Editor’s Choice | The Military Design Movement: Drifting towards Embracing Uncertainty and Transformation in Complex Environments

The Editor’s Choice series revisits OTH classics and articles with enduring relevance.

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Why the AOC Cannot Execute JADC2

Abstract: After a successful debut during the Gulf War, the Air Operations Center (AOC) is at the heart of how the US Air Force executes operational command and control. As the drive for a Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) solution increases, the easy solution of making an AOC more joint will not be enough for the future of all domain warfare.

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Disabled Weapons and Confounded Adversaries

EW is an integral part of 21st century hybrid wars and, asymmetric adversaries are investing in EW. Control of the electromagnetic spectrum is a critical objective in the success of modern military operations at all levels of conflict.

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“Free and Open Indo-Pacific” – Exploring the Sine Quo Non of the Quad

Abstract: The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) has intermittently tried to shape a credible relationship between the participating members in the Indo-Pacific Region. This piece aims to explore the prominence of the Quad and steps that these countries can take to maintain their relevance in the present geopolitical landscape.

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Intelligence Automation: A Simple Way to Innovate then Dominate

Abstract: Advances in modern technology have drastically increased the amount of data that is made available for the Air Force and Intelligence Community to interact with. The abundance of information impedes our ability to provide results as there is not enough manpower to work through the ever-expanding material at one’s disposal. In order to overcome the information saturated environment and the insufficient resources required to meet it, I will demonstrate that automation will solve this problem and how, through proper collaboration, to develop and implement automated solutions.

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The Power of Truth: How to Compete with Information Warfare

Abstract: The United States Air Force (USAF) must leverage truth to defuse adversarial claims to plausible deniability. A fictional scenario of an RC-135 shootdown by a Russian private military company (PMC) conveys the implications of failure with information warfare (IW). Today, the USAF lacks the ability to counter plausible deniability in the information environment with the tempo and speed required to outpace and outthink its adversaries. Three recommendations are offered. First, the USAF should operate outside of current geographic constraints. Second, the USAF should shift to a problem-centric strategy independent of intelligence collection platforms. Lastly, the USAF should shift its information warfare posture from reactive to proactive in today’s dynamic information environment.

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What’s Old is New Again: Leveraging Lessons from the Battle of Britain

Abstract: In today’s rapidly evolving security environment, the traditional development and acquisitions system is falling short of meeting warfighter needs. Even as technology becomes increasingly disruptive, the U.S. Department of Defense should look to the lessons of the past to provide a foundational construct for on-boarding novel technologies and innovative concepts. The reemergence of dual use technologies is far from new; however, harnessing development efforts from the private sector and tech industry could slingshot multi-domain capabilities forward into the 21st century and address many of the shortfalls inherent to the DoD’s current bureaucracy.

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Towards a Strategic Value Proposition: Redefining 21st Century Defense Priority Assessments

Abstract: U.S. strategic priorities are flawed. Measures of ‘strategic value’ are superficial and lack analytical depth. When asking academics, practitioners, and policymakers “What is the most strategically valuable region in the world?” we receive divergent answers. Then asking “How did you determine this value?” answers diverge further. We tend to assess strategic value on measures like gross domestic product and population. No doubt these are significant indicators, but are they the only indicators of relevance in determining the strategic value of one region relative to another? What other factors does the United States consider to inform strategic priorities? We argue that the U.S. applies more subjective than objective measure to assess strategic value and thus projects power on the basis of questionable logic. With that, we propose a new method to determine relative strategic value – the Strategic Value Proposition – that can reshape our military power projection thinking to address emerging security issues.

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Rethinking Warfare in a Changing World: The Case For Expanding Doctrinal Warfare Principles

Abstract: The warfare concepts and principles named in seminal works such as Carl von Clausewitz’s On War and codified in military doctrine remain vital to the United States’ conduct of modern warfare. However, constantly changing global diplomatic, military, economic, and societal factors necessitate the evolution of the “American way of war,” which focuses on attrition warfare and the creation of new joint warfare principles. The shifting dynamics of world politics require additional doctrinal principles of strategic anchoring, knowledge, collaboration, rapid decision-making and synchronization, decentralized command and control, and stability to ensure the US retains its military advantage.

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The $32,000 Hamburger – Macroeconomic analysis can rapidly contextualize foreign military expenses

In The 32k Hamburger, Jeff Wright proposes a novel analytical technique to rapidly contextualize military hardware expenses by using comparative Gross Domestic Products for the nations in question.
The title comes from one such example – when we ask a Nigerien colleague to meet us for a hamburger off base, we impose on her treasury a cost equivalent to $32,000 from the United States point of view. Aerospace examples are even more alarming – what do you suppose is the American equivalent of a single C-130H’s impact on Niger’s treasury? Read on to find out!

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Symbolism, Serendipity, and Strategic Wisdom: The Origin Story of a New Set of Wings

Estimated Time to Read: 8 minutes By Jason “Toga” Trew In 2016, US Air Force Chief of Staff, General Goldfein

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Blockchain and Psychological Operations

Since the 2016 US presidential election, there is a greater appreciation and increased appetite for information operations across the US government and within the intelligence community. While this enthusiasm is welcome, one of the central problems in waging this information warfare is the ability to execute swift actions in the information environment. This article will detail the doctrinal, structural, and philosophical problems within the current Psychological Operations approval process and provide a recommended solution, which incorporates blockchain technologies, to expedite the process.

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Regain EMS Dominance By Measuring Effectiveness Right

Non-Kinetic Effects (NKE) do not have accepted measures of Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) and never will. New ways of measuring effectiveness are required to ensure Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) dominance. Time to Effect (TTE) revitalizes Boyd’s Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) loop to inform modern kill chains. Sensor Rating (SR) borrows from the National Football League’s Passer Rating to measure sensor effectiveness. TTE and SR fill a growing gap and will enable better integration and execution of NKE.

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Ideologies, Cults of Personality, and the Center of Gravity

Abstract: The broad doctrinal definition of Center of Gravity (COG) currently allows an array of considerations for the strategic COG, including individuals, locations, ideologies. While this may appear to be a prudent allowance by doctrine writers, the full gamut of options can lead strategic planners to red herring target(s). This article examines the fallacies associated with an intangible strategic COG and advocates for the adoption of Dale’s Eikmeier’s COG definition.

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