Jan. 18, 2023

The Joint Force Remains Ill-Prepared to Consolidate Gains

A popular policy myth remains rooted in the U.S. mindset: that the military’s mission in combat is complete when the coalition is militarily successful in large-scale combat operations (LSCO) and that once the former regime’s forces have left the battlefield, civilian agencies can immediately move in and begin leading the difficult task of stabilizing the defeated nation. A study of history demonstrates the fallacy of this myth. Yet national policy and joint doctrine enable it to endure. Until joint doctrine incorporates consolidation of gains, the joint force will remain ill-prepared to translate fleeting military successes into long-term U.S. strategic victories

Jan. 18, 2023

The Age of AI: And Our Human Future

To fully appreciate The Age of AI: And Our Human Future, one must overlook its nebulous description of a decades-old issue and suspend any expectations for a well-researched and thorough account of this vital topic. The authors, who represent major policy, industry, and academic heavyweights, stumble in their attempt to raise awareness and often fail to provide meaningful insights. The analysis and research manifested here leave so many things unanswered. Still, the book is not without merit; some may find it a good starting point for a deeper dive into the subject of AI and public policy.

Jan. 18, 2023

Is Remote Warfare Moral? Weighing Issues of Life and Death From 7,000 Miles

The lessons of Joseph O. Chapa’s Is Remote Warfare Moral? Weighing Issues of Life and Death From 7,000 Miles are applicable beyond the remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) community upon which he focuses most of his attention. For a joint force charged with fighting from a distance—competing across oceans, planning against adversaries’ antiaccess/area-denial threats, and employing artificial intelligence (AI) to make rapid sense of complex situations a world away—Chapa’s book constitutes an important advance in the professional ethics of remote warfighting.

Jan. 18, 2023

War Transformed: The Future of Twenty-First-Century Great Power Competition and Conflict

War Transformed is strongly recommended as a guide to improve one’s ability to navigate our uncertain future. Not everyone is a “surf rider,” but this book will stretch minds and force readers to reassess longstanding assumptions and dated ideas. Its strength is in its synthesis of the ideas of many others, which makes War Transformed comprehensive and an excellent foundation for a security studies course. Supplemented by key articles for greater depth on competing ideas or specific technologies, it would be a superb text for a class on the changing character of warfare at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

Jan. 18, 2023

British Successes in 19th-Century Great Power Competition: Lessons for Today’s Joint Force

It is no accident that many of our nation’s finest military minds were avid readers of history. Former Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis’s suggestion that “history lights the . . . path ahead” has proved accurate time and again. As the U.S. security establishment pivots from a focus on counterterrorism to one of countering peer adversaries in new domains of conflict, history may again serve as a guide. As this pivot is under way, the country finds it is no longer the clear global hegemon but rather is operating in a multipolar global power structure. How do we navigate this transition? In the decades after the American Revolution, Britain not only maintained its vital interests despite the loss of the American colonies, but it also successfully navigated a multipolar power structure to strengthen its position in the international community. This article explores 19th-century British strategies to maintain and expand global power that might offer helpful insight to today’s joint force.

Jan. 18, 2023

America Must Engage in the Fight for Strategic Cognitive Terrain

Combining cutting-edge communications with psychosocial science to employ psychological capitulation strategies has changed the character of modern war. Adversaries combine half-truths with psychodynamic behavioral constructs to compete for strategic cognitive terrain. The U.S. military currently lacks the authorizations and capabilities required to protect societies against gray propaganda. Peter Singer and Emerson Brooking quoted an unattributed U.S. Army officer as saying, “Today we go in with the assumption that we’ll lose the battle of the narrative.” The United States can no longer accept loss in the information fight.

Jan. 17, 2023

Army Sustainment Capabilities: Instrumental to the Joint Force in the Indo-Pacific Region

While focusing on the Middle East for over 20 years, the U.S. military has lost its competitive edge over near-peer threats such as China and Russia due to their rapid military modernization across all domains. As the Department of Defense (DOD) looks at foreseeable conflict in the Pacific, the United States will require a joint and combined force to win a joint multi-domain battle. When thinking of the Pacific, the image of water implies movement and sustainment operations conducted in that domain. However, the capabilities required to open, set, and sustain the theater occur on land and are key to enabling the joint force to compete and win in the Indo-Pacific region.

Jan. 16, 2023

Beyond a Credible Deterrent: Optimizing the Joint Force for Great Power Competition

The Department of Defense’s (DOD) current preparation for conflict centers on outdated premonitions of war, with adversaries exploiting fundamental U.S. misconstructions to their advantage. In the era of Great Power competition (GPC), there will be no neatly declared war between nation-states, and all hybrid conflicts will range from violence by proxy to the use of conventional forces. Moreover, DOD is facing fundamental changes to the character of war with technological advances in precision munitions, information technology, hypersonics, cyber warfare, robotics, and artificial intelligence. The country that masters new technology and considers ethical implications for proper legal authority will have a decisive advantage—at least initially—for all future conflicts.

Jan. 16, 2023

America’s Special Operations Problem

From modest beginnings, the U.S. special operations forces (SOF) community has become a juggernaut, operating largely independently and consuming resources disproportionate to its strategic contributions. Accordingly, national leaders should rigorously assess current investments in SOF and rationalize these decisions against other important priorities. There is an important, and indeed essential, place for SOF in the national military establishment that must be preserved. But strategic balance must ever be the goal. Today, that means a streamlined SOF, less bloated and more responsive to joint force commanders and better integrated with the entire joint force.

Jan. 16, 2023

Security Cooperation for Coastal Forces Needs U.S. Coast Guard Leadership

The third decade of the 21st century has opened with an array of potential maritime threats laid out against the United States and its allies, including near-peer-level competition with China and Russia and regional hotspots in almost every navigable waterway of the world. U.S. maritime forces must effectively and efficiently utilize the tools at hand and place the best assets in areas that they are best suited for. This confluence of events provides the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) a unique opportunity to define a specific role within the defense mission set and to fill a critical niche that is currently devoid of leadership. The USCG is the best asset to take point as the U.S. maritime leader for coastal force security cooperation.