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Nov 01, 2014

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  • 1. READY FOR TODAY. PREPARING FOR TOMORROW.
  • 2. ABOUT THIS STUDY The Joint Operating Environment is intended to inform joint concept development and experimentation throughout the Department of Defense. It provides a perspective on future trends, shocks, contexts, and implications for future joint force commanders and other leaders and professionals in the national security field. This document is speculative in nature and does not suppose to predict what will happen in the next twenty-five years. Rather, it is intended to serve as a starting point for discussions about the future security environment at the operational level of war. Inquiries about the Joint Operating Environment should be directed to USJFCOM Public Affairs, 1562 Mitscher Avenue, Suite 200, Norfolk, VA 23551-2488, (757) 836-6555. Distribution Statement A: Approved for Public Release United States Joint Forces Command www.jfcom.mil
  • 3. THE JOINT OPERATING ENVIRONMENT ( J O E ) Distribution Statement A: Approved for Public Release February 18, 2010 Government requests for the final approved document must be referred to: United States Joint Forces Command Joint Futures Group (J59) 112 Lake View Parkway, Suffolk, VA 23435. Attention: Joe Purser, 757-203-3928
  • 4. FOREWORD While U.S. Joint Forces Commands Joint Operating Environment (JOE) in no way constitutes U.S. government policy and must necessarily be speculative in nature, it seeks to provide the Joint Force an intellectual foundation upon which we will construct the concepts to guide our future force development. We will likely not call the future exactly right, but we must think through the nature of continuity and change in strategic trends to discern their military implications to avoid being completely wrong. These implications serve to influence the concepts that drive our services adaptations to the environments within which they will operate, adaptations that are essential if our leaders are to have the fewest regrets when future crises strike. In our guardian role for our nation, it is natural that we in the military focus more on possible security challenges and threats than we do on emerging opportunities. From economic trends to climate change and vulnerability to cyber attack, we outline those trends that remind us we must stay alert to what is changing in the world if we intend to create a military as relevant and capable as we possess today. There is a strong note of urgency in our efforts to balance the force for the uncertainties that lie ahead. The JOE gives focus to those efforts which must also embrace the opportunities that are inherent in the world we imperfectly foresee. Every military force in history that has successfully adapted to the changing character of war and the evolving threats it faced did so by sharply defining the operational problems it had to solve. With the JOE helping to frame future security problems and highlighting their military implications, the Chairmans companion document, Capstone Concept for Joint Operations (CCJO), answers the problems we have defined, stating how the Joint Force will operate. Taken together, these documents will drive the concept development and experimentation that will, in turn, drive our evolutionary adaptation, while guarding against any single preclusive view of future war. None of us have a sufficiently clear crystal ball to predict fully the changing kaleidoscope of future conflicts that hover over the horizon, even as current fights, possible adversaries nascent capabilities, and other factors intersect. We will update the JOE in a year or two, once we have a sufficiently different understanding to make a new edition worthwhile. If you have ideas for improving our assessment of the future security environment and the problems our military must solve to provide relevant defense for our country and like-minded nations, please forward them to J-5 (Strategy), Joint Forces Command. J.N. Mattis General, U.S. Marines Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command
  • 5. TABLE OF CONTENTS introduction 4 Part I: the constants 6 The Nature of War............................................6 The Challenge of Disruptions..................10 The Nature of Change......................................8 Grand Strategy.........................................11 Part II: trends influencing the worlds security 12 Demographics................................................12 Climate Change and Natural Disasters...32 Globalization...................................................16 Pandemics...............................................33 Economics......................................................19 Cyber........................................................34 Energy.............................................................24 Space.......................................................36 Food...............................................................29 Conclusion...............................................37 Water..............................................................31 Part III: the contextual world 38 Cooperation and Competition The Middle East and Central Asia......49 Among Conventional Powers.........................38 Weak and Failing States..........................50 Potential Future Challenges...........................39 The Threats of Unconventional Power....52 China.........................................................39 Radical Ideologies...................................52 Russia........................................................42 The Proliferation of Weapons of Mass The Pacific and Indian Oceans.................45 Destruction..............................................53 Europe.......................................................46 Technology...............................................54 Central and South America.......................47 Urbanization............................................57 Africa.........................................................48 The Battle of Narratives...........................58 Part IV: the implications for the joint forces 60 War in the Twenty-first Century......................60 The Conduct of Military Operations in the Preparing for War............................................62 Twenty-first Century.................................64 Part V: future opportunities 69 Professional Military Education: The Personnel System............................71 The Critical Key to the Future........................69 Simulation................................................71 Defense Economics & Acquisition Policies...71 Concluding Thoughts 72
  • 6. War is a matter of vital importance to the State; the province of life or death; the road to survival or ruin. It is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied.1 -Sun Tzu INTRODUCTION The next quarter century will challenge U.S. joint forces with threats and opportunities ranging from regular and irregular wars in remote lands, to relief and reconstruction in crisis zones, to cooperative engagement in the global commons. Our enemys capabilities will range from explosive vests worn by suicide bombers to long-range precision-guided cyber, space, and missile attacks. The threat of mass destruction from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons will likely expand from stable nation- states to less stable states and even non-state networks. It is impossible to predict precisely how challenges will emerge and what form they might take. Nevertheless, it is absolutely vital to try to frame the strategic and operational contexts of the future, in order to gl