Publications

Feb. 7, 2020

Beyond Auftragstaktik: The Case Against Hyper-Decentralized Command

The Prussian concept of mission command emphasizes hyper-decentralization, commander’s intent and low-level initiative. This article argues that such decentralization is no guarantee of command effectiveness. While there is a need to resolve the inherent tension between centralization and decentralization, the author recommends taking a balanced approach, which would empower subordinates to take the initiative while retaining the commander’s ability to coordinate mutual support and mass combat power. While the Prussian approach has some qualities worth emulating, it is less than ideal. An iterative approach based on a continual cycle of synchronization, dissemination and initiative offers the most promising way ahead.

Feb. 7, 2020

Adapting for Victory: DOD Laboratories for the 21st Century

The US’s technological advantage is now under threat. In the era of Great Power competition, the People’s Republic of China and Russian Federation are approaching parity in many areas. Their stated intent is to reach full parity and then technological dominance, a situation which would be unacceptable to the US and its allies. The authors call upon the DOD and other government agencies, as well as key partners in industry and academia, to join in a new venture which would reimagine how the US conducts research in fields such as directed energy, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and other emergent technologies.

Feb. 7, 2020

Reconceiving Modern Warfare: A Unified Model

Joint warfighting requires integrated thinking across many different capabilities, technologies and functions. This article proposes a new model of joint warfare, which brings together several existing paradigms and facilitates strategic discussion, tactical planning and operational design. First, the author presents and defines the new model, and then applies it to the Joint Planning Process. Tailored for modern technologies and emerging concepts, this unified model serves an example of enhanced thinking that goes into the development of warfighting plans and operations, and enables military strategists, planners, and operators to execute modern warfare.

Feb. 7, 2020

The Intellectual Edge: A Competitive Advantage for Future War and Strategic Competition

The changing nature of work, demographics and greater integration of national security endeavors will have a major impact on future military personnel. Only by thinking better and building an intellectual edge will military organizations have sufficient capacity to accomplish future national security objectives. Attaining this intellectual edge will require an enterprise wide approach that embraces strategic vision and engagement, and increases investment in joint professional military education. Because the global security environment has changed fundamentally, military organizations must take a more sophisticated approach to academic technology in order to create a culture of continuous learning.

Feb. 7, 2020

Executive Summary

This issue of JFQ covers many topics about the decade ahead. In our Forum section there’s an article about the Australian Army’s efforts to advance intellectual development. In JPME Today, we cover the JPME experience and the nature of war. In Commentary, authors write about climate change and great power competition. In our Features section are articles about the role of chaplains in humanitarian assistance and aerial combat during the Vietnam War. As usual, good thinking leads to good writing on many issues facing the Joint Force.

Feb. 7, 2020

Letter to the Editor

The article “Joint Integrative Solutions for Combat Casualty Care in a Pacific War at Sea” by Dion Moten, Bryan Teff, Michael Pyle, Gerald Delk, and Randel Clark (JFQ 94, 3rd Quarter 2019) is an insightful piece that brings to light many issues that the Department of the Navy has been diligently pursuing over the past 2 years. In May 2018, the Chief of Naval Operations directed a comprehensive review of Navy Medicine’s ability to support the concepts of Distributed Maritime Operations and Expeditionary Advanced Basing Operations with the underlying concept of Fleet Design. This review was not conducted solely under the auspices of medical operational requirements in a distributed maritime environment. Rather, it was developed by leveraging capabilities across surface platforms and the combat logistics force in order to enable a comprehensive approach for medical capabilities across warfighting domains.

Feb. 3, 2020

10. The Moral Status of Chemical Weapons: Arguments from World War I

While the human condition affords countless examples of what Pope had in mind, perhaps no more striking wartime example can be found than that of the employment of chemical weapons in World War I. Chemical weapons—regarded as vicious and hated by all self-identified “civilized peoples”—were first endured, then pitied, then embraced by both sides, even as both sides held their noses, both literally and figuratively, for having chosen to employ weapons condemned throughout history. Then, in a turn so quick as to make the head of the body politic spin, the international community roundly condemned these weapons, even as individual states muttered under their breath—in the form of treaty reservations—their willingness to employ them again if an enemy did. At least some in Germany took all of this in stride, as evidenced in a now famous diary entry by army officer and author Rudolf Binding, written in the immediate aftermath of the gas attacks at Ypres, Belgium: “I am not pleased with the idea of poisoning men. Of course, the entire world will rage about it at first and then imitate us.” Imitation did, indeed, follow, both in the attacks employing progressively more lethal weapons and the amassing, over the course of the 20th century, of huge stockpiles of chemical weapons.

Feb. 3, 2020

9. The Ethical Challenge of Information Warfare: Nothing New

This chapter considers the ethical challenge of a problem that was not new in 1914, had not been resolved by 1918, and continues to exist: the strategic weaponization of information as an instrument of war. It describes how Great Britain used its global cable and high-powered network in conjunction with its cryptographic expertise and military assets to conduct a highly successful information war campaign against Germany and its allies. The interception of the now famous Zimmermann Telegram, which many historians and analysts see as critical to the U.S. entry into the conflict in 1917, is the focal event.1 Drawing on the experiences of Britain’s 1914–1918 information war, this chapter next draws out five challenges that states continue to face in the increasingly ubiquitous domain of cyberspace.

Feb. 3, 2020

8. The Ethics of Care for Civilians, Internally Displaced Persons, and Enemy Prisoners of War

On the Web site of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a film titled The Path to Nazi Genocide, which gives a 38-minute overview of the history of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the genocide of the European Jews.1 The film begins not with the 1933 ascent of the Nazis to power in Berlin or the German invasion of Poland in 1939, but with the events in Sarajevo in 1914—because so much of what occurred during the years of National Socialism, World War II, and the Holocaust itself can be traced back to the events of World War I and its turbulent aftermath.

Feb. 3, 2020

7. A Profession of Arms? Conflicting Views and the Lack of Virtue Ethics in Professional Military Education

The profession of arms is viewed in one of two ways by those who put on a military uniform. Holders of one perspective see what they do as an occupation—the principal means of making a living. From an occupational point of view, the profession of arms is a collection of technical skills, or what I call a more quantitative view, that encompasses performing the duties that are expected of them, but such performance may not necessarily be a part of their self-identity. The evaluation of their job is associated with some end result: increasing profit margin, meeting quotas, completing a mission or report, and the like. In the military, extensive training hones skills in a particular context to reach outcomes desired by higher authorities.