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Joint Force Quarterly 75 (4th Quarter, October 2014)

Executive Summary

By William T. Eliason Joint Force Quarterly 75

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As we mark this 75th issue of Joint Force Quarterly, I am reminded of the wisdom I gained some years ago when I was seeking to become a teacher. My faculty mentor at the time offered some advice as I took up the task of teaching history. I asked him, “Does history repeat itself?” His response was useful but not easily digested. “History does in fact repeat but not in detail or on a schedule,” he said. “We as teachers need to identify both the similarities and differences of events past and present in order to have our students learn.” Recent events that fit this model of the past repeating itself, but not in detail, include rioting in Missouri surrounding the violent death of an African American teenager, a failed special forces raid into Syria to rescue an American reporter held hostage, airliners shot down by military forces, mass migration of people seeking security in a foreign land, deadly disease spreading in Africa, and the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from an unpopular war—to name a few in today’s headlines.

Despite all of the advances in medicine, technology, education, and political systems, change has yet to completely impact the one biological fact my mentor gave me. The human brain remains as it has been for over 50,000 years. What we put into it makes the difference in how we live our lives. Put another way, investing time and energy into education is the best means to affect any kind of change in the human condition. The question is what kind of education can move us forward to reduce the cycle of violence, both domestically and globally, that seems to continually reappear. Many who read this may not be old enough to remember the past events that mirror those of today (Selma, Alabama; the Son Tay and Desert One rescue missions; the downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007 and the Iranian Airbus; Vietnamese and Cuban refugees; Ebola again), but careful study can help us see what important work remains unfinished and what new challenges lie ahead. Our readers are in luck as JFQ continues to offer opportunities to learn from the past to prepare for the future with change for the better in mind.

During rescue mission, HH-3E Jolly Green helicopter code-named “Banana,” carrying 14 Green Berets, deliberately crash landed inside walls of North Vietnam’s Son Tay POW camp, November 20, 1970 (USAF)

During rescue mission, HH-3E Jolly Green helicopter code-named “Banana,” carrying 14 Green Berets, deliberately crash landed inside walls of North Vietnam’s Son Tay POW camp, November 20, 1970 (USAF)

The Forum opens with an interview of U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Raymond T. Odierno. Discussing a range of topics from force drawdown to modernization, General Odierno lays out the future for the Army and its relationship to the joint force. Identifying critical shortfalls ahead, Robert Owen then provides a range of options to modernize theater airlift, a critical capability as recent operations have shown. One of the more interesting and not well-known success stories from Afghanistan is its railroad system. Lawrence Pleis, Richard Lliteras, David Wood, Matthew Bain, and Steven Hendrickson, who were involved in its construction, offer a fascinating look into how it was built with international assistance. Next, Mark Brown discusses another type of train, a joint one, that recently celebrated a birthday of sorts. He discusses how U.S. Central Command’s Deployment and Distribution Operations Center has been delivering the mail and a whole lot more for over a decade in support of U.S operations in that theater.

As we do each year, we next present the winning essays from the 2014 8th Annual Secretary of Defense and 33rd Annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Essay Competitions. This year’s competition once again has yielded some outstanding writing on timely topics. The judges from across the joint professional military education (JPME) community all commended the students for their critical thinking skills and writing talent. In the winning Secretary of Defense essay, Commander David Forman, USN, discusses how to consider the future of China’s military in terms of deterrence. Lieutenant Colonel Clorinda Trujillo, USAF, won in the Chairman’s strategic research paper category with an insightful discussion of deterrence in cyberspace. In the Chairman’s strategic article category, in which the author must develop and defend a thesis in only 1,500 words or less, Lieutenant Colonel Bradford John Davis, USA, offers some interesting ideas on the issue of territorial claims to the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.

Our essay competitions this year indicate that all things cyber are at the top of the list of issues in international security circles. Eneken Tikk-Ringas, Mika Kerttunen, and Christopher Spirito lead off our JPME Today section by considering the value of studying cyber security as an element of professional military education. Of note, the recently updated curriculum here at the National Defense University is taking the authors’ advice with a number of lessons dedicated to cyber issues having been added or enhanced from previous instruction. Other PME institutions are doing so as well. From the faculty of the world’s newest JPME-qualified school, NDU’s College of International Security Affairs, faculty members Rebecca Patterson and Jodi Vittori advocate adding political economy to PME. From NDU’s International Student Management Office, Russell Thacker and Paul Lambert discuss how to continue benefiting from relationships with international officers long after they have graduated from PME classrooms. Surprisingly, their research shows that we are not taking sufficient strides to do so.

Our Commentary section has three distinct authors and ideas to consider. Returning to the pages of JFQ, Lukas Milevski develops an important discussion of asymmetry and strategy, which may seem simple enough. If the last decade or more of war has taught us, however, nothing in the world of strategy is easily learned. Another important argument comes from Glenn Voelz on the concept of “military science.” Every student of Carl von Clausewitz knows of the tension that comes from the desire to create order out of chaos, but in the end, is it art or science, or both, that tips the scale in military affairs? If you are a frequent reader of JFQ, you may have read Admiral Samuel Locklear’s response to my question about whether U.S. Pacific Command would begin rotating among the Services for its leadership. Russell Rumbaugh provides us a full appreciation of the history and decisionmaking involved in who has been selected to command at the top of U.S. joint forces around the world.

From China’s growing antiaccess/area-denial capabilities to determining hostile intent in cyberspace, the Features section serves up some of the best of today’s thinking and writing in these areas and more. Adding to their recently published NDU Press book on the subject, Dennis Gormley, Andrew Erickson, and Jingdong Yuan describe important developments in Chinese cruise missiles to date. By detailing the experience of dealing with cultural differences in Afghanistan, Megan Katt adds to the continuing discussion of how the joint force deploys new kinds of teams to deal with complex operations. Adding significantly to what is becoming the leading collection of cyber related writing, Ramberto Torruella, Jr., helps us understand the difficulty involved in finding the responsible person or persons behind a cyber attack. Lastly, Thomas Smith and Marc Tranchemontagne show that the military’s pursuit of terrorist organizations requires a dedicated effort to exploit the traces left behind by these groups.

Our Recall article, by J. Darren Duke, Rex Phillips, and Christopher Conover, examines the highly successful United Kingdom–U.S. joint unconventional warfare campaign in Yugoslavia during World War II.

As always we bring you three fine book reviews to further assist your efforts to find good works to add to your library.

Joint Doctrine offers two important discussions aimed at shaping doctrine in two important areas: the implementation of the Joint Operational Access Concept and how to effectively deal with corruption in those places where the joint force employs. These important articles along with the Joint Staff J7 Joint Doctrine Update should lead to a good amount of discussion on emerging areas that should improve existing—and possibly make new—doctrine.

Lastly, this issue marks retirement of the last two remaining “plank holders” of the original JFQ staff from the journal’s 1993 launch: Mr. Calvin B. Kelley and Mr. Martin “Jimmy” Peters, Jr. We who remain have learned a great deal from these gentlemen who helped build and sustain the Chairman’s Journal for more than 20 years and 75 issues. We wish them great happiness in their lives ahead. JFQ

William T. Eliason
Editor in Chief