Jan. 10, 2018

Department of Defense Terminology Program

The Department of Defense (DOD) Terminology Program was formalized in 2009 by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and falls under the responsibility of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS).1 The program is overseen by the director of Joint Force Development (DJ7) to improve communications and mutual understanding through the standardization of military and associated terminology within DOD, with other U.S. Government departments and agencies, and between the United States and international partners. It includes U.S. participation in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) terminology development as well as other terminology forums.

Jan. 10, 2018

A COG Concept for Winning More Than Just Battles

While current U.S. doctrine makes the center of gravity (COG) concept the centerpiece in operational planning, there is a broad call for either revising or killing the concept. However, if the COG concept is to remain the centerpiece in military planning, it must not only help link actions, effects, and objectives but also link the JFC level of command with the national strategic level of command.

Jan. 10, 2018

Social Science Goes to War: The Human Terrain System in Iraq and Afghanistan

The gap between academia and the military has existed at least since the early 1960s, when Project Camelot crystallized political opposition to the American military/security apparatus by activist academicians. As a result, the military/security community established its own think tanks, designed to replicate social and hard science capabilities, reducing the political noise and fallout inherent in the engagement with a potentially hostile academic community. On the other side of the divide, many academics reacted with anger to social scientists engaged in military activity, political beliefs fusing with concerns of academic freedom and fanned with the flames of opposition to the Vietnam War in what they saw as colonialism and rampant militarization of American society.

Jan. 10, 2018

Elite Warriors: Special Operations Forces from Around the World

Special operations forces (SOF) have existed in some form and played roles in warfare since the advent of conventional military operations. For example, in biblical times, King David had a special forces platoon. World War II brought growth, greater recognition, and prestige for special forces like the British Commandos, Special Air Service, and the American Office of Strategic Services. The last two decades have witnessed explosive growth in various forms of unconventional or SOF.

Jan. 10, 2018

Unwinnable: Britain’s War in Afghanistan, 2001–2014

For years, the British enjoyed a reputation of counterinsurgency excellence. Their campaigns—Malaya, Kenya, Oman, Northern Ireland—were hailed as successes in this difficult form of war. Afghanistan, however, turned out to be painful for the British. They committed a peak of over 9,500 troops, eventually drawing down to a few hundred by the end of 2014. They faced numerous battlefield reverses. Eventual successes were overshadowed by the arrival of 20,000 U.S. Marines. Britain’s counterinsurgency reputation came out of the campaign tarnished.

Jan. 10, 2018

Implementing Guidance for Security Cooperation: Overcoming Obstacles to U.S. Africa Command’s Efforts

U.S. Africa Command’s lack of operationalization of its security cooperation processes, combined with the sheer size of its area of responsibility and the significant changes with the new NDAA, create unique challenges. This article outlines four main areas where USAFRICOM can improve its efforts to operationalize and synchronize its security cooperation efforts.

Jan. 10, 2018

Achieving Secrecy and Surprise in a Ubiquitous ISR Environment

As foreign and commercial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities proliferate, our ability to leverage secrecy and surprise for battlefield advantage is in danger of being severely degraded or lost altogether. We must take prudent near-term steps to address this concern.

Jan. 10, 2018

Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense: Simplifying an Increasingly Complex Problem

As the complexity of air, cruise, and ballistic missile threats quickly evolves over the next 10 to 20 years, DOD must find a less complicated way to rapidly develop and integrate the Services’ integrated air and missile defense capabilities and employ them across the combatant commands boundaries.

Jan. 10, 2018

Geographic Component Network Analysis: A Methodology for Deliberately Targeting a Hybrid Adversary

As the nature of the adversaries the U.S. military engages on the battlefield changes, so must our thinking on how to systematically analyze and degrade their centers of gravity. Geographic component network analysis (GCNA) enables more rapid analysis of a hybrid enemy in a focused, systematic manner to degrade the adversary’s capability to effectively govern and project combat power from defined territorial strongholds.

Jan. 10, 2018

Scipio Africanus and the Second Punic War: Joint Lessons for Center of Gravity Analysis

Scipio Africanus’s European and African campaigns during the Second Punic War serve as timeless lessons for joint force planners on how to conduct center of gravity (COG) analysis in support of theater and national military planning.