HomeWild Blue YonderArticle Display

Wild Blue Yonder Home Page

The views and opinions expressed or implied in WBY are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents.

Examining and Enhancing Deterrence Education for Future Leaders

Wild Blue Yonder / Maxwell AFB, AL --


We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

Albert Einstein



Our nation’s future leaders must be prepared for increasingly complex threats and world-wide challenges. Education provides the key to strengthening preparedness. According to the US House of Representatives—Committee on Armed Services, “professional military education is the backbone in the development of the nation’s armed forces, and the quality of that military education distinguishes U.S. forces around the world.”2 Without integrated and updated education, future leaders may miscalculate situations, leaving the US insignificant in world events. In the US military, professional military education (PME) is a key component in preparing both military and civilian leaders. Such civilian leaders are colleagues from the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security who attend PME institutes.

The military utilizes PME to prepare officers for future responsibilities. Such responsibility requires a Joint education component, which includes deterrence theory, developing critical thinking skills, and practical experience among the military services. This Joint PME (JPME), enables future senior leaders to incorporate leadership methods and develop strategies into their learning. Further, electives within Joint education may improve a leader’s capacity to envision how their mission set and actions contribute to deterrence on a national scale.3 The article focuses on deterrence education, and while the concepts can be applied to other education topics and other combatant commands, the focus is on US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM).

The Department of Defense (DOD) invests significant time and funding for JPME. Several programs are almost a year in length and cost approximately $50M annually for JPME institutes, such as the National Defense University, National War College, and the Joint Force Staff College in Washington, DC. Service school funding is separate for the Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy, yet these service PME schools also grant JPME credit.4 Graduates of these institutions are well educated in Joint warfare, yet there are several areas that are not efficiently taught to the Joint Force. One such area is strategic deterrence, which is not defined in any DOD directive. Deterrence, as addressed in this article, incorporates integrated domains, such as nuclear, conventional (air, land, sea), space, and cyber realms at the national level. Further, deterrence requires a whole-of-government approach involving multiple entities, such as the Department of State, intelligence community, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, and even Congress. Deterrence can also be viewed as a relationship between entities, a perception or even coercion. Deterrence spans a large continuum, covering nuclear mutually assured destruction during the Cold War to altered information conforming to an adversary disrupting alliances—known as “weaponizing information” or “deep fakes.” Not all leaders, professors, or experts agree on the continuum span. The disagreement is encouraged to foster debate among future leaders regarding different points of view. Yet integrated domains and whole-of-government deterrence concepts are not similarly instructed in core classes in JPME or even service PME institutes.5 Further, current learning areas and objectives specified by the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff do not address deterrence.6 The world is rapidly changing and the JPME enterprise is struggling to keep up.

The US tends to prepare for the next war with the last battle as the setting. Global operations in the past two decades within Afghanistan and Iraq have underscored the need for military and civilian leadership to evaluate and design deterrence differently to avoid protracted engagements. Deterrence needs more emphasis, time, and debate vice reviewing the last battle. The next segment focuses on shortfalls regarding teaching deterrence concepts at various institutes and the need to redefine what is deterrence. Defining a problem is the first step toward discovering a solution.


The authors contacted approximately 60 military leaders, deterrence professionals and educators researching deterrence education concepts and potential gaps. The leaders were senior military and civilians with more than 20 years of experience at USSTRATCOM and the three military services. The educators instruct at either military or civilian universities across the country. The various email exchanges, phone, and personal interviews occurred in a two-month period during early 2019 as part of the US Strategic Command Leadership Fellowship Program. The program meets professionals at the University of Nebraska in Omaha and included tours visiting strategic leadership at Union Pacific, First National Bank, and Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo headquarters.

Defining Deterrence

This section focuses on current military definitions and modified deterrence constructs recommended by educators and experts. To examine deterrence education, one must understand deterrence terminology. Deterrence, deterrence strategy, and strategic deterrence are used by some interchangeably while others interpret them differently. This lack of clarity hinders educators in determining what concepts are needed in the classroom and even teaching those concepts in a consistent manner. Further, not updating curriculum risks students missing strategic deterrence understandings. These same students will be “disadvantaged and incapable of making sound judgements,” especially as they become our future leaders.7

Joint Publication (JP) 3-0, Joint Operations, defines deterrence as “the prevention of action by the existence of a credible threat of unacceptable counteraction and/or belief that the cost of action outweighs the perceived benefits.”8 Not all embrace the official definition; some see the definition as incomplete.9 The Deterrence Operations Joint Operating Concept (DO-JOC) describes deterrence operations as “convincing adversaries not to take actions that threaten US vital interests by means of decisive influence over their decision-making. Decisive influence is achieved by credibly threatening to deny benefits and/or impose costs while encouraging restraint by convincing the actor that restraint will result in an acceptable outcome.”10 Some view this definition as relating only to the Cold War era.11

The JP 3-0 and DO-JOC definitions do not mention nuclear deterrence or strategic deterrence. In today’s global environment, deterrence must go beyond the threat of action used to maintain nuclear status quo in the bipolar, Cold War era, and focus on emerging threats from multiple actors. Multiple actors, such as violent-extremist organizations and adversary alliances, threaten US citizens and national interests with emerging technologies, such as weaponizing social media, antisatellite capabilities, and implementing artificial intelligence. Deterrence must be defined and educated more widely.12 The threat of action must integrate conventional (air, sea, land), cyber, and space domains. Deterrence must involve the whole-of-government. US military deterrence actions must be synchronized with strategic messaging. However, some JPME and service PME institutes do not apply these strategic deterrence concepts in their core curriculum. Both JPME and service PME schools have robust strategic deterrence courses, yet mostly as elective courses. No single course covers all the various deterrence concepts and definitions. This is the finding discussed later in the paper under the Current State of Deterrence Education in JPME and service PME. Thus, the military deterrence definitions are perhaps incomplete. In the meantime, there is considerable discussion in recent books, articles, and classroom instruction which present a more comprehensive deterrence description.

Reconceptualizing Deterrence Education

Deterrence is a dynamic concept with no all-encompassing definition in military doctrine. Deterring attack in today’s complex world requires expanded deterrence strategies based on updated theories and concepts. The next several paragraphs examine a larger deterrence continuum relating to new challenges coupled with suggested novel education constructs.

In Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance between Astrophysics and the Military, deterrence is summarized as “our chief objective . . . to prevent war,” and the end of the Cold War bipolar confrontation “does not mean that our nuclear deterrent has become irrelevant.” Rather, the superpower standoff today “features a multiplicity of nuclear power with crisscrossing ties of cooperation and conflict, fragile command-and-control systems, critical cyber vulnerabilities, threat perceptions occurring among three or more nuclear-armed states simultaneously.”13

Next in The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder by Mr. Sean McFate, deterrence is summed as “today, all instruments of national power must be used, not just the ones that shoot.”14 Mr. McFate’s concern is the US focuses too much on overwhelming firepower, yet fails to engage near-peers, nonstate actors or terrorist organizations. He points out certain national leaders and terror elements are “cunning strategists [which] can weaponize almost anything, including refugee waves.”15 This leads to “terrorism and failed states [which] have reached epic proportions despite superweapon deterrents. Traditional deterrence is obsolete.”16 He continues, discussing how best to counter these cunning strategists by “weaponizing influence and controlling the narrative of the conflict will help us win future wars.”17 This weaponizing influence consists of three elements that are not currently being instructed in most JPME schools: monitoring social media, discrediting and exposing fake news, bots and viral memes, and counterattacking.

At the University of Nebraska–Omaha (UNO), Dr. Michelle Black, founder of the USSTRATCOM Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance (DAAA), warns deterrence must include adversary perceptions toward US actions. By describing deterrence as “focusing more on the perception of the adversary and their understanding of what we wish to influence,”18 Dr. Black changes the focus from US capabilities to adversary perception. She identifies perception is paramount when explaining deterrence.19 When describing deterrence, one should understand one’s adversary and keep current with the adversary’s concerns. This mindset will aid in the most likely avenue to influence adversary behavior. Describing deterrence in terms of adversary perceptions is a change from deterrence’s past practice of threatening consequences.

An additional source of changing deterrence concepts is in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review:

There is no “one size fits all” for deterrence. Consequently, the United States will apply a tailored and flexible approach to effectively deter across a spectrum of adversaries, threats, and contexts. Tailored deterrence strategies communicate to different potential adversaries that their aggression would carry unacceptable risks and intolerable costs according to their particular calculations of risk and cost.20

However, the report provides no vision when and where officers will learn these strategies. Time is already tight at service and JPME institutes for both students and faculty.21 Deterrence experts understand these limits at the service and JPME institutes and have tried new approaches to increase topic focus. For instance, US Cyber Command currently submits case studies at the National War College empowering students to analyze situations in more detail.22 Dr. Paul Bernstein, a senior research fellow at the National Defense University, and Jerome Lynes, deputy director for Joint education on the Joint Staff/J7, suggest creating faculty chairs to embed deterrence concepts within existing educational constructs and incorporating recent topics and case studies for research opportunities.23 Faculty chairs are experienced personnel with recent Joint operational experience and capable of contributing insight into Joint matters to the faculty and student body.24

Environmental security is another concern regarding updating deterrence for future leaders’ preparedness. In a personal interview, Dr. Elizabeth Chalecki from UNO highlighted the fact nations and nonnation actors may start conflicts over limited resources.25 These resource conflicts, focused on fresh water, minerals rights, and food can alter the best prepared strategy. Environmental security is a recent topic only now being introduced to USSTRATCOM, the combatant command most closely associated with strategic deterrence.

The use of open-ended terms in USSTRATCOM commander’s mission and vision statement in figure 1 provides a window into the challenges faced by the JPME enterprise. Undefined terms are used in the mission that includes deterring “strategic attack” and the vision that embraces an innovative “warfighting team deterring conflict.” To emphasize the mission and vision, Gen John E. Hyten, the previous USSTRATCOM commander, established his top priority as providing “strategic deterrence.” Although neither “strategic attack” nor “strategic deterrence” are specifically defined, General Hyten further explains “Twenty-first Century deterrence is more than just our nuclear capabilities—it is the integration of all our capabilities.”26 The general views strategic deterrence as paramount and different than in the past. At the 2019 Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance Conference, General Hyten stated “We noticed young people were not talking about deterrence. . . From our perspective, this is one of the most important topics in our nation and our world, because we don’t want nuclear war to happen.”27 The general desires American youth discussing deterrence more in academia. While a staunch advocate for deterrence instruction supporting the USSTRATCOM mission, General Hyten and his successors do not have specified authority to influence JPME policy nor curriculum regarding deterrence education requirements.

US Strategic Command Mission, Vision, and Priorities. (Adapted from “USSTRATCOM Mission,” US Strategic Command, February 2018, https://www.stratcom.mil/.)
US Strategic Command Mission, Vision, and Priorities
US Strategic Command Mission, Vision, and Priorities. (Adapted from “USSTRATCOM Mission,” US Strategic Command, February 2018, https://www.stratcom.mil/.)
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Rockwell
VIRIN: 200327-F-YT915-0001

Figure 1. US Strategic Command Mission, Vision, and Priorities. (Adapted from “USSTRATCOM Mission,” US Strategic Command, February 2018, https://www.stratcom.mil/.)

In summary, deterrence concepts and definitions are expanding. New deterrence concepts challenge PME institutes ability to produce deterrence-versed officers as rapid changes are difficult to integrate into curriculum. Yet our nation requires the latest deterrence examination in order to stay ahead of threats. The next section investigates recent perspectives on deterrence education.

Perspectives on Deterrence Education

Military leaders, deterrence education experts, and Joint education and doctrine staff recommend enhancing deterrence education in PME. These three groups advocate for incorporating enhanced deterrence education while continuing to develop leaders who think critically and strategically. Without the necessary education, many national security leaders may be unprepared to create credible deterrence strategies.28

A 2008 RAND deterrence study highlighted “the concept of deterrence has been somewhat neglected in the nearly two decades since the end of the Cold War.”29 This idea supports why senior military leadership must promote a greater deterrence view within JPME and service institutes.

Military Leadership

Military leaders and experts have expressed concerns JPME is not adequately covering current deterrence theory in today’s complex, multipolar world. Multiple papers and speeches identified officers arriving at commands poorly prepared to frame deterrence policy.

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis summarized PME in the Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy:

PME has stagnated, focused more on the accomplishment of mandatory credit at the expense of lethality and ingenuity. We will emphasize intellectual leadership and military professionalism in the art and science of warfighting, deepening our knowledge of history while embracing new technology and techniques to counter competitors. PME will emphasize independence of action in warfighting concepts to lessen the impact of degraded/lost communications in combat. PME is to be used as a strategic asset to build trust and interoperability across the Joint Forces and with allied and partner forces.30

Secretary Mattis goes on to identify the DOD’s need to increase efforts to manage talent stating, “developing leaders who are competent in national-level decision-making requires broad revision of talent management among the Armed Services, including fellowships, civilian education, and assignments that increase understanding of interagency decision-making processes, as well as alliances and coalitions.”31 Mattis identified revising education as key for developing leaders.

