In an address in Cape Town, South Africa, on June 6, 1966, Senator Robert F. Kennedy stated, “There is a Chinese curse which says, ‘May he live in interesting times.’ Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind.” As it turns out, we ourselves are living in interesting times: from the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic to racial strife, wildfires to record numbers of hurricanes, contested politics to economic crises, and more.
But when we take a hard look and do some digging, we find that while we as individuals may not have been in such circumstances, others have and found ways to “soldier on.” Otherwise, the human race would have long ago ceased to exist. This indomitable spirit is exactly what jointness does for the American military: it provides the ways and means to continue to survive and provide, collectively, for the defense of our nation. Left to figure out how to defend the United States alone, the individual Services would likely find themselves in even more interesting times.
The early battles over aerial bombing of naval ships, the “Revolt of the Admirals,” dividing up airpower in Vietnam, the Mayaguez incident, Operation Desert One, Grenada, and more all point to the need for more jointness, not less. We have learned that we can accomplish more when we work together to secure the Nation, especially when readiness is low and resources are overstretched. “Teamwork makes the dream work,” my wife often says. How could it be otherwise? Sometimes we need to be reminded of how much we rely on each other. Often it is as simple as rereading our nation’s foundational documents and trying to understand what they mean and how we should best defend what they stand for.
Our Forum presents four important articles that take us from the battlefield in a traditional sense to the far reaches of the newest domain of cyber. First, Sarah Gamberini helps us explore the potential effects of Russian disinformation campaigns (yes, they do exist) through the medium of social media and their impact on public health. Still much a concern related to our battles in cyberspace, Jesse Samluk, Mark Boeke, and Marcus Neal provide a solid set of criteria for updating how the Services might recruit future cyber warriors. While no one would question the strategic importance of space, Jerry Drew helps us explore the operational and tactical issues all of us need to understand as we consider space operations and the potential for warfighting in space. Back here on Earth, Michael Fenzel, assisted by Leslie Slootmaker and Kim Cragin, discuss lessons learned on how to develop strategic insights from exploitable material collected from the battlefield.
Successful virtual Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs essay competitions were held earlier this year, and NDU Press proudly presents the winners of some very close contests. So close, in fact, that we declared a tie in the Secretary of Defense Strategic Research Paper category. From the U.S. Army War College, Roderick Butz offers his research on the use of remotely piloted airstrikes as a tool of statecraft. Answering the call for ideas about Great Power competition with China, Kaleb Redden, from the National War College, offers his suggested U.S. strategy toward the People’s Republic of China. Jeremy McKissack, from the Air War College, won the Chairman of the Joint Chief’s Strategy Paper category with his analysis of President Donald Trump’s interventions in military justice cases. In the Chairman’s Strategy Article category, Mark Zais, of the U.S. Army War College, gives us his take on artificial intelligence and military decisionmaking. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are unable to provide Roderick Butz’s winning essay in this issue but will do so as soon as possible.
In Commentary, we get an expert practitioner’s view as Terrence O’Shaughnessy helps us understand how we can leverage the emerging Joint All Domain Command and Control to achieve decision superiority. From the chaplain to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Wayne Macrae discusses how to understand religion in relation to the joint force. Part of his work is in assisting the development of new joint doctrine in this area. As leaders at all levels grapple with the added load of working during a global pandemic, Russell Williford and Wendi Peck offer their suggestions on how to achieve success in military organizations.
Leading off Features, James Cook offers an excellent article on the value of joint concepts to a joint planner. After several calls from my colleagues here at the Eisenhower School for more articles on mobilization, and having a second place winner in the 2019 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategy Paper competition at hand on the topic, we offer Matthew Gaetke’s views on the right questions to ask as we consider what mobilizing for war today should resemble. Next, Michael St. Jeanos offers an up-to-date primer on the U.S. Coast Guard. And to help us understand the connections between the “boom” and the “zaps,” Josiah Dykstra, Chris Inglis, and Thomas Walcott describe how to integrate physical and cyber weapons in combat.
In Recall, we are pleased to offer two fine articles that tie us to our past in order to understand what we could and should do in the future. From the Joint Staff History Office, Michael Rouland and Christian Fearer help us learn about the long and nuanced history of the Insurrection Act. The first lesson is that there is no such act. Most military history students look to World War II for lessons of fighting with allies, but Fideleon Damian offers an excellent account of coalition operations in the opening year of the Korean War. In addition, we bring you three excellent book reviews and our joint doctrine update.
Robert Kennedy’s speech that day in 1966—on a then unprecedented trip and exactly 2 years before his assassination—included some words that may help all of us see our road ahead a bit more clearly. He stated, “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage such as these that the belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” To me that is what Americans, especially those in uniform, aspire to do. Let us know what you think. Be safe.
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NDU Press produces Joint Force Quarterly in concert with ongoing education and research at National Defense University in support of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. JFQ is the Chairman's joint military and security studies journal designed to inform and educate national security professionals on joint and integrated operations; whole of government contributions to national security policy and strategy; homeland security; and developments in training and joint military education to better equip America's military and security apparatus to meet tomorrow's challenges while protecting freedom today.