Nov. 8, 2018
Winners of the 2018 Essay Competition
NDU Press is proud to support the annual Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and JFQ George C. Maerz essay competitions. NDU Press hosted the final round of judging on May 17–18, 2018, during which 29 faculty judges from 15 participating professional military education institutions selected the best entries in each category. The First Place winners in each of the three categories are published in the following pages.
Nov. 5, 2018
Joint Doctrine Update
Joint Doctrine Updates.
Joint Publication 4-0, Joint Logistics
The Joint Staff has revised Joint Publication 4-0, Joint Logistics. This version focuses on five areas: warfighter readiness, competition below the level of armed conflict, global integration, innovation, and strengthening alliances. This version offers a framework for combatant commanders and subordinate commanders to integrate strategic, operational and tactical support efforts and facilitate movement of forces and materiel around the world. This version takes a big step toward alignment of the National Military Strategy, the Joint Strategic Campaign Plan and best practices used by combatant commands, all of which is essential to success.
Building Joint Personnel Recovery Through Multinational Collaboration
The Multinational Capability Development Campaign is a Joint Force initiative, which focuses on conducting coalition and multinational operations associated with personnel recovery. This article shows how partner nations can effectively coordinate their military, diplomatic and civilian efforts to prepare for and execute the recovery and reintegration of isolated personnel. By developing a common lexicon and standardizing doctrine and policy, the Joint Force can improve interagency capabilities and solve this common problem affordably and effectively. However, partner nations must first underscore the importance of effective personnel recovery, and senior leaders must prioritize personnel recovery in all preparations and planning.
The U.S. Government’s Approach to Civilian Security: Focus on Campaign Activities
The US has been involved in protecting civilians outside national borders for over a century. DOD policy emphasizes the protection of mission-related military and nonmilitary personnel, equipment, facilities, and infrastructure during military campaigns. Improving the conditions for effective local governance and minimizing the need for future or extended employment of US forces is central to US national security interests. Therefore, campaign activities should enhance efforts to improve civilian security and earn population support. Careful planning will reinforce viable security institutions, offer assistance to displaced or dislocated civilians, and protect people from torture, unlawful imprisonment and other human rights abuses.
Staying the Course: October 1967 to September 1968
Erik Villard’s new volume casts clarifying light on stubbornly held myths about the conduct and strategy of America’s intervention in Vietnam. Even more than the preceding volumes in the Combat Operations series, Staying the Course incorporates the latest historiography, including extensive North Vietnamese sources and newly released Military Assistance Command–Vietnam (MACV) documents. By carefully linking American strategic thinking to MACV 1968 campaign goals and actual operations, Villard, a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, uses careful analysis to dispel a variety of myths: that MACV was over-focused on attrition, that the American mission lacked a focus on counterinsurgency or population security, that the Army was overcommitted to “conventional” operations or “search-and-destroy,” or that American forces overlooked the need to build up the South Vietnamese military and do so in a sustainable way. The overall effect is to restore clarity and urgency to the Army’s efforts in Vietnam in that fateful year, as MACV’s leaders fought against the clock to shield and secure the population and build up the Republic of Vietnam and its armed forces against a thinking and reacting enemy with burgeoning plans of its own.
Allies That Count: Junior Partners in Coalition Warfare
Years ago, when I was working on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) desk in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, we were asked by both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations to help persuade allies and partners around the world to contribute additional forces to the mission in Afghanistan. To their credit, many countries around the world did so. But shortly thereafter, operators on the ground began signaling that many such contributions were so difficult to integrate into the mission that it was distracting from ISAF’s ability to prosecute operations. Some states had caveats on their forces, others had interoperability issues, and still others approached the mission with wholly different strategic mindsets than many of their counterparts. In short, we were building the coalition to help us win the war in Afghanistan, but in so doing, we were distracting our warfighters from actually being able to do so. Why were we spending so much time and effort recruiting forces from allies without accounting for the significant operational strains that their incorporation into the ISAF force laydown might cause?
Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Directorate S by longtime Washington Post journalist, former think tank president, and now dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, Steve Coll, is a seminal book. It is a highly worthy successor to the author’s Pulitzer Prize–winning 2004 work Ghost Wars. Directorate S is impressive in its scope, level of detail, and readability. It successfully fills much of the gaping void in prior literature on the controversial topic of the U.S. role in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a reference for scholars and policymakers, this book is first rate. Although it will not be the final word on the strategic trajectory of South Asia and the future arc of complex U.S. policy choices in that region, Coll’s work makes an indelible mark.
On Grand Strategy
John Lewis Gaddis, deemed the “Dean of Cold War Historians” by a New York Times reviewer, has published yet another book, at least the 14th in a long and productive career. The latest, On Grand Strategy, however, will disappoint those hoping for another learned exposition on the American role in the post–World War II era. Rather, Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History and Director of the Brady Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale University, has written a wide-ranging essay on strategic thinking that begins with the dawn of recorded history and concludes with the momentous challenges facing American leaders during World War II. As such, On Grand Strategy will bring joy to those whose professions depend on strategizing and anyone wanting to rummage through history seeking insights into how past strategists practiced their craft.
Air Force Strategic Bombing and Its Counterpoints from World War I to Vietnam
Strategic bombing has dominated US Air Force doctrine for sixty years despite the broader use of air power during this period. What factors led to this? The author finds that in wartime, the Air Force adapts to the needs of the conflict, but in peacetime returns to a more narrow view of air power in national defense. If the last sixty years teaches anything, it’s that every conflict involves new challenges, which means senior leaders and strategists must train for core missions, anticipate the most deadly threats, and be ready at all times for more surprises.