Journal of Advanced Military Studies
vol. 11, no. 1
Spring 2020




From the Editors



Think Tank, Do Tank

The Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity

Donald M. Bishop



Abstract: On 29 March 2019, a ceremony at Marine Corps University (MCU) marked the opening and full operational capability of the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity. The conception, birth, assignment of permanent staff, funding, and now-robust schedule of activities of the Krulak Center came after some years of gestation, providing a case study of organizational change. The Marine Corps has long valued innovation and creativity, but the impetus to establish such a center had its origins in the decennial accreditation process of MCU by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This article looks at the early conceptualization of a Center for Applied Creativity (CAC), the organizational starts and stalls, the thoughts about goals and organization that came together for the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity, and finally the initial years of its activity.



Donald M. Bishop serves as the Bren Chair of Strategic Communications in the Krulak Center at Marine Corps University. During a 31-year career in the Foreign Service, he led U.S. public diplomacy in Afghanistan, China, Nigeria, and other nations. He was detailed from the Department of State as the foreign policy advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps in 2006–8.



Future War, from the Tip of a Pen

Valerie Jackson


Abstract: It is amazing what a couple of majors with a good idea can accomplish. Recognizing that the majority of the Corps is under the age of 25, and understanding that traditional forms of professional military education (i.e., reading a book from the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ [CMCs’] reading list, then having a discussion) may not be the best vehicle for the absorption of professional material for the age group, Majors Austin Duncan and Adam Yang pitched an idea to the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity and the Marine Corps University Foundation (MCUF) for support of a new concept: a graphic novel. With money from MCUF to hire a local illustrator to give classes, the majors assembled Marine officers and enlisted writer-illustrator teams to create something “organic, homegrown, and raw . . . created for the warfighter by the warfighter.”1 Set in 2075, far enough in the future to elude Pentagon planners, the stories test the bounds of our traditional understanding of both the character and nature of war. The graphic novel is explosively popular, and has gone through two print runs, mailed and downloaded by Marines, the other Services, partners, and allies across the globe. As of the writing of this article, it has won three awards for innovation: the Navy Agility and Accountability Award, the Secretary of the Navy A+ Award, and the Department of Defense Gears of Government Award. Our 31st Commandant, General Charles C. Krulak, wrote in the foreword to Destination Unknown that the reader must “not be afraid to look for answers in new intellectual or creative spaces.”2 Indeed, this work offers a new vision of an old idea: the answers to the problems that Marines may face in the future quite possibly lie dormant in the minds of Marines themselves, waiting for the spark of innovation to unleash the energy that guarantees our future victories.



Valerie Jackson is the director of the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity at Marine Corps University and is a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.



History as an Enemy and an Instructor

Lessons Learned from Haiti, 1915-34

Christopher Davis, PhD
JAMS vol. 11, no. 1



Abstract: As Haiti and other nations in the Caribbean and Latin America experience increasing instability, and the United States increases its naval presence in the region, history offers important lessons for future U.S. involvement. An exploration of the tactical innovations of the Marine Corps and of the influence of national history on the Haitian insurgencies during the U.S. occupation of Haiti (1915–34) reveals the significance of history in either achieving or curtailing military goals.


Keywords: U.S. military history, Haitian insurgencies, counterinsurgency, tactical innovation, culture, Haiti, U.S. involvement in Haiti, occupation of Haiti, Marines in Haiti


Christopher Davis is currently a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He teaches courses on world history during the early twentieth century and on the history of the First World War. His research primarily focuses on the history of U.S. intervention in the Caribbean and Latin America during the early twentieth century, as well as U.S. engagement in the First World War.



Slot Machine Warfare

China's Campaign to Undermine American Military Plans in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Evan N. Polisar
JAMS vol. 11, no. 1



Abstract: The Department of Defense (DOD) has proposed establishing several live-fire training areas in the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands (CNMI) to address dozens of training deficiencies impacting Pacific forces. Capitalizing on local resistance to the proposal, the People’s Republic of China has waged a campaign of political and economic warfare in the CNMI through proxy casino companies to inflame opposition among residents and assert greater influence in the region. This article examines the DOD’s joint training proposal, China’s political and military efforts to undermine it, and important considerations should the plan move forward.


