Principles of Jointness
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
Pagination or Media Count:
Despite all the attention given to jointness since World War II, there is no comprehensive theory that underpins the concept in doctrine. This is unusual in light of the large body of literature on operational art. Most military practitioners find operational art inherently joint, yet it has not been linked theoretically to jointness. Joint Publication 1, Joint Warfare of the U.S. Armed Forces, offers a list of joint principles, but these are mostly exhortations and fall short of constituting a theory. The reason for this state of affairs is not hard to fathom. As one observer has put it In the course of research and analysis, I also gained a sense of why jointness has rarely been treated clinically. In peacetime, the bewildering maze of operational detail, legislation, doctrine, technology, personalities, factions and formal organizations has made jointness many things to many people. Since as a subset of war, jointness in combat lies in the realm of chaos, it is no more tractable to numerical reductionism, logical formats, or formulae than the arts, sculpture, or the weather. Like schools of thought in art, the intensity of partisanship on issues of jointness has sometimes approached the level of emotion held toward foes in war, for it touches closely on the critical bonding and cohesion that lie at the heart of military institutions, and their predisposition to see the world in themus terms. In such a highly charged environment few people can be objective enough to develop theory. An evaluation of the relevant literature reveals a fragmented approach to joint theory. There is a tendency to focus on theater warfighting or activities on the Pentagon level. This is unsurprising because the two environments are so different. Joint principles are normally considered in terms of support of other activities. But when the literature attempts to address underlying factors, two principles emerge repeatedly, either explicitly or implicitly.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics