News | Oct. 30, 2018

Executive Summary

By William T. Eliason Joint Force Quarterly 91

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U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2017 marches toward their seats during graduation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 24, 2017 (DOD/James K. McCann)
U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2017 marches toward their seats during graduation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 24, 2017 (DOD/James K. McCann)
U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2017 marches toward their seats during graduation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 24, 2017 (DOD/James K. McCann)
U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2017 marches toward their seats during graduation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 24, 2017 (DOD/James K. McCann)
U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2017 marches toward their seats during graduation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 24, 2017 (DOD/James K. McCann)
Photo By: Sgt. James McCann
VIRIN: 170524-D-SW162-1146

As a student of leadership in many settings, I have long sought to see it from the position of those who are being led. They know best what good leadership looks like and how it feels, as they are the ones who help leaders succeed. At the U.S. Air Force Academy, first-year cadets are given a small book that contains quotations and other basic facts about the Service that they must memorize and recite on command by upper-class cadets. As cadets, my classmates and I were taught that followership was the basis of good leadership. The theory was if we learn how to follow, then it would be easier to see how to lead. One of the longest quotations I had to memorize was not from an Airman, or about airpower, but it had a profound effect on how I viewed leadership, especially as a follower. It came back to me instantly when I read about a senior officer who was being disciplined for not following the letter of the law while in command.

The passage is from West Point graduate, Civil War hero of the Western campaign and Sherman’s March to the Sea, and Medal of Honor winner Major General John M. Schofield, as he gave the graduation address at West Point in 1879:

The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice as to inspire in the soldier no feeling, but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them respect for himself. While he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his subordinates, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.

This set of ideas seemed quite at odds with the treatment a “doolie” like myself typically received in those days at the Academy, but in the end, those words and their value to me stuck. I recently read of a senior officer who was relieved for what I gather was a leadership style that embodied the darker side of what Schofield warned against.

General Joseph Dunford has stated, “As a leader of consequence, it’s never about you.” He believes that our military leaders should share the quality of moral courage. Leadership is neither a right nor an entitlement but a privilege and an honor that must be carefully respected. In this day of constant social media bombardment and constant surveillance via cell phones, enlightened senior leaders are likely to thrive while those who “fail to inspire”—or simply cannot be the best steward of our son’s and daughter’s futures—will become a costly burden we can no longer afford. In an increasingly complex and threat-filled world, the Nation expects the military to protect them, and that means leaders at all levels must lead with the highest principles in mind—always.

In this issue’s Forum, we offer two interesting views on how to deal with the environment facing the joint force today, and for the foreseeable future. Clearly, the United States has moved to focus on state competitors after nearly two decades of dealing with violent extremism primarily in one region of the world. Stephan Pikner helps us see the arc of U.S. strategy from the Cold War to the present and suggests that complementary engagement with allies and partners backed by certain revitalization of U.S. capabilities will position the United States to compete in this new strategic world. With a change in administration, some of the efforts that began under the Obama administration with the concept of the “Third Offset Strategy” have either continued or have been shelved. Technology and strategy thinker and JFQ alumni James Hasik gives an excellent explanation of the Nation’s offset strategies and describes how current innovations supporting the Third Offset Strategy can help the U.S. military win the Nation’s wars.

JFQ next presents the winning essays from the 12th annual Secretary of Defense and 37th annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Essay Competitions, held here at National Defense University in May 2018. Twenty-nine senior faculty members from 15 participating professional military education institutions served as judges to determine the best student entries among the three categories. Captain Kapil Bhatia, Indian Navy, winner of the Secretary of Defense National Security Essay competition, provides one of the best articles we have seen in recent years about the impact of China’s expansion projects in the South China Seas and what the United States can do about it. In a rare event, the judges awarded a tie for first place in the Chairman’s Strategy Article competition, so we are pleased to bring both of these papers to you. Major Edwin Chua, Singapore Army, offers the cautionary tale of the misinformation cyber attack on Qatari state media in 2017, and Lieutenant Colonel Michael Wagner, USA, discusses the Russian offer of a peacekeeping force in Eastern Ukraine as not being something the United States should completely dismiss.

In Commentary, two interesting articles take us from the cutting edge of technology in today’s environment to the Korean Peninsula of some 65+ years ago. Michael Kidd, Angela Quinn, and Andres Munera bring us a compact primer on additive manufacturing and its potential game-changing impact on how the joint force is logistically supported. Returning JFQ author Price Bingham offers his take on the evolving relationship of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army in the Korean War. His unique perspective will surely stimulate an age-old debate on the relationship between the Army and Air Force.

Our Features section takes us into the “hot” topics affecting the joint force, and all three relate to current operating environment and how the military might adapt to it. James Hayes III discusses the role of special operations forces in the multidomain battle concept. Addressing the growing issue of how to deal with the threat of cyber attack, Michael Carvelli next describes a better approach to establishing the rules for our responses. For many years, calls for the military to adapt or transform have been constant, but an accepted approach has been allusive. Hassan Kamara suggests we look at Kotter’s Eight-Step Methodology as a potential answer.

In Recall, we find an interesting discussion of strategic bombing and the application of airpower to war. While no single article of the length we accept could hope to fully cover the entire history of this topic, Michael Trimble offers a successful run with his discussion of the evolution of Air Force strategic bombing from 1918 to 1974.

Along with three excellent book reviews, our Joint Doctrine section is fairly robust this issue with three valuable pieces on a range of joint force support issues. In his continuing series of interagency focused articles, George Katsos offers a summary of joint force campaign activities to execute the U.S. approach to civilian security. Bringing in the multinational partners that are essential to many U.S. military operations around the globe, David Gayvert describes how U.S. Joint Personnel Recovery missions leverage international forces. In an important update article, Andrew Keene helps us understand the key details of the new Joint Publication 4-0, Joint Logistics. And as always, you can keep track of the ongoing changes to how the joint force fights with the Joint Doctrine Update.

What do you think about the joint force? Where do we need to adapt to meet the future as you see it? Where does leadership make a difference to you, and what does good leadership look like? When you think you have some answers, JFQ is here to help you reach out to the joint force and beyond. JFQ

William T. Eliason
Editor in Chief