Publications

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Category: Joint Force Quarterly

June 20, 2017

Respecting Strategic Agency: On the Categorization of War in Strategy

Many—perhaps most—strategists prefer to think about past, present, and future war in terms of categories. Whether in retrospect, in contemporary experience, or in anticipation, they define war by its generalized character. These strategists arguably include Carl von Clausewitz himself, who suggested that “every age had its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions, and its own peculiar preconceptions. Each period, therefore, would have held to its own theory of war.”1 Due to this tendency of thinking in categories, strategic studies is often washed by recurring tides of jargon. The current fad in terminology is gray zone wars. Often, these faddish terms actually serve to label and relabel the same observed phenomenon.

June 20, 2017

Black is the New Red: Containing Jihad

Examining the West’s understanding and response to the ideology of communism and the Soviet Union and comparing them to the threat posed by Salafi Jihadism provides a lens that can help shape a practical and credible response to current threats. Just as containment was successfully deployed against the threat of Soviet-style communism in the Cold War, it may serve as an effective strategy against the present ideological struggle against jihadist terror organizations.

June 19, 2017

Strategic Competition: Beyond Peace and War

The struggle Morgenthau describes results in an evolving international distribution of power. After World War II, the majority of global power was divided between two poles until the fall of the Soviet Union gave rise to a unipolar system. The transformation of the international order continues today as rising powers join established powers, such as the United States, Japan, and the European Union, on the international stage. Although a more balanced distribution of power may have economic and humanitarian benefits, political and military tensions frequently accompany major transitions in the international order. Beyond the strains inherent as rising powers clash with those more established, the lack of globally dominant hegemons in a system of distributed power creates opportunities for revisionist state and nonstate actors to pursue their own, sometimes perilous, ambitions.

June 19, 2017

U.S. Southern Command: Evolving to Meet 21st-Century Challenges

Latin America and the Caribbean is the region most closely connected to our own stability, security, and economic prosperity. This is important despite the fact other regions often figure more prominently in U.S. foreign policy and national security strategy. Given our shared values, culture, geography, heritage, and history, security challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean often become security challenges for the United States.

June 19, 2017

An Interview with Kurt W. Tidd

The new National Military Strategy exists as a result of some fundamental changes in the geopolitical landscape. Leaving the Joint Staff and going to USSOUTHCOM, I had the benefit of spending several years listening as both General [Martin E.] Dempsey and then General [Joseph F.] Dunford began to develop this strategy, particularly General Dunford. The National Military Strategy focuses on multidomain security challenges that are now global security challenges. It provides a useful intellectual organizing construct by going to a regional geographic command and thinking through the role of a geographic combatant command as a member of an enterprise.

June 19, 2017

From the Chairman: Maintaining a Boxer's Stance

Any coach will tell you that the first step in training a fighter is developing a “boxer’s stance,” the foundational posture from which all offensive and defensive movements flow. A good boxer’s stance conserves energy while keeping the fighter balanced, protected, and ready to throw quick, powerful punches. Between fights or between rounds, any assessment of a fighter’s performance must begin with the stance.

June 19, 2017

Executive Summary

One of the most important questions we ask students of national and international security is “What is war?” Many will provide a solid response citing one of the great war “thinkers” like Thucydides or Carl von Clausewitz. An equally important set of questions flows from these responses. When should a country like the United States become involved? Why should the United States risk our “blood and treasure” in this war? What instruments of national power should be used and to what measure? What will the end of the war look like? How will we know our side is winning? Who will fight with us? How are we to fight and when should we expect to be done? Issues of strategy, operational art, tactics, and forces of the military instrument of national power come into view along with the diplomatic, informational, and economic instruments. The civilian-military relationship that is at the heart of our national security structure ultimately shapes the outcome in victory, stalemate, or defeat.

April 11, 2017

Joint Force Quarterly 85 (2nd Quarter 2017)

What do you see happening in the joint force today? Are we a better fighting force 30 years after Goldwater-Nichols? What do you see as the important issues today and going forward? Our JFQ audience wants to hear what you have to say. You have made JFQ “one of the most thoroughly read and influential journals” in the military profession, as General Powell had wanted. Only you can continue to let leadership know what you are thinking. JFQ is here to help you do just that.

April 1, 2017

Executive Summary

The old saying that history is written by the victors does not hold in all cases, but it still has a certain truth to it. Being able to know, with any certainty, what happened in the past is always a challenge, especially for the warrior scholars among us. As Editor in Chief, I have relied on the oral histories of those who have been involved over the years in producing JFQ. As you might expect, we have been fortunate to have many talented people at NDU Press with a common purpose of making General Colin Powell’s vision for the journal a reality.

April 1, 2017

An Interview with David L. Goldfein

To see what the Air Force does for the Nation as part of the joint force, there are several lenses you should look through. I’d begin by looking at what we do from a deployed-in-place outlook and what we do to deploy forward. It’s actually easier to describe what we do to deploy forward, and that tends to be what is most on the radar for not only leaders in Washington, DC, but also the American people.