Similarly, on 4 April 2017, General Hyten testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) regarding the need for twenty first-century deterrence involving space, cyber, nuclear and conventional domains to deter an adversary.32 Again, on 28 February 2018, on Twitter, the general warned: “The nuclear deterrent is priority number one. If you are in the command responsible for nuclear weapons, that has to be the top priority. But strategic deterrence is much more than that.”33 He continued advocating deterrence warning the SASC:

To effectively deter and, if necessary, respond, we must out-think, out-maneuver, out-partner, and out-innovate our adversaries. Deterrence in the 21st century is an active mission that requires integration of all our capabilities across all domains. For over two decades, China and Russia have studied our way of warfare. They understand and seek to counter our long-held advantages.34

Military officers must expand their thinking beyond deterring nuclear war only by possessing nuclear weapons. Leaders must integrate multiple domains in deterrence campaigns. Multiple domain deterrence topics need to be covered in JPME. The nuclear weapon threat likely will be ineffective deterring terrorists or violent extremist organizations from using other forms of strategic attack.

In the 2012 “Strategic Deterrence in the 21st Century” article, Adm Richard Mies, the previous USSTRATCOM commander, stressed:

We have raised a whole generation of war-fighters within DoD who have received virtually no professional education in the theories of deterrence . . . who consequently fail to think in war-prevention terms. Additionally, there has been until recently little, if any, programmatic advocacy within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the military services for the strategic nuclear enterprise.35

Gen Kevin P. Chilton, another former USSTRATCOM commander, and Greg Weaver, Joint Staff, penned the 2009 “Waging Deterrence in the Twenty-First Century,” declaring “A purely military approach to planning and conducting deterrence campaigns is inadequate. Deterrence is inherently a whole-of-government enterprise.”36 When deterrence policy is formulated, other government agencies need to be involved.

Military leaders agree for more integrated deterrence emphasis beyond just nuclear domain, including multiple government agencies in a lock-step strategy, and empowering an advocate, championing deterrence topics in educational programs.

Deterrence Education Experts

In a personal interview conducted in February 2019, Patrick McKenna, a USSTRATCOM policy deterrence expert with more than 30 years of service, emphasized strategic deterrence should focus less on the threat of punishment in response to an action. Rather, he advocates reframing the message to reflect the benefit of restraint.37 Traditional PME does not cover this concept. Convincing an adversary to refrain from specific actions which they deem beneficial to their interests, will not be easy. Advocacy from a combatant command, such as USSTRATCOM, may encourage JPME institutes to integrate current strategic deterrence trends within their curriculum.

Capt Philip Kapusta’s 2015 “Grey Zone” article highlighted Special Operations Command Joint Staff deterrence concerns. He stated, “Deterring emerging security challenges is far better than responding to them once a crisis erupts. Great effort went into developing deterrence theory during the Cold War, but this field languished once the Soviet Union dissolved.”38 Multiple combatant commands, such as Special Operations Command and Strategic Command, notice strategic deterrence education is not keeping up with the times. Captain Kapusta emphasizes the importance of deterrence education today by observing, “Russia and China reasonably believe we will not use nuclear or conventional military force to thwart their ambitions if they craft their aggressive actions to avoid clear-cut military triggers.”39

Dr. Paul Bernstein, a senior research fellow at the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction at the National Defense University, discussed in his 2015 “Deterrence in Professional Military Education” article, “deterrence is an implied topic nested under any number of specific learning objectives” in the 2015 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction (CJCSI) 1800.01E w/CH-1: Officer Professional Military Education Policy (OPMEP)—a Joint Staff framework for officer education. Dr. Bernstein identifies “the absence of an explicit emphasis on deterrence represents a significant gap that negatively affects the content of education. Indeed, my colleagues and I have been told by a number of current and retired senior military leaders that they had not been adequately prepared for the deterrence issues they encountered.”40 He emphasizes senior leadership must “give PME schools the impetus to adapt their core curricula to include vital content on deterrence, escalation, cross-domain conflict and crisis management under the nuclear shadow.”41 Dr. Bernstein recommends the USSTRATCOM commander be a forceful advocate for deterrence-related education.42

In the interim, the Joint Staff, the services, combatant commands, PME institutes, and other affected agencies submit special areas of emphasis that are topics requiring more emphasis in Joint education. However, only six topics from all the stakeholders are forwarded on to the schoolhouses each year.43 Without top-down emphasis on deterrence education in JPME from the chairman’s office professional military education policy, the schools providing JPME have no incentive devoting limited time to the suggested topics.44 This isn’t an inconsequential issue. A 2012 GAO study on JPME reveals DOD spent $47.8M 2012 on its JPME schools within the National Defense University alone.45

Todd Saylor represents USSTRATCOM’s deterrence education concerns. In an interview, Mr. Saylor discussed an advocate supervising “overall strategic deterrence authoritative education” strategy within the Joint environment. This strategy allows one concise voice “synchronizing Joint deterrence education and development across the Combatant Commands and Services.”46 Strategic deterrence is USSTRATCOM’s number one priority. Thus, USSTRATCOM is the logical choice as the lead deterrence education advocate.

If USSTRATCOM is to lead and advocate deterrence concepts, prioritized objectives should be established within the command first. Efforts are already underway. Christopher Kuklinski, USSTRATCOM current operations division, reached out to the command seeking what deterrence topics supervisors require incoming personnel to grasp to be effective on day one.47 The training objectives establish what deterrence education requirements are expected at the Command and advocated to be integrated into Joint and service PME courses.

A lead advocate may be required soon. Dr. Erik Gartzke, director of the Center for Peace and Security Studies at the University of California–San Diego, accentuated further concerns in his book Cross Domain Deterrence and follow-on discussions with the authors. In the context of the book, he and Dr. Jon R. Lindsay describe a domain as “any pathway or means for coercion that is different from other means in respect to its utility for political bargaining.”48 In follow-on discussions, Dr. Gartzke warns “time is an issue,” teaching deterrence in multiple domains as adversaries are further along than the US, and “there has not been much push to understand deterrence in a detailed way.”49 Strategic deterrence coverage is only “vestigial” as attributed to “the world is changing more quickly than theory can keep up.”50 Perhaps an advocate can enhance deterrence in more detail, enriching experiences for future leaders as they arrive at combatant commands, such as USSTRATCOM.

Concerns expressed by USSTRATCOM deterrence experts are valid. Military and civilian action officers should be versed in strategic deterrence before arriving at the command for the first time. Dr. Stephen Quackenbush’s “Deterrence Theory: Where do we Stand?” article suggests that “deterrence theory should focus on general explanations of the dynamics of deterrence, rather than limited explanations of nuclear or conventional deterrence.”51 Deterrence education should highlight more topics, providing more security insight in today’s complex, dangerous environment.

