The U.S. Army in Transition: Preparation for Joint Force 2020

  • Lieutenant Colonel Michael P. Doherty

As the U.S. transitions from 13 years of war into its next “interwar” period, it is confronted with an increasingly complex geo-strategic environment, replete with the full spectrum of threats, and the harsh realities of the growing financial crisis. Amid this environment, the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance and Capstone Concept for Joint Operations provide the U.S. Armed Forces clear strategic guidance to drive future force development and preparation for Joint Force (JF) 2020. The purpose of this paper is to explore and grade the U.S. Army’s preparation for JF 2020 by examining how the strategic guidance has been translated into Army priorities, and by exploring three of the Army’s major new initiatives--Mission Command, Regionally Aligned Forces, and Pacific Pathways--to determine how they relate to the following framework questions: Are these initiatives aligned with the strategic guidance? Do they contribute to joint warfighting requirements or do they trend toward parochial efforts to justify resources? Finally, do they contribute to developing a Joint Force which can Prevent, Shape and Win, regardless of the threat, when called to do so?