Feb. 17, 2021 —
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. . . .
—Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
We train as a team, fight as a team, and win as a team.
—General Colin Powell, Joint Force Quarterly 1 (Summer 1993)
It is January 2021, where the daunting challenges that have become everyday life in a global pandemic continue to mount, and your Joint Force Quarterly team is rolling out this 100th issue. Since the first issue in 1993, JFQ has had 9 Chairmen, 7 editors in chief, 40 staff members who collectively published nearly 2,000 articles, hundreds of book reviews, with thousands of photographs and graphics, on more than 12,000 pages. JFQ has remained the leading source of what General Powell wanted us to be: “the voice of the joint warfighter.”
For over 27 years, your JFQ team has always worked hard to bring you the best of what you have submitted so that we can improve our collective efforts to achieve what General Powell and our joint leadership saw as both possible and necessary to protect the Nation. Together, you, the readers and writers for JFQ, your teammates here at the National Defense University Press and the Joint Staff, and on up to the Joint Chiefs and the Chairman, have done great service toward that end.
But as recent events have shown, we all have work to do to secure the liberties and the Republic we all hold dear. The joint force has been a key and essential element of the Nation’s success. How well we work together, help each other, learn from each other, and trust each other will determine the outcome of our collective efforts.
Within the joint force, there seem to be lingering questions of how well people can work with each other and handle the stresses of 21st-century society and warfighting. Can we continue to assert that we are ready to fight and win the Nation’s wars when we seem unable to solve issues such as sexual harassment and assault, or the very existence of right-wing extremists within the ranks? How are we doing on making sure equal opportunity is actually the norm and not simply an online training session taken annually? The same question should be asked on a range of important social issues that, if unresolved, remains systemic and corrosive to the joint force’s ability to be a successful team. Which of these issues are most important? How can they be worked holistically at every level in the Services, agencies, joint headquarters, and associated partners? How do we further deepen our commitment to jointness, which I see as a commitment to trust each other, to accept our differences, and to use these differences to forge a better and long-lasting union of capabilities and operations? Should not all training and operational employment of our forces through the combatant commands be aimed at using and improving the best of all available resources and ideas?
Having stewarded the JFQ team for 40 issues, I know we must continue to develop our relationships with our teammates, whether they are in our tactical unit, the cubical next door, or from any of the Services, agencies, international partners, and commercial industries. Key to that development is trust in what you know and a willingness to trust your partners, especially those you may not fully understand or accept when first you meet. After working with students and faculty in the joint professional military education colleges and research institutes for many years, I have seen the power that breaking down trust barriers gives to those who do so. It does not mean your organizational culture is “wrong” because you are willing to work with “them.” Trust is at the heart of a successful joint force. Learning something new and then passing on that gained wisdom to others can only make us better.
In this centenary issue of JFQ, the Forum begins with RAND researchers Christopher Paul and Michael Schwille discussing how the joint force should use the development of special operations forces as a model to advance teams that deal with information operations. As we have witnessed increasing attempts by our adversaries to “flood the zone” with disinformation, Kurt Stahl suggests ways the United States and its partners could counter China’s efforts in this area through collective information-based responses. In an emerging area of interest and innovation, Susan Levine comments on the progress DOD has made in developing and deploying nonlethal or “intermediate force capabilities.” Equally important to the deployment of new capabilities, Institute for Defense Analyses researchers Thomas Greenwood, a member of the JFQ editorial board, Terry Heuring, and Alec Wahlman provide some powerful suggestions on how joint force training has evolved to match the environment of Great Power competition.
In JPME Today, Roderic Butz’s first-place winning entry in the 2020 Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition leads off with a discussion of the use of remotely flown airstrikes as a part of foreign policy implementation. Equally compelling is Joshua Sipper’s recommended approach to teaching cyber security. Fulfilling a critical need in relevant subject matter, especially as we watch COVID-19 vaccines roll out, Stephanie Myers, Eric Shirley, Brian Joseph Anderson, and Steven Hejmanowski offer us their views on logistics in dynamic combat deployments.
In line with General Powell’s call for a lively debate in these pages, we offer two viewpoints that may or may not align with yours. But that is the point of debate in these pages. Looking on how to best support a foreign government with international military forces, Forest Pierce provides his ideas on what worked and what did not in advising local forces providing security during the 2019 Afghan presidential election. Montgomery McFate demystifies the reality surrounding tickborne Lyme Disease, and how important it is to our readiness to protect against it.
Leading off Features, Brandon Archuleta and Jonathan Gerson suggest we need to take another look at how the Pentagon is organized to deal with Great Power competition. In another timely article related to medical issues and the joint force, Brian Neese and Douglas Robb describe a different way to organize exercises for our medical units. Always a favorite discussion in these pages, Chad Buckel takes a look at operational art from the mind of the user, suggesting how we define war drives how we plan and fight. With a great deal of discussion and effort recently to finally integrate command and control capabilities, Jonathan Stafford helps us see integrated air and missile defense as a model for future success.
Finally, in Recall, Bradley Podliska, Karin Hecox, and Oliver Sagun take us inside the planning done by the Germans in World War II prior to Operation Overlord, using a process-tracing approach. In Joint Doctrine, Paul Reed and Thomas Kirsch discuss the importance of having our military health system properly prepared for operating in a humanitarian crisis. In light of recent military hospital units supporting local COVID-19 operations, there may be something here for us at home as well. As always, we have three important book reviews and our Joint Doctrine Update to round out this 100th issue.
Whether you are on the ground halfway around the world or standing point here at home in Washington, DC, whether you are in uniform or civil service, in defending our Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic you are defending both a way of life and a precious set of values all freedom-loving people around the world believe in. Your team here at NDU Press supports your efforts and wants to hear from you as you work the difficult issues and tasks in the days and months ahead. Stay safe.
Click here to read the latest issue →
NDU Press produces Joint Force Quarterly in concert with ongoing education and research at National Defense University in support of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. JFQ is the Chairman's joint military and security studies journal designed to inform and educate national security professionals on joint and integrated operations; whole of government contributions to national security policy and strategy; homeland security; and developments in training and joint military education to better equip America's military and security apparatus to meet tomorrow's challenges while protecting freedom today.