Enabling the Joint Warfight: Challenges and Opportunities
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ETI released a podcast about the paper that can be found here.
The geopolitical landscape and changing nature of war – largely driven by technology – requires a shift in approach to warfighting. Historically, the United States’ military has fought in stovepipes; each service is responsible for its own domain (air, sea, land, space, and cyber) and operates its systems discretely. Communication across services and domains was limited, if not absent in many operational cases. Now, China’s military modernization efforts and growing capabilities force the U.S. to transform how it fights; the U.S. must adapt to these evolving conditions. The Joint Chiefs of Staff recognized the need for the Department of Defense and each military service to modernize or face the prospect of conventional military defeat. In response, DoD created the Joint Warfighting Concept (JWC), which is defined as a threat-informed, operational concept that provides an overarching approach to how the Joint Force will operate and fight as a team across all domains. The JWC guides operations, activities, and investments throughout DoD by providing a common goal for the armed services. It is also intended to inform how DoD partners across industry and the interagency community can support joint warfighting efforts.
The vision outlined by the JWC is not new. There have been multiple iterations of joint documents: in 1996, DoD released Joint Vision 2010; in 2005, DoD released the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations 2.0, and; in 2012, DoD released the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations: Joint Force 2020. All versions have overlapping ideas, such as a globally integrated or flexible Joint Force and cross-domain synchronization. The primary difference between the JWC and previous versions is that new technologies, such as a DoD-hybrid cloud environment, may enable DoD to truly achieve its joint objectives.
In 2022, the National Defense Industrial Association’s (NDIA) Emerging Technologies Institute (ETI) convened four workshops on the Joint Warfighting Concept with a session on each of the four Imperatives. Hosted by the Honorable Al Shaffer, each session posed a series of questions to the panelists, who spoke from their respective positions in senior leaderships in government and industry. For each panel, the core talking points focused on several areas, including: 1) What each Strategic Imperative is attempting to achieve; 2) What technical or engineering efforts are underway to meet the identified capabilities needed; and 3) What barriers would prevent DoD from being successful within each Strategic Imperative.