Jointness for the Rest of Us: Reforming Joint Professional Development
Joint Forces Staff College, Joint Advanced Warfighting School Norfolk United States
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The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 and the Defense Department transformation movement that it spawned intended to enhance military effectiveness by creating a level of interdependency where service capabilities are combined to maximize effectiveness while minimizing vulnerabilities. However, despite the passage of thirty years since the laws enactment, its stated goals are not yet fully realized. This thesis argues that the interdependence sought by Congressional legislators and Defense leaders is not possible as long as joint education and training are limited to a small portion of the total joint force. Providing enlisted service members and government civilian employees with quality joint professional growth opportunities is essential to the development of competent, effective, and agile leaders for future joint organizations at all levels. This expansion will also ensure that those charged with mastering and integrating advanced technologies, developing and adopting innovative doctrine, and transforming DOD as an organization receive the foundational tools needed to excel. Finally, this thesis offers recommendations on reforming joint development in order to create a centrally managed and resourced professional development model that supports the needs of the entire joint force.