The keys to success in any operation include intense preparation and a constant "scan of the skies" to be aware of changes in the operating environment. While flying, pilots call this skill "keeping your head on a swivel" in order to keep the craft headed to the target while being ready to react to changes. Clearly, world events are causing all of us to have a robust scan to absorb the changes we are experiencing. Being a professional member of the U.S. military requires all who serve to be prepared to execute the mission when called on, regardless of expectation. Change is a constant, we are told.
As I write this summary, we have been given a clear demonstration of the impact a well-organized, -trained, and -equipped force can have on the strategic level of war with the killing of Osama bin Laden. Demonstrating the ability to leverage the lessons of past operations, U.S. joint forces have set the standard for military professionalism in execution of their assigned missions worldwide. Every American has the right to be proud of what these men and women have done after nearly 10 years of war.
U.S. Navy SEAL team conducts direct-action mission training
U.S. Navy (Ashley Myers)
One of the key issues that Admiral Mike Mullen has highlighted and reinforced during his term as Chairman is military professionalism. As he repeatedly states, leadership is the one characteristic of military service that he cares about most. In this issue, Joint Force Quarterly provides several aspects of what it means to wear the military uniform and lead in today's joint force. You will have an opportunity to reflect on Admiral Mullen's thoughts on leadership and military professionalism while reading the views of others on this critical component of continued military success. Not everyone agrees on just what a military professional is, so the discussion of what it means to be a professional in the U.S. military should be renewed from time to time as a measure of where our force is and where it needs to go. JFQ is proud to offer just such a jumping-off point.
In the Forum, in addition to the speeches from the Chairman's January 2011 Conference on Military Professionalism, introduced by Dr. Al Pierce, we present two articles on the subject. In the first of the two companion pieces, Colonel Thomas Galvin suggests a "domain-based" model for examining the question of whether the profession of arms is indeed a profession. Next, an experienced and highly successful faculty member from the School of Advanced Air and Spaces Studies, Lieutenant Colonel Ian Bryan, enters the debate on when officers should begin seriously considering and learning how to be successful within the civil-military environment in which all general and flag officers operate (far sooner than most do, in his estimation) by offering some suggestions on how this is best done.
The Special Feature section has five articles that offer a chance to expand "thinking space" in terms of strategy, diplomacy, planning, and theory, as well as intelligence training and education. Professor Colin Gray, who has been an important contributor to JFQ over the years, places the label of "hero" on the strategist and explains why becoming a good strategist is both a difficult road for the individual and of ultimate importance to the nation he or she serves. While thinking of strategy, members of the military often have no direct means for gaining an understanding of how the "line officers" of the State Department think or the role a diplomat plays in the areas that he operates in. Written well before he was selected as the second U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Marc Grossman discusses his insights, which will no doubt be validated as he works through the issues of his new position. Next, National War College faculty member Colonel Mark Bucknam, a former member of the Secretary of Defense planning team, helps us get a better understanding of how the combatant commands' Adaptive Planning efforts have fared under Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Expanding JFQ's partnerships across the Defense Department's education institutions, we present Professors Rebecca Frerichs and Stephen Di Rienzo of the National Intelligence University, who advocate a path to better organizing how our intelligence professionals learn how to support national security.
The Commentary section has three distinct, strategically important articles that take us from Afghanistan to Latin America and back to the homeland. Lieutenant General William Caldwell and Captain Nathan Finney provide a timely and in-depth assessment of efforts to organize, train, and field the Afghan security forces that will enable a more stable and secure Afghanistan. Martin Andersen then suggests a plan for defeating transnational criminal organizations in Latin America, which have so far adapted and survived many efforts to stop them. Given the state of our military forces after more than 20 years of overseas operations from Desert Shield/Desert Storm onward, M. Thomas Davis and Nathaniel Fick suggest that despite the fact that the United States retains the best defense industrial base in the world, the relationship between this base and the government needs to be improved in light of the steady consolidation and specialization of the industries involved. Given the additional $400 billion reduction in the Defense budget over the next 10-plus years, this relationship will become increasingly important to get right because of the obvious reconstitution needs of all Services.
Air Force Aeromedical Evacuation and Critical Care Air Transport Team prepares Soldier wounded by IED attack to travel to Walter Reed Army Medical Center
DOD (Donna Miles)
The Features section offers an important set of articles to remind us of how complex our world is—and the likely need for an agile joint force in the years to come. Rear Admiral Steven Romano provides an excellent case study in complex operations based on his experiences as the U.S. European Command J4 during the Georgia crisis of 2008. Throughout the past few issues, JFQ has had a number of articles about China, but none that provided the level of insight that Major Mark Snakenberg does on the critical subject of China's junior officer and noncommissioned officer education. In an effort to provide ammunition to support a much neglected area of joint professional military education and nuclear issues, Professor Steven Cimbala discusses the calculus of nuclear arms in today's complex strategic environment. Colonel Reginald Smith helps us understand the strategic considerations of the Arctic, an area that is now under the responsibility of U.S. Northern Command. With an increasingly costly environment for traditional power generation, Colonel Paul Roege lastly discusses several important options for powering our military operations in the future.
As always, JFQ provides four engaging book reviews along with a joint doctrine update. Lieutenant Colonel Robert Holdsworth adds to the doctrine debate with his discussion of securing airspaces around airfields in the joint battlespace.
We continue to receive many high quality submissions to JFQ each week to select from for the October edition, and we will showcase the winners of the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Essay Competitions as well. Given the continuing turbulence in the Middle East and the likelihood of operating in contested spaces in the future, we need to keep expanding our scan and thinking ahead of our position to remain the best in the world at what we do. JFQ
—William T. Eliason