Dr. Jeffrey Lantis provides a good point about strategic deterrence as well. In his 2009 “Strategic Culture and Tailored Deterrence: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice” article, he indicated deterrence may have failed to prevent the terrorist attacks from 9/11, failed to dissuade recent Russian aggressiveness, and failed to curtail Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs. Further, Dr. Lantis warns deterrence may fail to prevent terrorist groups from seeking weapons of mass destruction, according to a recent Congressional commission report.52 Next, he discusses: “These concerns have become so pronounced that policy makers and academics are debating the very relevance of deterrence in the 21st Century.”53 His article continues to focus on “ways to better incorporate academic research in planning tailored deterrence.”54

Dr. Nicholas Murray’s 2016 article, “Rigor in Joint Professional Military Education” postures “measures . . . used by the DoD and the Services to establish and assess rigor within JPME are grossly inadequate.”55 The cause is “Congress and the Department of Defense do not have a clear definition of what they mean by academic rigor.”56 Dr. Murray applies Bloom’s Taxonomy when comparing course learning objectives against cognitive metrics. Bloom’s Taxonomy utilizes a classification of key words to assess cognitive learning. Such words from lowest to highest cognitive levels are “remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating to creating.” The key words assess the cognitive academic level of a course. However, majors graduating from JPME Phase I with master’s degrees, per Dr. Murray, are only challenged to comprehend material because “higher levels of cognition make up less than ten percent of the learning objectives.”57 He argues “comprehension is surely not the standard that should be applied at the level of a master’s degree when dealing with mid-career professionals.”58 In summary, Dr. Murray encourages rigor in JPME education which enhances preparedness for future deterrence leaders. Another way to improve military deterrence education is to compare current instruction at civilian institutes.

In a 2019 deterrence education article, Dr. Michelle Black and Dr. Lana Obradovic, UNO political science instructors, discuss the lack of civilian institutes instructing deterrence. During personal interviews, the doctors emphasize that “most students lack basic understanding of deterrence.”59 In their “Teaching Deterrence: A 21st Century Update” article, Dr. Black and Dr. Obradovic warn today we “need to develop and foster critical and strategic thinking on deterrence.”60 Further, they describe actions on “how we can nurture the next generation of strategic thinkers and leaders” and present nurturing techniques such as problem-based learning, simulations, and collaborative research projects.61 Through problem-based learning, students compare and contrast strategic cultures, including international terrorism and nonstate actors, focusing on cross-domain deterrence concepts. Role-play begins with integrating recent readings in international relations courses and then question deterrence applications for a given situation in different roles. Additionally, improve student critical thought and writing skills by assigning student collaborative research for papers and presentations.62 Not embracing these instruction methods in JPME squanders opportunities for students to experience deterrence at a deeper level. In summary, Dr. Black and Dr. Obradovic emphasize enhancing “students’ ability to critically examine the applicability of old nuclear arguments into new and nonkinetic war domains.”63

Collectively, military leadership and educational experts voiced concerns deterrence education is not adequately discussed at JPME institutes. These concerns are addressed next by the Joint Staff Joint Education team.

Joint Education and Doctrine

Jerome Lynes is the deputy director for Joint Education on the Joint Staff/Joint Force Development and is responsible for officer professional military education. In a phone interview, Mr. Lynes provided insight into the purpose of the PME program for officers. First he emphasized the purpose of PME, as part of the Joint Officer Management Program, is “to educationally develop officers for the intellectual demands of complex contingencies and major conflicts.”64 The overall goal of JPME is to create intellectuals, which is a primary objective of the Joint Force 2030 Operational Planning Team (OPT).65 His staff is responsible for PME, including certifying the curriculum via the learning areas and objectives specified in CJCSI 1800.01E w/CH-1: Officer Professional Military Education Policy (OPMEP). With a finite number of classroom hours available, modifying curriculum is a zero-sum game. Injecting a specific deterrence requirement would require reducing other topics.

Next, Mr. Lynes indicated talent management within the services does not fully consider the officer’s education needs or aptitude. Personnel specialists may know what an officer requested for their next assignment, yet don’t have the visibility into individual traits or long-term potential.66 The personnel system requires efficiencies placing the correct officers into the right schools with follow-on tours maximizing their potential as future senior leaders. Yet services only announce students’ follow-on assignments late in the third quarter while at service or JPME schools, leaving no time for students to select courses preparing them for their next assignment.

Finally, Mr. Lynes stated the current topic-based learning areas and objectives require JPME institutes to teach broad concepts.67 None of these topics specifically address deterrence. Ideally, Mr. Lynes proposes an outcome-based model that provides more topic flexibility.68 The flexibility allows new deterrence discussions into the classroom. Yet major policy changes only occur every five years.69 The implementation may stretch further allowing debate, coordination, and approval among multiple offices. Establishing new doctrine devours significant time and resources and must comply with legal mandates.

Since the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 established the first formal requirements for the Services to train and operate in a Joint environment, Congress has studied PME several times.70 Two reports contain recommendations with implications to deterrence education. In 2010, the House Armed Services Committee evaluated PME, publishing: Another Crossroads? Professional Military Education Two Decades After the Goldwater-Nichols Act and the Skelton Panel.71 The report acknowledges changes to Joint operations, and JPME has complicated oversight of the program and recommends improved coordination between service and Joint PME: “Joint Staff and each of the Services should carefully review and coordinate their PME efforts with the goal of educating qualified strategic decision-makers (in addition to strategic analysts and advisors) for service in positions of senior command authority.”72 Combatant commanders reported staff officers “lacking certain critical abilities necessary to perform their jobs effectively.”73 “Furthermore, many officers reportedly consider the education they received as inadequate preparation for their assignments.”74

A 2016 Congressional Research Service Report notes: “Since its inception, the Joint education and qualification system has undergone a number of statutory changes. Updated rules designate the institutions eligible to provide JPME and allow some portions of JPME to be done via ‘distance learning.’ ”75 Distance learning students miss out on peer-to-peer interaction and is not always influential linking knowledge to critical thoughts. The correspondence learning is adequate for remembering, understanding, and applying knowledge, yet interaction with peers and instructors to develop analyzing, evaluating, and creating is best in a single classroom.

The conversation over adjusting JPME education has been frequently visited. Perhaps there are other methods to acquire change for combatant commanders beyond the curriculum review debates. The following section reviews the current state of deterrence education in both service PME and JPME and identifies possible avenues ready for change.

Current State of Deterrence Education in PME and Academia

Students earn JPME credit from service and Joint schoolhouse experiences each with pros and cons. There are multiple ways JPME credit is awarded. Some of these are discussed below, along with the steps that may enhance deterrence education.

The services are responsible for their officers’ professional military development and career progression. Within this service PME system is a JPME program that is overseen by the Joint Staff. The Joint education program is intended to prepare aspiring leaders to effectively conduct operations in a Joint manner and instill critical thinking skills necessary to lead through uncertainty. JPME courses are taught at multiple sites across the country including service staff and war colleges, as well as the National Defense University (NDU). The NDU operates the Joint Forces Staff College, National War College (NWC), Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, College of International Security Affairs, College of Information and Cyberspace, and several other research center.”76 NDU students are selected by their service, agency, department, or partner country. The students are the top talent in their organization. In this summary of the JPME program, it is important to note both service PME and JPME grant Joint education credit. Thus, an officer or civilian can attend either service PME or NDU school and earn Joint credit, enabling opportunities with greater responsibility, ultimately guiding national policy.

