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Category: Joint Force Quarterly

July 1, 2016

The U.S.-China Military Scorecard and China's Military Power

Over the past 20 years China’s military spending, a low priority in the 1980s, has grown, in real terms, at roughly 11 percent per year. At the same time, the focus of China’s military strategy has pivoted sharply from an army-centric “people’s war under modern conditions” aimed to blunt a Soviet attack from the northwest to an air and naval force–centric emphasis on “local wars under informationized conditions” along the country’s long coast, with the United States as the principal adversary. It has been a prodigious transformation, modeled after—and surely provoked by—the U.S. military’s own transformation.

July 1, 2016

The Multinational Interoperability Council: Enhancing Coalition Operations

Throughout history, coalitions have played an important role in military operations. In today’s globalized world, nations are becoming even more likely to take part in an operation as part of an alliance or coalition, rather than engaging in operations on their own.1 Whether the operation involves an established alliance or an ad hoc coalition, interoperability between multinational forces is imperative to achieving mission success. To be successful in the anticipated complex and shifting operating environment, coalition forces must identify and address potential strategic and operational challenges and interoperability concerns well in advance. This requires an investment in areas of common doctrine development, coalition planning, exercises, and experimentation. Early identification of the potential challenges can improve the speed and quality of decisionmaking and enhance unity of effort within a coalition. The Multinational Interoperability Council (MIC), led by senior operators of the member nations, focuses on understanding and addressing contemporary strategic and operational challenges and risks.

July 1, 2016

The Tao of Doctrine: Contesting an Art of Operations

According to Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-0, Unified Land Operations, “Operational art is the pursuit of strategic objectives, in whole or in part, through the arrangement of tactical actions in time, space, and purpose.” With this definition, the U.S. Army broke with both its prior doctrinal paradigm of an operational level of war and the joint model in Joint Publication (JP) 3-0, Joint Operations, of the three levels of war. In contrast to ADP 3-0, however, Army Doctrine Reference Publication 3-0, Unified Land Operations, emphasizes the joint definition, acknowledging an operational level: “Operational art is applicable at all levels of war, not just to the operational level of war.” Thus, a contested delineation of operational art entered the cognitive space of schools and commands throughout the Army. This article is not specifically about whether there should or should not be an operational level of war; rather, it is concerned with the concept of “doctrine” and its relationship to history and theory in the context of an operational art.

July 1, 2016

Joint Engineers Launch New Knowledge-Based Management Program

After more than 3 years in development, the Joint Staff Logistics Directorate will field its first joint engineering computer application: the Joint Engineer Common Operating Picture (JECOP). Its purpose is to aid combatant command and Service engineers with steady-state planning, programming, and the synchronization of engineer efforts for worldwide military operations. The JECOP portal serves as a collaborative knowledge management tool that depicts network information on a map in order for end-users to quickly gather and analyze location data for a variety of purposes including data summary, trend analysis, infrastructure planning, and decision support. The portal also provides users access to real-time authoritative data linked to strategic direction via map-based displays and user-defined views.

July 1, 2016

JPME II Available at Satellite Sites

Joint Professional Military Education, Phase II (JPME II) is a career milestone for joint warfighters and was designed and implemented to assist with the development of military leaders. The Department of Defense (DOD) Joint Officer Management Program mandates JPME II for an officer to be designated a Level III Joint Qualified Officer and eligible for promotion to O-7.1 This requirement generates a high demand signal for JPME II, but that demand is tempered by constraints in both the law and the existing infrastructure. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2016 modified the language in Title 10 U.S. Codes that define JPME II and authorized JPME II–granting institutions (for example, Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) and Service war colleges) greater flexibility in presenting their curricula.2 The result is that JPME II is now exportable to sites away from the traditional residential campuses. Preserving academic outcomes and associated resource requirements will determine how this flexibility allows the schools to best support the joint warfighter.

July 1, 2016

Joint Doctrine Update

Joint Doctrine Updates.

March 30, 2016

The Future of Senior Service College Education: Heed the Clarion Call

In 2014, Joint Force Quarterly (JFQ) helped stimulate professional dialogue on joint professional military education (JPME) by establishing a new section titled “JPME Today.” This article continues the discourse on JPME policy issues. Although initially directed by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, jointness has grown to become an integral part of our military culture. Applying the U.S. Army leader development framework, the three pillars of joint training, joint work experiences, and JPME all served to reinforce competencies and helped acculturate jointness within a heretofore Service-centric military.

March 29, 2016

Errors in Strategic Thinking: Anti-Politics and the Macro Bias

How can military professionals improve U.S. strategic performance? If General Martin Dempsey, who served as President Barack Obama’s principal military advisor, is correct, American strategic performance too often surprises and disappoints. Strategic discontent, which arises from the failure to conjoin strategic intent and actual outcomes, may well be the default expectation, whereas strategic satisfaction is the rare surprise.

March 29, 2016

Strategy 2.0: The Next Generation

There is widespread concern and a great deal of collective handwringing these days about defense strategy. Seasoned observers will note that this is not a new problem. The environment that General Shalikashvili described in introducing the 1994/1995 Autumn/Winter issue of Joint Force Quarterly in the epigraph above is strikingly familiar 20 years later: conflicts in regions formerly at peace, the changing role of alliances and the range of situations in which we are called upon to use the military, the ambiguity and proliferation of threats around the world, and the ever-quickening pace of change in science and technology that nourishes competitors and substantially reduces the time it takes for a force to go from state-of-the-art to obsolescence.

March 29, 2016

Rediscovering the Art of Strategic Thinking: Developing 21st-Century Strategic Leaders

At a time when global instability and uncertainty are undeniable, the demand for astute American global strategic leadership is greater than ever. Unfortunately, tactical superficiality and parochial policies of convenience are undermining joint strategic leader development and the ability to operate effectively around the world. Tactical supremacy and the lack of a peer competitor have contributed to strategic thinking becoming a lost art. This critical shortfall has been recognized for a number of years. General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), and Tony Koltz stated in their 2009 book Leading the Charge that leaders today have no vision and consequently have “lost the ability to look and plan ahead.” Trapped within rigid bureaucracies, today’s joint strategic leaders immerse themselves in current operations, reacting to, rather than shaping, future events.