Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

Executive Summary

Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

Executive Summary

Article excerpt

The geographic combatant commander has a certain amount of capability, but when things start to heat up, he's going to want to reach back for scale. He is still the best person positioned for the agility of day-to-day transactions and activities, whether that be in trying to defuse a crisis or in trying to defeat an adversary. What we're trying to do is provide in a service construct the ability to move scale to him for whatever objective he's trying to do, whether it's to defuse or to defeat. If we do it that way, that tends to keep unity of command and unity of effort intact.

--General James E. Cartwright, USMC Commander, U.S. Strategic Command

In this issue, JFQ again draws thematic parallels between focus areas in the Forum and the subject of our Special Feature: U.S. Strategic Command. In the Forum, we have essays addressing developments in intelligence and technology, which lead quite naturally to the combatant command charged to enable effects through the application and advocacy of integrated intelligence and cutting edge technologies across a remarkably wide spectrum of responsibility. Those who haven't kept up with the changes and challenges that USSTRATCOM has shouldered in recent years will be impressed--as we were--with the diversity and gravity of this command's functional expertise. In the lead interview, General Cartwright speaks with candor and clarity about the command's progress in cyber security, combating weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and space policy.

Before introducing these articles, a few words should be said about the JFQ Dialogue section that preceded this overview. On a recent trip to U.S. Southern Command, JFQ learned that its commander, Admiral James Stavridis, was working on a book addressing the thorny challenge of strategic communication. At our request, he generously submitted an essay exploring the issues that will be examined in greater detail in his larger work. Readers should compare the Admiral's perspective with that of Dr. Carnes Lord, whose complementary article in the Commentary section speaks to the nature of strategic communication.

Also up front is an argument against elements of contemporary military jargon that may hearten the Russian linguists who translated JFQ 45 in its entirety. Proof that English is a living language, military euphemisms are frequently more troublesome than enlightening (the parallel case against an endless supply of unnecessary acronyms such as BLUF, bottom line up front, is already widely lamented). This trend is particularly egregious when suitable words already exist to communicate the intended thought. Long before Colonels Donald Lisenbee and Karl Wingenbach submitted "'Deconfusing' Lethal and Kinetic Terms," JFQ replaced these otherwise useful words when they described physical and nonphysical or dynamic and static effects. As the authors point out, however, some also interpret these words to underline a distinction between lethal and nonlethal actions. Ironically, the authors' case against sloppy jargon arrived coincidently with a research paper detailing kinetic and nonkinetic information. It is worth noting that part of U.S. Strategic Command's mission statement includes "decisive global kinetic and nonkinetic combat effects."

As a final note about JFQ Dialog, we gratefully acknowledge the Political Advisor from U.S. European Command, whose manuscript arrived shortly after the last issue (which featured that command) had gone to press. Coordinated interagency action is clearly essential for most security challenges, and the Department of Defense plays an important supporting role in many bilateral security efforts. Understanding the institutional orientations and individual perspectives of our interagency colleagues is essential in our patient face-off against agile, unconventional enemies. JFQ, as always, seeks insightful viewpoints from Federal, allied, and private sector partners.

Our first installment in the Forum makes the case that globalism has fundamentally changed the nature of warfare as Clausewitz described it. …

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