Joint Force Quarterly 109

Joint Force Quarterly 109

(2nd Quarter, April 2023)

Black Soldiers and the Promise of America

  • Integrating the Private Sector into U.S. Cyber Strategy
  • When Dragons Watch Bears

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General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State and 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks during National Memorial Day Concert on West Lawn of Capitol, Washington, DC, May 27, 2018 (DOD/James K. McCann)

Executive Summary

By William T. Eliason

I offer these thoughts to stimulate your thinking on where the joint force needs to be in the years ahead. Technology is important, but it is not the answer to issues of human nature or culture. Effective leadership must be achieved through training, education, enforcement of standards, effective and appropriate promotion policies, and focusing on respect for everyone who serves. As you experience success in your own lives, be sure to lead with enough humility to help those around you share in that success.

Buffalo Soldiers of 25th Infantry, some wearing buffalo robes, Fort Keogh, Montana, 1890 (Library of Congress)

A More Perfect Union: Black Soldiers and the Promise of America

By John Nagl and Charles D. Allen

The path for African American Soldiers—officer and enlisted—has been a long and arduous one. This article chronicles elements of that journey from its beginning with the American Revolutionary War through to the present day. It highlights the challenges, progress, and ever-present threats of regression encountered along the path of service. The aspirations of current diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts will require awareness, intentionality, and commitment to bring to fruition. While the Army boasts of its “tradition as a global leader in DEI,”3 the focus must be on “Deeds, Not Words."

Marines push through simulated riot during nonlethal weapons training course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, November 18, 2016
(U.S. Marine Corps/Victoria Ross)

Intermediate Force Capabilities: Nonlethal Weapons and Related Military Capabilities

By Sara McGrath

The U.S. military has a history of fighting wars and winning battles through the overwhelming use of force. In today’s strategic environment, the battle is often one of competition below the threshold of armed conflict. Our adversaries are gaining the advantage by exploiting the predictable joint force responses, either showing force through military presence or employing lethal force. Both of these extremes are often ineffective against adversary competition. Yet neither doctrine nor training prepares the joint force to employ force between these extremes. To protect current and future national political and military interests, the U.S. military must modify its mindset and tactics to gain the necessary tools for strategic competition, or the Nation risks losing its competitive advantage.

Sergeant Adam Dorian Wong, threat researcher with 136th Cybersecurity Unit, presents new topics of interest including artificial intelligence and vulnerability identification to Salvadoran cyber security unit in El Salvador, December 7, 2022 (U.S. Air National Guard/Victoria Nelson)

The New “Cyber” Space Race: Integrating the Private Sector Into U.S. Cyber Strategy

By Natalie R. Alen, Gregory M. Eaton, and Jaime L. Stieler

The impact of Russia’s rise as a cyberpower and the Kremlin’s use of cyber warfare as an instrument of power have not gone unnoticed by U.S. Government and military leaders. The questions remain, however: What can the United States learn from Russia, and how has the United States adapted its national strategy for cyberpower to this integrated, whole-of-society approach to international competition and conflict?

JPME Today

The Passage of the Delaware, by Thomas Sully, 1819, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts Boston

General George Washington: First in War, First in Peace, First in National Security Strategy

By David C. Arnold

On July 4, 1776, American leaders at the Second Continental Congress terminated the strategy they had been executing against Great Britain for over a year. They wanted political, military, and economic independence for the 13 colonies. To achieve that end, they relied on all four instruments of national power—diplomatic, informational, military, and economic. But while many of the founders understood one or perhaps two of these instruments, General George Washington was the first American to execute a strategy using all four to achieve his ends—all while operating in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational (JIIM) environment, as complicated in its time as ours is today.

Cyber crew lead assigned to 800th Cyber Protection Team,
Joint Force Headquarters Cyber–Air Force, poses for photo
in front of 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron B-1B Lancer at
Royal Air Force Fairford, United Kingdom, October 8, 2021
(U.S. Air Force/Colin Hollowell)

Cyber Deterrence Is Dead! Long Live “Integrated Deterrence”!

