Lynch III

A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times is the narrative of Mark Esper, former Secretary of Defense for the Trump administration, about his tumultuous 17 months in office, which ended with his November 2020 firing by Trump. A Sacred Oath confronts a vital first-order question for all uniformed and civilian military professionals: How do I faithfully adhere to my sworn oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic? This question is especially searing when it comes to upholding the oath as a senior civilian political appointee in the face of a domestic security threat from the White House itself. There is no perfect answer, but contextual factors help inform whether a senior Department of Defense (DOD) official should offer resignation rather than remain and enable the threat in hopes of moderating it.

The Strategy of Denial

The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict

Reviewed by Travis Zahnow

In The Strategy of Denial: American Defense in an Age of Great Power Conflict, Elbridge Colby, a lead architect of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, wades into the ever-prescient debate about how the United States might compete with China in the Pacific. The Joseph Biden administration’s recent release of the 2022 Indo-Pacific Strategy and the pending release of the 2022 National Defense Strategy add urgency to a question three Presidential administrations have sought to answer: “What is the best defense strategy for America?” Colby’s work undertakes this vexing question, offering a novel strategy, as well as what many will consider to be polarizing and potentially unviable recommendations focused on a strategic realignment, in which the Biden administration would undertake not just to compete with China but to deny China the ability to achieve regional hegemony in the Indo-Pacific