June 1, 2012  

In this issue: June 2012

What do the Japanese Long Lance torpedo, the F-117 Nighthawk and the atom bomb have in common? They were developed in secrecy, concealed until their first combat deployment, and used, at least initially, to devastating effect. Moreover, they — and their secret-weapon ilk — offer lessons for the cyber warriors of today and tomorrow.

Ravi R. Hichkad and Christopher J. Bowie of Northrop Grumman’s Analysis Center, surveyed several dozen such weapons, from the Byzantine Empire to the present, and they show how secrecy holds both promise and peril.

Part of the danger of drawing a veil over one’s capabilities is that you may confuse your own side. For example, much has been written about — and much criticism launched against — DoD’s nascent Air-Sea Battle operating concept. But Navy Capt. Philip DuPree and Air Force Col. Jordan Thomas, who lead their respective services’ teams in the ASB office, say that much of the commentary is based on misperceptions, fostered in part because parts of the concept documents are classified. In their article, they offer the clearest explanation yet of DoD’s future approach to air-sea-space superiority.

AFJ contributing editor Gene Myers offers a strategic reason to put that air power to work: punitive wars. Instead of the long, nation-building slogs à la Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. national interest may be better served by campaigns that “quickly, violently and single-mindedly impose a cost for egregious actions.” Then we “make it very clear we will quickly do it again if need be, and we go home.”

Such decisions, of course, are ultimately up to the president, a civilian job that in recent years has taken on more and more trappings of the military. Air Force Maj. Charles G. Kels explores how this shift has happened and what it means.

And finally, PowerPoint guru Andrew V. Abela explains what we’re doing wrong when we prepare our briefings, and how to do it right.

— Bradley Peniston (bradp@armedforcesjournal.com), Editor, Armed Forces Journal