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While some may seek to look only forward, I would offer that war—any war—leaves its mark on society and must be considered in everyday life, especially the unfinished work of the postwar period and any efforts to return to the prewar status quo. Today’s military and our recent veterans, with their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, know well what war and its aftermath look like. Our record is worth examining. Without doing so, the next war will likely rise out of the untended coals of the past. I offer, as others have, that the current Russian invasion of Ukraine is based solely on the myths Putin believes are true. As a result, these myths become deadly both at an individual level as well as at a global one. To some, making war is easier than keeping the peace.
Our Forum offers two engaging articles that ask us to consider what might happen next in the world of conflict. First, while much has been said lately about the rise of flying machines without pilots on board, Jonathan Bell provides leaders and planners the issues and options to consider when countering the growing swarm of drones in the air. Next, a relatively new but important word, lawfare, or the use of the law as a weapon of war, is increasingly a part of Great Power competition, and Stephen Schiffman assesses the readiness of the joint force to respond.
The 16th annual Secretary of Defense and 41st annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) Essay Competitions once again provided us with three outstanding student compositions for your analysis. The competitions brought the 31 faculty judges some 97 essays to consider, and the submissions were considered by the “ancient” judges as some of the finest student writing in recent years. As this year’s final judging was in person for the first time in 3 years, NDU President Lieutenant General Michael Plehn, USAF, was on hand to welcome and thank the judges for their efforts.
The winner of the Secretary of Defense National Security Essay Competition, Jeffrey Graham of the National War College, writes about how building up the relationship of the United States with India is key to securing that theater. Winning the Strategic Research Paper category of the CJCS Strategic Essay Competition, Ryan Tate of the U.S. Army War College advocates for more transparency in the use of deterrence in the cyber domain. Taking first place honors in the Strategy Article category of the CJCS Essay Competition, Kimberly Sandberg, Kevin Pickard, Jr., Jay Zwirblis, and Speight Caroon, a student team from the Joint and Combined Warfighting School at the Joint Forces Staff College, make a compelling argument for the use of health diplomacy in the current strategic environment.
As the one military journal dedicated to the joint force, we are fortunate enough to highlight the work of the combatant commands. This issue’s Special Feature brings the latest from the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM). For a view from the top of the command, my interview with General Jacqueline Van Ovost should help readers see the global scope and reach of USTRANSCOM in supporting national command authorities, the regional commands, as well as our allies and partners. Each of the command’s components and the staff offer their takes on how USTRANSCOM operates, starting with the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command’s Michael Minihan, who discusses airpower and its contribution to joint victory. David Bassett and James Regan describe the work of the Navy’s Military Sealift Command who work the heavy lifting for the joint force. Bruce Busler, who directs USTRANSCOM’s Joint Distribution Process Analysis Center, describes how the command has adapted to meet the demands of changing national defense strategies since the end of the Cold War. Completing the team discussion, Fred Teeter gives insight into how the Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command provides sustainment to the joint force. I want to thank General Van Ovost and her team for sharing their insights into this best of teams.
Features has three diverse and valuable articles that cover emerging areas of interest to the joint force. A constant concern for commanders and their units in any conflict, recent efforts to achieve Joint All-Domain Command and Control through experimentation are highlighted by James Richardson, as he details the Army’s efforts in Project Convergence. Food competition is often at the root of conflict, especially among the fishing fleets of the world, as Scott Apling, Martin Jeffery Bryant, James Garrison, and Oyunchimeg Young help us understand the issues involved when these activities violate international law. As longtime readers of JFQ will know, medical issues related to operations and strategy are found in these pages, and George Barbee offers a look into the future of military medicine and its impact on our planning and execution of the joint fight.
Rounding out this edition, Dagvin Anderson, Philip Buswell, and Andrew Caulk give us an outstanding Recall article that discusses their information versus kinetic operations as a part of their campaign experiences in Somalia. We also help you find the best books to read with three valuable reviews.
With this 107th edition of the Chairman’s journal, we invite you to comment on war, peace, and the in-between, as that is where you will always find the joint force.
Click here to read JFQ 107 →
NDU Press produces Joint Force Quarterly in concert with ongoing education and research at National Defense University in support of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. JFQ is the Chairman's joint military and security studies journal designed to inform and educate national security professionals on joint and integrated operations; whole of government contributions to national security policy and strategy; homeland security; and developments in training and joint military education to better equip America's military and security apparatus to meet tomorrow's challenges while protecting freedom today.