Keywords: China, Indo-Pacific, political warfare, military training, Mariana Islands



Evan N. Polisar is a senior legislative assistant and committee associate for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he advises on foreign policy and national security. He received a BA in psychology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an MA in military operational art and science with highest academic distinction from Air University, Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, AL



Political Warfare

The People's Republic of China's Strategy "to Win without Fighting"

Professor Kerry K. Gershaneck

JAMS vol. 11, no. 1



Abstract: The Commandant of the Marine Corps has identified the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as an existential threat to the United States in the long term. To successfully confront this threat, the United States must relearn how to fight on the political warfare battlefield. Although increasingly capable militarily, the PRC employs political warfare as its primary weapon to destroy its adversaries. However, America no longer has the capacity to compete and win on the political warfare battlefield: this capacity atrophied in the nearly three decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Failure to understand China’s political warfare and how to fight it may well lead to America’s strategic defeat before initiation of armed conflict and to operational defeat of U.S. military forces on the battlefield. The study concludes with recommendations the U.S. government must take to successfully counter this existential threat


Keywords: People’s Republic of China, PRC, political warfare, United Front Work Department, propaganda, China Dream, Great Rejuvenation, Xi Jinping, people’s war, three warfares, strategic psychological warfare, People’s Liberation Army, PLA, proxy army, PLA’s Strategic Support Force, public opinion/ media warfare, cyber warfare, Confucius Institutes



Professor Kerry K. Gershaneck is a visiting scholar at the Graduate Institute of East Asian Studies, National Chengchi University in Taiwan; a senior research associate at the CPG, Faculty of Law, Thammasat University in Thailand; and an adjunct professor with University of Canberra’s Institute for Governance & Policy Analysis in Australia. He is a former U.S. Marine Corps officer.



MEF Innovation Team (MIT)

Discovering and Solving the MEFs Complex Problems

Major Troy E. Mitchell, PhD

JAMS vol. 11, no. 1



Abstract: Adversaries use cost-effective and timely technologies to counter expensive military acquisitions that undermine the United States’ military capabilities. With the private sector outpacing defense innovation, the speed of technology and business drives future warfare considerations. If technology corporations drive the speed of the future of warfare, then appreciating design thinking’s business model applicability to military strategy shapes how the Marine Corps responds to uncertain operating environments during the next several decades. This article incorporates aspects of design thinking for the Marine Corps to provide variables aiding in future warfare innovation to solve complex problems inherent to the future operating environment.

Keywords: design thinking, innovation, future warfare design, strategy, design methodology


Dr. Troy E. Mitchell is a MAGTF planner at II Marine Expeditionary Force (IIMEF). He also serves as a professor for National American University, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses related to global studies.



Seeking Alpha in the Security Cooperation Enterprise
A New Approach to Assessments and Evaluations
Captain James R. R. Van Eerden
JAMS vol. 11, no. 1



Abstract: Despite the billions of dollars invested in the security cooperation enterprise each year, the Marine Corps and the Department of Defense (DOD) have failed to implement standardized metrics and processes for evaluating security cooperation engagements at the tactical level. Without such data, it is nearly impossible for the security cooperation enterprise to accurately assess progress in achieving national security objectives, such as partner nation basing access and partner force capacity building. Without clear signposts of progress, cooperation engagements will continue to be hampered by redundant or irrelevant training that limits the return on investment for the DOD and strategic U.S. partners.


Keywords: security cooperation, Marine Corps, Department of Defense, cooperation agreements, national security objectives, return on investment, data, metrics


James R. R. Van Eerden recently graduated from the Expeditionary Warfare School, Marine Corps University, where he completed a prestigious fellowship program and graduated first in his class. He currently works with the National Security Agency filling a variety of positions: deputy director, chief operations officer, and Marine detachment officer-in-charge. For reviews of this article, the author is grateful to Dr. Todd Holm, Maj Kevin Smith, and Jim Van Eerden.



Automation and the Future of Command and Control

The End of Auftragstaktik?

Lieutenant Colonel Rosario M. Simonetti, Italian Army Marine, and Paolo Tripodi, PhD

JAMS vol. 11, no. 1


Abstract: The impact of new technologies and the increased speed in the future battlespace may overcentralize command and control functions at the political or strategic level and, as a result, bypass the advisory role played by a qualified staff. Political and/or strategic leaders might find it appealing to pursue preemptive or preventive wars as a strategy to acquire asymmetric advantage over the enemy. This article investigates the roots of this trend, connecting historical perspectives with implications that next-generation technology may have on command and control.


