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Jointness by Design, Not Accident

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Journal article

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Since the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986 it has become politically incorrect to question jointness as the preeminent way for the military to do business as a whole. As a result, civilian officials and military leaders are accelerating this already fast-moving concept. Even though jointness was the raison detre for Goldwater-Nichols, it has never been defined systematically or developed conceptually. It has been invoked to universally justify any and all of the intents identified in that legislation, which has created a perception within the military that its overall objective was to make jointness an end in itself. While the conduct of recent operations shows major improvements, jointness still lacks the theoretical underpinning to resolve all the explicit intents of Goldwater-Nichols. Since the goal of jointness is to enhance military operations, a process is needed to efficiently manage its evolution. This can be done by defining jointness precisely, framing the concept of jointness holistically, and devising a process to assess its evolution analytically. We can begin to define jointness through generalizations. First, it is a focused effort by the Armed Forces across all levels of war. Second, while it primarily relates to the use of joint forces to conduct military operations, it should embrace all joint activities. Third, joint forces are more capable than uni-service forces because their inherent multidimensional capabilities offer more options to JFCs. Fourth, JFCs must synchronize capabilities for synergistic effectiveness. Fifth, for jointness to be optimized, synchronization must be conducted across all joint integrators, not just joint operations. Jointness then can be defined as a holistic process that seeks to enhance the effectiveness of all military operations by synchronizing the actions of the Armed Forces to produce synergistic effects within and between all joint integrators at every level of war.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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