The service and JPME schools have distinctly different focuses. Dr. Mark Bucknam, professor of National Security Strategy at the NWC, highlights the differences between services’ war colleges and NWC. For instance, “service War College curriculum is more focused on the Operational-to-Strategic level and more military focused than NWC” while the NWC emphasis is “Whole-of-government, less narrowly military, and strives to focus at the highest strategic level.”77 Further, Dr. Bucknam expresses the NWC minimally concentrates on the Cold War and does not examine cross-domain deterrence.78 However, changing concepts in current curriculum is a zero-sum game, so new concepts must replace the old, or else the academic year is lengthened. Professionals at all levels of JPME should receive the deterrence continuum insight, as the purpose of PME is to produce future leaders, including the next four-star generals and admirals, capable of solving complex situations that requires whole-of-government, integrated domains and a strong background in Joint planning.

JPME prepares officers for Joint assignments yet not for specific combatant command mission sets. Concerns arise when professionals are required for unique missions at nongeographic commands, such as USSTRATCOM. Strategic Command’s deterrence mission requires well-versed officers combining both operational-to-strategic level and whole-of-government backgrounds. However, there is little in the deterrence education continuum instructed at either service or JPME institutes. For instance, a professional arriving at USSTRATCOM may advocate for multiple show-of-force bomber flights to convince an adversary not to pursue an action. This service expert is showing great fortitude focusing on the service capability, yet an expert trained on the whole-of-government may suggest economic sanctions by working with the US State Department and allies. Thus, service and JPME have different focus areas leaving graduates inconsistent experiences and delivering officers to Combat Command Headquarters without the deterrence perspective required at that level.

The inconsistency can be viewed in figure 2. The five levels of service PME depicted in the figure incorporate the three JPME phases: Phase I, Phase II, and Capstone. Each column highlights a course focus for each level. However, the course focus is tackled differently: service PME emphasis is an operational-to-strategic degree, and JPME focuses on the whole-of-government, less narrowly military, and highest strategic degree. For instance, JPME Phase I, required course elements instructed by the institute include national military strategy. Service and Joint schools interpret and instruct national military strategy from different viewpoints, leading to variations. The inconsistencies may leave some students less prepared than others. However, all graduates are considered “qualified” and receive JPME credit.79 As the course focus for each JPME phase is instructed from different deterrence viewpoints, this can lead to combatant commanders receiving personnel with partial deterrence education and experiences.

Five levels of professional military education overlaid with three phases of JPME. (Source: US GAO, “GAO-14-29 DOD’s 2013 JPME Study,” 7.)
Five levels of professional military education overlaid with three phases of JPME
Five levels of professional military education overlaid with three phases of JPME. (Source: US GAO, “GAO-14-29 DOD’s 2013 JPME Study,” 7.)
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Rockwell
VIRIN: 200327-F-YT915-0002

Figure 2. Five levels of professional military education overlaid with three phases of JPME. (Source: US GAO, “GAO-14-29 DOD’s 2013 JPME Study,” 7.)

Note: a Denotes a statutorily-directed JPME course level

Addressing this JPME credit concern, Mr. Lynes discussed the fact that OPMEP has not yet transitioned to an outcome-based model.80 While this is being considered as part of the Joint Force 2030 OPT, it is still in the early draft stage, and it is a significant change from the topic-based learning areas and objectives currently used in the OPMEP.81 Because each institute establishes its own specific curriculum, deterrence is taught at different levels and timeframes by the various institutes.82 An example of the difference between service and JPME experiences is an officer who recently arrived at USSTRATCOM for the first time. The individual received limited deterrence education and whole-of-government experiences during his service PME. There were elective courses that covered deterrence in more detail but little embedded in the core curriculum. Further, he did not receive his follow-on assignment until late in the third quarter, or mid-February. He preferred knowing his next assignment earlier to invest valuable academic time gaining insight into his upcoming position. Identifying assignments earlier during PME experience offers enhanced value for the next assignment, future leader growth opportunity and student showcasing their research with new assignment leadership. Moving up assignment notification is feasible and has the attention of the Air Force. The US Air Force Academy class of 2020 received their assignment earlier in calendar year 2019, and the class of 2021 will know their assignment by the end of their junior year.83 This action enables cadets to focus on their next assignments vice discovering their assignments just before graduation and missing opportunities in assignment preparation.

Another concern found in the current state of PME training is the difference between distance learning versus in-residence service staff college education as mentioned by Kristy Kamarck in the 2016 Congressional Research Service Report.84 The service staff college qualifies graduates for Phase I JPME credit. Distance learning drawbacks may result from a student juggling full time employment, deployment, or military upgrade training—all presenting the student with distractions. As a result, a student may only read enough to pass core class, multiple-choice tests. An in-residence student’s focus is simply academia. In-residence students can select elective courses, especially if relevant to their next duty. There are fewer distractions. They have the luxury of an entire year to ask questions, conduct research and write a detailed research paper eligible for master’s degree credit. The year in academia enables students to grasp, examine, evaluate, and apply military education concepts in a more rigorous and interactive manner. Deterrence education should not be a one-time, distance learning course covering memorization of topics. Deterrence is always changing and requires face-to-face time for evaluation and debate.

One effort established to try to pace deterrence evolution is the combatant command’s opportunity for submitting special area of emphasis (SAE) topics to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS). The CJCS’s policy allows the schools to incorporate SAE topics into PME curricula, however, “where they deem feasible and appropriate.” While inclusion is most highly recommended, it is not required due to the nature of graduate-level education.85 Each year, for example, USSTRATCOM submits SAEs to the Joint Staff with limited success.86 Perhaps the same USSTRATCOM SAEs can be distributed to civilian institutes. With a PME shortfall in deterrence education growth, the topic may receive a boost from nontraditional sources. The civilian institutes from the Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance (DAAA) may view the SAEs as direct insight understanding the combatant commander’s current concepts and trends. The insight can both enhance students preparing for experiences in military and government roles as well as aid military deterrence instruction by creating relevant modules.

Establishing a JPME policy enabling the entire PME enterprise is a wicked problem. The dichotomy of service and Joint schools meeting the needs of all stakeholders, while complying with the legal Joint force education and congressional requirements, is challenging. JPME schools are focused on whole-of-government approaches yet service PME schools are more focused on operational-to-strategic level. Some positive changes may include informing students their follow-on assignments earlier and distributing special emphasis letters to civilian institutes. The next section highlights deterrence education lessons conveyed by the DAAA partners as insight how to tackle the deterrence education shortfall.

