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Category: JFQ Articles

Jan. 26, 2017

The National War College: Marking 70 Years of Strategic Education

Seventy years ago, a war-weary Washington struggled with uncertainty and alarm. Exhausted after years of global conflict and still carrying memories of the Great Depression, America yearned for home and prosperity. Yet barely 6 months after victory in World War II, Washington faced troubling signs of danger ahead. A past ally was becoming a threat. Soviet aggression shattered postwar dreams of peace. With the dawn of 1946 we entered a new strategic era—the bipolar struggle with the Soviet Union.

Jan. 26, 2017

The Palestinian Security Force: Future Prospects

Should the United States continue to support the Palestinian Authority Security Force (PASF)? To the Western observer, the current violence in Jerusalem is but another iteration of the intractable conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. To the average American, the term Palestinian is often synonymous with a masked Arab hurling a rock at the ubiquitous Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The reality on the ground is, of course, far more complex. Unknown to most is the fact that during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, the West Bank was quiet and stable. In fact, since 2009 the PASF has received silent, grudging approval of its performance in the West Bank by Western leadership.1 The success of the PASF, like that of many nascent security forces supported by the United States, can be short-lived, especially in light of recent attacks by both Palestinians and Israelis. However, PASF performance has shown that it is a capable security force that is worthy of Israeli partnership, Palestinian trust, and further U.S. support. To substantiate this position, the development of the PASF will be briefly examined and set against its unique organization. Both its history and its distinct structure allow it to maintain order within the West Bank. The PASF will face challenges to further development if any success in a two-state solution is reached, but it remains the best hope for legitimate security for the Palestinian people.

Jan. 26, 2017

The Viability of Moral Dissent by the Military (or, Chapter 6 of the U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Conclusions Regarding the Second Internment of American Citizens)

This article is not a partisan statement, although it unequivocally judges the rising tide of nationalism, isolationism, xenophobia, and anti-Islamic rhetoric occurring throughout the West. While anti-Islamic rhetoric and actions are integral to the scenario described herein, the characters are fictional and not analogous to any military or political figure currently in a position of authority or running for office. The political affiliation of the President in the scenario is deliberately unstated. No political party has a monopoly on or immunity from ugly ideas.

Jan. 26, 2017

Expanding Zeus's Shield: A New Approach for Theater Ballistic Missile Defense in the Asia-Pacific Region

On September 17, 2009, President Barack Obama approved the creation of a “phased adaptive approach” to European missile defense, at the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.1 As outlined in the original White House 2009 press release and in the 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Report, the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) was developed to provide guidance on which and where certain ballistic missile defense capabilities would be deployed to the European theater. According to the overall plan, the approach would be executed in four phases. The first phase protected southern Europe from attack from Iran with sea-based Aegis Weapons Systems by 2011.2 Phase two focused on deploying land-based missile defense capabilities to defend southern Europe by 2015. Phase three, scheduled for 2018, would deploy more capable systems against longer range Iranian missiles and have both a land- and sea-based capability.3 The final phase was canceled in 2013 but was rescheduled for deployment in the 2020 timeframe and would have added defense capability against long-range ballistic missile threats from the Middle East.

Jan. 26, 2017

Executive Summary

In my view, our Constitution and the Bill of Rights are two of the most important contributions to our collective human experience. The men who debated and wrestled, word by word, over the contents of these two founding documents used great imagination and creativity. Over the following 228 years since the Constitutional Convention that constructed these works, they have been tested and, when found weak, amended, or in the case of the Civil War, fought over or adapted by our Federal system of laws in which our three branches of government all play important roles. While the exact meaning of the Constitution remains in the eye of each citizen to debate and seek change as needed, I doubt even the most cynical citizen would wish the Constitution did not exist.

Oct. 1, 2016

From the Chairman: Strategic Challenges and Implications

I have previously written in this column to share with you the areas where I am devoting my time and focus: joint readiness, joint warfighting capability, and the development of leaders for the future. I have also shared with you my thoughts regarding the imperative for the Joint Force to remain focused on and responsive to the current National Command Authority. That responsiveness underpins healthy civil-military relations and is the hallmark of the Profession of Arms. I now write to share with you how we are channeling these priorities and professional focus into execution.

Oct. 1, 2016

Executive Summary

Living near or visiting the Nation’s capital, you cannot escape the weight of history that surrounds you. From the monuments to the historic buildings, the trails and battlefields, the names on the roads—even the geography itself—force you to consider what happened in the past and what might happen in the future. Even with a political process that at times seems to be stagnant and combative, our nation continues to do what must be done. This is something George Washington knew some 235 years ago when he stopped by Mount Vernon, the home he had not visited for 6 long years of war, as he moved his headquarters toward what would be the most important battle of the Revolutionary War, Yorktown.

Oct. 1, 2016

The Danger of False Peril: Avoiding Threat Inflation

Just as a patient complaining of excruciating pain could still be best served by a wait-and-see approach, the best option in any given national security scenario might be to take no action at all. A calm and evenhanded assessment of the true scope of a perceived threat could be essential to avoiding an unwanted conflict.

Oct. 1, 2016

Wargaming the Third Offset Strategy

At a November 2014 keynote address at the Reagan National Defense Forum, then–Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the Defense Innovation Initiative (DII) to develop “a game-changing Third Offset Strategy.”1 Just as the First Offset (introduction of nuclear weapons) and the Second Offset (emergence of precision strike) gave the U.S. military significant advantages, a new series of technological building blocks will sustain American military dominance.2 In a December 2015 speech, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work envisioned a future in which autonomous deep learning systems (artificial intelligence), human-machine collaboration, human-assisted operations, combat teaming (robotics), and autonomous weapons will give U.S. forces a competitive advantage.

Oct. 1, 2016

What Do China’s Military Reforms Mean for Taiwan?

In late 2015 and early 2016, China announced a sweeping set of reforms to the organizational structure of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The reforms not only significantly altered the PLA’s organizational structure but also redefined authority relationships among major components. The PLA Air Force and Navy headquarters, which previously commanded operations during peacetime, were reassigned to administrative roles focused on training and equipping troops. Operational authority moved to a two-tiered system in which decisions will be made by the CMC and carried out by theater commanders.