July 1, 2007  

In this issue

“Every soldier, sailor and airman a node in the network” is the type of phrase bandied around in industry marketing materials and Pentagon briefings and, often as not, repeated in defense magazines,

In our cover package, aerospace and defense journalist Barry Rosenberg and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chris Van Avery get under the skin of what the chain of information means to the chain of command. Barry sets out why commanding those “nodes” requires a different leadership model; Van Avery sets out some new principles of warfare that can accommodate the impact of digital technology on the battlefield.

Whatever the new challenges of network-centric warfare, age-old problems associated with recapitalization will likely always dog the military or any other large organization that depends on large, expensive equipment. Coast Guard acquisition chief Adm. John Currier spells out how his organization, chastened by the Deepwater fleet recapitalization program criticism, is correcting its acquisition structure.

We expected our May issue cover story, “A Failure in Generalship” by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling, would spark debate about leadership. It did. This month, Marine Col. David Aumuller and Army Lt. Col. John Mauk ably argue the case for the other side. Aumuller, a 23-year air command-and-control officer who will assume command of Marine Air Control Group 48 in August, robustly defends a general officer corps that is the best educated and trained in history. Mauk, who has served as a staff officer at the three-star level as a strategist in the headquarters of Multi-National Force-Iraq, welcomes the debate but believes the true perspective is that the failure of a few generals should not detract from the exceptional leadership of the many.

Ralph Peters, meanwhile, offers a potential solution to the under-strength and over-stretched Army and Marine Corps: rehire military retirees. His proposed new rank of “ox officer” has many appeals. AFJ just can’t help wondering whether Ralph, himself a retired Army officer, is writing his new job description.