Joint Force Quarterly 99

Joint Force Quarterly 99

(4th Quarter, October 2020)

Social Media Weaponization

  • A Brief History of the Insurrection Act
  • 2020 Essay Competition Winners

Download Full PDF  →



President Lyndon B. Johnson hands pen to Senator Robert F. Kennedy during signing ceremony for Voting Rights Act, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC, August 6, 1965 (White House Photo Office/LBJ Library/Robert Knudsen)

Executive Summary

By Wiliam T. Eliason

In an address in Cape Town, South Africa, on June 6, 1966, Senator Robert F. Kennedy stated, “There is a Chinese curse which says, ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.” As it turns out, we ourselves are living in interesting times: from the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic to racial strife, wildfires to record numbers of hurricanes, contested politics to economic crises, and more.

Senior Airman Marcel Williams, 27th Special Operations Wing public affairs broadcaster, speaks at “Gathering for Unity” event at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, June 5, 2020, and shares experiencing racism in his own community
(U.S. Air Force/Lane T. Plummer)

Social Media Weaponization: The Biohazard of Russian Disinformation Campaigns

By Sarah Jacobs Gamberini

In a renewed era of Great Power competition, the United States is faced with adversaries engaging across multiple domains without the traditional distinctions of war and peace. America’s competitors are regularly operating below the threshold that would warrant a military response, including on the information battlefield. The blurred red lines that result from covert information operations waged by foreign actors on the Internet will force a change in how the United States operates and how its society consumes information. Russia used tactics of influence and coercion long before social media allowed for nearly ubiquitous access to its targets and a prolific capability for controlling a narrative and manipulating the hearts and minds of a population on a range of sensitive societal issues, including public health.

Commodore Grace M. Hopper, USN (covered), popularized idea of machine-independent programming languages that led to
development of COBOL, January 20, 1984 (U.S. Navy/James S. Davis)

Recruiting Cyber Specialists: Why the Services Must Modernize Qualification Standards

By Jesse P. Samluk, Mark A. Boeke, and Marcus A. Neal

Hardly a day goes by without another data breach concerning peoples’ sensitive information—such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and payroll information—making the news. Billions of dollars are lost each year to data breaches and theft of intellectual property. Unfortunately, there is no end in sight. Despite our best cyber security efforts, criminal hackers seem to be one step ahead. Playing catchup to hackers is an infinite game of wits, brains, luck, and patience.

Atlas V rocket launches Navy’s Mobile User Objective System 2 satellite from Space Launch Complex–41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, July 19, 2013 (U.S. Navy/NASA/Patrick H. Corkery)

Space Operations: Lines, Zones, Options, and Dilemmas

By Jerry V. Drew

While there is considerable literature available on both the strategic and tactical aspects of space operations, there is surprisingly little that discusses the linkage of tactical space operations to the achievement of strategic objectives through operational art. In addition to government documents such as the National Security Space Strategy, influential academic works have largely focused on the strategic and political aspects of the space domain.1 Much of the professional literature produced by military practitioners, on the other hand, has focused on the tactical exploitation of space systems.2 While this collection of works sometimes hints at the possibility of synchronizing tactical action to achieve strategic ends, none provides a practical explanation of how commanders and staffs might achieve such a feat.

Members of USS Normandy visit, board, search, and seizure team brief Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite on seizure of illicit shipment of advanced weapons and weapon components
intended for Houthis in Yemen, February 9, 2020 (U.S. Navy/Alexander C. Kubitza)

The Strategic Potential of Collected Exploitable Material

By Michael R. Fenzel with Leslie Slootmaker and R. Kim Cragin

In November of 2007, I was commanding an infantry battalion in the Eastern Paktika Province of Afghanistan. One of our convoys was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) on a routine mission in the border district of Bermel, just a few short miles from Pakistan. A brilliant young troop commander (Captain David Boris, USA, age 30) and his dependable and tough driver (Sergeant Adrian Hike, USA, age 26) were killed in the explosion.

Essay Competitions

Winners of the 2020 Essay Competitions

By NDU Press

NDU Press virtually hosted the final round of judging in May 2020, during which 26 faculty judges from 14 participating professional military education (PME) institutions selected the best entries in each category. There were 72 submissions in this year’s three categories. First Place winners in each of the three categories appear in this issue.