Keywords: command and control, technological innovation, mission command, automation


LtCol Rosario M. Simonetti is currently student at the School of Advanced Warfighting, Marine Corps University, Quantico, VA. The personal viewpoints expressed in this article are Simonetti’s alone and are not the viewpoint of the Italian Army. Paolo Tripodi is the ethics branch head and a professor of ethics and leadership at the Lejeune Leadership Institute, Marine Corps University.



Exploring Predictability in Armed Conflict

David E. McCullin

JAMS vol. 11, no. 1



Abstract: This article proposes a direct relationship between complexity and predictability in a two-agent noncooperative zero-sum game (2XZSG). The author explores this proposition by modeling armed conflict as a 2XZSG and using case studies in armed conflict as the dataset for the systematic literature review. This article uses a multiple case study approach, systematically reviewing 13 case studies in armed conflict that yielded 156 references identifying four themes—environmental, human resource, operational, and supply chain constraints—that demonstrate a direct relationship between complexity and predictability. The data focuses on decisions made in particular battles and campaigns as well as the constraints that impacted decision making. By identifying those decisions and constraints, four themes emerged. These four themes are an innovation as a potential addendum to the war gaming methodology in the military decision making process (MDMP).


Keywords: game theory, complex adaptive systems, armed conflict, operational arts, war gaming, strategy selection


David E. McCullin is a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland Global Campus. He holds a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from U.S. Naval War College in Newport, RI, and a master’s degree in business policy and economics from State University of New York. McCullin has worked as an infrastructure analyst at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and prior to that retired from the U.S. Army with various tours, serving 12 years in Army Special Operations with the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command.



Protectors without Prerogative

The Challenge of Military Defense against Information Warfare

Christopher Whyte, PhD

JAMS vol. 11, no. 1


Abstract: This article considers the unique threat of information warfare and the challenges posed to defense establishments in democratic states that are typically legally limited in their ability to operate in domestic affairs. This author argues that military strategy on information warfare must be informed by understanding the systems of social and political function being targeted by foreign adversaries. Looking to theories of political communication, the author locates such understanding in describing democracies as information systems whose functionality resides in the countervailing operation of key social forces. Defense establishments would do well to develop greater analytic capacity for prediction of attack based on such societal—rather than strategic—factors and incorporate these predictions into efforts to shape adversary behavior in cyberspace, the primary medium via which information warfare is prosecuted today.

Keywords: information warfare, cyber, democracy, persistent engagement, subversion



Dr. Christopher Whyte is an assistant professor in the program on homeland security and emergency preparedness at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. His research and teaching focus on the dynamics of global cyber conflict, the execution of information warfare campaigns, and the impact of emergent information technologies on the national security enterprise. His work has been published in numerous journals and media outlets. Dr. Whyte is coauthor of a volume on cyber warfare, lead editor of a book on information warfare in the age of the internet, and coauthor of a forthcoming monograph that contextualizes military efforts to employ artificial intelligence toward battlefield innovation.



Fit for Future Conflict

American Strategic Culture in the Context of Great Power Competition

Jeannie L. Johnson, PhD

JAMS vol. 11, no. 1


Abstract: U.S. strategic planners seeking to achieve the upper hand in ongoing and future conflict with near-peer adversaries will derive significant advantages from a thorough understanding of American strategic culture and its inherent blind spots. Studied self-awareness will make it less likely that U.S. adversaries can exploit deficits in traditional U.S. defense practices and may inspire an investment in skills, tactics, and diplomatic approaches that innovate beyond the American strategic culture comfort zone. New U.S. strategies are needed in the current era of ideological competition driven by Russia and China’s use of digital technologies to undermine democratic governance and grow the world market for data surveillance-based authoritarianism.


Keywords: strategic culture, future war, great power competition, cultural analysis, lessons learned, irregular war, information operations, digital authoritarianism, digital surveillance, Russia, China



Jeannie L. Johnson is director of the Center for Anticipatory Intelligence (CAI) at Utah State University in Logan and an associate professor in the Political Science Department. She worked as an intelligence analyst from 1998 to 1999 and pioneered the Cultural Topography Framework with Matt Berrett, then the Central Intelligence Agency’s assistant director for global issues. Dr. Johnson’s primary research interest, strategic culture, examines the impact of national and organizational cultures on the formation of security policy. She has published several books employing the strategic culture methodology. This article was completed with the substantial editing assistance of Briana Bowen, CAI program manager.








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