Publications

Dec. 4, 2019

Mercenaries and War: Understanding Private Armies Today

Mercenaries are more powerful than experts realize, a grave oversight. Those who assume they are cheap imitations of national armed forces invite disaster because for-profit warriors are a wholly different genus and species of fighter. Private military companies such as the Wagner Group are more like heavily armed multinational corporations than the Marine Corps. Their employees are recruited from different countries, and profitability is everything. Patriotism is unimportant, and sometimes a liability. Unsurprisingly, mercenaries do not fight conventionally, and traditional war strategies used against them may backfire.

Dec. 4, 2019

Fentanyl as a Chemical Weapon

Fentanyl is a major topic in the news these days because of its significant contribution to the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. It clearly is a major counternarcotic challenge. But there also has been some reporting, including about congressional interest, as to whether fentanyl additionally should be considered a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) and whether U.S. Government chemical defense efforts should place greater emphasis on it. This paper provides some perspective on fentanyl as a chemical weapon.

Nov. 22, 2019

Joint Force Quarterly 95 (4th Quarter, October 2019)

Our world is in constant motion, and as a result change is what we must always seek to adjust and improve our situations. If you have a setback, a delay, or a loss, you do as the unofficial slogan of the U.S. Marine Corps suggests—you improvise, adapt, and overcome. I would add that we need to be constantly learning both from what we see and from what others experienced. As former Secretary James Mattis asked our professional military education (PME) institutions to do, developing our critical thinking skills and testing our intellectual limits in new and engaging ways are no longer options for a select few. To that end for the joint force, Joint Force Quarterly continues to offer discussions about past conflicts and current issues and to frame future concepts and issues in ways that hopefully help each of us better use our minds. With that as a goal, we offer a wide range of ideas to help you keep your intellectual edge. Hopefully, you will read them and send us your best ideas on how to keep improving the joint force.

Nov. 18, 2019

Joint Doctrine Updates

Joint Doctrine Updates

Nov. 18, 2019

Unmasking the Spectrum with Artificial Intelligence

Imagine you are a combatant commander (CCDR) equipped with the latest capabilities today’s military has to offer. Your troops are armed with fifth-generation aircraft, precision-strike capabilities, advanced naval forces, and fully networked combat arms and land forces. From your command center you can precisely observe your forces on the battlefield, and your surveillance equipment allows unmitigated access to their actions and communications in real time. However, when you take this state-of-the-art force into combat against a near-peer competitor, nothing seems to work.

Nov. 18, 2019

Subordinating Intelligence

Long experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflicts have resulted in an increased emphasis on civil-military relationships and the interagency community in U.S. doctrine. Predeployment training now includes exercises requiring coordination with Embassies, Ambassadors, and U.S. and international agencies. Harnessing, aligning, and integrating the collective expertise and capabilities found in these organizations is essential for mission accomplishment. This integration cannot be assumed in mission planning; it requires closer coordination than previously understood, mutual understanding, and intentionality at all levels.

Nov. 18, 2019

Sailing True North

Character is being widely discussed on the national stage today, and it is the main subject of Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character. This new title spans the arc of time from Themistocles to current-day admirals. For each of his subjects, the author distills their stories and key attributes. I have known Jim Stavridis for more than 30 years and most recently worked closely with him in my role as CEO and Publisher at the U.S. Naval Institute when he was Chair of the Board.

Nov. 18, 2019

The Lessons of Tragedy

The field of international relations is awash with books on world order, “the system of norms, rules, and power relationships that regulates international affairs” (p. 42). While military concerns often focus on technical or operational issues, senior officers and strategists need to understand the evolving world order to understand the strategic context that underpins their work.

Nov. 18, 2019

Wolfe, Montcalm, and the Principles of Joint Operations in the Quebec Campaign of 1759

A critical campaign analysis of the French and Indian War’s 1759 Quebec campaign demonstrates that Britain achieved victory because it reflected the principles of joint operations better than its French enemy did. While the British lacked a doctrinal publication that listed principles of joint operations, the thought processes and underlying concepts similar to our current doctrinal principles unmistakably shaped their military thought.

Nov. 18, 2019

The Chain Home Early Warning Radar System: A Case Study in Defense Innovation

The United Kingdom began the Battle of Britain in an unenviable position. After the fall of France and evacuation of Dunkirk, Britons were justifiably concerned about Germany’s next move and the potential for an attack on England. Fortunately, when the Luftwaffe attack came, the British government had already created the world’s first integrated air defense system.