Brent Scowcroft Center Nonresident Senior Fellows for Military Affairs and National Security Policy Dave Barno and Nora Bensahel write for War on the Rocks on the incoming Joint Chiefs of Staff, penning a memo on a suggested summer reading list as they prepare for their new roles:
Welcome to your new positions! You are part of a historic group, since this is the first time in thirty-two years (and only the fourth time ever) that all of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are turning over within a twelve-month period.
One of the most important responsibilities of your new job is growing the right force of the right people who are prepared to dominate the battlefields of the future. Winning that unknown conflict will require not just tough training and the right gear, but critical thinking and breadth of vision. If all goes well, you have four short years to bring about change — and then you become an oil painting decorating the E-Ring. The leaders coming up behind you will own this next fight. They will be your most important legacy.
Your responsibilities include overseeing a professional reading and study program to guide the development of your soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines — plus the force as a whole. Since you are all new on the job, we realized that you need your own reading list to help you prepare for the challenges you will face as you sit atop the military hierarchy for the first time. Ours is an unconventional list that includes a TED talk, a YouTube video, a blog, as well as several books. We offer you insights on how to think about potential problems, as well as background reading on the problems themselves — and maybe even identify a few new challenges that you may not have yet considered.