Abstract: The U.S. defense community regularly acknowledges changes in the character of modern warfare. These observations are often coupled with a variety of recommendations, such as creating more strategic thinkers and cultivating more agile service cultures. This article highlights the tangled interactions between these two challenges as well as a third: harnessing the power of storytelling. First, stories both reflect and influence an organization’s culture, and are therefore a useful tool for strategic thinkers. Second, when it comes to strategic thinking, the typical descriptions and illustrations used by defense professionals are incomplete and biased. Missing from this list of examples, for instance, is someone from the origins of Western civilization who personified the wisdom to convert “insight into a decisive asymmetry.” This ancient role model not only exemplifies the strategic sense necessary to prepare the joint force’s culture for modern operating environments, but is also closely linked to the third element of this trinity – storytelling.Read more
In a pervasive and complex information environment, analytics are vital to understanding advanced threats. As we rely more on machine-learnt results, asking the right questions and visualizing deep analysis are key to grasping and solving problems. These skills are also vital 21st century leadership tools that can forge a common focus among otherwise stove-piped specialists.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents an urgent threat that requires both scientific understanding and decisive leadership. The cause of the disease is SARS CoV-2, a mutating virus that thrives in conditions difficult to control at scale. To counter this threat, this article demonstrates in detail the potential of human-led case method and machine-provided visual analytics.Read more
Joint operations doctrine omits the agency of artificial intelligence (AI) in the operational information environment, which is a problem. This commentary discusses why, and recommends effective changes. Key points are as follows. AI is becoming an autonomous cause of unanticipated effects. Humans are not the most effectively intelligent actors in all environments, yet our doctrine draws lessons from the past rather than anticipating emergent futures. Machines currently excel in experience-based learning and can discover relationships in data that we cannot discern. Humans can intuit, deceive, somewhat control, and manufacture and destroy machines. In time, AI will be able to perform those cognitive, informational and physical functions as well. As out-thought becomes out-fought, we need proactive doctrine now.Read more
The culture of the Air Force is defined from the mission statement; to fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace. Air has always been the first domain in the mission and the main focus of the Air Force. Considering this cultural mindset, the other two domains in the mission statement will not receive the attention they need until the culture is changed.Read more
Rather that sending the B-1 Lancer into early retirement, the Department of Defense could transfer it to the Navy for duty as a land-based ship-killer.Read more
The United States Air Force (USAF) recognizes a need for future innovations as near-peer competitors make rapid advancements in military capabilities. However, the current USAF system does not facilitate keeping up with these competitors. Innovation requires a cultural shift regarding risk acceptability at all levels, starting with leaders. The USAF can facilitate this shift by further addressing regulatory guidance and Professional Military Education programs. Until the USAF as an organization is willing to accept risks and ultimately failures to achieve success, mission impacting innovations will continue to be elusive.Read more
Rather than focus on specific or contextual concerns within a single conflict or foreign policy approach, we ought to considerRead more
Approximate reading time: 20 minutes Editor’s Note: OTH sat down with three professors from Air University to discuss the Russia-USRead more
Three professors from Air University sit down to discuss the Russia-US relationship from a strategy and policy perspective. Welcome toRead more
Russia is using nationalism to regain control over former Soviet Union States, a phenomenon predicted by Halford Mackinder in 1904.Read more
The heroic reputation of Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) Airmen is well earned and well known. At some point, however, even the most august group of warriors become limited when the tools and concepts they employ are no longer adequate to the new challenges of an evolving multi-domain battlespace.Read more
Irregularity in terms of non-uniformed forces and indirect force application describe how the war is fought, not why. While this may seem like academic semantics, it is not.
By Joe Brown
The military cyber community lacks a solid culture to set the tone and expectations for how fusing cyber and kinetic operations should be conducted, central to enabling effective multi-domain operations.
By John Myers
Organizational culture is central to how a group performs … or fails to. It sets group norms, expectations, and valuesRead more