Joint Force Quarterly 110

Joint Force Quarterly 110

(3rd Quarter, July 2023)

Strategic Inflection Point

  • An AI-Ready Workforce
  • Analyzing a Country's Strategic Posture

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Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command,  and Assistant Secretary of Defense John Plumb prepare their testimony for the House Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C. March 30, 2023. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

Letter to the Editor

By Michael P. Fischerkeller, Emily O. Goldman, and Richard J. Harknett

The April 2023 issue of Joint Force Quarterly features a positive review of our book, "Cyber Persistence Theory: Redefining National Security in Cyberspace" by Stafford Ward, alongside an article on cyber and deterrence by James Van de Velde. Both pieces present discordant views on U.S. Cyber Command's approach to persistent engagement and how it fits with a strategy of deterrence and the more recent concept of integrated deterrence. As theorists and a practitioner in persistent engagement, we offer some clarification.


A Marine assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, conducts high altitude, low opening (HALO) parachute jump from an Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron, over Yokota Air Base, Japan, Dec. 13, 2021. U.S. Marines and a U.S. Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialist conducted week-long jump training using Air Force and Navy aircraft. The training supports the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s dynamic force employment (DFE) concept through agile combat employment (ACE), which supports the National Defense Strategy effort to conduct training with joint partners while maintaining global peace and security. (U.S. Air Force photo by Yasuo Osakabe)

Executive Summary

By William T. Eliason

Your voice in how best to move the joint force forward can only help achieve both the mission of this journal and the goals of the new Joint Warfighting Concept. Every successful leader at every level knows the wisdom of how to bring diverse talents together to achieve the mission. The Chairman and JFQ are looking for your ideas on how to achieve success together as we deal with the world today and in the future.

U.S. Coast Guard–manned LCVP from USS Samuel Chase disembarks troops of Company A, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, wading onto Fox Green section of Omaha Beach, early
on June 6, 1944 (U.S. Coast Guard/Robert F. Sargent); Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer, by Caspar David Friedrich, oil on canvas, ca. 1817 (Hamburger Kunsthalle); Drone swarm
(Shutterstock/Chesky); Army Futures Command IVAS Concept Art, circa 2019 (U.S. Army)

Strategic Inflection Point: The Most Historically Significant and Fundamental Change in the Character of War Is Happening Now—While the Future Is Clouded in Mist and Uncertainty

By General Mark A. Milley

Geostrategic competition and rapidly advancing technology are driving fundamental changes to the character of war. Our opportunity to ensure that we maintain an enduring competitive advantage is fleeting. We must modernize the Joint Force to deter our adversaries, defend the United States, ensure future military advantage, and, if necessary, prevail in conflict.

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Donte Mathews flies an unmanned aircraft system during a mortar range event at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 17, 2023.

A Framework for Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems Deterrence

By Steven D. Sacks

As nations around the world continue to pursue lethal autonomous platforms for use on the battlefield, the lack of a commonly understood framework for their employment increases the risk of inadvertent or accidental escalation due to miscommunication or misinterpretation of deterrent signals in competition and crisis.

Project High Dive anthropomorphic dummy launch, White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, June 11, 1953 (DOD/Air Force Declassification Office)

Cutting the Chaff: Overlooked Lessons of Military UAP Sightings for Joint Force and Interagency Coordination

By Luke M. Herrington

The Mantell incident and other military UAP sightings make it clear that misidentification remains a common problem in complex operating environments. They demonstrate how distinguishing one’s joint force and interagency partners (or their assets) from an enemy force, from civilians and other noncombatants, or even from environmental phenomena can be a challenge in the best of circumstances. Misidentification of friendly (or nonhostile) airborne assets can lead to expensive or even fatal accidents in the field.

IBM Quantum Scientist Dr. Maika Takita, in Thomas J. Watson Research Center IBM Quantum Lab, September 10, 2020 (Courtesy IBM/Connie Zhou)

Quantum Computing: A New Competitive Factor with China

By Doug Quinn, Patrick Wolverton, and Scott Storm

The winner in the race to develop quantum-based technology will have the potential to shape the world in ways that are hard to imagine today—for better or worse. The application of quantum technologies not only has the potential to reshape the national security landscape but also to determine which nation will become the foremost superpower of the 21st century.

JPME Today

Soldiers check their Nett Warrior End User Devices during an Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) force-on-force field demonstration held on Fort Benning, March 4. The demonstration at the AEWE event showcased the practical application of the SBS, Nett Warrior and artificial intelligence working in tandem to enhance the situational awareness of the Soldier. (U.S. Army Photo by Jason Amadi/Released)

An AI-Ready Military Workforce

By Iain Cruickshank

The military's successful integration of new technologies, such as AI, is crucial in a revolution in military affairs. The advantages of AI will be realized by the military that can best employ it. To realize the groundbreaking potential of AI, military organizations should prioritize creating an AI-enabled workforce based on the nature of AI in the military. This means moving away from solely focusing on creating costly AI experts and instead adopting an AI skills-in-depth model. Training AI experts alone is insufficient for achieving revolutionary effects on the battlefield.

