June 4, 2019

Thucydides’ Other “Traps”: The United States, China, and the Prospect of “Inevitable” War

The notion of a “Thucydides Trap” that will ensnare China and the United States in a 21st century conflict—much as the rising power of Athens alarmed Sparta and made war “inevitable” between the Aegean superpowers of the 5th century BCE—has received global attention since entering the international relations lexicon 6 years ago. Scholars, journalists, bloggers, and politicians in many countries, notably China, have embraced this beguiling metaphor, coined by Harvard political science professor Graham Allison, as a framework for examining the likelihood of a Sino-American war.

May 20, 2019

Finding Ender: Exploring the Intersections of Creativity, Innovation, and Talent Management in the U.S. Armed Forces

Current national-level strategic documents exhort the need for creativity and innovation as a precondition of America’s continued competitive edge in the international arena. But what does that really mean in terms of personnel, processes, and culture? This paper argues that an overlooked aspect of talent management, that of cognitive diversity, must be considered when retooling military talent management systems. Going one step further, talent management models must incorporate diversity of both skill set and mindset into their calculus. Specifically, the Department of Defense (DOD) needs to recruit, retain, and utilize Servicemembers and civilians with higher than average levels of creativity and a propensity for innovative thinking. It needs “enders.”

May 14, 2019

Diplomatic Security: A Comparative Analysis

In In this new book, two adept editors, Eugenio Cusumano and Christopher Kinsey, combine and edit the work of eleven authors’ different looks at diplomatic security as practiced in nine countries—China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States—as well as some overall themes on the subject. The result is perhaps the most comprehensive public study of the topic released to date, and the work stands as a reminder of the high price nations have paid in pursuit of diplomacy, as well as the difficulties and tradeoffs of balancing diplomatic efforts and the security operations meant to protect them.

May 14, 2019

The Cold War and The Cold War’s Killing Fields

Two new books revisit the Cold War. Odd Arne Westad’s The Cold War: A World History and Paul Chamberlin’s The Cold War’s Killing Fields. Westad does not use the standard bracket of 1945-89, but takes the long view back to nineteenth century economic turmoil and turn-of-the-century anti-colonialist sentiment. Chamberlain also emphasizes this same point, that the Cold War was much more than a bipolar ideological struggle. According to reviewer Walter Hudson, neither book is perfect, particularly the Chamberlin book in which American policies and policymakers do not receive fair treatment. Nonetheless, the merits of both books outweigh their flaws.

May 14, 2019

Fire for Effect: The Evolution of Joint Fires

Joint Publication (JP) 3-60, Joint Targeting, was revised and signed by the Director of Joint Force Development, and JP 3-09, Joint Fire Support, is in the final stages of its revision, tentatively scheduled for release in fall 2019. While both of these documents are commendable, says Mark Berwanger, some will claim that joint doctrine falls short in providing sufficient doctrine to integrate and synchronize all capabilities needed to accomplish the commander’s intent. Until the definition, utilization, and cultural understanding of “fires” is updated to include all offensive capabilities regardless of the weapon system, problems of integration and synchronization will remain.

May 14, 2019

The Insufficiency of U.S. Irregular Warfare Doctrine

As the U.S. enters a new era of near-peer competition, Irregular Warfare (IW) doctrine is insufficient to counter adversary employment of irregular strategies. China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and Violent Extremist Organizations are using irregular methods to include information, cyber, economic, and unconventional warfare to offset conventional military advantages. The doctrinal terms IW and Unconventional Warfare (UW) provide a common point of departure for the doctrinal discussion, but are incomplete, generally not well understood and often misused. According to Pelleriti and co-authors, U.S. planners must reassess and update IW terminology, concepts and authorities to be successful in this new era.

May 14, 2019

Joint Doctrine Updates

Joint Doctrine Updates

May 14, 2019

Gallipoli: Lessons from the Great War on the Projection of Power and Joint Forcible Entry

The Gallipoli Campaign in April 1915 is one of the few events in WWI that incorporated land, sea, subsurface, air and multinational operations. Today we recognize this as a truly joint operation. This campaign offers the Joint Force important lessons on the projection of power and forcible entries for large scale combat operations within the all-domain operational concept. These include unity of command, joint fires, multiple dilemmas, logistics, the consolidation of gains and medical support services. The Gallipoli Campaign is a case study and a valuable learning tool for modern day planners which should not go to waste.

May 14, 2019

Enhancing Unit Readiness on the Southwest Border

Realistic training for military can often be illusive. Factors such as urban growth, pollution, competition for frequencies and airspace, and protected habitats, continually challenge the Department of Defense in carrying out realistic training at installations. However, a small task force in the southwest has developed a solution to keep units training as they fight. At Fort Bliss in Texas, Joint Task Force North (JTF-N) has developed innovative training opportunities for units that otherwise may not get the chance. While the benefits are easy to see, JTF-N is always looking for new ways to save money and enhance unit readiness.

May 14, 2019

U.S. Africa Command and Its Changing Strategic Environment

U.S. Africa Command has been training governments to combat terrorism, insurgency, and transnational crime while instilling the principles of professionalism and good governance. However, major changes in the strategic environment call for a new approach. Based on changing trade patterns, China’s rising influence, and the U.S.’s new focus on great power competition, say the authors, USAFRICOM must now help African leaders safeguard national independence and root out foreign corruption. A whole-of-government approach is needed to prevent dark money from subverting local governments and turning would-be allies against the United States.