Sailors signal to MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter attached to Golden Falcons of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 12 as it hovers over flight deck of USS McCampbell during visit, board, search, and seizure training exercise, South China Sea, July 22, 2016 (U.S. Navy/Elesia K. Patten)

Competition Is What States Make of It: A U.S. Strategy Toward China

By Kaleb J. Redden

China today represents the “most consequential long-term challenge we face as a nation.” While many actors and trends present challenges to U.S. interests, only China has the potential to challenge the United States across so many aspects of national power—to challenge its economic influence and technological lead in key sectors, to challenge its military in scenarios in which it has long held dominance or assumed sanctuary, or to present an alternative governance model that undermines the norms and values that the United States has sought to preserve at home and promote abroad. To be clear, China faces many headwinds that may inhibit its rise. Yet China has signaled ambitions to be a dominant global power; its economic trajectory, if it continues, would provide significant means to pursue its aims. As a result, today China alone can contend with the United States for hegemony within a region and has the potential to mount a serious challenge to the U.S. ability to shape the character of the international system.

Judge advocate from Naval Special Warfare Command, assigned as Legal Special Projects Officer for special operations command under Combined Joint Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve, conducts special Law of Armed Conflict and rules of engagement training for first graduating company of unique, multitribe Iraqi force, the A’ali Al Furat Brigade, at training ground in Western Iraq, January 4, 2017 (U.S. Navy/John Fischer)

Pardon the Paradox: Making Sense of President Trump’s Interventions in Military Justice

By Jeremy McKissack

Army captain and attorney Aubrey Daniel III wrote a blistering letter to President Richard Nixon in April 1971. The lead prosecutor in the court-martial of First Lieutenant William Calley, Captain Daniel had convinced a military jury at Fort Benning, Georgia, to convict Lieutenant Calley for the murder of at least 22 Vietnamese civilians in the village of My Lai on March 16, 1968. A day after Calley began serving his sentence of life imprisonment, President Nixon reacted to the public outcry against the verdict and ordered the Army to release Calley and return him to his apartment on post.3 In his letter, Daniel wrote that the President’s intervention had “damaged the military judicial system and lessened any respect it may have gained as a result of the proceedings.

Air National Guard intelligence analysts assigned to 181st Intelligence Wing, 137th Intelligence Squadron Unclassified Processing, Assessment, and Dissemination site test new domestic response artificial intelligence technology at Hulman Field Air National Guard Base, Indiana, November 2, 2019 (U.S. Air National Guard/L. Roland Sturm)

Artificial Intelligence: A Decisionmaking Technology

By Mark M. Zais

With the release of its first artificial intelligence (AI) strategy in 2019, the Department of Defense (DOD) formalized the increased use of AI technology throughout the military, challenging senior leaders to create “organizational AI strategies” and “make related resource allocation decisions.”1 Unfortunately, most senior leaders currently have limited familiarity with AI, having developed their skills in tactical counterinsurgency environments, which reward strength (physical and mental), perseverance, and diligence. Some defense scholars have advocated a smarter military, emphasizing intellectual human capital and arguing that cognitive ability will determine success in strategy development, statesmanship, and decisionmaking.


Captain Joseph O’Brien, mission commander of Task Force New York City, greets medical providers joining USNS Comfort, which is working with Javits New York Medical Station as integrated system to relieve city’s medical system, in support of U.S. Northern Command’s Defense Support of Civil Authorities as response to COVID-19 pandemic, April 15, 2020 (U.S. Navy/Scott Bigley)

Decision Superiority Through Joint All-Domain Command and Control

By Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy

I have had the honor to lead both U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and the binational North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) for the past 2 years. During that time, the commands have undergone a critical transformation to ensure their collective ability to deter and defeat the very real threats posed by peer adversaries. In order to accomplish this no-fail homeland defense mission during a time of crisis, we must be able to perform a number of critical capabilities, which in their most distilled form are maintaining domain awareness, exercising command and control (C2) of assigned forces, and defeating adversary attacks. These capabilities are not new but rather have existed since each command’s inception and have been key to providing a credible deterrent against our adversaries for many years.

Chaplain (Captain) James Johnson, USN, presents gift to Supreme Patriarch of Thailand during exercise Cobra Gold, in Bangkok, Thailand, February 12, 2018 (U.S. Navy/Ian Kinkead)

Rightsizing Our Understanding of Religion

By Wayne A. Macrae

The world of religion consists of various belief systems that influence humanity in numerous ways. Religion is global. It is powerfully influential everywhere that the joint force currently operates and extends to every corner of the globe. Religion is part of the fabric of every nation—including those that take a position against it. For governments that identify as secular or atheist, religion remains a present factor that they work to account for or control both internally and externally. Every government invests time and energy in controlling, influencing, or seeking to exist alongside religion.