Professor Leigh Caraher, director of Applied Communication and Learning Lab, U.S. Army War College, participates as one of 29 professional military education faculty judges for SECDEF and CJCS Essay Competitions, hosted by NDU Press, Fort McNair, Washington, DC, May 12, 2023 (NDU Press)

Enhancing National Security: Increasing Female Faculty in Professional Military Education Would Strengthen U.S. Security

By Magdalena Bogacz

This article contends that to enhance national security, PME must focus on hiring and retaining more female faculty. The status of our nation’s security depends largely on the status of women in PME. Women provide diversity of thought that is otherwise unachievable; the gender perspective that female faculty provide is critical in developing our joint warfighters for tomorrow’s ways of war.


A Falcon 9 rocket carrying 56 broadband satellites launches from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., May 4, 2022.

Why Military Space Matters

By Gregory Gagnon

Over the past two-plus decades of military operations, our nation’s ability to use outer space has not been consequentially challenged or contested. An unintended byproduct of that circumstance is we have unintentionally conditioned strategists and national security professionals to assume the space advantage is our birthright. In our past wars our adversaries didn’t need to leverage space to fight and certainly had more important military objectives than attacking U.S. space capabilities. But if the next war is against a near-peer competitor, that will not be the case.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Meghan Cooke and other sailors conduct flight operations aboard a squadron P-8A Poseidon aircraft during an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance mission over the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, March 20, 2020.

Improving Analytic Tradecraft: The Benefit of a Multilateral Foundational Training Model for Military Intelligence

By Eric Daniels

The foundational training of our military intelligence professionals is paramount for our national security. This training could be improved by soliciting the individual military Services by means of a multilateral approach. The Services should work together multilaterally through their lead commands for intelligence, versus unilaterally or even jointly, ensuring synchronized instruction at a foundational level. Regardless of their specific roles within the profession, all Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Guardians in the intelligence profession should have a solid understanding of the core analytic tradecraft standards that should apply to their daily work.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken delivers remarks at World AIDS Day event hosted by Business Council for International Understanding, in Washington, DC, December 2, 2022 (State Department/Ron Przysucha)

The Purpose and Impact of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program

By Joseph S. Cavanaugh, Clinton K. Murray, David Chang, and Julie A. Ake

HIV has been a recognized issue since the mid-1980s when it was linked to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Prevalence of HIV varies among militaries, often exceeding civilian rates in high-prevalence areas. Military screening typically excludes HIV-positive individuals from enlistment, indicating that infections occur after enlistment, suggesting that military personnel are often at substantially increased risk for acquiring and then possibly transmitting HIV. The Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) was established in 1986 to research and develop preventive and treatment measures, evaluate the impact on U.S. Servicemembers, and protect military personnel while addressing the global burden of HIV.


Army Green Berets conduct clearing procedures while evacuating a simulated casualty during the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center rotation training exercise at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Nov. 7, 2022. The exercise is designed to build combat readiness.

Special Operations Forces Institution-Building: From Strategic Approach to Security Force Assistance

By Kevin D. Stringer

SOF institution-building (SOFIB) takes on significant importance for the future because as irregular and hybrid warfare becomes more prevalent, the relevance of SOF increases. Allied and partner nation SOF can be sustainable and operationally effective in a near-peer environment only if they exist within a proper institutional framework.

U.S. and Chilean soldiers cross-country ski at the Chilean Army Mountain School in Portillo, Chile, Aug. 27, 2021. Soldiers learned the basics of cold weather mountain warfare as part of Exercise Southern Vanguard.

Analyzing a Country’s Strategic Posture JFQ 110, 3rd Quarter 2023 Analyzing a Country’s Strategic Posture: Suggestions for Practitioners

By Beatrice Heuser

Diplomats and defense attachés are expected to give a fresh assessment of a country’s strategic posture. The utility of this exercise is that, if done prudently and with an eye for nuance, it has some predictive value. Even the world’s only superpower has an interest in judging what positions other governments may take in a dispute. Beyond predictions one can identify some potentialities, that is, possible future developments that may or may not come to pass.

CARTAGENA, Colombia (Nov. 13, 2022) U.S. Army Gen. Laura J. Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command, delivers remarks at a Women’s, Peace and Security (WPS) roundtable as part of Continuing Promise 2022 (CP22) in Cartagena, Colombia, Nov. 13, 2022. CP22 is a humanitarian assistance and goodwill mission conducting direct medical care, expeditionary veterinary care, and subject matter expert exchanges with five partner nations in the Caribbean, Central and South America. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sophia Simons)

Integrating Women, Peace, and Security Into Security Cooperation

By Barbara Salera

The purpose of security cooperation (SC) is to develop relationships, build capacity, and ensure access to partner nations to achieve U.S. objectives. The achievement of this purpose is enhanced through a holistic application of Women, Peace, and Security through gender mainstreaming. But the lack of guidance on this process and the use of gender-neutral language in doctrine foster the exclusion of gender analyses in the planning and implementation of SC activities. Failure to mainstream gender risks telling only half the story of a partner nation.

