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Category: JFQ Articles

Dec. 29, 2021

Information Warfare

What is communication strategy? What steps should defense leaders and planners take to build such a strategy? Curiously, in James Farwell’s Information Warfare, he answers the second question without ever answering the first. Farwell seeks to provide “a concise treatise on the steps for developing and implementing a communication strategy and includes key historical and contemporary examples for deeper insight.” The book includes 12 chapters, most of which are insightful. The book does not end with a traditional chapter of conclusions, but it does include a useful “Winning Communication Strategy Workbook” as a terminal appendix.

Dec. 29, 2021

China as a Twenty-First-Century Naval Power

Over 3 years, starting in 264 BCE, the Roman military built and launched 1,000 galleys to defeat Carthage in the First Punic War. This intentional, rapid transition from land to maritime power was unprecedented and resulted in 600 years of Roman military and economic dominance. It was a feat not to be repeated in any meaningful way until American naval expansion during World War II. However, according to retired Rear Admiral Michael McDevitt’s comprehensive and insightful work, China as a Twenty-First-Century Naval Power, China is on the precipice of exceeding historical precedent. In this comprehensive review of rapid Chinese naval expansion, the former director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy (J5) at U.S. Pacific Command applies 34 years of commissioned service focused on the Pacific theater to provide a holistic and clear-eyed analysis of Chinese maritime power.

Dec. 29, 2021

Remembering the “Forgotten War”: The Joint Operations Flaws of the Aleutian Campaign

The lessons that can be gleaned from the Aleutian campaign of 1942–1943 may seem outdated, but they remain significant in today’s global environment. The 2019 Department of Defense Arctic Strategy underscores the importance of deterring and defeating Great Power aggression in the Arctic, specifically addressing challenges in understanding the operational environment, joint training proficiency, lack of a robust logistics infrastructure, and communications and technology complexity, all of which are further complicated by the Arctic’s rapidly changing physical environment.1 In the past 2 years, the Army, Navy, and Air Force have all released their own Service-specific Arctic strategies that echo the importance of the Arctic. Diminishing sea ice is making Arctic waters more accessible and navigable, increasing both commercial traffic and military presence.2 Furthermore, thawing permafrost is destabilizing the already inadequate infrastructure and complicating land accessibility in the Arctic region.

Dec. 29, 2021

Health, Pandemic Preparedness, and Multidomain Operations

Historically, infectious disease has been one of the most significant threats to U.S. Servicemembers on the battlefield, constituting the largest source of mortality through World War I and a significant source of casualties and nonbattle injury through the present day. During World War II, General Douglas MacArthur famously expressed his frustration with malaria’s operational impact: “It’s going to be a very long war if for every division I have facing the enemy, I have one sick in hospital and another recovering from this dreadful disease.” More recently, David Matson, an infectious disease clinician, vividly described the impact of diarrheal disease: “I expect that our imaginations cannot fathom the problems attendant from the absolute urgency for relief from explosive vomiting and diarrhea when experienced within an armored vehicle under fire and at ambient temperature of >40°C.”

Dec. 29, 2021

Defending Taiwan in an Expanded Competitive Space

Taiwan’s defense has always been precarious, and the dangers are only likely to grow as China’s power increases. Looking at Taiwan’s defense through a competitive strategy lens suggests different options for confronting the PLA in wartime. China’s military structure is built on the notion that the PLA must be prepared to fight in many theaters at once. By necessity, it contains a centralized command and control and logistics system designed to manage and reallocate forces in a war. Targeting those critical links would complicate Chinese decisionmaking, reduce the PLA’s capacity to mass forces, and support U.S. and Taiwan operations in the main theater.

Dec. 29, 2021

Retaining Female Leaders: A Key Readiness Issue

America’s joint force is at a difficult crossroads where the pressure of the “fight tonight” readiness mentality conflicts with long-term strategic competition with peers. The 2018 National Defense Strategy describes the changing character of war and the new challenges the joint force will face during “the reemergence of long-term strategic competition, rapid dispersion of technologies, and new concepts of warfare and competition that span the entire spectrum of conflict.” An enduring mission of the Department of Defense (DOD) is to provide combat-capable, technically proficient personnel, but there is a readiness issue undermining the joint force.

Dec. 29, 2021

Above or Beyond: Overflight Considerations for U.S. Military Aircraft

One of the most valuable attributes of airpower in warfare is the ability to fly to anywhere from anywhere, avoiding terrain and hostile forces alike. But despite this seeming omnipresence, straightline “crow’s-flight” distances are illusory. A complicated patchwork of bilateral arrangements, open-skies regimes, and international legal frameworks divides the sky into national airspaces and flight information regions, projecting into low-Earth orbit itself in a straight line from territorial borders on the ground.

Dec. 29, 2021

Building Institutional Capacity in the Ukrainian Armed Forces: Sustainment Planning for U.S.-Provided Equipment

Over a 3-year period (2017–2019), a combined team from U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and the Institute for Security Governance (ISG) worked closely with their Ukrainian counterparts to establish a simple but effective sustainment planning process, which provides comprehensive upkeep for U.S.-provided equipment. The 2019 DOD Sustainment Train, Advise, and Assist of Foreign Forces Award not only recognizes the important contribution made by ISG and USEUCOM to the UAF but also acknowledges that institutional capacity-building is a critical and effective security cooperation tool that DOD can employ to improve the capabilities of our strategic partners while meeting our own national security objectives.

Dec. 29, 2021

The Women, Peace, and Security Act: Implementation Strategies for a Modern Department of Defense

Peace negotiations are more likely to succeed and achieve longer lasting results when women are involved in the process. Women’s civil society groups and the first all-woman United Nations (UN) peacekeeping team were notably active in the peace process following Liberia’s civil conflict. The Graduate Institute in Geneva conducted an in-depth analysis of 40 post–Cold War peace processes, revealing that negotiators reached an agreement more often when women’s groups had a prominent role in the negotiation process. Acknowledging the benefit of female involvement, the UN passed Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325). Subsequently, more than 80 nations, including the United States, have developed their own National Action Plans on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS). The U.S. National Action Plan makes a statement on policy related to WPS and identifies objectives, actions, and reporting criteria for Federal agencies and departments. Approximately a year after the U.S. National Action Plan was published, the Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development created formal implementation plans, including integration strategies and planned actions to accomplish national objectives.

Dec. 29, 2021

Competing Regionally: Developing Theater Strategy

The past two decades have been tough for strategists. Large-scale efforts in Central Asia and the Middle East did not bring the successes policymakers demanded, despite considerable blood and treasure expended, and though free of U.S. combat casualties, the record in both Europe and the Indo-Pacific is not much better. U.S. attempts to reset relations with Russia did not prevent invasions of its neighbors or stop significant Russian intelligence operations in cyberspace. The U.S. military buildup in the Indo-Pacific and clear redlines did not deter the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from militarizing the South China Sea, undermining U.S. alliances in the region, or from using the power of trade to reinforce China’s national security positions. In Latin America and the Caribbean, both Russia and the PRC made inroads with their traditional partners, muting efforts to unify the region’s commitment to democracy, cooperation, and transparency. And in Africa, U.S. and European efforts to squelch terrorism, aid developing economies, and become the partner of choice ran up against alternative proposals from Moscow and Beijing, as they continue to strengthen their positions beyond their regions. The limits of the United States’ ability to preserve its hegemony and restrain competitors have compelled the national security community to refocus on Great Power competition to inform strategy development at the regional level.