Paratroopers assigned to 173rd Airborne Brigade conduct inspections prior to airborne operations in Grafenwoehr
Training Area, Germany, July 23, 2020 (U.S. Army/Ryan Lucas)

Success on Purpose: A Message for Leaders of Military Organizations

By Russell Steven Williford and Wendi Peck

Why do leaders of successful military operations often struggle to recreate that success when placed in charge of standing military organizations? What do the leaders of highly effective military organizations have that is missing for organizational leaders struggling with cultures mired in bureaucracy and box-checking?


Croatian soldier assigned to Battle Group Poland presses remote trigger to Vulcan M-92 rocket launcher, firing barrage of missiles in support of Operation Raider Thunder, at Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, February 6, 2019 (U.S. Army/Sarah Kirby)

The Importance of Joint Concepts for the Planner

By James L. Cook

The 2018 National Defense Strategy explains the importance of developing new operational concepts to “sharpen our competitive advantages and enhance our lethality” across the entire spectrum of conflict.1 The strategy forces us to think beyond military modernization and order of battle to consider how the joint force could be used in new and more effective ways in a future security environment that is “always in flux” and fraught with relentless change.2 According to the Joint Staff, the purpose of joint concepts is to offer “alternative operational methods and related capabilities to maintain military advantage against current and emerging threats.”3 These concepts also propose necessary changes for the joint force to improve its ability to fight and win across all warfighting domains in these future conflicts.

Workers assemble B-25 bombers at North American Aviation, Kansas City, Kansas, October 1942 (Library of Congress/Alfred T. Palmer)

Mobilization in the 21st Century: Asking the Right Question

By Matthew C. Gaetke

A renewed focus on Great Power competition means major wars are getting attention again, and these kinds of wars consume a lot of resources. Historically, big wars required wartime industrial mobilization to produce all those resources. War mobilization conjures black and white images of tanks, planes, and ships pouring out of American factories during World War II. But does bringing these pictures to life reflect the realities of major war in the 21st century? Can we even make all those things? More important, is planning for this kind of industrial overhaul a high priority in preparing for a major war with a peer competitor? Is this even the right question?

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf crewmembers watch from cutter’s forecastle as Bertholf navigates toward Hong Kong, April 15, 2019 (U.S. Coast Guard/Matthew S. Masaschi)

A Globally Integrated U.S. Coast Guard on a World Stage

By Michael N. St. Jeanos

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) domestic competencies can help achieve a globally integrated national security strategy, including counteracting Chinese aggression and influence in the South China Sea as well as Chinese and Russian expansionism into Africa. Global integration transcends the U.S. functional and geographic combatant command construct, allowing for lines of effort across all instruments of national power and domains without geographic constraints. The recent COVID-19 pandemic, for example, underscores our increasingly globalized threat posture—and the corresponding need for globally integrated response capabilities.

Aviation electronics technician 3rd class conducts maintenance on aircraft targeting systems in aircraft intermediate maintenance department maintenance shop on USS Ronald Reagan, Philippine Sea, July 25, 2020 (U.S. Navy/Jason Tarleton)

Differentiating Kinetic and Cyber Weapons to Improve Integrated Combat

By Josiah Dykstra, Chris Inglis, and Thomas S. Walcott

Warfare, with a history as old as humanity itself, has been predominantly conducted through the application of physical force to disrupt, degrade, or destroy physical assets. That long history has led to well-developed doctrine and principles for shows of force, deterrence, proportionality, and rules for warfare that rely on predictable and repeatable characteristics of the physical weapons employed. The advent of cyber warfare in the modern era, however, has illustrated that the assumptions used for the employment of kinetic weapons do not necessarily apply to the employment of cyber capabilities. For example, unlike a physical missile or bomb, it is difficult to predict the precise effects, measure the resulting proportionality, or estimate the collateral effects attendant to the use of a computer virus. As we discuss, the differences between kinetic weapons and cyber weapons are discernible, manageable, and have far-reaching implications for strategic military doctrine, planning, and operational employment in both power projection and defense.


