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May 5, 2023

Joint Force Quarterly 109 (2nd Quarter, 2023)

The latest issue of Joint Force Quarterly features articles on black soldiers and the promise of America, integrating the private sector into U.S. cyber strategy, and when dragons watch bears.

May 4, 2023

When Dragons Watch Bears: Information Warfare Trends and Implications for the Joint Force

Over the past decade, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has watched Russia’s employment of information warfare (IW) with great interest. The parallels between these two Great Powers and their associated aggression toward breakaway republics present an opportunity for the United States and the joint force to map the contours of an evolving Chinese information warfare strategy to build a more comprehensive U.S. response prior to a future conflict in the region. Thwarting Chinese information confrontation tactics during crisis and conflict will require a comprehensive approach, one that boldly marshals increased unity of effort from across the whole of government. To compete and win in the 21st-century information environment, the Department of Defense (DOD), in partnership with the interagency community, should endeavor to lead three initiatives across upcoming joint force time horizons.

May 4, 2023

Mind the Gap: Space Resiliency Advantages of High-Altitude Capabilities

This article argues that the joint force must develop high-altitude capabilities and integrate them into joint operations to improve space mission resiliency. High-altitude capabilities ensure that warfighting mission requirements are met and will enable the joint force to achieve its objectives in a conflict when adversaries attempt to heavily contest both air and space. The following section recommends a joint definition for the high-altitude region, continues with a historical review of the development and importance of high-altitude capabilities, describes how their use will improve space mission resiliency, and concludes with recommendations for ways the joint force should develop and budget for these important high-altitude capabilities as it prepares for the next conflict.

May 4, 2023

Echoes of the Past: The Burma Campaign and Future Operational Design in the Indo-Pacific Region

This article is organized into three parts. First, a historical narrative of the Burma campaign highlights the struggles of 1942–1943, then details the second Arakan operation, the second Chindit operation, the battle of Imphal-Kohima, and the final Allied operation to retake Burma. Second, inferences are drawn from the historical narrative applied to modern warfare. Finally, implications for future joint force operational design in the Indo-Pacific derive from these inferences, indicating lessons contemporary joint force commanders and staffs can learn from the Burma campaign.

May 4, 2023

Leadership Decapitation: Strategic Targeting of Terrorist Organizations

Leadership decapitation has become increasingly popular as an efficient, economical, and effective counterterrorism option for advancing U.S. interests when dealing with organizations willing to kill civilians in pursuit of political ends. But does the removal of violent nonstate leaders actually yield demonstrably favorable results beyond the obvious: execution or apprehension of a target? Does it, in fact, weaken or bring about the demise of terrorist organizations? In Leadership Decapitation: Strategic Targeting of Terrorist Organizations, Jenna Jordan addresses such questions by offering a complex and nuanced discussion of the ways that leadership decapitation affects terrorist organizations and insurgencies that kill civilians.

May 4, 2023

Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of U.S. National Security

Books on strategy are often aspirational or theoretical, considering high-level questions, first principles, and general trends without delving deeply into the mechanics of implementation. Similarly, a parallel vein of literature focuses on a narrow range of tactical platforms or concepts in the implicit hope that someone somewhere will use these clever tools to build a future force from the bottom up. Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of U.S. National Security fits squarely between these two attractive yet unsatisfying poles; it is a practitioner’s guide to programming and budgeting that aims to demystify the “invisible but very real web of processes and authorities [that] constitute the ‘rules of the game’ for the bureaucracy”—“rules which often forestall the ‘obvious solution’” to government workers’ problems.

May 4, 2023

Cyber Persistence Theory: Redefining National Security in Cyberspace

Few books have been written in the recent past whose stated intent has been to influence and shape the perceptions of foreign and defense policymakers. In the spirit of the famed Stanford University political scientist Alexander George, who wrote Bridging the Gap: Theory and Policy in Foreign Policy, the authors of Cyber Persistence Theory: Redefining National Security in Cyberspace have successfully bridged the gap with a thought-provoking, accessible academic analysis. Cyber Persistence Theory holistically examines the current cyberspace environment in a way that is sure to be useful to U.S. cyberspace policymakers and operators.

May 4, 2023

A Framework for Mission Analysis in the Space Planning Process

The U.S. Space Force (USSF) has a joint integration problem. It provides capabilities that give the military and its partners decisive advantages in combat. In this way, many USSF missions are inherently “joint.” However, the Space Force is unprepared to contribute to planning for true joint operations—operations with a significant space nexus where the main effort could easily transition between space and other domains. In such an environment, adversary space systems will be high-value targets that drive action, and friendly space systems will be critical assets that require protection. Although the Space Force has made significant progress toward establishing Service components at the combatant commands, putting Guardians in a position to support joint force commanders (JFCs), the Service has not yet armed those Guardians with a process to bring space system considerations into joint planning.

May 4, 2023

A More Perfect Union: Black Soldiers and the Promise of America

The path for African American Soldiers—officer and enlisted—has been a long and arduous one. This article chronicles elements of that journey from its beginning with the American Revolutionary War through to the present day. It highlights the challenges, progress, and ever-present threats of regression encountered along the path of service. The aspirations of current diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts will require awareness, intentionality, and commitment to bring to fruition. While the Army boasts of its “tradition as a global leader in DEI,”3 the focus must be on “Deeds, Not Words."

May 4, 2023

Intermediate Force Capabilities: Nonlethal Weapons and Related Military Capabilities

The U.S. military has a history of fighting wars and winning battles through the overwhelming use of force. In today’s strategic environment, the battle is often one of competition below the threshold of armed conflict. Our adversaries are gaining the advantage by exploiting the predictable joint force responses, either showing force through military presence or employing lethal force. Both of these extremes are often ineffective against adversary competition. Yet neither doctrine nor training prepares the joint force to employ force between these extremes. To protect current and future national political and military interests, the U.S. military must modify its mindset and tactics to gain the necessary tools for strategic competition, or the Nation risks losing its competitive advantage.