2019 Authors Independent Research

When addressing a problem using the same method, such as changing core curriculum, similar unsatisfactory results will appear. Trying a different approach in February 2019, the authors contacted 32 US military and civil institutes from the DAAA, gaining insight into current deterrence instruction. Such insight can then be used by USSTRATCOM to bolter deterrence instruction. The DAAA is composed of JPME, service PME, universities, and colleges as shown in figure 3. The purpose of the DAAA is to “develop an academic community of interest focused on research and analysis of deterrence, assurance, and associated strategic level national security themes in a rapidly changing, multi-domain global threat environment.”87 The DAAA has multiple objectives, especially encouraging deterrence discussion and research among youth, whom will continue their education and become future leaders and educators.


Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance Institutes and locations. (Adapted from RADM Richard A Correll et al., “Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance Newsletter” 4, no. 1 (January 2019): 6.)
Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance Institutes and locations
Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance Institutes and locations. (Adapted from RADM Richard A Correll et al., “Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance Newsletter” 4, no. 1 (January 2019): 6.)
Photo By: Dr. Ernest Rockwell
VIRIN: 200327-F-YT915-0003

Figure 3. Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance Institutes and locations. (Adapted from RADM Richard A Correll et al., “Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance Newsletter” 4, no. 1 (January 2019): 6.)

Several questions were posed to the DAAA institutes covering:

What topics does your institute instruct relating to strategic deterrence?

How much time is reserved covering recent strategic deterrence topics in the twenty-first century?

Is “integrated deterrence” covered, defined as more than just nuclear, including conventional, air, land, maritime, space, and cyber?

Following up with the 16 institutes responding to the initial email request, the authors conducted phone interviews, syllabi reviews, and email exchanges investigating the institutes’ deterrence curriculum. They each cover some portion of deterrence education. Some use role-playing and in-class exercises which follow real-world events. Others assign research topics for students, expanding their critical thinking and analyzing. None of the civilian institutes receive the special emphasis topics from any command. The civilian universities all requested yearly copies of deterrence-related SAEs in order to understand the combatant commander’s insight into new deterrence concepts and trends. Such trends are covered in the next few paragraphs, starting with military schools.

Six military institutes responded to authors inquiries. The service institutes, which include the academies, staff colleges, and war colleges, characterized deterrence education disparately as a Cold War relic, emphasizing nuclear weapons proliferation and ethics regarding nuclear proliferation themes.88 The Air Command and Staff College’s School for Advanced Nuclear Deterrence Studies represents nuclear weapon deterrence including a dedicated lecture on integrated and cross-domain deterrence concepts.89 The final military institute, the NWC, does not have a strong emphasis on deterrence. The NWC focuses more whole-of-government and only offers a course which examines deterrence during the Cold War.90 Finally, the US Air Force Academy (USAFA), the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), and the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) indicated a need for a self-paced, knowledge-based course. Interviews with Dr. Damon Coletta, USAFA, Dr. John McClory, AFIT, and Dr. James Wirtz, NPS, highlighted segments from their various courses could be placed into a cornerstone, online course for any interested parties, worldwide.91 The online course can become the prerequisite, covering update topics, for a face-to-face class with peers to dive more deeply into deterrence education.

Similar to the military schools, 10 civilian colleges and universities reported a variety of topics and focus areas involving deterrence. The common theme highlighted deterrence coverage is vestigial; only a few hours cover deterrence theory lectures for international relations and political science disciplines. Understanding deterrence in detail is lacking.92 Cold War era topics are imbedded in a variety of courses among the DAAA colleges and universities, including deterrence by punishment and denial, introducing instruments of power (diplomatic, information, military, and economic), and nuclear deterrence.93 A few noteworthy universities went further. Two universities include case studies and role-playing, such as simulating a meeting within the US National Security Council focusing on an emerging threat and debating difficult trade-off decisions.94 Finally, another university explored how nuclear deterrence changed in terms of twenty-first-century conflict.95

In summary, there are multiple academic institutes instructing various aspects of deterrence. Some deterrence topics are imbedded in political science and international relations courses. No single class covers the large deterrence continuum identified by various military leaders and strategic experts. The DAAA is only partially meeting its objective, especially promoting collaboration among alliance members. The DAAA needs funding to enhance sharing deterrence instruction methods and concepts among deterrence leadership, experts, Joint staff and professors. Such sharing could be grants for researching specific deterrence topics, such as how to handle weaponized social media or environmental security as proposed by combatant commands. These topics then could be utilized at USSTRATCOM during newcomer orientation, enhancing professional knowledge at the various PME institutes, and more research insight applied to commands.

The goal of the article is not to force academia what and how to teach; rather, establish a “win-win” situation where academia benefits and the government—indeed the whole country—receives better educated deterrence professionals. Perhaps USSTRATCOM, working with interested academic institutes, can develop and update courses covering deterrence with ever expanding topics.

Recommendations to Increase Deterrence Education

Strategic deterrence can be summed as a niche topic. However, combatant commands require military and civilian action officers be versed in deterrence theory, including the integrations of all capabilities into a cohesive strategy to deter strategic attacks. Below are several recommendations for USSTRATCOM to apply, increasing their professional deterrence experiences.

Provide JPME students follow-on assignments earlier, during the first academic quarter. The earlier notification, by October, empowers students to select courses pertinent to their follow-on assignment. Students assigned to STRATCOM can experience more deterrence-related courses, better preparing them. Earlier notification involves Joint Staff directing service personnel assignment team changes. The teams identify follow-on assignments for students in-residence at both service and JPME institutes.

Establish strategic faculty chairs at JPME institutes. A professor champions deterrence education continuum by including the command’s training objectives, recent special emphasis topics into curriculum, recruiting students for case studies research, imbedding deterrence simulations, and coordinating guest speakers. Further, the chair can provide more resources to the JPME faculty through command relationships, ensuring strategic deterrence topics remain current, robust, and address needs from the command.

Designate USSTRATCOM as a deterrence education advocate. The USSTRATCOM commander engages with the Secretary of Defense to be codified as deterrence education lead advocate. This authority grants the command permission to empower faculty chairs as well as coordinating other commands and services deterrence education inputs. Further, the command can reach out to other deterrence groups to enhance deterrence advocacy.

Enhance deterrence mindset throughout USSTRATCOM. Expand onboarding and improve self-development experiences. The mindset focuses on establishing expectations and empowering personnel to understand changing deterrence threats in more detail. Foremost, include narratives on each directorate contributes to USSTRATCOM’s deterrence mission. Next, strengthen deterrence foundation by a two-stage process focusing on knowledge-based criteria and interactive experiences. First, create a self-paced, knowledge-based course. The course describes deterrence concepts and importance, which enables self-development and new personnel orientation before or upon arrival at USSTRATCOM. Second, build upon the knowledge-based course by establishing an in-residence interactive program within the command. The in-residence sequence encourages a deterrence mindset and understanding by discussing new deterrence concepts along with strategies involving a whole-of-government approach and integrated domain paradigm. Interactive approaches may include exploring recent topics, experiencing role-playing and simulations, and converse with deterrence experts from academia.

