Jan. 20, 2022

The Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Defense Industrial Base

The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a number of challenges on countries and industries, some of which have been partially mitigated by government efforts, medical developments, and corporate strategies. Nevertheless, COVID-19, which, in March 2020, was identified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization and was declared by the U.S. government as a national emergency,1 will likely continue to have after-effects in the coming years.

Jan. 18, 2022

“We Choose to Go to the Moon”: An Analysis of a Cold War Means-Developing Strategy

Strategists often ask “With the means available right now, what end can we achieve?” However, in strategy design it can be more appropriate to ask, “What is the desired end, and what means are available to achieve it?” The answer to this question may be, “If this is the desired end, first this new capability has to be created.” This case study examines how Kennedy determined he could achieve his ends (beat the Soviets in the world competition) in a particular way (shape the world conversation) using means yet to be created (the moon landing).

Dec. 30, 2021

Joint Force Quarterly 104 (1st Quarter, January 2022)

Without Colin Powell's simple tasking to develop and implement a journal, JFQ would not exist. His vision has been our team’s guiding force.

Dec. 29, 2021

Joint Doctrine Update

Joint Publications (JPs) under revision and signed within the past six months.

Dec. 29, 2021

Twilight of the Gods

Twilight of the Gods completes Ian Toll’s superb trilogy of America’s war in the Pacific during World War II. As with his first two volumes, this dynamic, gifted writer tells a compelling story about how the United States ultimately triumphed in the Pacific. Major amphibious operations, such as Iwo Jima and Okinawa, get considerable attention, as do major sea battles such as Leyte Gulf. His recounting of the Philippines campaign is particularly well done—easy to follow, detailed, and completely gripping. Twilight of the Gods, however, is more than the retelling of epic battles. Toll offers an exceptionally well-researched, integrated narrative built around the Services’ imperfect and, at times, remarkably parochial efforts in 1944–1945 to fight and ultimately defeat Japan. As joint force members read this book, they will find invaluable lessons even more powerful because of the myriad primary and secondary sources that underpin them.

Dec. 29, 2021

The Kill Chain

In March, the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command commander warned in testimony to Congress that China could attempt to take control of Taiwan in the next decade. In The Kill Chain, by Christian Brose, the former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee under the former chairman, the late Senator John McCain, posits that the United States is rapidly falling behind China and, to an extent, Russia, in the development of combat capabilities, platforms, and systems designed for the future of war. If this trend continues, the ability to defend Taiwan in an armed conflict against China will be increasingly in doubt.

Dec. 29, 2021

Information Warfare

What is communication strategy? What steps should defense leaders and planners take to build such a strategy? Curiously, in James Farwell’s Information Warfare, he answers the second question without ever answering the first. Farwell seeks to provide “a concise treatise on the steps for developing and implementing a communication strategy and includes key historical and contemporary examples for deeper insight.” The book includes 12 chapters, most of which are insightful. The book does not end with a traditional chapter of conclusions, but it does include a useful “Winning Communication Strategy Workbook” as a terminal appendix.

Dec. 29, 2021

China as a Twenty-First-Century Naval Power

Over 3 years, starting in 264 BCE, the Roman military built and launched 1,000 galleys to defeat Carthage in the First Punic War. This intentional, rapid transition from land to maritime power was unprecedented and resulted in 600 years of Roman military and economic dominance. It was a feat not to be repeated in any meaningful way until American naval expansion during World War II. However, according to retired Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt’s comprehensive and insightful work, China as a Twenty-First-Century Naval Power, China is on the precipice of exceeding historical precedent. In this comprehensive review of rapid Chinese naval expansion, the former director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy (J5) at U.S. Pacific Command applies 34 years of commissioned service focused on the Pacific theater to provide a holistic and clear-eyed analysis of Chinese maritime power.

Dec. 29, 2021

Remembering the “Forgotten War”: The Joint Operations Flaws of the Aleutian Campaign

The lessons that can be gleaned from the Aleutian campaign of 1942–1943 may seem outdated, but they remain significant in today’s global environment. The 2019 Department of Defense Arctic Strategy underscores the importance of deterring and defeating Great Power aggression in the Arctic, specifically addressing challenges in understanding the operational environment, joint training proficiency, lack of a robust logistics infrastructure, and communications and technology complexity, all of which are further complicated by the Arctic’s rapidly changing physical environment.1 In the past 2 years, the Army, Navy, and Air Force have all released their own Service-specific Arctic strategies that echo the importance of the Arctic. Diminishing sea ice is making Arctic waters more accessible and navigable, increasing both commercial traffic and military presence.2 Furthermore, thawing permafrost is destabilizing the already inadequate infrastructure and complicating land accessibility in the Arctic region.

Dec. 29, 2021

Health, Pandemic Preparedness, and Multidomain Operations

Historically, infectious disease has been one of the most significant threats to U.S. Servicemembers on the battlefield, constituting the largest source of mortality through World War I and a significant source of casualties and nonbattle injury through the present day. During World War II, General Douglas MacArthur famously expressed his frustration with malaria’s operational impact: “It’s going to be a very long war if for every division I have facing the enemy, I have one sick in hospital and another recovering from this dreadful disease.” More recently, David Matson, an infectious disease clinician, vividly described the impact of diarrheal disease: “I expect that our imaginations cannot fathom the problems attendant from the absolute urgency for relief from explosive vomiting and diarrhea when experienced within an armored vehicle under fire and at ambient temperature of >40°C.”