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Category: Joint Force Quarterly

Oct. 31, 2018

Political Warfare with Other Means: 2017 Cyber Attacks on Qatar

Qatar’s state news agency falsely reported in 2017 that a Qatari Emir supported Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Israel. Although this cyberattack was ultimately unsuccessful, the author says we can and should learn from these events, and take a pre-emptive approach to prevent the spread of false and misleading information. This essay tied for first place in the Strategy Article category of the 2018 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategic Essay Competition. The author, Major Edwin Y. Chua of the Singapore Army wrote this as a student at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

Oct. 30, 2018

Coercive Gradualism Through Gray Zone Statecraft in the South China Seas: China’s Strategy and Potential U.S. Options

Coercive Gradualism is the incremental employment of coercive instruments of national power in a synchronized and integrated fashion below the threshold of military conflict. In response to aggressive regional challenges, such as China’s use of Coercive Gradualism in the South China Sea, the US needs to develop and implement a coherent strategy utilizing all diplomatic, informational, military and economic options. This essay won the 2018 Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition. The author, Captain Kapil Bhatia of the Indian Navy wrote this as a student at the US Naval War College.

Oct. 30, 2018

Beyond the Third Offset: Matching Plans for Innovation to a Theory of Victory

The Third Offset Strategy was introduced by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in 2014, which drew from previous offset strategies and focused on innovative ways to sustain the US’s power projection capabilities. In its current formulation, says the author, the Third Offset is essentially a technology strategy which offers no enduring competitive advantage. Therefore, we should simplify the meaning of offset strategy to focus on nullifying an adversary’s advantage by imposing costs that would dissuade them from turning into enemies. Based on this, military strategists should contemplate organizational and doctrinal changes rather than rely on uncertain technologies.

Oct. 30, 2018

Complementary Engagement: An American-Led Response to Rising Regional Rivals

The concept of Complementary Engagement emphasizes capacity-building among US allies and partners while proposing a revised military structure and posture. The goal is to counter aspiring regional hegemons who have expanded their ambitions and capabilities, particularly China, Iran and Russia. Although these regional hegemons cannot match the global reach of the former Soviet Union, they still pose a threat. Therefore, says the author, the US should invest in ballistic missile defense, long range strike capabilities and nuclear weapons, and rebalance our alliances to encourage a more equitable sharing of the defense burden.

Oct. 30, 2018

Executive Summary

Editor-in Chief Bill Eliason asks what kind of leaders does the military need. Our authors have answers from across the Joint Force. Our essay competition winners cover topics from China’s expansion in the South China Sea to Russia’s peacekeeping offer in the Ukraine to the rules of engagement and the risks of misinformation cyber warfare. Throughout this issue, we deal with hot topics: Special Forces in multi-domain battle, the long-term transformation of the Joint Force, air power during the Korean War, the doctrine of strategic airpower as it continues to evolve, and newly revised joint logistics doctrine.

April 19, 2018

Paradigm Change: Operational Art and the Information Joint Function

The need for this addition to the joint functions has become increasingly obvious to military leaders over time. It reveals itself in the difficulty of addressing gray zone challenges. During a recent effort by the Joint Staff to update Joint Publication (JP) 3-13, Information Operations, leaders recognized that the joint force was already attempting to use information as a function and that the time to institutionalize information as a function was therefore overdue.

April 11, 2018

The Practical Implications of Information as a Joint Function

The integration of the Information as a Joint Function (IJF) with the other six joint functions offers new opportunities for developing and conducting operational art and design. IJF will result in the development of executable plans to deal with future conflicts that are TMM in nature. The ultimate result will be that joint force commanders are able to dominate the informational aspect of their operating environment (the IE) the same way they dominate land, sea, air space, and cyberspace.

Oct. 1, 2017

Asadism and Legitimacy in Syria

On July 11, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted that Syrian President Bashar al-Asad had lost his “legitimacy,” presaging a U.S. policy favoring regime change in Syria.1 In August 2011, President Barack Obama stated that the “future of Syria must be determined by its people, but [Asad] is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for [Asad] to step aside.” However, nearly 6 years later, Obama has left office, while Asad rules a contiguous stretch of population centers and the majority of Syrians left in Syria. Mainstream analysis explains Asad’s resilience as a result of external factors, namely Russian and Iranian support, lack of alignment of foreign aid to opposition forces, and a subdued U.S. response to Asad and prioritization of fighting the so-called Islamic State. Likewise, analysis on the internal factors focuses the narrow but loyal support the regime enjoys from the ruling Alawite sect.3 The illegitimacy of the regime is assumed.

Oct. 1, 2017

Toxic Culture: Enabling Incivility in the U.S. Military and What to Do About It

Core values are the heart and soul of U.S. military Services and their cultures. Military organizational, strategic, operational, and tactical strength lies in the degree to which the Services’ systems, processes, and behaviors of personnel align with their stated core values, the collective practice of which creates organizational culture. Yet even with the emphasis on core values such as respect and selfless service, the Department of Defense (DOD) continues to experience toxic and counterproductive behaviors that sabotage culture and values, as well as performance, productivity, force protection, health, readiness, and actions of personnel.1 Although DOD has not conducted comprehensive research on toxic behavior, there is extensive private-sector research regarding the impact, cost, tolerance, enabling, and reduction of toxicity. This article applies private-sector research to assess DOD policies and practices and to recommend courses of action. Although the implications and cost of toxicity are beyond the scope of this article, a brief discussion is relevant for demonstrating its significance. Private-sector research has identified relationships between toxic behaviors and adverse effects on mental and physical health (including suicide, stress-related illness, and post-traumatic stress), increasing demands on an already overburdened healthcare system; job satisfaction and commitment; individual and collective performance (cognition and collaboration); employee turnover; and the creation of an organizational culture that tolerates other inappropriate behaviors including sexual harassment and discrimination.2 In addition to the impact on direct targets of toxicity, research has identified the transmission of adverse effects to bystanders and family members.3

Oct. 1, 2017

Increasing Partner-Nation Capacity Through Global Health Engagement

Why the Department of Defense (DOD) and international military sector writ large engage in global health is well documented.1 How DOD conducts global health engagement (GHE) in a systematic way is not. While pundits representing the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, combatant commands, Service components, and other organizations codify DOD policy for GHE, individuals and units implementing this broad guidance from 2013 to today continue to do so in a patchwork manner.2 Using the Indo-Asia Pacific region as a case study, this article presents the background regarding the current state of GHE in the region, develops a standardized GHE approach for engagement, and informs a partner-nation 5-year strategy.