Joint Doctrine

Joint Force Quarterly 72 (1st Quarter, January 2014)

Executive Summary

By William T. Eliason Joint Force Quarterly 72


There was a time when “jointness” had no champions. There was a time when professional military education at the Service colleges offered little in the way of joint content. Joint military operations often revealed a lack of basic coordination, much less cooperation or cohesion. Despite examples in World War II of joint coordination in various operations, after the war, Army Chief of Staff General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester Nimitz committed their respective Services to work together to establish a joint military education effort 40 years before the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 required it.

Those who have spent time at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) might be aware of the April 1946 memo from Eisenhower to Nimitz recommending the establishment of the Armed Forces Staff College. Eisenhower saw a “distinct joint necessity” for a school focused on courses that teach officers from allServices and branches “joint staff technique and procedures in theatres and joint overseas operations.” He believed that there was a need “for a school of this type for officers of our services prior to attendance at the National War College.” Since the National War College (NWC) was located in Washington, DC, at Fort Lesley J. McNair, the Nation’s third-oldest Army base, it seemed appropriate for the Staff College to be located on a naval base. The rest, as they say, is history with today’s JFSC—the successor to the Armed Forces Staff College—still educating officers about joint operations and planning at National Defense University’s (NDU’s) southern campus in Norfolk, Virginia.

But where did the continuing support for this idea of jointness come from after Congress created NDU in 1976? For 40 years after the Ike memo, these schools and their graduates were not enough to negate the need for legislation later on to bring the Services closer together. Legislation mandating jointness arrived in the form of Public Law 99-433 (Goldwater-Nichols), widely recognized as the most sweeping change to be ordered for the Defense Department since its formation in 1947.

Recently we lost two of the strongest supporters of jointness: General David C. Jones, USAF, the ninth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Representative Isaac “Ike” Newton Skelton IV of Missouri. The deaths of General Jones and Congressman Skelton require, I believe, that we pause to reflect on their individual and combined legacies, especially on the effect each man had on joint professional military education (JPME).

While many can rightfully claim to have been a part of the push for jointness, few joint advocates at the level of General Jones and Congressman Skelton were as consistently in the vanguard of support both to achieve and to keep jointness successfully and permanently in place. Interestingly, neither man had obvious reasons to do so based on his origins.

General Jones volunteered for the Army Air Corps shortly after Pearl Harbor and became a pilot in 1943 before finishing college, and while his résuméshows no undergraduate degree, he would later graduate from the NWC in 1960. Based on how his story unfolds after his NWC education, we can assume that joint education had a positive effect and served him well for the next 22 years of his career, culminating in sequential terms as Chief of Staff of the Air Force from 1974 to 1978 and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1978 to 1982. As Chairman, General Jones worked hard to push for reforms, including those of the role of Chairman that exist today because of Goldwater-Nichols. So committed was General Jones in the reform to support jointness that he continued work to change the Services’ relationship and the Chairman’s role even after his retirement in 1982, directly influencing the legislators who would write and eventually pass Goldwater-Nichols, including Congressman Skelton.

If one has doubts concerning the power of education, particularly JPME, look to General Jones. Imagine if you were one of his NWC instructors and later on witnessed his substantial efforts to forge jointness into law: his advocacy for jointness may have been based on an idea he was assigned to study in one of your classes, or a conversation he had with a classmate from another Service or part of the government, or from collaborating with a student from a partner nation.

Would he have achieved as much as he did had he not attended the NWC? It is possible. He had been General Curtis LeMay’s aide, had served in three wars, worked on future weapon systems development, and more. But would he have been such a forceful advocate for jointness without what we now call “JPME experience”? Maybe. Who would fault him for retaining his Service loyalties? One might also conclude that he must have given significant weight to some of the ideas he encountered at NWC, and the JPME he received at NWC had a positive influence on General Jones during the rest of his military career. Moreover, even after he retired from service, he was motivated to seek the advancement of the power of the Chairman in addition to many other changes that would undoubtedly make the joint force a reality.

