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Category: JFQ Articles

July 25, 2019

Getting the Joint Functions Right

In July 2017, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced a special out-of-cycle revision to joint doctrine, adding Information to the joint functions. The significance of this policy change was highlighted by endorsement from the Secretary of Defense in September 2017, where he stressed that inclusion in the joint functions signaled an elevation of information throughout Department of Defense thinking and practice. This article is an historical overview of the joint functions, intended to overcome the long-standing reluctance to place the soft power elements of the modern battlefield on the same footing as hard power elements.

July 25, 2019

Global Risks and Opportunities: The Great Power Competition Paradigm

The great power competition paradigm outlined in the National Defense Strategy provides a way to think strategically about inter-state competition in a multipolar world. Both history and a survey of current events indicate we should expect great power competition throughout the 21st century between the US, China and Russia in Africa, Central Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Although information operations, economic diplomacy and espionage will be the primary weapons of statecraft, say the authors, military cooperation can catalyze greater regional integration, reassure our partners and allies, and support our whole-of-government efforts.

July 25, 2019

Twenty-First Century Nuclear Deterrence: Operationalizing the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

America must maintain credible nuclear deterrent capabilities to convince potential adversaries and allies alike that the US will defend its vital interests and will employ those capabilities, all while hedging against an uncertain future. Despite the changing environment, America continues to view nuclear deterrence largely in Cold War terms. The continued reliance on obsolete deterrence concepts exposes a gap between policy and practice. The US must eliminate this gap, say the authors, by developing a tailored and flexible deterrence posture, which will give the Joint Force a broad spectrum of nuclear deterrence capabilities.

July 24, 2019

Joint Integrative Solutions for Combat Casualty Care in a Pacific War at Sea

US maritime forces currently conduct theater security operations through rotating carrier strike groups in the Western Pacific. Although current engagements and interactions with our competitors in the region fall short of open military conflict, a war at sea may be unavoidable. Some of the most significant deficiencies within the current combat casualty care system occur within this contentious maritime environment. To improve readiness, the authors recommend joint integration of medical capabilities such as incorporating forward resuscitative and surgical platforms, enhancing our medical airlift and sealift evacuation capabilities, supplementing Mercy-class hospital ships, and implementing a medical command and control system.

July 24, 2019

LikeWar

Brett Swaney reviews LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media by Peter W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking. The authors examine the role of social media in reshaping the character of war and politics. The result is an insightful overview of the new information battlespace for national security professionals.

July 24, 2019

Strategy, Evolution, and War

Ryan Shaffer reviews Strategy, Evolution, and War: From Apes to Artificial Intelligence by Kenneth Payne. Payne studies the origins of human strategy in evolutionary history, examines the relationship between culture, war and technology, and considers the potential of artificial intelligence to influence military strategy.

July 24, 2019

America vs. the West

Brittany Bounds reviews America vs. the West: Can the Liberal World Order Be Preserved? By Kori Schake. Schake gives an efficient summation of the great power competition with China and Russia, says Bounds, and offers several possible scenarios for an alternative to the liberal international order if the US continues to disengage.

July 24, 2019

Flanking the Crater

The Battle of the Crater, fought in 1864 during the US Civil War, is a successful example of tactical innovation except that it did not succeed. The idea was to alter the battlespace by tunneling under the enemy’s fortifications. The local commander made a quick feasibility study, and decided to utilize his soldiers’ skills as civilian miners. The authors use these events as a case study in innovation, particularly the role of mid-level leaders and propose a Joint Innovation Framework. Among their recommendations is appointment of a lead integrator who would help translate tactical opportunities into operational and strategic victories.

July 24, 2019

Ground Combat Overmatch Through Control of the Atmospheric Littoral

Atmospheric littoral operations—in the air between the buildings—exemplify how the inherent capabilities of unmanned systems and autonomy could enable overmatch, particularly for close combat in the land domain where many future conflicts are likely to be decided. A doctrine of exploiting control of the atmospheric littoral offers tactical advantages that provide a driving force for integrating robotic systems into ground combat. By pursuing a low-cost program of prototyping and experimentation, the US can lead the emerging combat capabilities offered by unmanned systems, avoid technological surprise, and lead the fight in three dimensions.

July 24, 2019

The Mayaguez Incident: A Model Case Study for PME

The seizure and rescue of the SS Mayaguez in 1975 serves as a case study in this fascinating article. Considered by many to be the last battle of the Vietnam War, the Mayaguez incident took place just two weeks before the final withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam. The author highlights the challenges created by a poor understanding of history, lack of awareness of the strategic situation, numerous communication failures and an inability to overcome groupthink. Although the Mayaguez operation was flawed, says the author, this case is a valuable teaching tool at every level of professional military education.