Publications

July 5, 2018

The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy (Book Review)

Famously, Henry Kissinger once wondered out loud, “What in the name of God is strategic superiority? . . . What do you do with it?” Over 40 years later, the questions still resonate, and Georgetown University professor Matthew Kroenig aims to tackle Kissinger’s quandary. The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy begins with a puzzle: if the basic premise of U.S. nuclear deterrence strategy is supposed to be that the United States can survive a massive nuclear attack and retaliate with great force (so-called assured destruction), why have successive Presidents maintained nuclear capabilities that go well beyond what is required for this goal?

July 5, 2018

The Forgotten Front (Book Review)

This is an important book for theorists and practitioners of counterinsurgency alike. Ladwig, who teaches at King’s College London, begins by pointing out that most U.S. counterinsurgency thinking errs in assuming that the United States will share common goals, interests, and priorities with the local government that it is supporting. As recent experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan indicate, that assumption should not be taken for granted. In fact, many U.S. elements of strategy applied in counterinsurgency—ending political and military corruption, bolstering political legitimacy by addressing the public’s concerns, engaging in economic reform—may appear just as threatening to the local government’s interests as the insurgency itself. Some local governments’ political and other interests simply do not coincide with those of the United States, and that can lead to tremendous difficulty in convincing them to adopt U.S.-backed reforms. Indeed, Ladwig’s central argument is that the “forgotten front” in these conflicts—the relationship between the United States and local government it is trying to aid—is just as important.

July 5, 2018

Joint Doctrine Update

Joint Doctrine Updates.

July 5, 2018

The U.S. Government’s Approach to Economic Security

This article discusses the importance of economic security, which is the ability to protect and advance U.S. economic interests, shape international interests to suit U.S. policy, and deter non-economic challenges. Because of our increasing dependence on the flow of goods, services, people, capital, information and technology across borders, economic security is vital to U.S. national security. The author argues that combatant commanders and the Joint Force must support whole-of-government efforts by integrating economic security into planning, preparation and training to influence adversarial behavior, maintain order, prepare for relief, and relieve economic insecurity in potential operational areas.

July 5, 2018

Defending the AEF: Combat Adaptation and Jointness in the Skies over France

This article recalls how an untrained cadre of men modified existing French equipment and doctrine to build a small but effective anti-aircraft force during WWI. This history of the A.E.F. Antiaircraft Service highlights how the U.S. military responded to a threat that did not exist a mere decade earlier. In many respects, this type of challenge is familiar to contemporary observers who have watched the Joint Force struggle with intra-service parochialism and the unwillingness to learn from others. Nevertheless, this case history shows what can happen when leaders encourage innovation and adaptation at all levels, top-down, middle-out and bottom-up.

July 3, 2018

Cooking Shows, Corollas, and Innovation on a Budget

This commentary explains how the effects of globalization and rapid advancements in technology have changed the geopolitical power balance. Advances in military technology and the introduction of hybrid threat capabilities have obscured traditional categories of warfare and increased the difficulty of matching capabilities to meet contemporary challenges. For the U.S. to maintain preeminence, says the author, it must develop innovative technological solutions without neglecting other aspects of innovation. For example, the U.S. should invest widely in technology and science, but also create more flexible and adaptive organizations and cultivate leaders prepared to innovate and accept the inherent risk.

July 3, 2018

U.S. Special Operations Command’s Future, by Design

This commentary introduces a new approach to problem-solving developed by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). The USSOCOM Design Way is a fusion of design thinking and military planning, which promotes creativity, critical thinking and innovation, and emphasizes divergent perspectives across the Joint Force. The USSOCOM Design Way goes beyond operations planning and has proven successful dealing with the complexities of resourcing, policy, acquisitions, as well as joint planning and programming. As the authors suggest, this approach has demonstrated appeal across the Joint Force, from the commander to the action officer, in response to a wide range of complex challenges.

July 3, 2018

The Case for Joint Force Acquisition Reform

This article calls attention to the flaws in the Defense Acquisition System (DAS) which promote competition rather than cooperation. The authors argue that the Services are motivated by parochial incentives which do not align with the combatant command structure despite the jointness imposed by the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986. In order to empower Combatant Commanders and the Joint Staff with early and direct influence over materiel development, the DAS must be reformed. The Services must act as agents working in alignment with the combatant command structure, and Service procurement budgets must allow for greater flexibility to promote Joint Force development.

July 3, 2018

Transregional Capstone Exercise: Training for Tomorrow’s Fight

This article proposes a Transregional Capstone Exercise to address shortfalls in Joint Force training against potential challenges from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and others. This article proposes four training objectives and a concise framework for regular exercises to help fulfill the Chairman’s vision for the Joint Force, and satisfy the need for all combatant commanders to anticipate transregional, multifunctional, and multi-domain conflict in a global scenario. Despite the logistical challenges and lack of transregional doctrine, these exercises would set the Joint Force on a trajectory to defend the U.S. against the transregional threats of tomorrow.

July 3, 2018

568 Balls in the Air: Planning for the Loss of Space Capabilities

This article explores the integration of space capabilities and explains the strategic, operational and tactical risks the U.S. military has assumed as a result. The authors recommend that joint warfighters of the future begin to prepare now, with continuity plans when space is denied, degraded or disrupted. Failure to consider such risk factors could lead to severe degradation of U.S. military capability with disastrous results. Measured in terms of lives lost, such a failure would be reminiscent of wars fought in the pre-digital age. However, losses on this scale are simply unacceptable, especially when this risk can be mitigated.