The Future of Joint Operations

Real Cooperation for Real Threats

Courtesy Reuters

When I joined the Army in 1974, the United States military claimed to be committed to joint operations, but it was not. In Vietnam, the Air Force, Army, and Navy all fought completely different air wars, and Army and Marine generals sometimes disagreed on basic strategy on the ground. Almost a decade later in Grenada, tactical coordination between the Army and Marine Corps had improved only marginally. Incompatible communication systems caused numerous problems between ground forces and naval aviators, and led to a friendly fire incident that wounded 17 soldiers. By the 1991 Gulf War, inter-service cooperation had progressed, but not enough; the Army excluded the Marines from much of their ground operations planning and all of the services disagreed on how to use their respective air assets. More than 40 years after the creation of the Department of Defense, the U.S. armed forces still struggled to shoot, move, communicate, plan, or cooperate

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