Joint Force Quarterly 92

Joint Force Quarterly 92

(1st Quarter, January 2019)

Defending Forward

  • An Interview with Paul M. Nakasone
  • Malign Actors and Cryptocurrency

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President Barack Obama meets with President George H.W. Bush in Oval Office, February 15, 2011 (The White House/Pete Souza)

Executive Summary

By William T. Eliason

National service is the subject of this issue’s Executive Summary. JFQ Editor-in-Chief Bill Eliason pays tribute to the memory of Senator John McCain and President George H.W. Bush. As we honor the passing of these two giants of national service, we’re reminded of their courage and heroism in combat and their continued commitment to national service as civilians. This issue is full of articles, book reviews and commentary on a wide range of topics, all of which will help you think differently about national defense, air power, cyber warfare, joint education, managing complexity and minimizing chaos.

Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency, and chief of the Central Security Service.

An Interview with Paul M. Nakasone

By William T. Eliason

Commander of U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) General Paul Nakasone offers his insights in this fascinating interview. Nakasone explains the foundational concepts of cyber warfare and a few of the challenges he faces leading our defense of cyberspace. He outlines the role of the Joint Force and the key partnerships in government and the private sector which enhance our warfighting capabilities. Perhaps his greatest challenge is to constantly upgrade these capabilities by recruiting, training and retaining a world-class force. Superiority in cyberspace is ephemeral, says Nakasone, and the competition for talent never seems to get any easier.

Sailors stand watch in Fleet Operations Center at headquarters of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet at Fort Meade, Maryland, September 27, 2018 (U.S. Navy/Samuel Souvannason)

A Cyber Force for Persistent Operations

By Paul M. Nakasone

Persistent engagement and forward defense are two key concepts in this article by General Paul Nakasone, Commander of USCYBERCOM. This means remaining in constant contact with adversaries while operating as close to them as possible. The idea is to support the National Security Strategy and protect the DOD Information Network while denying advantage to adversaries so the Joint Force can conduct secure operations. Although cyberspace represents a new strategic environment, Nakasone says USCYBERCOM is maturing as a combatant command, transitioning from force generation to sustained readiness for persistent engagement with cyber adversaries.

Soldier from 3/187th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, sets up SATCOM to communicate further with key rear elements as part of search and attack mission in area of Narizah, Afghanistan, July 23, 2002 (U.S. Army/Todd M. Roy)

Applying Irregular Warfare Principles to Cyber Warfare

By Frank C. Sanchez, Weilun Lin, and Kent Korunka

Cyberspace is a relatively new warfighting domain which does not conform to the physical limitations of land, sea, air or space. The faceless, borderless and sometimes nationless actors in cyberspace are unrestricted by natural geographic boundaries and traditional rules of war. However, by applying the principles of Irregular Warfare and integrating cyberspace operations across other domains, the Joint Force can optimize resource allocation and improve the effectiveness of cyber power. As cyberspace continues to evolve and expand as a warfighting domain, military leaders and cyber strategists should incorporate unconventional approaches and hybrid warfare in support of national objectives.

JPME Today

Airmen and Soldiers from Kadena Air Base perform high-altitude, low-opening jump off MC-130J Commando II above Okinawa, April 24, 2017 (U.S. Air Force/John Linzmeier)

Toward a More Lethal, Flexible, and Resilient Joint Force: Rediscovering the Purpose of JPME II

By Charles Davis and Frederick R. Kienle

Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) has never been more important to the success of the Joint Force. The contemporary security environment demands a lethal, flexible and resilient Joint Force to meet transregional, multidimensional, and multifunctional threats to U.S. national security. Today’s complex security environment demands truly joint warfighters capable of addressing transregional, multi-functional challenges across all domains—sea, air, land, space and cyberspace. The DOD can create the broader and deeper jointness necessary for the Joint Force to succeed, say the authors, only by investing in, rather than divesting from the capacity of JPME schools and programs.

Sailor assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132 signals to E/A-18G Growler pilot as he taxis on flight line during snowstorm at Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan, January 10, 2013 (U.S. Navy/Kenneth G. Takada)

Simplicity: A Tool for Working with Complexity and Chaos

By Dale C. Eikmeier

The science of simplification can help the Joint Force develop agile and adaptive leaders able to operate in complex and chaotic environments. What is the key to making time sensitive decisions in complex and chaotic situations? Simplicity, says the author, not complexity is the key to accelerating the cognitive process in complex and chaotic situations. Simplification of doctrine improves situational awareness and reduces information overload that contributes to paralysis by analysis. Leaders and doctrine writers should seriously consider taking a new direction toward simplification to help decision makers turn intention into action.