At the same time, a man from Missouri who had seen no military service to speak of would take the lead in solidifying joint education as a part of the military experience. Representative Skelton served for more than 30 years in the House of Representatives and he chose to make it his personal responsibility that the United States had the best military in the world. His many contributions to the military were the result of his personal efforts as a steadfast advocate for JPME. Joint Force Quarterly will have an article on Ike Skelton’s life and legacy in the next issue. I am certain all who have been a part of JPME over the years know Congressman Skelton’s work well and look for another member of the U.S. Congress to step forward as a similar champion for an educated joint force.

This edition of JFQ has a number of significant updates in both style and content. First, the journal has a subtle but different look in design. We have always worked hard to be economically efficient yet maintain a high quality of editorial content to our audience each quarter. The changes in style address two trends in the publishing industry. First, our new, streamlined presentation of compelling ideas in this issue helps us to develop an online presence for the journal with a more Internet-friendly process. Second, the new design is easier to read, has fewer distracting page elements, and costs the taxpayer less money to produce. We hope you will enjoy JFQ even more as we go forward.

On the content front, with the Chairman’s emphasis on joint education as a key ingredient to the future joint force, we are positioning JFQ to support authors and ideas from the JPME community more directly in order to get the best ideas into and out of those education environments. Our Forum section features articles from JPME faculty, researchers, and students on a range of issues including JPME itself, useful issues to explore in the classroom, and online distance learning—anywhere JFQ is read.

In the next issue, our Special Feature section will be retitled “JPME Today” and dedicated to articles that explore the world of JPME.

As mentioned, this issue’s Forum presents insights from and for the JPME community and begins with Professor Nicholas Murray’s views on how PME supports the development of Mission Command. Bringing the voice of an administrator to the discussion of the quality of faculty at the war colleges, George Reed describes ongoing issues involved in the selection, development, and retention of this critical element of the JPME equation. Jeffrey Shaw shows us how the Naval War College continues the tradition of wargaming born in the 1920s while testing naval employment strategies. James Butler has found the Japanese science fiction movie character Godzilla as a useful means to student enlightenment on center of gravity theories. From one of the leading research centers here inside the Beltway, William Burns and Drew Miller offer a great article that discusses how the Defense Department can adapt and survive black swan events.

In our Special Feature section, Jason Brown argues that it is time to abandon our Cold War–era ISR collection management methods and replace them with a strategy-oriented approach. Harry Foster operationalizes Air-Sea Battle through the formation of a joint stealth task force. Providing valuable coalition insights, Matthew Martin describes efforts under way to improve joint ISR coordination and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization ISR Initiative.

This issue’s Commentary presents two important discussions. Eileen Chollet’s research results compare how the highest of combat awards—valor decorations—have been granted over time. Looking at the fiscal environment our nation finds itself confronting, Presidential impoundment, a somewhat obscure power of the executive branch, is a better way to reduce spending according to Lawrence Spinetta.

In Features, we present a wide range of ideas from around the globe. Technology has been brought to bear to identify friendly civilians, as David Pendall and Cal Sieg provide an in-depth look at the employment of biometrics in Regional Command–East. Cindy Hurst and Robert Mathers shed light on one important aspect of Afghanistan’s economic and geopolitical future: China’s efforts at mining the country’s rich mineral deposits. As the Arctic region becomes more accessible to ship traffic, Heath Roscoe, Paul Campagna, and Dave McNulty assess the requirements for search and rescue in the Arctic region as activity continues to increase there for longer periods each year. Looking to leverage significant new capabilities available both to the joint force and to our allies, Robbin Laird, Edward Timperlake, and Murielle Delaporte outline a new approach for military strategy in the 21st century.

In our Recall section we continue our look back at World War I and leadership lessons as Bert Frandsen discusses the combat record of Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell. There are also three book reviews that should help you expand your views on a range of subjects. In the Joint Doctrine section, Taylor P. White provides an excellent discussion on where security cooperation fits in doctrine and how it executes in terms of programs and activities, including the regular J7 joint doctrine publication update.

Our JFQ team continues to find and bring you new ideas that support better awareness and understanding of jointness. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, in particular General David C. Jones and Congressman Ike Skelton IV, who knew the great value of joint education and of jointness itself. JFQ

William T. Eliason
Editor in Chief