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Category: JFQ Articles

Nov. 5, 2018

The U.S. Air Force and Army in Korea: How Army Decisions Limited Airpower Effectiveness

The US Air Force was key to halting the North Korean invasion and rescuing US Army forces during the Korean War. Unfortunately, US Army commanders made decisions that limited the effectiveness of US air power, says the author, which made the Korean War more costly than necessary. This historical analysis offers important lessons for the Joint Force. First is that joint doctrine must recognize the need to design ground maneuvers to enhance the effectiveness of air interdiction. And second is that each service has its own unique paradigm of war to achieve national security objectives.

Oct. 31, 2018

Peacekeepers in the Donbas

The ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces and separatists backed by Russia has the potential for peaceful settlement. Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised many observers when he proposed introducing peacekeepers in Eastern Ukraine. Putin’s proposal may be disingenuous, says the author, but may also be a real opportunity for peace. This essay tied for first place in the Strategy Article category of the 2018 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategic Essay Competition. The author, Lieutenant Colonel Michael P. Wagner of the US Army wrote this as a student at the US Army War College.

Oct. 31, 2018

Political Warfare with Other Means: 2017 Cyber Attacks on Qatar

Qatar’s state news agency falsely reported in 2017 that a Qatari Emir supported Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Israel. Although this cyberattack was ultimately unsuccessful, the author says we can and should learn from these events, and take a pre-emptive approach to prevent the spread of false and misleading information. This essay tied for first place in the Strategy Article category of the 2018 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategic Essay Competition. The author, Major Edwin Y. Chua of the Singapore Army wrote this as a student at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

Oct. 30, 2018

Coercive Gradualism Through Gray Zone Statecraft in the South China Seas: China’s Strategy and Potential U.S. Options

Coercive Gradualism is the incremental employment of coercive instruments of national power in a synchronized and integrated fashion below the threshold of military conflict. In response to aggressive regional challenges, such as China’s use of Coercive Gradualism in the South China Sea, the US needs to develop and implement a coherent strategy utilizing all diplomatic, informational, military and economic options. This essay won the 2018 Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition. The author, Captain Kapil Bhatia of the Indian Navy wrote this as a student at the US Naval War College.

Oct. 30, 2018

Beyond the Third Offset: Matching Plans for Innovation to a Theory of Victory

The Third Offset Strategy was introduced by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in 2014, which drew from previous offset strategies and focused on innovative ways to sustain the US’s power projection capabilities. In its current formulation, says the author, the Third Offset is essentially a technology strategy which offers no enduring competitive advantage. Therefore, we should simplify the meaning of offset strategy to focus on nullifying an adversary’s advantage by imposing costs that would dissuade them from turning into enemies. Based on this, military strategists should contemplate organizational and doctrinal changes rather than rely on uncertain technologies.

Oct. 30, 2018

Complementary Engagement: An American-Led Response to Rising Regional Rivals

The concept of Complementary Engagement emphasizes capacity-building among US allies and partners while proposing a revised military structure and posture. The goal is to counter aspiring regional hegemons who have expanded their ambitions and capabilities, particularly China, Iran and Russia. Although these regional hegemons cannot match the global reach of the former Soviet Union, they still pose a threat. Therefore, says the author, the US should invest in ballistic missile defense, long range strike capabilities and nuclear weapons, and rebalance our alliances to encourage a more equitable sharing of the defense burden.

Oct. 30, 2018

Executive Summary

Editor-in Chief Bill Eliason asks what kind of leaders does the military need. Our authors have answers from across the Joint Force. Our essay competition winners cover topics from China’s expansion in the South China Sea to Russia’s peacekeeping offer in the Ukraine to the rules of engagement and the risks of misinformation cyber warfare. Throughout this issue, we deal with hot topics: Special Forces in multi-domain battle, the long-term transformation of the Joint Force, air power during the Korean War, the doctrine of strategic airpower as it continues to evolve, and newly revised joint logistics doctrine.

July 5, 2018

Don’t Shoot the Messenger: Demosthenes, Churchill, and the Consensus Delusion

In this feature article, the author compares the experiences of ancient Greek philosopher Demosthenes and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Though separated by two thousand years, both advocated for rearmament, both were called warmongers, and both were sidelined as a result. Far from provoking conflict, Demosthenes and Churchill sought to avoid war by strengthening military readiness and reinforcing support for their allies to make war less appealing to their adversaries. The lessons of Demosthenes and Churchill are still relevant as the Joint Force struggles with its own challenges in the midst of growing threats from actors across multiple domains.

July 5, 2018

Reverse Engineering Goldwater-Nichols: China’s Joint Force Reforms

This feature article examines the modernization of the People’s Liberation Army, particularly its operational capability within the People’s Republic of China and recent efforts to develop its capability as an expeditionary force. While the U.S. military has been reorganizing since the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, China has paid close attention and taken significant steps, for example, in the creation of new joint warfighting commands, reorganization of its department system, and creation of new military services. These reform efforts have not been entirely successful, however, due to entrenched bureaucratic interests and the lack of recent combat operations.

July 5, 2018

Bombs, Not Broadcasts: U.S. Preference for Kinetic Strategy in Asymmetric Conflict

In this feature article, the author explores reasons why U.S. strategy in asymmetric conflict has focused so heavily on kinetic operations while conceding the information domain to weaker adversaries. This scenario is a consistent feature of every asymmetric conflict the U.S. has been involved in over the past several decades. In order for the U.S. military to be more successful in asymmetric wars, it needs to give company and battalion commanders authority to conduct information operations, move away from the mentality of treating messages like munitions, and create an organizational culture that fully appreciates the importance of information operations.