January 1, 2013  

In this issue

If “a ship’s a fool to fight a fort,” as the Nelsonian wisdom had it, what happens when the fort can see and shoot over the horizon? Or when the “fort” becomes an entire coastline?

The proliferation of long-range sensors and weapons, combined with advances in autonomy, are allowing potential U.S. adversaries to erase the line — always a bit murky anyway — between the littoral and the blue-water theaters of action. This represents an upheaval, and U.S. forces must take formal and thoughtful stock of it, argues Maj. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, who is currently running the Marine Corps’ Quadrennial Defense Review effort. One result will surely be ever-tighter bonds between various communities of naval forces, McKenzie says in “Naval Power and Assured Access.”

Sound like Air-Sea Battle? In fact, the general is describing a philosophical approach, under development by the Marine Corps for a bit more than a year and dubbed Single Naval Battle, that helps elucidate how naval forces will come together in the synchronized efforts that will make ASB possible.

If ASB is still inchoate, counterinsurgency doctrine has been advanced and tempered by a decade of war. In “Counterinsurgency and Common Sense,” AFJ contributing editor Joseph Collins walks us through a decade of white-hot debate over COIN, and draws some lessons for the future.

Two pieces this month deal with what might be called the business end of the military: Lt. Col. Nathan Scopac argues that Air Force Special Operations Command needs its legendarily flexible operators to get smart on military acquisition processes, while Lance Bacon’s piece on performance-based logistics looks at the pros and cons of an acquisition strategy that rewards contractors for uptime, not for supplying parts.

Adam Elkus makes his AFJ debut with a look at the coming strategic competition in cyberspace, and finds that the wisest course may be one that keeps the widest amount of aspects in mind.

Finally, the authors of “At War with Fatigue” try to puncture that age-old belief that going into battle on too little sleep is a path to glory, and replace it with the idea that it’s to be avoided, when possible, by planning rest times as carefully as one might plot a line of attack or assemble a supply plan. And with that, we put this issue to bed.

Bradley Peniston