Navigators for generations have been trained to use a sextant to keep track of where their ship or aircraft is in relation to celestial objects. Used in large aircraft in the U.S. Air Force such as bombers, tankers, and transports long before the advent of global positioning satellites, these tools had a small bubble of gas that indicated to the operator that his instrument was properly aligned. Important to the angles being calculated, if this bubble disappeared from view, the navigator would know his sighting would be inaccurate, or more simply he was said to have "lost the bubble." This phrase has crept into common usage among military personnel from all Services, which is one indication of the depth that jointness has achieved.
The key idea that this phrase imparts is the requirement for one to maintain a close watch on a reference point in order to determine where we are and then figure out where we need to go. Especially in times such as these where so much is in a state of change, not losing the bubble is a difficult challenge. From the closeout of U.S. involvement in Iraq to the recent Defense budget announcement, there is no doubt that major muscle movements of change are in motion in all parts of the joint force.
Equally dramatic are the ongoing changes in the international landscape. This edition of Joint Force Quarterly offers a number of articles to assist in keeping track of where the force is, while keeping watch for emerging challenges and opportunities. As the election of 2012 approaches, General Martin Dempsey reminds us that voting is both an important right and one that requires special considerations for those in uniform. The Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, Sergeant Major Brian Battaglia, and his guest coauthor, Colonel Christian Macedonia, USA, the Medical Science Advisor for the Office of the Chairman, begin a conversation on resiliency of the joint force, which JFQ will continue in our next edition with articles on different aspects of this important area of focus for all of us.
The Forum provides us with a set of thought-provoking articles that offer a number of recommendations on how to deal with the future in Afghanistan, how to better understand Pakistan and Indonesia, how to see the future fight against terrorism, and how we might think about predicting enemy plans. Trying to find the answer to a fundamental question in Afghan society, Colonel Michael D. Fortune, USA—fresh from command of a National Guard Agribusiness Development Team in Nangarhar Province—suggests that a focus on developing transformational Afghan leaders is necessary. Adding to our growing community of international contributors, Julian Lewis, a Conservative Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom, explores the future of the global battle to defeat terrorism. Attempting to help a Western audience understand Pakistan, Captain Michael E. Devine, USN, sees an explanation to the inherent instability in its system of government by measuring it against the model of a Westphalian state. A Foreign Area Officer, Major Andrés H Cáceres-Solari, USMC, then provides his unique "hiking boots on the ground" article on life in the countryside of Indonesia. With operations in Iraq ended and the road ahead for U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan growing shorter, Zachary Shore from the Naval Postgraduate School and Stanford recommends military planners and diplomats take a new look at predicting an enemy’s future operations. Interestingly, the use of scientific modeling is not high on his list of useful tools. These articles reinforce the need to focus on the human dimension of future warfare.
In our Commentary section, as promised in the previous edition of JFQ, Brigadier General Naef Bin Ahmed Al-Saud of the Royal Saudi Army returns to discuss how his nation is using social media to protect against threats of terrorism in the Kingdom and beyond. Given the globalization of conflict as we go forward, Lieutenant General C.V. Christianson, USA (Ret.), believes that commanders will demand and expect precision and rapidity on the part of our logistics capability in order to sustain such dispersed operations, but this may not be easy to accomplish without significant reorganization of command and control of this support. Seeing the need to better our focus on strategy in general in a period of austerity, T.X. Hammes asks an important question: "Does counterinsurgency have a future in the U.S. military?" Reporting on another path to a more peaceful world being championed here at the National Defense University, Lewis Stern describes the successful efforts led by Vice Admiral Ann Rondeau and her NDU team to engage the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in a military-tomilitary relationship, one of dozens that strengthen our ability to operate worldwide.
The Features section offers insights from the highest levels of our joint force as well as from those who used their time in joint professional military education (JPME) well. Using a nautical metaphor, Admiral James Stavridis and Commander Elton Parker suggest a different way to consider all things cyber, which the admiral and his staffs at U.S. Southern Command, U.S. European Command, and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe have put into practice to positive impact. Of all recent combatant commanders, few would be able to claim a higher level of leveraging social media of all kinds to forward the mission. Suggesting how the U.S. Navy will operate in the foreseeable future, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert believes the f leet should continue to be a force that is operating forward meeting our national security strategy while further strengthening strategic partnerships around the world. Continuing to bring the best writing from the JPME classroom, JFQ completes our presentation of the best essays from the 2011 Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Essay Competitions. Seeing the requirement to adapt our military to deal with an uncertain future, Colonel David H. Carstens believes the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review is correct in that global climate change will be a significant driver behind where our forces will be needed in the future and recommends that we adjust all aspects of the military to deal with this issue. In a prescient article written far before the current National Defense Strategy was published focusing on the Pacific, Lieutenant Colonel Douglas J. MacIntyre, USMC, assesses the future in the Pacific region and our alliance based on shifts in Japan’s national strategy.
We welcome back Colonel Phillip S. Meilinger, USAF (Ret.), in our Recall section as he provides us with another outstanding historical essay that we can use to ref lect on jointness today through the lens of those turbulent years just after the signing of the National Security Act of 1947. Rounding out this edition as always is a joint doctrine update from the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Education and Doctrine Division as well as four excellent book reviews.
I personally wish to acknowledge the true standard of excellence and dedication to the JFQ mission that Book Review Editor Lisa Yambrick provided during her time at NDU Press. As a true battle buddy to this new editor and possessing an eye for detail second to none, I am certain our loss is the Secretary of Defense’s gain as she is now a part of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Historical Office.
As the winds of change rise and fall over the course of the next few months, I look forward to hearing from you on those issues that confront the joint force as we go forward together. The articles you write have an impact, whether it is in your organization, your Service, the joint force, or beyond because you can reach and inf luence more than 50,000 readers of this journal in print and online each quarter. JFQ is an integral part of the ongoing conversation and learning in our joint professional military education classrooms as well, reaching the minds of the next generation of joint and Service leaders. Through your great ideas, JFQ helps the joint force keep an eye on the bubble. JFQ
—William T. Eliason, Editor