The Paradox of Joint Culture (Joint Force Quarterly, Autumn 2000)
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR COUNTERPROLIFERATION RESEARCH
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Since the passage of the Goldwater Nichols Act in 1986, critics have raised the dangers of forming too close a bond among the services. Their fear is that doing so will subvert institutional traditions and culture, thereby stifling important but diverse perspectives. The friction of ideas was considered to be natural and necessary for joint warfighting. Being too joint, the argument goes, will breed collusion. Yet while some operators and theorists have outlined the pitfalls of restricting servicespecific legacies, they have charged that not doing so impedes true jointness. The absence of joint culture, moreover, has also meant that purple-minded members of the Armed Forces have found an absence of shared values in which to ground strategic thinking apart from priorities set by the services. Joint nonculture has triumphed. Indeed, articles published under the rubric of Out of Joint in JFQ have been largely devoted to the topic thus a rereading of these contributions may explain the cognitive dissonance surrounding joint culture in the minds of joint warfighters.
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