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Implementing Joint Operational Access: From Concept to Joint Force Development

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Journal article

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Strategic guidance issued to the U.S. military over the past 5 years explicitly cites the emerging challenge to what has been a significant advantage for American and partner forces for decades the unfettered ability to project military force into an operational area with sufficient freedom of action to accomplish a designated mission. In some instances this ability includes access to sovereign territory, but in all cases it requires access to the global commons. Potential enemies are developing antiaccessarea-denial A2AD capabilities3 that could threaten access and jeopardize missions. Concept development, as the bridging mechanism from strategic guidance to operational capabilities, has played a key role in the past few years to guide joint and Service force development activities in this area. The Joint Operational Access Concept JOAC and the recently signed Joint Concept for Entry Operations4 are examples of where strategic guidance to overcome A2AD challenges is translated into operational concepts intended to guide how the U.S. military is organized, trained, equipped, and employed. Less visible perhaps but equally important are the processes whereby the ideas embodied in these concepts are transitioned into specific force development activities arrayed across the entire spectrum of doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy DOTMLPF-P. These activities, actioned by Service, Joint Staff, and Defense agency sponsors and accomplished in a timeframe that accounts for the complexity of the task and the scope of the work required, are what institutionalize the change demanded by strategic guidance documents. In other words, concepts without accompanying implementation plans typically end up as nothing more than books on a shelf.

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

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