Jan. 23, 2019

Getting American Security Force Assistance Right: Political Context Matters

Security assistance depends on supporting both the militaries and the governments in weak states. Critics argue that security assistance undermines local government institutions and enables undisciplined host-nations to abuse human rights. Why should the U.S. struggle to build strong armies in weak states? Engaging weak states is in our interest, say the authors, because weak states often have governments that lack legitimacy and national identity, and thus provide environments conducive to insurgency and terrorism. Nonetheless, if we offer the right combination of carrots-and-sticks, we can encourage host-nations to reform their armed forces without undermining domestic political stability.

Jan. 23, 2019

Evasive Maneuvers: How Malign Actors Leverage Cryptocurrency

The emergence of cryptocurrencies is a new frontier with profound implications for national security. Bad actors take advantage of innovative digital technologies and global connectivity, which makes it difficult to follow the money. Because of the risks, the U.S. should continue to influence world financial markets and perhaps integrate DOD cyberspace operations into a whole-of-government response. The U.S. Government already has significant defensive and offensive capabilities in cyberspace, but must reimagine its role. The U.S. can lead the way, say the authors, by writing and enforcing new rules and regulations which would ensure the integrity of this new financial landscape.

Jan. 22, 2019

Thinking Differently about the Business of War

Military strategy in protracted competition is similar to organizational strategy. In a fiercely competitive and constantly shifting strategic environment, the authors ask whether success is more about the willingness to change or the ability to focus on fundamentals. In response, the authors apply the business concept of competitive advantage to the military context. This article explains how the Joint Force can organize, train, and procure equipment based on informed assumptions about what will matter most in future wars. As a result, military leaders and strategists can balance current and future requirements, make wise investments and mitigate risk.

Jan. 22, 2019

Force Protection from Moral Injury: Three Objectives for Military Leaders

Moral Injury is an occupational hazard that affects the Joint Force. All combatants are moral actors, say the authors, because they make life and death decisions influenced by their core values and lethal skills. Leaders at every level need to understand how combatants develop and use core values to judge perceptions of their military service and cope with maladaptive emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Today’s leaders cannot control the traumatic effects of combat, but they can prepare service members for the risks they will encounter by embedding moral reasoning within mission command, and by providing resources which facilitate the healing process.

Jan. 22, 2019

"This Breaking News Just In, Emperor Napoleon I Is Still Dead!"

Geographic Combatant Commands have two mission sets: theater engagement and warfighting. This paper proposes dividing theater engagement and warfighting into two separate commands. Geographic Commands under a three-star commander would facilitate theater security cooperation and be responsible for activities such as intelligence, logistics and communications. Meanwhile, three Combat Operations Commands (East, West and Homeland) each under a four-star commander would be responsible for defending the homeland and projecting force elsewhere. The DOD has an opportunity to streamline existing command structures and establish a new paradigm, which would allow the Joint Force to fulfill its mission without confusion or contradiction.

Jan. 22, 2019

Simplicity: A Tool for Working with Complexity and Chaos

The science of simplification can help the Joint Force develop agile and adaptive leaders able to operate in complex and chaotic environments. What is the key to making time sensitive decisions in complex and chaotic situations? Simplicity, says the author, not complexity is the key to accelerating the cognitive process in complex and chaotic situations. Simplification of doctrine improves situational awareness and reduces information overload that contributes to paralysis by analysis. Leaders and doctrine writers should seriously consider taking a new direction toward simplification to help decision makers turn intention into action.

Jan. 22, 2019

Toward a More Lethal, Flexible, and Resilient Joint Force: Rediscovering the Purpose of JPME II

Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) has never been more important to the success of the Joint Force. The contemporary security environment demands a lethal, flexible and resilient Joint Force to meet transregional, multidimensional, and multifunctional threats to U.S. national security. Today’s complex security environment demands truly joint warfighters capable of addressing transregional, multi-functional challenges across all domains—sea, air, land, space and cyberspace. The DOD can create the broader and deeper jointness necessary for the Joint Force to succeed, say the authors, only by investing in, rather than divesting from the capacity of JPME schools and programs.

Jan. 22, 2019

Applying Irregular Warfare Principles to Cyber Warfare

Cyberspace is a relatively new warfighting domain which does not conform to the physical limitations of land, sea, air or space. The faceless, borderless and sometimes nationless actors in cyberspace are unrestricted by natural geographic boundaries and traditional rules of war. However, by applying the principles of Irregular Warfare and integrating cyberspace operations across other domains, the Joint Force can optimize resource allocation and improve the effectiveness of cyber power. As cyberspace continues to evolve and expand as a warfighting domain, military leaders and cyber strategists should incorporate unconventional approaches and hybrid warfare in support of national objectives.

Jan. 22, 2019

A Cyber Force for Persistent Operations

Persistent engagement and forward defense are two key concepts in this article by General Paul Nakasone, Commander of USCYBERCOM. This means remaining in constant contact with adversaries while operating as close to them as possible. The idea is to support the National Security Strategy and protect the DOD Information Network while denying advantage to adversaries so the Joint Force can conduct secure operations. Although cyberspace represents a new strategic environment, Nakasone says USCYBERCOM is maturing as a combatant command, transitioning from force generation to sustained readiness for persistent engagement with cyber adversaries.

Jan. 17, 2019

An Interview with Paul M. Nakasone

Commander of U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) General Paul Nakasone offers his insights in this fascinating interview. Nakasone explains the foundational concepts of cyber warfare and a few of the challenges he faces leading our defense of cyberspace. He outlines the role of the Joint Force and the key partnerships in government and the private sector which enhance our warfighting capabilities. Perhaps his greatest challenge is to constantly upgrade these capabilities by recruiting, training and retaining a world-class force. Superiority in cyberspace is ephemeral, says Nakasone, and the competition for talent never seems to get any easier.