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Category: JFQ

April 1, 2015

Fighting More Fires with Less Water: Phase Zero and Modified Operational Design

Imagine that you are the fire chief for a mid-sized community. The city council informs you that it is reducing your budget this year by 30 percent. It is redirecting these funds for community outreach and fire-prevention education programs. Ironically, the council has also instructed you to organize and conduct these programs. In every previous year, you have used the entire budget to train and equip your firefighters and to respond to fire emergencies in the city. You know that outreach is important and may indeed help to lower the incidence of fires in the city—assuming, of course, that your city is not rife with arsonists. However, will you now have sufficient resources to accomplish your primary mission? Put another way, is putting out fires or preventing them a better use of your resources?

Dec. 30, 2014


As I read Rebecca Patterson and Jodi Vittori’s article titled “Why Military Officers Should Study Political Economy” in Joint Force Quarterly 75 (4th Quarter 2014), I reconsidered my own understanding of the term political economy. At one time I was admittedly unsure of its precise meaning, although I could make some informed guesses, and thankfully the authors do a good job of giving readers many opportunities to understand what it means based on context in various passages.

July 1, 2014

Sexual Assault and the Military Petri Dish

The military is just different enough from society at large that it should use its public trust, relative isolation, massive resources, autonomy, centralized control, and ability to act quickly to resolve the issue of sexual assault in its own ranks and help solve the problem for the rest of society.

April 1, 2014

The Revenge of Geography

Ever since the rise of Hitler and the Second World War, international events and circumstances have led to periodic revivals of interest in the ideas and concepts of classical geopolitical theorists. As the Wehrmacht surged into the vast expanses of Soviet Russia and Imperial Japan sought to carve out a greater East Asia and Pacific empire, Western strategists and even popular media outlets such as Time magazine “discovered” the “Heartland” theory first propounded by British geographer Halford Mackinder in his 1904 address to the Royal Geographical Society entitled “The Geographical Pivot of History,” revised and expanded in his 1919 masterpiece Democratic Ideals and Reality, and further revised and updated in a 1943 Foreign Affairs article, “The Round World and the Winning of the Peace.”

Jan. 1, 2014

The Pen and the Sword: Faculty Management Challenges in the Mixed Cultural Environment of a War College

While the war colleges each Service maintains bow to their Services' cultures, and the National War College and Eisenhower School are joint, these institutions share certain commonalities in preparing lieutenant colonels and colonels and their Navy equivalents for the next level of responsibility. Seen from the perspective of an administrator, the war colleges should aim to be "intellectual centers of excellence with a mix of the best and brightest military and civilian faculty members." Properly resourced and staffed, the schools could serve as percolators for new and even counterintuitive thinking egged on by incisive research on impactful areas, and also as launching pads for the sorts of inquiring and innovative officers needed to confront the challenges of a fast-paced age.

Jan. 1, 2014

Unifying Our Vision: Joint ISR Coordination and the NATO Joint ISR Initiative

As revealed by Unified Vision 2012, joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (JISR) must fill a number of operationally applicable needs. JISR integration requires the technical linking of data sources, operational integration, command and control, and optimal tactical employment of ISR capabilities, which cannot be done without mature doctrine, refined tactics, techniques, and procedures, and training for operators. The NATO Allies must have an accessible and dependable apparatus for finding and striking targets that are often mobile and asymmetric; and the Alliance must be able to deploy it despite reduced U.S. financial and other inputs. JISR operators must be organized, trained, and equipped to interface with all allied assets using the appropriate tactics, techniques, and procedures.