Further promote and fund engaging deterrence research within the Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance by USSTRATCOM. Establish internships and yearly competitions focusing on future threats and delivering research to USSTRATCOM leadership. Together, they will encourage youth researching deterrence concepts and prepare them for employment within the command or other partner organizations. Next, create grants for developing new course material, such as how to address social media or environmental security, enhancing deterrence education. The material can be applied into USSTRATCOM for onboarding, more research insight applied to the command, or enhancing professional knowledge. Also, establish an annual deterrence education workshop where educational experts can exchange instruction deterrence concepts. Lastly, USSTRATCOM should distribute the special emphasis topics to all US institutes in the DAAA informing the institutes about DOD deterrence educational concerns and shortfalls.


Any of the recommendations can be initiated today by USSTRATCOM. The Human Capital Directorate division liaisons with the service assignment teams regarding earlier billet notification. The Global Operations Directorate codifies command objectives and establishes chairs at PME institutes. The command leadership and command’s action group create advocacy. A combination of Human Capital Directorate and Plans and Policy Directorate enhance the deterrence mindset throughout USSTRATCOM. Finally, the Plans and Policy Directorate, in coordination with the CAG, Human Capital and Global Operations Directorate, along with the DAAA, promote and fund innovative deterrence research. Other commands can adapt the recommendations for their needs following similar duties. The authors note instructing the Joint Force on niche topics is exceeding difficult. Our nation’s future leaders must be prepared for world challenges. Education provides the key to strengthening preparedness. Rather than changing law or adding another review, combatant commanders may take action today enhancing deterrence education.

Deterrence should and will remain a core concept in 21st Century national security policy because the prevention of war is preferable to waging war.

Kevin Chilton and Greg Weaver


Douglas F. Kaupa

Mr. Kaupa (BS, astronautical engineering, USAFA; MS, aerospace science, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; and MS, astronautical engineering, AFIT) is a space analyst and exercise planner with the US Strategic Command.

L. Martin Hahn

Mr. Hahn (BS, engineering, USNA; and MS, administration, Central Michigan University) was a logistics operations analyst with the US Strategic Command.


1 We sadly lost two outstanding proponents championing deterrence education.
Todd Saylor demonstrated the heart of an instructor, always guiding, yet never pushing.
Marty Hahn always had a joke, wicked-good coffee, and the ability to pull the thread on a topic.

2 US House of Representatives—Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, “Another Crossroads? Professional Military Education Two Decades after the Goldwater-Nichols Act and the Skelton Panel” (Washington, DC: Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, April 2010), 3, https://apps.dtic.mil/.

3 Johnathan Trexel, message to the authors, email, “Paper,” 9 March 2019.

4 U.S. GAO, “Joint Military Education: Actions Needed to Implement DOD Recommendations for Enhancing Leadership Development,” Report to Congressional Committees (Washington, DC: Government Accountability Office, 23 October 2013), 2, https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-29.

5 Paul I. Bernstein, “Deterrence in Professional Military Education,” Air & Space Power Journal 29, no. 4 (7 August 2015): 84–88.

6 Jerome Lynes and Timothy R. Teague, “Officer Professional Military Education,” interview by the authors, 28 February 2019.

7 Lana Obradovic and Michelle Black, “Teaching Deterrence: A 21st-Century Update,” Journal of Political Science Education, 5 March 2019, 3, https://doi.org/.

8 Joint Chiefs of Staff and Director for Joint Force Development (J-7), Joint Operations, Joint Publication 3-0 (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2017), GL-8, https://www.jcs.mil/.

9 Bernstein, “Deterrence in Professional Military Education;” Patrick J. McKenna message to the authors and Johnathan Trexel, e-mail: “RE: Definition Differences between Strategic Deterrence and Just Deterrence,” 15 March 2019; and Obradovic and Black, “Teaching Deterrence.”

10 US Strategic Command, Deterrence Operations Joint Operating Concept, 2.0 (Offutt AFB, NE: US Strategic Command, 2006), 3, https://www.jcs.mil/.

11 Paul I. Bernstein, “Deterrence Education,” interview by the authors, 8 March 2019.

12 Bernstein, interview; Obradovic and Black, “Teaching Deterrence;” and Erik Gartzke and Jon R. Lindsay, eds., Cross-Domain Deterrence: Strategy in an Era of Complexity (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2019), 16.

13 Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang, Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance between Astrophysics and the Military, 1st ed. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2018), 310.

14 Sean McFate, The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder, 1st ed. (New York, NY: William Morrow, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2019), 127.

15 McFate, The New Rules of War, 127.

16 McFate, The New Rules of War, 129.

17 McFate, The New Rules of War, 131.

18 Michelle Black, “Deterrence Education,” interview by the authors, 2 April 2019.

19 Black, interview.

20 James Mattis, “Nuclear Posture Review 2018” (Washington, DC: Office of the Secretary of Defense [OSD], February 2018), https://media.defense.gov/.

21 Bernstein, interview.

22 Lynes and Teague, interview.

23 Bernstein, interview; and Lynes and Teague, interview.

24 Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, “CJCSI 1800.01E w/CH-1: Officer Professional Military Education Policy” (Joint Chiefs of Staff, 29 May 2015), https://www.jcs.mil/.

25 Elizabeth Chalecki, “Environmental Security,” interview by Douglas F. Kaupa, 14 March 2019.

26 John E. Hyten, “USSTRATCOM Commander’s Vision and Intent” (US Strategic Command, February 2018), https://www.stratcom.mil/.

27 John Hyten, “Gen Hyten Quote,” Academic Alliance, 7 March 2019, https://www.stratcom.mil/.

28 Bernstein, interview.

29 Austin G. Long, Deterence: From Cold War to Long War: Lessons from Six Decades of Rand Deterrence Research (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corp, 2008), iii.

30 James Mattis, Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2018), 8.

31 Mattis, National Defense Strategy, 8.

32 John E. Hyten, “Gen Hyten SASC Testimony_04-04-17,” 2017, https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/.

33 John E. Hyten, “Hyten Twitter 2/28/2018,” Twitter, 28 February 2018, https://twitter.com/.

34 “House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Holds Hearing on Fiscal 2020 Budget Request for Defense Nuclear Activities,” House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces (2019), http://www.stratcom.mil/.

35 Richard W. Mies, “Strategic Deterrence in the 21st Century,” Undersea Warfare, Spring 2012, 44–45.

36 Kevin Chilton and Greg Weaver, “Waging Deterrence in the Twenty-First Century,” Strategic Studies Quarterly 3, no. 1 (2009): 31–42.

