December 1, 2011  

In this issue

A decade of war has vaulted unmanned aircraft from intriguing peripherals to integral players, at least in the U.S. way of war, and yet we have barely begun to imagine the uses to which they will be put.

Army Maj. Darin L. Gaub invites us to remember the state of manned military aircraft in the wake of World War I — having come so far so fast, they retained unimaginable potential — and notes that UAVs are at a comparable stage in their evolution.

Gaub is not so worried that we will fail to unlock this potential as he is alarmed at the fractured state of Pentagon preparation to meet and defeat adversary unmanned aircraft. It is past time, he says, to launch deep and coordinated efforts to develop counter-UAV doctrine and training.

Army Maj. Stephen Flanagan advances the near-heretical notion that the prolonged stress and sleep deprivation at Ranger school, and elsewhere in the military experience, hurt more than they help.

David Hollis, the new chief of the J51 strategy division at U.S. Cyber Command, describes how innovation in IT acquisition — don’t test before you buy!? — helped the government make data encryption better, cheaper, easier and faster.

Air Force Lt. Col. Jean-Philippe Peltier argues that detailing military officers to the State Department and sending them off to be part of another military’s chain of command could reap vast benefits.

Robert Killebrew lays out his thoughts on how the U.S. military should react to impending budget cuts, while Robert Scales looks to history and proposes a future force built around 7,000 small units.

And finally, no recent AFJ article provoked quite so much passion as October’s “Goodbye, OODA Loop.” Admirers believed they had seen theorist Col. John Boyd taken down a long-overdue peg; detractors condemned the notion that the observe-orient-decide-act cycle might be obsolete. Air Force Lt. Col. David “Sugar” Lyle explains how everyone is right — and how many of us, at least, have gotten something wrong.

— Bradley Peniston, Editor, Armed Forces Journal (bradp@armedforcesjournal.com)