History seems to have a greater attraction as we age. As the past stretches out, we often look to it in order to relate our experiences today to those we fondly (or not so fondly) remember. Recently, I was asked if Joint Force Quarterly could include more warfighting articles, particularly those that have a historical focus. I readily responded that we always are interested in such pieces, but we receive few submissions for our Recall section. A simple enough proposition, but in execution one that is fully dependent on inputs from our audience. I have frequently remarked that such articles have a much higher chance of acceptance for publication because we receive so few warfighting articles in comparison to what we publish.
Marines with Alpha Battery, 2nd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion visited Onslow County Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Jacksonville, North Carolina, December 18, 2014, to learn more about U.S. Marine Corps history (U.S. Marine Corps/Neysa Huertas Quinone)
I am not sure why our authors do not write about the past as much as the present and the future. History has a great deal to offer, especially to those who have yet to experience similar events. It can be reexamined and even rewritten in light of new information found in archives or in the stories of those who experienced events and are willing to tell their stories. Consider the survivors of the atomic age from Hiroshima to the veterans of open-air testing. What do their experiences have to tell us about the cost of deterrence in the 21st century? Even our most recent wars have stories yet to be told but will be critical in evaluating what our future force should be and do. History is exactly where we should be drawing our understanding of how to deal with our increasingly complex world. Theories are useful only if they can be tested and validated. In many cases, we already know what the outcomes are because we have examples that can be reviewed for a wealth of understanding, often paid for in lives lost. We owe it to our future force to review the past carefully against our plans for the future because not everything changes just because we think it does. As one of my mentors once told me, history does not repeat in detail, but it does rhyme. We welcome what you have to say on the value of history, especially regarding joint operations, as the U.S. military has a wealth of those to review. I know of no better way to gauge the progress we are making on the future force than to look at where we have been.
This issue’s Forum focuses on the future of U.S. defense strategy with three articles that suggest how Department of Defense (DOD) leadership might guide efforts already under way. In discussing the defense budget for fiscal year 2017, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul Selva, USAF, identified a number of security issues that the United States will face going forward. These issues include not only a likely return to great power competitions but also continuing security challenges from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and terror groups. One of the phrases that these three articles focus on is the DOD effort to “offset [its] strengths using new technological, operational, and organizational constructs to achieve a lasting advantage and to strengthen deterrence.” As the Obama administration comes to a close, Timothy Walton offers the next Secretary of Defense a priority list aimed at achieving this Third Offset Strategy. One of the keys to figuring out this strategy, according to the Vice Chairman, is modeling and simulation, and James McGrath suggests a way to use these tools to enhance our information operations as a part of the overall strategy. Elbridge Colby and Jonathan Solomon next suggest that the mission of presence is essential to achieve any warfighting defense strategy that might emerge in the future.
Our JPME Today section offers two significant papers on different topics, which I believe should be widely read and used in the classroom across the JPME community and beyond. Mike Rybacki and Chaveso Cook offer a framework for addressing the persistent issue of toxic leadership in the military. The Naval War College’s Douglas Ducharme next describes how wargaming can offer a method for measuring strategic deterrence, a concept that everyone acknowledges as key to a defense strategy, but few have been able to fully analytically show its impact.
In Commentary, we have views from around the globe and the Pentagon on how to deal with disasters and integrate social media into military operations. As we often focus on combat overseas, being trained and ready for disasters at home and abroad is a primary mission for the joint force. As Director of Force Training in the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness office, Frank DiGiovanni provides his unique perspective on how best to achieve this requirement. A little over 5 years ago, Japan was struck by Super Typhoon Haiyan, which resulted in a wide range of recovery requirements, many of which were more than Japan could deal with alone. The U.S. Pacific Command response was crucial in helping Japan cope with this massive disaster, as Thomas Parker, Sean Carroll, Gregg Sanders, Jason King, and Imes Chiu describe, with important takeaways for planners of future recovery operations at home and abroad. For an increasing number of our military, the use of social media has outpaced our traditional communications channels in significant ways. Gregory Tomlin provides us a look into a recent North Atlantic Treaty Organization exercise Trident Juncture, which incorporated social media into operations with interesting and insightful results.
From China and Africa to continuing our discussions on global health engagement and planning, our Features section covers it all. First, Phillip Saunders and Joel Wuthnow, from the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the National Defense University, an important source for insightful work on China’s rise, present an article on China’s ongoing efforts to reform the People’s Liberation Army. Michael Shurkin writes that recent events in Africa that require external security assistance have involved the deployment of the French army in ways that might prove educational to other forces. In a follow-up article to JFQ 80’s focus on global health engagement, Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala and Maysaa Alobaidi provide us with suggestions on how to improve cultural awareness, which is crucial to the success of these efforts. Always a favorite topic here at JFQ in the past, and among students and practitioners of the art of planning, Steven Kornatz writes about refocusing on the center of gravity through a back-to-basics approach.
In a brief but important moment in U.S. history in the immediate aftermath of the final withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975, President Gerald Ford was faced with a rapid onset crisis in that region. Richard Hughes takes us back to those events with a discussion on how the interplay of agencies and departments in the U.S. Government dealt with the seizure of Americans in South East Asia in the Mayaguez Incident. As an aside and to reiterate, when I am asked about the submission process at JFQ, I often remark that the easiest way to get published in the journal is to write a history piece because we receive so few submissions on history-related topics. Luckily, each of these pieces tends to be well written and researched, which is why the acceptance rate among Recall articles is nearly 100 percent. I recently began a concerted effort to seek out submissions that incorporated themes of warfighting and history, which has been the focus of our Recall section in JFQ from the beginning. With your help, I anticipate a growing number of submissions that will help our readers get a better sense of history, warfighting, joint operations, and how these topics matter to successful future missions.
Our book review editor, Dr. Frank Hoffman, has once again lined up three great reviews by three longtime supporters of JFQ who will no doubt cause you to consider adding these titles to your reading list. As a disclaimer, Tom Greenwood and Tom McNaugher are members of our editorial board.
Our Doctrine section has three important pieces along with the Joint Doctrine update from the Joint Staff. Michelle Pryor, Thomas Labouche, Mario Wilke, and Charles Pattillo, Jr., suggest the best means for improving coalition operations lies in the effective organization of the Multinational Interoperability Council. On doctrine itself, Stephen Lauer guides us into the metaphysical side of operational planning as it relates to doctrine’s use. Brian Griffin gives us a brief explanation of a key new joint logistics capability that will greatly assist loggies, staffs, and commanders alike. Finally, Kenneth Pisel of the Joint Forces Staff College discusses recent developments in Joint Professional Military Education, Phase II.
We look forward to your thoughts on these articles. Whether you are commenting on the future force or retelling the story of past joint operations, Joint Force Quarterly is here for your use to stir creative thinking and debate, to further solidify the bond of jointness among the Services, and to strengthen the bonds of teamwork necessary with our friends and allies across the globe. Let us know what you find in our history that engages you so your ideas can be considered by the more than 120,000 quarterly online JFQ readers worldwide. JFQ
William T. Eliason
Editor in Chief