Airman guards B-52 Stratofortress during U.S. Strategic Command exercise Global Thunder 2019 at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, November 2, 2018 (U.S. Air Force/Mozer Da Cunha)

"This Breaking News Just In, Emperor Napoleon I Is Still Dead!"

By John M. Fawcett, Jr.

Geographic Combatant Commands have two mission sets: theater engagement and warfighting. This paper proposes dividing theater engagement and warfighting into two separate commands. Geographic Commands under a three-star commander would facilitate theater security cooperation and be responsible for activities such as intelligence, logistics and communications. Meanwhile, three Combat Operations Commands (East, West and Homeland) each under a four-star commander would be responsible for defending the homeland and projecting force elsewhere. The DOD has an opportunity to streamline existing command structures and establish a new paradigm, which would allow the Joint Force to fulfill its mission without confusion or contradiction.

Air Force pararescueman climbs mountain as his dog Kai waits during Adaptive Sports Camp in Crested Butte, Colorado, February 8, 2016 (U.S. Air Force/Vernon Young, Jr.)

Force Protection from Moral Injury: Three Objectives for Military Leaders

By Jeffrey Zust and Stephen Krauss

Moral Injury is an occupational hazard that affects the Joint Force. All combatants are moral actors, say the authors, because they make life and death decisions influenced by their core values and lethal skills. Leaders at every level need to understand how combatants develop and use core values to judge perceptions of their military service and cope with maladaptive emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Today’s leaders cannot control the traumatic effects of combat, but they can prepare service members for the risks they will encounter by embedding moral reasoning within mission command, and by providing resources which facilitate the healing process.


Marines with Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, fire Carl Gustav rocket system during exercise Talisman Saber 17, Queensland, Australia, July 21, 2017 (U.S. Marine Corps/Amy Phan)

Thinking Differently about the Business of War

By Neil Hollenbeck, Arnel P. David, and Benjamin Jensen

Military strategy in protracted competition is similar to organizational strategy. In a fiercely competitive and constantly shifting strategic environment, the authors ask whether success is more about the willingness to change or the ability to focus on fundamentals. In response, the authors apply the business concept of competitive advantage to the military context. This article explains how the Joint Force can organize, train, and procure equipment based on informed assumptions about what will matter most in future wars. As a result, military leaders and strategists can balance current and future requirements, make wise investments and mitigate risk.

President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and President Vladimir Putin discussed bilateral relations and measures to stabilize oil market, Beijing, September 3, 2015 (President of Russia Web site)

Evasive Maneuvers: How Malign Actors Leverage Cryptocurrency

By Sara Dudley, Travis Pond, Ryan Roseberry, and Shawn Carden

The emergence of cryptocurrencies is a new frontier with profound implications for national security. Bad actors take advantage of innovative digital technologies and global connectivity, which makes it difficult to follow the money. Because of the risks, the U.S. should continue to influence world financial markets and perhaps integrate DOD cyberspace operations into a whole-of-government response. The U.S. Government already has significant defensive and offensive capabilities in cyberspace, but must reimagine its role. The U.S. can lead the way, say the authors, by writing and enforcing new rules and regulations which would ensure the integrity of this new financial landscape.

Jordanian Armed Forces soldiers engage targets with M-16s on hasty defensive line manned by U.S. and Jordanian troops near Amman, Jordan,
April 26, 2018 (U.S. Army/David L. Nye)

Getting American Security Force Assistance Right: Political Context Matters

By Jahara Matisek and William Reno

Security assistance depends on supporting both the militaries and the governments in weak states. Critics argue that security assistance undermines local government institutions and enables undisciplined host-nations to abuse human rights. Why should the U.S. struggle to build strong armies in weak states? Engaging weak states is in our interest, say the authors, because weak states often have governments that lack legitimacy and national identity, and thus provide environments conducive to insurgency and terrorism. Nonetheless, if we offer the right combination of carrots-and-sticks, we can encourage host-nations to reform their armed forces without undermining domestic political stability.


Axis air equipment and installations took heavy pounding from bombers of U.S. Army Air Forces during Battle of Tunisia, November 1942 to May 1943 (U.S. Army Air Forces/Library of Congress/Nick Parrino)

The Ghosts of Kasserine Pass: Maximizing the Effectiveness of Airpower

By Leland Kinsey Cowie II

The American defeat at Kasserine Pass during the 1943 North African Campaign illustrates the consequences of allowing technological development to outpace doctrine. This article reviews the doctrine that constrained airpower during the North African Campaign and traces the development and evolution of modern doctrine that followed. Ideas conceived in North Africa seventy years ago, such as centralized control, decentralized execution, responsiveness and flexibility have stood the test of time, says the author, and remain applicable to today’s Joint Force. To achieve even greater efficiencies, the author recommends updating doctrine continually and establishing a new command structure with global reach.

