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Sept. 10, 2020

Joint Force Quarterly 98 (3rd Quarter, July 2020)

As I write this column from my table far away from my NDU Press office during the pandemic, I am wondering about the scope of it all, as I am sure many of you are. Was COVID-19 unexpected? Unprecedented? Did we all think it would not happen? One thing I am certain about—such times bring out the need for capability and teamwork in the harshest of conditions. While not a typical environment for the military, often when we see the need to team up in ways that might not be traditional to work out a “wicked problem” like this one, I wonder if this situation is exactly what jointness is for.

Sept. 10, 2020

Surrogate Warfare

What do you get when two Middle Eastern subject matter experts decide to update the age-old concept of proxy warfare and explore the potential of machines to serve as surrogates that substitute or supplement a nation’s formal military forces? The answer is an ambitious and useful examination of how war is changing in light of emerging technologies, such as autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) and cyber weapons able to leverage artificial intelligence (AI). Members of the joint force willing to brave the occasional academese passages on Clausewitzian theory will find gems of insight throughout Surrogate Warfare.

Sept. 10, 2020

The Culture of Military Organizations

It would be difficult to find scholars who are better qualified to edit this excellent new volume of military culture. Having retired from the U.S. Army following a distinguished career, culminating as one of General David Petraeus’s most trusted aides in Iraq in 2007, Peter Mansoor has published a number of books on military history and Iraq. Williamson Murray has been a major figure in military studies for over 30 years, producing, among many other works, the now classic three-volume study Military Effectiveness (Cambridge University Press, 2010) with his long-term collaborator Allan R. Millett.

Sept. 10, 2020

The New Rules of War and The Dragons and the Snakes

It is said that generals always want to refight the last war. Often scholars are willing to do the same. Martin Van Creveld’s Transformation of War (Free Press, 1991) was heavily influenced by the painful intifadas in his native Israel. Mary Kaldor’s New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era (Stanford University Press, 1999) was based on the criminal warlords of the ethnic Balkan clashes. In his The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World (Knopf, 2007), British general Rupert Smith declared that war, as he was taught, no longer existed and drew heavily on the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and his tour in Bosnia. Conventional warfare was thrown into history’s dustbin and “wars amongst the people” presented as a novel paradigm shift.

Sept. 10, 2020

The Duke of Marlborough and the Paradox of Campaigning in Long Wars

The Duke of Marlborough was a commander for the ages. For 10 campaigns during the War of the Spanish Succession, stretching from 1702 to 1711, he was never defeated on the field of battle. However, the war ended in the failure of the Grand Alliance’s war aim to prevent Louis XIV’s Bourbon dynasty from taking the throne of Spain. Marlborough’s campaign in 1711 provides a potent source of understanding for joint military commanders and practitioners on the complexities of campaigning.

Sept. 10, 2020

Balancing Competition with Cooperation: A Strategy to Prepare for the Chinese Dream

The United States has no more pressing national security imperative than formulating and implementing an effective strategy about the People’s Republic of China (PRC). While tightening his authoritarian control at home, General Secretary Xi Jinping has leveraged China’s rising economic strength to challenge the U.S.-led liberal international order.1 China’s growth and actions under Xi pose a threat to U.S. prosperity in the short term and its national security in the long term. For example, the PRC is leading in the development of 5G technology.

Sept. 10, 2020

Leveraging Return on Investment: A Model for Joint Force Campaign Plan Assessments

On August 2, 2019, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper informed the military Services of a department-wide fiscal program review to better align the future joint force toward a near-peer threat environment, a process similar to the “night court” proceedings he held during his tenure as the Secretary of the Army. The directive memo states, “No reform is too small, too bold, or too controversial to be considered.”

Sept. 10, 2020

The Psychology of Jointness

No military in the world can employ the forces of different services in such an integrated and interdependent manner as the U.S. military, and we can attribute this hard-won level of competence, accumulated over decades, to reforms stemming from the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 (GNA). These changes led the U.S. military to become the most powerful force in the world by compelling it to become the most joint force in the world.

Joint Force Quarterly 98 Sept. 10, 2020

The "Politics" of Security Cooperation and Security Assistance

In 1955 a book titled The Politics of the Prussian Army, 1640–1945 was published; it would soon become a landmark study of civil-military relations. Gordon Craig’s unassuming tome became widely influential within and outside the civil-military relations field and spurred the publication of what has become a wide literature on the politics of armies (particularly those of the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, and France) that takes a different approach to our conventional understanding of civil-military relations.

Sept. 10, 2020

Joint Doctrine Updates

Joint Doctrine Updates.