Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

Executive Summary

Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

Executive Summary

Article excerpt

Recently I taught a lesson here at National Defense University on war termination. The required readings included a chapter from Fred Ikle's seminal work, Every War Must End (Columbia University Press, 1971). Dr. Ikle initially published this book as the United States was looking for an exit from the Vietnam War. This classroom reading was a part of what turned out to be a timely and spirited discussion as the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan continues and events unfold around the likely U.S. response to Syria's use of chemical weapons on its own citizens.

General Colin Powell credits Every War Must End with giving him an understanding of how to end the first Gulf War. In his revision of the work published in 2005, Dr. Ikle criticized Washington's handling of the Iraq War. He identifies the hard questions that all parties involved in a conflict wrestle with, including determining what the goal is, how it can be achieved, and when will it be obvious that end has arrived. Dr. Ikle offers many historical cases to show the complexity of war as viewed from many vantage points, including the parliaments and chateaus of World War I, the end of war with Japan, the geostrategic challenges in the 1950-1953 Korean War, the secret negotiations in Paris during the Vietnam War, and more.

As with every good book, the author must have a main purpose for writing it. I believe that Dr. Ikle works hard to provide the insight that both civilian and military strategists and planners rarely spend as much time working on how to end a war as they do on beginning one. His examples are plentiful enough to describe this condition as one that is historically true for more than just Americans.

But more than identifying the problem, Dr. Ikle places the burden of seeking to limit war on the world's "leading democracies ... to create a new political order" with "the purpose of this endeavor to bring every war to an end without unleashing the cataclysmic destruction made possible by modern technology." (1) His concern was over the remaining size of the nuclear, biological, and chemical stockpiles that we still recognize as a global threat. After some 20 years, the democratic nations of the world are again wrestling with the primary strategy equation of ends, ways, and means--mixing in a good amount of technology along the way as we collectively seek order in this unsettled world. Joint Force Quarterly seeks to publish thoughtful articles that should help the reader find insight in how best to meet the continuing challenges the new world order brings.

In this edition's Forum, we present four valuable views that offer you the opportunity to consider new uses for existing capabilities in order to calculate the resource implications and review legal issues emerging from combat operations in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Given the current entropic global environment, these authors provide a diverse set of views on modern warfare, which we believe are essential reading. One of the evolving capabilities of the joint force resides with the U.S. and coalition partner airborne forces. Major General John Nicholson, Lieutenant Colonel Jason Condrey, and Major Claude Lambert explain how the forcible entry capability, resident within the joint force and growing in our partners, remains a requirement to assure forces can gain access to conflict areas when required. They also discuss the value added internationally when U.S. airborne forces provide essential training to our partners as a means to more effectively deal with global crises as they arise.

Next, from the National War College, Ambassador Gregory Schulte takes us back to a time just before the current period of war by discussing the Kosovo air war's strategic lessons. Having been at the center of American air power employment at the start of the Libyan campaign, Major General Margaret Woodward and Lieutenant Colonel Philip Morrison next provide the logic behind that effort to protect civilian populations, while engaged in a similar effort a decade later. …

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