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A nation must think before it acts.
Operation Iraqi Freedom demonstrated, or should have demonstrated, that joint warfighting—that is, the synergistic application of the unique capabilities of each service so that the net result is a capability that is greater than the sum of the parts—is not just the mantra of the Department of Defense, but is, in fact, a reality. Nevertheless, as successful as Operation Iraqi Freedom was, the department might take the concept of joint operations to still another level. If Operation Iraqi Freedom provided the observer with glimpses of innovative, task-organized units such as the Army’s elite Delta Force special missions unit working with a platoon of M1 Abrams main battle tanks and close air support, we still see a segmentation of the battlespace that creates unnatural seams, inhibiting the full potential of a joint force. How does this square with future joint operational concepts? Can the current architecture of joint force command and control arrangements react responsively and effectively to the threat environment that exists today and will likely confront our forces in the future? Is there a better way? In this article, we will explore those questions as we look at alternative joint force architectures that might better unleash the full capability of the Department of Defense….