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Category: JFQ

April 1, 2017

Mission Failure

Reactionary, expansive, naive: these are the themes that Michael Mandelbaum alludes to most often in his extensive look at U.S. foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. Mandelbaum examines foreign policy from the end of the George H.W. Bush Presidency through the Barack Obama administration, highlighting the mix of wishful thinking and lack of focus that prevailed as the United States found itself unchecked on the global stage following the decline and eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Mandelbaum assesses several notable foreign policy failures: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization expansion and the bungled rapprochement with Russia; the failure to instill democracy in China; Bill Clinton’s interventions in Bosnia, Haiti, and Somalia; and the mixed record on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. attempts at nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mandelbaum paints a picture of a foreign policy apparatus beset by lack of interest and political cohesion, demotion in importance to domestic policy, and a repeated failure to understand key aspects of the societies in which the United States chose to intervene.

April 1, 2017

Margin of Victory

Douglas Macgregor’s newest book offers a tutorial and blueprint for the strategically guided development of the U.S. military. This is timely, as the Department of Defense finds itself preparing for our future national defense strategy, which in the Barack Obama administration was often referred to as the Third Offset. Planning for it should be nested within the current and anticipated strategic environment, emerging technologies, and how we intend to fight our next war. Macgregor analyzes the preparation for, execution of, and consequences of belligerence in five significant battles. He also includes a chapter with recommendations (some of which are quite controversial) for the U.S. military’s development.

April 1, 2017

The New Grand Strategy

In The New Grand Strategy, the authors correctly assert that the United States cannot rely on the bureaucracy of international and national entities to move forward and purposefully lead change, when and where it matters. This book is a call to action in which a synthesis of strategy, planning, and operations trumps analysis, avoids trivial pursuits, and catalyzes action by “we the people.” Whereas “grand strategy” is largely debated in academia and think tanks as an abstraction, strategy requires purpose and implementing operations. It also necessitates frequent institutional reflection, refinement, and changing of paradigms that inhibit the ability to adapt to a changing world order. Though the book may not account for every element that could encompass “grand strategy,” its recommendation that strategy be purposeful, systematic, and forward thinking to ensure that resilience and sustainability are the foundation of longevity and continued greatness should be heeded.

April 1, 2017

Improving Joint Doctrine for Security in Theater: Lessons from the Bastion-Leatherneck-Shorabak Attack

In September 2012, Taliban insurgents conducted one of the most significant attacks against an airfield from which U.S. forces were operating since the Vietnam War. On September 14, 15 insurgents exploited a weakness in the perimeter of the sprawling Bastion-Leatherneck-Shorabak (BLS) complex to gain access and attack coalition equipment and personnel.

April 1, 2017

Joint Publication 3-20, Security Cooperation: Adapting Enduring Lessons

Today’s security environment demands that the Department of Defense (DOD) employ a robust strategy and assortment of capabilities across the entire range of military operations and in support of America’s national security interests. A preponderance of these activities falls under the umbrella of security cooperation (SC) in which few, if any, U.S. forces participate directly in combat operations. As DOD continues to develop the “four plus one” threat baseline described by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Joint Force Development Directorate has taken steps to better align joint doctrine with the National Military Strategy as part of an approach that emphasizes the need for adaptive doctrine. Within this effort, the need to synergize U.S. capacity and capabilities with those of its partners remains paramount.

April 1, 2017

Joint Doctrine Update

Joint Doctrine Update.

Jan. 27, 2017

Regional Missile Defense from a Global Perspective

In Regional Missile Defense from a Global Perspective, Catherine M. Kelleher and Peter Dombrowski analyze the history of missile defense, U.S. policy debates, the resulting acquisition programs, and challenges and opportunities of the past, present, and future. The genesis of the volume was two workshops on the topic held at the Naval War College during 2011 and 2012. While seemingly dated, the work remains timely given the elevation of regional missile defense in the U.S. National Security Strategy and Russia’s provocations in the Baltics and Ukraine. The anthology should prove useful to policymakers, scholars, and students interested in the complexities of missile defense around the globe.

Jan. 27, 2017

Toward a Future National Strategy: A Review Essay

What could be more important than a nation’s strategy? A strategy brings together ends, ways, and means. It assesses costs and risks and establishes priorities. It takes basic guidance and direction from national policy, but, in turn, strategy guides subordinate plans and policies. It provides a framework that can help us comprehend contextual developments, which, in turn, can reshape the strategy. A consistent strategy is also a certain trumpet for friends and allies to heed. In our messy democracy, domestic politics and bureaucratic politics will often frustrate strategy, but, in the end, national strategy retains its importance.

Jan. 26, 2017

Hybrid Threat Center of Gravity Analysis: Taking a Fresh Look at ISIL

Debates continue in the media, military, and foreign policy circles about the national strategy to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Imbedded within these debates are fundamental disagreements about ISIL’s strategic and operational centers of gravity. Correctly identifying the center of gravity (COG) of an adversary is critical to designing an operational approach to defeat him. On the other hand, misidentifying the center of gravity is the clearest path to defeat against any foe—especially a hybrid one. An assessment of ISIL’s center of gravity is critical to developing a suitable operational design aimed at its defeat. The first order of business, however, is to determine if ISIL is a hybrid actor and, if so, how that impacts our analysis.

Jan. 26, 2017

Center of Gravity Analysis "Down Under": The Australian Defence Force's New Approach

Given Australia’s position as a key U.S. ally and a much smaller military power, as well as the array of cultural similarities between the two countries, it should come as no surprise that U.S. developments have regularly influenced Australian Defence Force (ADF) thinking about armed conflict.1 Center of gravity (COG) analysis, a lynchpin of campaign and operation planning, is no exception.