Book Reviews

Building Militaries in Fragile States

Building Militaries in Fragile States

Reviewed by John L. Hewitt III

Why does the U.S. have such an uneven record when it comes to building foreign militaries? John Hewitt reviews Building Militaries in Fragile States: Challenges for the United States by Mara Karlin. The U.S. has been involved in building militaries since World War II, which provides ample case material. Karlin surveys the nuts and bolts of building militaries abroad, and investigates alternative strategies. This detailed, informative and prescriptive book should elicit robust conversations, deeper analysis and decisive action among foreign policy analysts, policy wonks, military personnel and anyone interested in foreign affairs.

The Drone Debate

The Drone Debate

Reviewed by Matthew Mueller

Since the first drone strike outside of a conventional battlefield in 2002, the U.S. has carried out at least five hundred covert strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia killing 3,500 people, including civilians. Matthew Mueller reviews The Drone Debate: A Primer on the U.S. Use of Unmanned Aircraft Outside of Conventional Battlefields by Avery Plaw, Matthew Fricker and Carlos Colon. This book contributes to the growing literature on the use of drones outside of conventional battlefields, and deals with important ethical questions on the use of drones, which makes The Drone Debate ideal for classroom use.



Reviewed by Williamson Murray

This book tells the tragic story of the Vietnam War. Williamson Murray reviews Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945–1975 by Max Hastings. In this case, the word tragic is not an overstatement. Vietnam weaves the stories of American and Vietnamese soldiers and civilians on all sides of the struggle into a terrifying and impressive tale of both man’s inhumanity to his fellows, and the heroism of those on the sharp end. Perhaps the saddest result from the American point of view is that our political and military leaders learned so little from the high price we paid.

Just War Reconsidered

Just War Reconsidered

Reviewed by C. Anthony Pfaff

The greatest blind spot of Just War Theory is the accountability of senior civilian and military leaders for wartime decisions. Anthony Pfaff reviews Just War Reconsidered: Strategy, Ethics, and Theory by James Dubik. This book covers the responsibilities and obligations of civilians for the decision to go to war, and the higher obligations of military leaders and soldiers pertaining to unnecessary harm, impermissible weapons, the acceptance of surrender, and the treatment of combatants and noncombatants, among others. This book is critical reading for national security professionals in positions where they will make or advise decision-makers regarding warfare.

War in 140 Characters

War in 140 Characters

Reviewed by Brett Swaney

How has social media reshaped the way war is fought? Brett Swaney reviews War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century by David Patrikarakos. Every war, says the author, is essentially a clash of narratives. The author’s hypothesis that social media has reshaped not just the nature of conflict but also the entire discourse surrounding warfare remains an open question. Nonetheless, this book is required reading for national security professionals who seek a better understanding of the power of social media and the contemporary conflict increasingly shaped by homo digitalis.

Joint Doctrine

U2 Dragon Lady pilot with 5th Reconnaissance Squadron waits in pressure suit before flight at Osan Air Base, South Korea, December 11, 2018 (U.S. Air Force/Sergio A. Gamboa)

Master and Commander in Joint Air Operations: Winning the Air War Through Mission Command

By Matthew Quintero

Much has been written on Mission Command and Control since 2012 when CJCS General Martin Dempsey released a white paper which encouraged this leadership style among his subordinates. Mission command is a proven concept in air operations, and will be required to face the challenges of future conflicts. Since the advent of satellite communications and the internet, however, command and control of joint air operations has become increasingly centralized. Mission command is essential to winning future air wars says, the author, which is feasible because new technology allows operational commanders to make tactical decisions from thousands of miles away.

Marines and members of Georgian military participate in combined forces counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations training exercise Agile Spirit
16 at Orpholo Training Area, Georgia, September 3, 2016 (U.S. Marine Corps/Kyle C. Talbot)

Joint Publications 3-24, Counterinsurgency

By The Joint Staff

The Joint Staff has revised JP 3-24, Counterinsurgency, which provides instructions and doctrine to plan, execute, and assess counterinsurgency operations. JP 3-24 is a priority publication, which supports the National Defense Strategy and National Military Strategy. JP 3-24 defines counterinsurgency (COIN) as comprehensive civilian and military efforts designed to simultaneously defeat and contain insurgency and address its root causes. Accordingly, JP 3-24 provides authoritative doctrine relative to counterinsurgency. Highlights include analysis of the COIN operational environment, the nature of an insurgency, considerations for COIN planning, and how to conduct a COIN assessment.

Joint Doctrine Update

By The Joint Staff

Joint Doctrine Updates.