37 Patrick J. McKenna, Strategic Deterrence, interview with the authors, 21 February 2019.

38 Philip Kapusta, “October 2015 Special Warfare.Pdf,” Special Warfare, December 2015.

39 Kapusta, “October 2015 Special Warfare.Pdf.”

40 Bernstein, “Deterrence in Professional Military Education,” 85.

41 Bernstein, “Deterrence in Professional Military Education,” 85.

42 Bernstein, “Deterrence in Professional Military Education,” 86.

43 Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, “CJCSI 1800.01E w/CH-1,” C-3.

44 David A Rey, message to the authors, email, “Hahn/Kaupa Capstone Topic,” 14 February 2019; and Lynes and Teague, “Officer Professional Military Education.”

45 US GAO, “GAO-14-29 DOD’s 2013 JPME Study.”

46 Todd Saylor, “Deterrence at USSTRATCOM,” interview by the authors, 3 April 2019.

47 Christopher Kuklinski, “USSTRATCOM Joint Education Requirements,” 10 May 2019.

48 Gartzke and Lindsay, Cross-Domain Deterrence, 16.

49 Erik Gartzke, message to the authors and Jon R. Lindsay, email, “Strategic Deterrence Topics Are Currently Instructed,” 15 February 2019.

50 Gartzke, message to the authors and Lindsay, email.

51 Stephen L. Quackenbush, “Deterrence Theory: Where Do We Stand?,” Review of International Studies 37, no. 2 (April 2011): 752, https://doi.org/.

52 Jeffrey S. Lantis, “Strategic Culture and Tailored Deterrence: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice,” Contemporary Security Policy 30, no. 3 (1 December 2009): 467, https://doi.org/.

53 Lantis, “Strategic Culture and Tailored Deterrence,” 467.

54 Lantis, “Strategic Culture and Tailored Deterrence,” 467.

55 Nicholas Murray, “Rigor in Joint Professional Military Education,” Web-based Publication, War on the Rocks, 19 February 2016, https://warontherocks.com/.

56 Murray, “Rigor in Joint Professional Military Education.”

57 Murray, “Rigor in Joint Professional Military Education.”

58 Murray, “Rigor in Joint Professional Military Education.”

59 Black, interview; and Lana Obradovic, Civilian Deterrence Education, interview by the authors, 9 April 2019.

60 Obradovic and Black, “Teaching Deterrence,” 1.

61 Obradovic and Black, “Teaching Deterrence,” 1.

62 Obradovic and Black, “Teaching Deterrence,” 2.

63 Obradovic and Black, “Teaching Deterrence,” 5.

64 Lynes and Teague, interview; and Department of Defense, “DODI 1300.19: DoD Joint Officer Management (JOM) Program” 3 April 2018, https://www.esd.whs.mil/.

65 Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Joint Force 2030 OPT,” Joint Force 2030 OPT, accessed 7 March 2019, https://www.jcs.mil/.

66 Lynes and Teague, interview.

67 Lynes and Teague, interview.

68 Lynes and Teague, interview.

69Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, “CJCSI 1800.01E w/CH-1.”

70 “Public Law 99-433, Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986,” Pub. L. No. 99–433, 100 Stat. 992 (1986), https://www.govinfo.gov/; Committee on Armed Services and House of Representatives, “Report of the Panel on Military Education,” Congressional Report (Washington, D.C., 21 April 1989), www.au.af.mil/; US House of Representatives—Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, “Another Crossroads?”; US GAO, “GAO-14-29 DOD’s 2013 JPME Study;” and Kristy N. Kamarck, “Goldwater-Nichols and the Evolution of Officer Joint Professional Military Education (JPME),” CRS Report (Congressional Research Service, 13 January 2016), https://digital.library.unt.edu/.

71 US House of Representatives—Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, “Another Crossroads?”

72 US House of Representatives—Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, xiii.

73 US House of Representatives—Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, xiv.

74 US House of Representatives—Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, xiv.

75 Kristy N. Kamarck, “Goldwater-Nichols and the Evolution,” 4.

76 “Colleges,” National Defense University, accessed 24 August 2019, https://www.ndu.edu/.

77 Mark A. Bucknam message to the authors, email, “Quality of JPME vs PME Institutes,” 15 March 2019.

78 Bucknam, message to the authors, email.

79 Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, “CJCSI 1800.01E w/CH-1,” Encl. E.

80 Lynes and Teague, interview.

81 Joint Chiefs of Staff, “Joint Force 2030 OPT.”

82 Lynes and Teague, interview.

83 Cadet First Class Aaron Brooks, USAF, Assignments for US Air Force Academy cadets after graduation., interview by Douglas F. Kaupa, 7 August 2019.

84 Kristy N. Kamarck, “Goldwater-Nichols and the Evolution of Officer Joint Professional Military Education (JPME).”

85 Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, “CJCSI 1800.01E w/CH-1,” C-3.


86 Paul I. Bernstein, message to the authors, email, “Deterrence in Professional Military Education Insight and Discussions,” 1 February 2019.

87 “Academic Alliance,” Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance, accessed 12 April 2019, https://www.stratcom.mil/.

88 Barry M Stentiford, message to Douglas F. Kaupa, email, “USA CGSC Deterrence Ed,” 14 February 2019; Wiliam Ostendorff, message to the authors, email, “USNA Deterrence Ed,” 15 February 2019; Damon V. Coletta, USAFA Deterrence, telephone, 26 February 2019; James Wirtz, “NPS Deterrence Ed,” telephone, 27 February 2019; and Max Z. Margulies, message to Douglas F. Kaupa, email, “USMA Deterrence Ed,” 25 February 2019.

89 Todd C Robinson, message to Douglas F. Kaupa, email, “Air University—Military and Security Studies - What Strategic Deterrence Topics Are Currently Instructed,” 13 February 2019.

90 Bucknam, message to the authors, email, “Quality of JPME vs PME Institutes.”

91 Coletta, USAFA Deterrence; John W. McClory, message to the authors, email, “AETC AFIT Deterrence Ed,” 6 March 2019; and Wirtz, telephone, “NPS Deterrence Ed.”

92 Gartzke and Lindsay, Cross-Domain Deterrence; and Obradovic and Black, “Teaching Deterrence.”

93 Mathew Fuhrmann, message to the authors, email, “Tx A&M Deterrence Ed,” 21 February 2019; Lewis Griffith, message to the authors, email, “U Denver Deterrence Ed,” 18 February 2019; Howard W. Buffett, message to the authors, email, “Columbia Deterrence Ed,” 26 February 2019; Matthew Castillo, message to the authors, email, “U Tenn Deterrence Ed,” 27 February 2019; Adriana Seagle, message to the authors, email, “Bellevue Deterrence Ed,” 26 February 2019; and Matthew Kroenig, message to the authors, email, “Georgetown Deterrence Ed,” 15 March 2019.

94 Fuhrmann, message to the authors, email, “Tx A&M Deterrence Ed;” and Griffith, message to the authors, email, “U Denver Deterrence Ed.”

95 Seagle, message to the authors, email, “Bellevue Deterrence Ed.”

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Wild Blue Yonder Home

Visit Other Air University Journals