Morgan Jungk swings in her backyard Aug. 24, 2013, in Jacksonville, Ark. Morgan is the 14-year-old daughter of Master Sgt. Beth Jungk, a 19th Communications Squadron plans and programs manager, and suffers from autism, kabuki syndrome, severe epilepsy and other ailments. Swinging while listening to music is her favorite activity.(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jake Barreiro)

The Exceptional Family Member Program: Noble Cause, Flawed System

By Benjamin T. Bryant

"We recruit individuals, but we retain families.” This insightful statement recognizes the importance of familial bonds in the military profession and the challenge of maintaining them while in the actively defending the Nation. The responsibility lies with the Department of Defense (DOD), and the mindset of “retain families” underscores the level of accountability. DOD's Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is the primary program dedicated to serving and supporting the special needs of eligible families of Servicemembers. In execution, however, EFMP has foundational issues.


Deck of USS Monitor, on James River in Virginia, July 9, 1862; officers at right (left to right): Third Assistant Engineer Robinson W. Hands, Acting Master Louis N. Stodder, Second Assistant Engineer Albert B. Campbell (seated), and Acting Volunteer Lieutenant William Flye (with binoculars) (U.S. Navy/Naval History and Heritage Command)

The Civil War and Revolutions in Naval Affairs: Lessons for Today

By David C. Gompert and Hans Binnendijk

At certain times, the character of naval warfare and the course of naval history undergo rapid, profound, and lasting change. The American Civil War was such a time, and its lessons still resound.

Book Reviews

China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy

China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy

Reviewed by Ian Forsyth

George Schultz, the U.S. Secretary of State from 1982 to 1989, equated diplomacy to gardening: long-term cultivation and maintenance of a healthy relationship that slowly but reliably bears fruit. Peter Martin’s China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy depicts a Chinese diplomatic corps that has intermittently subscribed to this philosophy. This clear and engaging book is an enlightening blend of domestic People’s Republic of China (PRC) politics, foreign policy practice, and diplomatic history with a fair amount of Zhou Enlai biography thrown in. Zhou was China’s first foreign minister (FM) from its founding in 1949 to when he stepped down as FM in 1958.

Four Battlegrounds and I, Warbot

Four Battlegrounds and I, Warbot

Reviewed by Frank G. Hoffman

The rollout of Chat GPT-3 by OpenAI in late 2022 caused a storm of controversy. The new software created seemingly authentic and detailed answers to queries, generated passable drafts of student essays, and even managed to pass a college exam at the Wharton Business School. But some of the chatbot’s responses were also inaccurate, inappropriate, and deeply flawed. The updated version GPT-4, released in March 2023, did little to alleviate concerns about how far and how fast this technology could take us.

America’s Great-Power Opportunity: Revitalizing U.S. Foreign Policy to Meet the Challenges of Strategic Competition

America’s Great-Power Opportunity

Reviewed by Thomas F. Lynch III

America’s Great-Power Opportunity is a lucid, thoughtful assessment of the problems and the possibilities with the geostrategic formulation of Great Power competition (GPC). Ali Wyne frames a narrative that captures well the major debates from 2017 through 2022 surrounding whether GPC is a proper framework for understanding America’s evolving geostrategic posture and how Washington’s global strategy should respond. Wyne adds value to the prolific number of publications on GPC during 2021 and 2022 by recommending that Washington accept the new norm of competitive geopolitics with a positivist rather than a reactive strategic agenda.

Alpha: Eddie Gallagher and the War for the Soul of the Navy SEALs


Reviewed by Paula G. Thornhill

Alpha is a fast-paced, brilliantly written, and ultimately disturbing book about the health of the Navy SEAL community. Using the infamous Eddie Gallagher case for its core narrative, Alpha weaves together Gallagher’s actions and the larger developments in Naval Special Warfare during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The SEALs emerge from this era as a troubled organization, full of first-rate special operators willing to take on the toughest direct-action missions but largely devoid of a higher moral code to guide their actions and dismissive of any oversight beyond that of the insular world of special operations.

Joint Doctrine

A National Guardsman participates in the WV/DC 2023 Best Warrior Competition at Camp Dawson, W.V., April 22, 2023.

Mission Assurance: Decisionmaking at the Speed of Relevance

By Ari Fisher

The outdated mission assurance myopia focuses on vulnerabilities related to Defense Critical Infrastructure (DCI) but neglects timely decisions that impact how we fight. The Department of Defense (DOD) is facing challenges in prioritizing and delivering constrained resources in time, space, and domain due to the inflexible nature of the existing DCI-focused MA construct. This approach overlooks key areas and stakeholders, hindering the identification of critical weaknesses affecting mission performance. The 2022 DOD Mission Assurance instruction relies on outdated off-the-shelf plans, limiting its effectiveness. To address evolving threats, DOD Global Security efforts must unite proactive approaches and enable senior leaders to make risk-informed decisions at the speed of relevance.