In this issue you will find a “new AFJ.” The new look is designed to confirm the larger change in the magazine’s content that has taken place over recent months. Conceived by Sue Gubisch of the design firm Eason Associates and ably executed by our own Christina Cook, the design emphasizes the written word and makes the magazine easier to read. We hope you agree, and we welcome your comments.
The difference is particularly noticeable in this month’s cover feature, a virtual roundtable discussion of the state of American civil-military relations and the unique role played by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Done by e-mail rather than simply by recording a conversation, the discussion among Andy Bacevich, Eliot Cohen, Tom Keaney, Bob Killebrew, Dick Kohn and Mike Vickers — a numerical and intellectual majority of experts on the subject — is insightful and reflective; the “statements” are mini-essays. A second feature package, as well as this month’s editorial, tackles the subject of joint warfare, the established religion at the Pentagon. Seth Cropsey and Mac Owens raise profound questions about this orthodoxy and its applicability for the future while acknowledging the accomplishments of the past; both pieces capture the “power and limits of jointness.” Finally, Dan Blumenthal and Joe Lin seek out the source of China’s emerging maritime strategy in Beijing’s expanding energy obsession, turning to Chinese writings to make their case.
Key elements of this new AFJ are our “back of the book” sections. Longtime readers will marvel at Ralph Peters’ ability to be a constant provocateur — in the best sense. Outdoing himself, Ralph redraws the map of the Middle East to liberate the many “captive peoples” of the region; roll over Gertrude Bell and tell Woodrow Wilson the news. Joining him in the Perspectives section are Bill Arkin and his fellow contributing editor Loren Thompson. This time around, Loren has teamed with Larry Korb and Caroline Wadhams to reveal just how hard the war in Iraq has been on Army equipment. Bill’s piece on air power in small wars makes a natural pair with the book review by Chris Bowie, until recently the deputy director of Air Force strategic planning and now returned to the Northrop Grumman Corp. Completing the air power trifecta is another book review by Tom Keaney — again! — a former bomber pilot and principal in the Gulf War Air Power Survey. Completing our arts and letters package is Chris Griffin’s monthly take on the Blogs of War with a focus on FOB (for “forward operating base,” in Iraq) life.
All in all, a special issue indeed.