By James Van de Velde

The demands that Congress, some strategists, and many academics make of cyberspace deterrence are unrealistic in the extreme.1 Many want the Department of Defense (DOD) to freeze adversary military or influence operations or the theft of American intellectual property (IP) entirely through the simple threat of interfering with adversary computer code, presumably imperiling the function of either adversary military systems or civilian infrastructure. Such strategic thinking is hopelessly naïve because such threats are insufficiently credible to deter malicious cyberspace activities, which generally fall below the level of armed conflict.2


Four Army CH-47F Chinook helicopters from 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, prepare to land during exercise Falcon Autumn 22 at Vredepeel, Netherlands, November 4, 2022 (U.S. Army/Thomas Mort)

A Mission Assurance Assessment of Threats to Missions and Force Protection Planning

By Michael J. Borders, Jr., and Miller Carbaugh

After the Cold War, the United States enjoyed such an uncontested or dominant superiority in every domain that the Department of Defense (DOD) could deploy forces when it wanted, assemble them where it wanted, and operate them as it wanted. Perhaps because of this history, combined with the objectives in the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS), DOD components have focused on the development of new offensive and lethal capabilities and concepts with the unstated assumption that, once developed, these capabilities would be available. The following scenario describes how these assumptions can adversely affect DOD force projection capabilities.

Napoleon Bonaparte, French painting probably based on
1798 engraving by Elisabeth Herhan and Franz Gabriel
Fiesinger, after drawing by Jean Urbain Guérin, oil on wood (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Napoleon Revisited

By George DiMichele

Since Napoleon Bonaparte’s death, in 1821, he has continued to command the fervent interest of many admirers. Military thinkers persist in the search for the secrets of his success. Countless books and articles have been written in an attempt to unlock his astonishing abilities.


Russian President Vladimir Putin and General Valery Gerasimov
observe actions of troops of Russia and Belarus at main stage of Zapad 2017 joint strategic exercises at Luzhsky training ground in Leningrad Region, September 2017 (President of Russia)

When Dragons Watch Bears: Information Warfare Trends and Implications for the Joint Force

By Christopher H. Chin, Nicholas P. Schaeffer, Christopher J. Parker, and Joseph O. Janke

Over the past decade, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has watched Russia’s employment of information warfare (IW) with great interest. The parallels between these two Great Powers and their associated aggression toward breakaway republics present an opportunity for the United States and the joint force to map the contours of an evolving Chinese information warfare strategy to build a more comprehensive U.S. response prior to a future conflict in the region. Thwarting Chinese information confrontation tactics during crisis and conflict will require a comprehensive approach, one that boldly marshals increased unity of effort from across the whole of government. To compete and win in the 21st-century information environment, the Department of Defense (DOD), in partnership with the interagency community, should endeavor to lead three initiatives across upcoming joint force time horizons.

Air Force’s 10th Wideband Global SATCOM communications satellite, atop United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV rocket, lifts off from Space Launch Complex 37B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, March 15, 2019 (U.S. Air Force/Van Ha)

Mind the Gap: Space Resiliency Advantages of High-Altitude Capabilities

By Benjamin Staats

This article argues that the joint force must develop high-altitude capabilities and integrate them into joint operations to improve space mission resiliency. High-altitude capabilities ensure that warfighting mission requirements are met and will enable the joint force to achieve its objectives in a conflict when adversaries attempt to heavily contest both air and space. The following section recommends a joint definition for the high-altitude region, continues with a historical review of the development and importance of high-altitude capabilities, describes how their use will improve space mission resiliency, and concludes with recommendations for ways the joint force should develop and budget for these important high-altitude capabilities as it prepares for the next conflict.


