Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

From the Chairman: Moving Forward Together

Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

From the Chairman: Moving Forward Together

Article excerpt

With good reason, we are a proud force. The 10 years since 9/11 stand among the most searing in our military's history. We have persevered through a decade of war, keeping our homeland safe and advancing our national interests abroad. Our all-volunteer joint force is our nation's decisive advantage. The American people trust us to stay that way.

Our joint force faces three profound transitions in the coming years. We will transition from war to a more competitive and complex peace. We will transition from abundant resources to more constrained budgets. And many military men and women and their families will transition to civilian life. Any one of these would be difficult. Taken together, they will test our leadership at every level.

We will pass this test, and we will do it by focusing our efforts in four areas. I will soon publish a pamphlet on these key efforts and encourage you to read, discuss, and debate them. I need your support, and I challenge you to do what you can in your corner of our wonderful profession to improve these areas. To this end, let me briefly describe the four areas and why they are essential to our future.

Achieving National Objectives in Current Conflicts

In this decade of conflict, we stabilized Iraq when it was thought to be impossible. We reversed Taliban momentum while building a new army in Afghanistan. We helped protect the Libyan people as they turned the page in their history. And we have pursued al Qaeda to the edge of strategic defeat.

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Yet al Qaeda and its affiliates, while increasingly isolated, remain a threat. We must pursue them relentlessly. We must remain committed to the development of Iraq's security forces, and we will meet that commitment through a normalized relationship and the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq. Through the International Security Assistance Force and our international partners, we will provide the assistance that Afghan forces need to protect the Afghan people while becoming stronger and more self-sufficient.

Wherever we send America's sons and daughters, we must continue to provide them the support and the resources necessary to do their jobs.

Developing Joint Force 2020

We are developing today the joint force that our nation will need in 2020. This force will operate in a global security environment that will be more competitive and therefore more dangerous and complex. As we determine what this joint force should look like, we must offset our tightened budgets with more innovation and integration.

We must reexamine historically distinct mission sets. In Iraq and Afghanistan, general purpose forces worked collaboratively with special operations forces. We should continue to build toward greater interoperability and interdependence. We have learned that cyber and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities offer the potential for asymmetric advantage. They will continue to grow in importance.

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The last decade has been focused and prioritized on the Middle East. The next will see accelerating demographic, economic, and military shifts into the Pacific. We will adjust to this shift but remain engaged throughout the world.

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Moving forward, we will reexamine and revise the relationships among Active, Guard, and Reserve forces of our military. …

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