Joint Force Quarterly

Articles from No. 56, January

A Better War in Afghanistan
During the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign, it was common for then-Senator Barack Obama to portray Afghanistan as a necessary war in comparison to the misguided "war of choice" in Iraq. (1) But what was once considered the "good war" has not been looking...
Adapting across the Spectrum of Conflict: The Role of Naval Special Warfare
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, the Nation has realized a new enemy, one that has no borders, hides among the innocent, moves quickly, and is tied to no law of war-or to any law, for that matter. Because of this,...
Afghanistan: Context and What's Next
In my view, there are situations in the world that the United States cannot resolve militarily. Vietnam was one of them. Iraq is another. Neither war was ours to win and both were theirs to lose. We always have been very poor at making distinctions...
A Joint Staff to Believe In
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] At the national level, the United States requires a unified joint military staff with executive authority to manage issues that have grown beyond the frontiers of the geographic combatant commands. The national military command...
Ambassadors to the World: A New Paradigm for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication
Political communication is no different than any other form of communication. In Joint Force Quarterly 55 (4th Quarter 2009), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen eloquently stated not only a political truth, but also an...
An Intelligent Theater
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Operationally, the U.S. military is essentially organized geographically. The world is divided into six combatant commands with wide-ranging responsibility for Department of Defense (DOD) activity across a defined theater....
An Interview with Eric T. Olson
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] JFQ: We understand that you are focusing on the creation of a U.S. Special Operations Command [USSOCOM] Capstone doctrine: USSOCOM [Publication] 1. How do you see this relating to other joint doctrine (such as [Joint Publication...
Can the Army Become Learning Organization? A Question Reexamined
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In 1994, after serving as an organizational consultant for General Gordon Sullivan, then--U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Margaret Wheatley wrote an article about the U.S. Army becoming a learning organization. Wheatley, a new-age...
Civil-Military Integration in Afghanistan: Creating Unity of Command
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Last year, Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman argued that the way forward in Afghanistan required "a comprehensive civil-military counterinsurgency approach." (1) The U.S. interagency community is answering the call. By...
Countering Irregular Threats: The Army Special Operations Contribution
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The joint Services and interagency communities predict a future of persistent conflict consisting of irregular or hybrid threats within an irregular warfare (IW) environment requiring forces to operate across the spectrum...
Executive Summary
Afghan tribes always have and always will resist any type of foreign intervention in their affairs. This includes a central government located in Kabul, which to them is a million miles away from their problems, a million miles away from their security....
Forging Marine Special Operators
Established on February 24, 2006, and headquartered at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is the Marine Corps component of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). MARSOC is making great advances...
Global Insurgency: Myth or Reality?
The current global security situation appears to validate and vindicate the doctrinal assumptions of U.S. Army Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency, that insurgencies will be the "new normal" mode of conflict in which the United States finds itself...
Israel and the Iranian Nuclear Infrastructure
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, John Bolton asked, "What if Israel strikes Iran?" (1) Certainly there has been a great deal of media attention on this subject, particularly since Israel launched over 100 aircraft in a June 2008 aerial exercise...
Joint Chiefs of Staff J7 Joint Education and Doctrine Division
This issue of Joint Force Quarterly, devoted to the contributions of special operations forces to joint warfighting, is particularly timely given the explosion of joint doctrine development and revision efforts regarding special operations within this...
Legitimizing Army Psychological Operations
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Once again, we hear discussion within the U.S. Army on whether the name psychological operations (PSYOP) should be changed--an issue that has arisen periodically for years. The term, defined broadly...
Mastering the Art of the Possible: The Air Force Special Operations Command
In November 2008, a flight of four CV-22 Ospreys, along with corresponding maintenance/ logistics support, deployed to Bamako, Mali, in Africa to participate in Flintlock-the premier exercise to support future training and engagement in the Trans-Saharan...
Pay for Play: Countering Threat Financing
Shortly after midnight on March 20, 2009, in Bilbao, Spain, police began a series of raids to arrest a number of North Africans on suspicion of funding terrorism in North Africa through criminal activity in Spain. While this investigation continues,...
Public Engagement 101: What Strategic Communication Is, Isn't, and Should Be
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] We need to get back to basics." With these words, Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for a hard look at U.S. strategic communication in Joint Force Quarterly 55 (4th Quarter 2009). Admiral...
"Strategic Communication" Is Vague: Say What You Mean
The Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms tells us that strategic communication consists of "[f]ocused United States Government efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions...
The Business of War: The Impact of "PLA, Inc." on Chinese Officers
In 1979, as the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) fought its last major war, it was a military still recovering from the ravages of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, when military professionalism had been derided in favor of "People's...
The Dangers of Mistaking Coherence for Capability
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The purported global insurgency that al Qaeda is claimed to represent is nicely captured by the language of the 2006 National Security Strategy of the United States of America, which considers radical groups to be united by...
The Leavenworth Heresy and the Perversion of Operational Art: War and Politics, Campaign and Statecraft, Are Siamese Twins, Inseparable and Interdependent; and to Talk of Military Operations without the Direction and Interference of an Administrator Is as Absurd as to Plan a Campaign without Recruits, Pay or Rations
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Wars are fought to achieve a distribution of political power that is satisfactory to the victor. Political power rests on the acquiescence of a population--however that is attained. Therefore, the fundamental challenge in...
The Struggle against Global Insurgency
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Since 9/11, it has become commonplace for scholars, politicians, and military thinkers to refer to current U.S. military and diplomatic actions as being part of a larger "war on terror." This is an extremely imprecise characterization...
Unified Effort: Key to Special Operations and Irregular Warfare in Afghanistan
The U.S. Government strategy for success in Afghanistan unveiled by President Barack Obama on March 27, 2009, emphasized a classic population-centric counterinsurgency approach. The novelty of this approach can be debated, but clearly the emphasis...
Unity of Command in the Pacific during World War II
One of the myths of World War II is that, unlike in Europe, unity of command was lacking in the Pacific. The argument goes that the Southwest Pacific had one commander, General Douglas MacArthur, and the Pacific Ocean areas had another, Admiral Chester...
U.S. Special Operations: Context and Capabilities in Irregular Warfare
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Irregular warfare (IW) is a concept highlighted in contemporary military thinking, but it encompasses a perspective that has long been the core of America's special operations forces (SOF). The United States Special Operations...
Vice Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Leadership of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Military leaders at many levels have used the advice and processes associated with strategic planning councils in various ways to position their organizations to respond to the demands of current situations while simultaneously...
Wargaming the Flu
As the winter wears on and swine flu (H1N1) spreads, the importance of transnational public health issues seems more apparent. Swine flu has not proved as deadly as first feared, but the large-scale health and public communications effort mounted to...
Winning Afghanistan at the Community Level: A Rejoinder to Volney F. Warner and "C"
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The editor of Joint Force Quarterly asked me to respond to the thought-provoking interview conducted by General Volney F. Warner with "C." I do so as a Soldier serving in Afghanistan. The sentiments here are entirely my own...

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