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Our offerings in this issue’s Forum discuss and analyze world events and provide thoughts for all who engage in the art and science of planning in our government. Gigi Gronvall and Aurelia Attal-Juncqua have done some interesting work on Russia’s efforts in biological research and development. While written before the invasion of Ukraine, their work takes on even larger dimensions since last February, with continuing losses on the battlefield for Russia. In one of the more stranger-than-fiction events of late, Jerry Mothershead, Zygmunt Dembek, Todd Hann, Christopher Owens, and Aiguo Wu explore Havana syndrome, beginning with the 2016 reports of illness occurring among the U.S. Embassy personnel in Cuba. For the joint force to be successful—from the tactical to the top leadership—getting the story right and telling it well is essential, and Brent Lawniczak suggests this is best done when including the Narrative Policy Framework in the military planning process. In a refreshing look at how planners pursue the “ends” of the strategy of the commander, Michael Baker proposes seeing the future desired as one where problems will still exist vice one that is problem free, ultimately helping to develop a realistic and appropriate plan to achieve success.
In Commentary, Chad Peltier, Grace Hand, Nathaniel Peterson, Louis Deflice, Kyle Smith, and Justin Handy challenge us to consider how some popular cultural ideas such as tuition-free college and comprehensive health care could affect national defense. Looking at the growing mission set of security cooperation in the Defense Department, Daniel Ward suggests that the U.S. Coast Guard has a significant and valuable role to play.
Features this time has four excellent articles on how we might consider the current joint force’s structure and how it fights both physically and in the minds of the people we engage. Richard Hooker, my former boss at NDU and one of the long-time JFQ authors whose work first appeared in our inaugural issue in 1993, provides his take on how best to organize our special operations forces for future competition. Extending our ongoing look at Great Power competition, Curt Butler, Phillip Henrikson, Lisa Reyn Mann, and Palmer Roberts suggest ways to optimize the joint force beyond just the deterrence of future challenges. David Wilson takes us inside the ability of the U.S. Army to sustain the joint force in the Indo-Pacific region. Helping us navigate the world of information—the newest joint function—Daniel Hall details how best to gain and maintain superiority in the terrain of the mind.
Closing out JFQ this quarter, in Recall, Isaac Johnson, Erik Lampe, and Keith Wilson offer lessons from the British experience with Great Power competition in the 19th century. And, in Joint Doctrine, Thomas Putnam examines how the joint force needs to update its doctrine to better address the issues involved in post-combat “consolidation” from not only a military perspective but also to realistically mature the military’s approach to intra- and intergovernmental efforts to establish a working civil society after the guns go silent. We also have three excellent book reviews to keep you aware of new ideas and how they become a part of what the joint force accepts as valid ways of conducting our missions. JFQ
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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.