U.S. Army barge, powered by outboard motors, crosses Irrawaddy River near Tigyiang, Burma, with Soldiers, ammunition, and truck, December 30, 1944 (U.S. Army/William Lentz)

Echoes of the Past: The Burma Campaign and Future Operational Design in the Indo-Pacific Region

By Shane Williams, John Green, Richard Kovsky, and Edwin Sumantha

This article is organized into three parts. First, a historical narrative of the Burma campaign highlights the struggles of 1942–1943, then details the second Arakan operation, the second Chindit operation, the battle of Imphal-Kohima, and the final Allied operation to retake Burma. Second, inferences are drawn from the historical narrative applied to modern warfare. Finally, implications for future joint force operational design in the Indo-Pacific derive from these inferences, indicating lessons contemporary joint force commanders and staffs can learn from the Burma campaign.

Book Reviews

Leadership Decapitation: Strategic Targeting of Terrorist Organizations

Leadership Decapitation: Strategic Targeting of Terrorist Organizations

Reviewed by Larry D. Miller

Leadership decapitation has become increasingly popular as an efficient, economical, and effective counterterrorism option for advancing U.S. interests when dealing with organizations willing to kill civilians in pursuit of political ends. But does the removal of violent nonstate leaders actually yield demonstrably favorable results beyond the obvious: execution or apprehension of a target? Does it, in fact, weaken or bring about the demise of terrorist organizations? In Leadership Decapitation: Strategic Targeting of Terrorist Organizations, Jenna Jordan addresses such questions by offering a complex and nuanced discussion of the ways that leadership decapitation affects terrorist organizations and insurgencies that kill civilians.

Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of U.S. National Security

Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of U.S. National Security

Reviewed by Stephan Pikner

Books on strategy are often aspirational or theoretical, considering high-level questions, first principles, and general trends without delving deeply into the mechanics of implementation. Similarly, a parallel vein of literature focuses on a narrow range of tactical platforms or concepts in the implicit hope that someone somewhere will use these clever tools to build a future force from the bottom up. Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of U.S. National Security fits squarely between these two attractive yet unsatisfying poles; it is a practitioner’s guide to programming and budgeting that aims to demystify the “invisible but very real web of processes and authorities [that] constitute the ‘rules of the game’ for the bureaucracy”—“rules which often forestall the ‘obvious solution’” to government workers’ problems.

Cyber Persistence Theory: Redefining National Security in Cyberspace

Cyber Persistence Theory: Redefining National Security in Cyberspace

Reviewed by Stafford A. Ward

Few books have been written in the recent past whose stated intent has been to influence and shape the perceptions of foreign and defense policymakers. In the spirit of the famed Stanford University political scientist Alexander George, who wrote Bridging the Gap: Theory and Policy in Foreign Policy, the authors of Cyber Persistence Theory: Redefining National Security in Cyberspace have successfully bridged the gap with a thought-provoking, accessible academic analysis. Cyber Persistence Theory holistically examines the current cyberspace environment in a way that is sure to be useful to U.S. cyberspace policymakers and operators.

Joint Doctrine

Falcon 9 rocket carrying Starlink 4-37 payload launches from Space Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, December 17, 2022 (U.S. Space Force/Joshua Conti)

A Framework for Mission Analysis in the Space Planning Process

By Nicholas R. Shaw

The U.S. Space Force (USSF) has a joint integration problem. It provides capabilities that give the military and its partners decisive advantages in combat. In this way, many USSF missions are inherently “joint.” However, the Space Force is unprepared to contribute to planning for true joint operations—operations with a significant space nexus where the main effort could easily transition between space and other domains. In such an environment, adversary space systems will be high-value targets that drive action, and friendly space systems will be critical assets that require protection. Although the Space Force has made significant progress toward establishing Service components at the combatant commands, putting Guardians in a position to support joint force commanders (JFCs), the Service has not yet armed those Guardians with a process to bring space system considerations into joint planning.