James Meredith walks to class at University of Mississippi accompanied by U.S. Marshal James McShane (left) and John Doar of Justice Department, October 1, 1962 (Library of Congress/U.S. News & World Report/Marion S. Trikosko)

Calling Forth the Military: A Brief History of the Insurrection Act

By Michael R. Rouland and Christian E. Fearer

In the literal sense, the Insurrection Act does not exist. Rather than a singular piece of legislation, it is a broad, overarching concept for a series of acts dating to the 1790s that concern the use of American military forces within the United States.1 These statutes, later codified in current Title 10 U.S. Code 251–255, serve as the primary rationale for the delegation of authority to the President to use military forces domestically. In the past 50 years, only one President, George H.W. Bush, has used these emergency powers: in the Virgin Islands in 1989 and in Los Angeles in 1992. The 28 years since the Los Angeles riots mark the longest period in American history without a domestic deployment of troops under the act. In part, local authorities—many armed and equipped to military standards—have proved more capable of handling disturbances and other crises. Additionally, domestic military deployments have proved politically difficult for Presidents whose critics have attacked such actions as gross usurpations of local authority by an overreaching Federal executive.

United Nations forces withdraw from North Korean capital, Pyongyang, recrossing 38th parallel, ca. 1950 (U.S. Information Agency/U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)

More Afraid of Your Friends Than the Enemy: Coalition Dynamics in the Korean War, 1950–1951


Collaboration with other countries is an integral part of the U.S. National Security Strategy. Its most recent version notes that “allies and partners are a great strength of the United States” that “add directly to U.S. political, economic, military, intelligence, and other capabilities.”1 Since the end of the Cold War, countries have preferred to collaborate through coalitions rather than formal alliances because the latter are more liable to impose political constraints. Coalitions, according to Patricia Weitsman, are “ad hoc multinational undertakings that are forged to undertake a specific mission and dissolve once that mission is complete.”

Book Reviews

Shadows on the Wall: Deterrence and Disarmament, By Keith B. Payne, National Institute Press, 2020. 204 pp. $12.00, ISBN: 978-0985555320

Shadows on the Wall: Deterrence and Disarmament

Reviewed by John Mark Mattox

Despite pretentions to the contrary, the academic mind rarely makes room for discussions of first principles—those basic assumptions taught in first-semester undergraduate classes that undergird any given discipline. Instead, the traditional path for the aspiring academic is to obtain a terminal degree, carve out an esoteric research niche, and demonstrate talent by identifying the nuances of the niche. This approach, which the academy has taken ever since there was such a thing as a “terminal degree,” is not without merit. The academy does aim to create new knowledge, some of which turns out to be useful. On the other hand, it also breeds cottage industries churning out new, nuanced knowledge for new, nuanced knowledge’s (and tenure’s) sake in a way that can obscure first principles. As a result, once in a while, someone needs to come in with a chain saw and lop off all the undergrowth that conceals the forest floor. It is that much-needed task that Keith Payne undertakes in Shadows on the Wall in the long-established cottage industries surrounding nuclear deterrence and disarmament.

Divided Armies: Inequality and Battlefield Performance in Modern War. By Jason Lyall. Princeton University Press, 2020. 528 pp. $35.00 ISBN: 978-0691192444

Divided Armies: Inequality and Battlefield Performance in Modern War

Reviewed by Larry D. Miller

Why armies win wars or suffer battlefield defeats has long piqued the curiosity and interest of military historians, war planners, and strategists alike. Theorists commonly attribute military effectiveness (or not) to force ratios, firepower, technological superiority, material/resourcing advantages, or exceptional leadership (possibly aided by surprise or dumb luck). Jason Lyall, however, advances a groundbreaking analysis for understanding who wins, who loses, and why. In the process, he suggests equality as a key element in better designing military forces positioned for battlefield success.

Command: The Twenty-First-Century General, By Anthony King
Cambridge University Press, 2019

Command: The Twenty-First-Century General

Reviewed by Allan R. Millett

Command is two loosely connected books. One book is about generalship in combat in the 21st century with a focus on hybrid conflicts. The second is about imagining generalship as a collective enterprise and the challenges of employing a division of differently sized units with unique capabilities. A division might be limited to units that shoot and destroy and heavy in units that simply collect and process information with such speed that no single commander could possibly make timely decisions. Drawing on his prior work on unit cohesion and military culture as a British army contractor, Dr. Anthony King offers an updated look at generalship and division command for an increasingly complex battlefield.

Joint Doctrine

Joint Doctrine Updates

By The Joint Staff

Joint Doctrine Updates.