Joint Doctrine Update: Joint Chiefs of Staff J7 Joint Education and Doctrine Division

Joint Force Quarterly, April 2010 | Go to article overview
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Joint Doctrine Update: Joint Chiefs of Staff J7 Joint Education and Doctrine Division


The Joint Doctrine Development Community (JDDC) will host the 45th Joint Doctrine Planning Conference (JDPC) May 12-13, 2010, in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. This conference not only synchronizes the JDDC, but also launches some of the groundbreaking discussions leading the way in matters that affect today's doctrine. (For the latest news on JDPC, follow the JDEIS link below.) During the last JDPC, two major topics discussed were the revision of Joint Publication (JP) 1, Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States, and development of a new joint publication, JP 3-15.1, Joint Counter-IED Operations.

JP 1 provides fundamental principles and overarching guidance for the employment of the Armed Forces of the United States, links joint doctrine to the National Defense Strategy and National Military Strategy, and describes the military's role in the development of national policy and strategy. JP 1 is the link between policy and doctrine. In short, it describes the Department of Defense as an institution and how it aligns within the broader context of the U.S. Government to achieve the Nation's objectives. One key to fully exploiting our remarkable joint military potential, not currently written in JP 1, is how we develop the joint force.

While the United States has been developing the joint force, the many and diverse parts of this process are not yet holistically and cohesively articulated, the result being a myriad of individual policies and communities in isolation. JP 1 should provide the strategic framework that aligns the Chairman's long-term vision with the development of the joint forces. While currently in revision, JP 1 will correct this omission by answering two fundamental questions regarding joint force development: what it is and what process is used to develop the force. These questions will serve to frame the discussion and development of this topic.

Answering the first question, what it is, entails three steps. Using the reverse planning rubric, the first step is to determine the endstate or goal of joint force development, next discern its components, and finally craft an initial working definition to structure development of the process. Broadly speaking, the end result of joint force development is to provide government agencies and personnel the guidance to build and maintain a joint force capable of conducting current and future joint operations across the range of military operations. To do this, warfighters must be educated and trained to "think, plan, and act" jointly first. Although not all-inclusive, critical components of joint force development will include concept development, doctrine, education, training, and exercises. Using the endstate as our foundation and arranging its resident components, a proposed definition of joint force development emerges:

A deliberate, iterative, and continuous process of planning and developing the current and future joint force through advancement of transformational joint concepts which are refined into relevant doctrine, promulgated through career long education and training, validated through a robust exercise program, resulting in decisive, adaptable war plans.

The intent of this new JP 1 chapter is to foundationally establish the roles, responsibilities, processes, and procedures for developing the joint force to provide all Services, combatant commands, and combat support agencies the authoritative guidance to build and maintain a joint force. This guidance will also serve to inform the U.S. Government, nongovernmental organizations, and allied nations.

The revision process for JP 1 began in January 2010 and is planned for completion by year's end.

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