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Big Centralization, Small Bets, and the Warfighting Implications of Middling Progress: Three Concerns about JADC2’s Trajectory

Warfare has always been a contest of incomplete information and imperfect control, with each side straining to find the enemy in an unfavorable position and coordinate his destruction. Although the technologies used to surveil, communicate, and attack have changed throughout history, the advantages gained from scouting and synchronizing more effectively than one’s opponent have endured. Stripped of its jargon, the Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) vision of integrating sensors and shooters comprises merely the latest Pentagon effort to provide U.S. forces with the timeless military advantages of superior information and control. This basic thrust of JADC2 represents a vital objective worth pursuing – even if the idealized outcome, fully integrated C2, likely remains as unattainable today as when the epigram appeared 60 years ago.


Air Power Metamorphosis: Rethinking Air Force Combat Force Modernization

For the past three decades, Chinese leadership has closely studied the United States’ power projection capabilities and concept of operations. Consequently, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has tailored its anti-access/area denial approach and air defenses to prevent the United States from leveraging its current strengths. A short- or medium-range concept of air power is unlikely to be successful for power projection or deterrence in the Western Pacific, and a change in direction for the U.S. Air Force is likely necessary. 


Innovating for Great Power Competition: An Examination of Service and Joint Innovation Efforts

Following nearly two decades of counterinsurgency in the Greater Middle East, the United States Department of Defense finds itself looking to the Cold War for lessons on how to adapt to the operational challenges presented by China and Russia. To modernize its platforms, doctrine, and force structure to compete with and defeat 21st-century great power competitors, the military services and the Department of Defense as a whole are seeking to promote conceptual, organizational, and technological innovation within the U.S. armed forces.


Chinese Lessons From the Pacific War: Implications for PLA Warfighting

Senior Fellow Toshi Yoshihara surveys Chinese histories of the Pacific War to discern lessons that mainland analysts have drawn from the ocean-spanning struggle. He examines the extensive Chinese-language literature on the great battles at Midway, Guadalcanal, and Okinawa and pinpoints the operational insights that Chinese strategists have gleaned from them. The selected campaigns involved warfighting that will feature prominently in a future Sino-American conflict: carrier air warfare, contested amphibious landings, expeditionary logistics, and electronic warfare.


Moving Pieces: Near-Term Changes to Pacific Air Posture

The threat to U.S. and allied air facilities in the Indo-Pacific region is increasing. Current air force posture is vulnerable to adversary first strike due to insufficient posture resiliency—the ability of deployed forces to survive, operate, and regenerate under adversary attack. The recently announced decision to replace the permanent F-15C Eagle squadrons at Kadena Air Base with a rotational deployment only reduces the effectiveness of U.S. Indo-Pacific air forces in the event of a conflict. Defense planning in recent years has outlined recommendations to improve the defense of both facilities and others in the region, but these recommendations have only been partially implemented at best.