The federal response to the pandemic has been slow and uneven. And it is true that our civic institutions will sometimes let us down and fail to deliver on what Americans need. But, when they do, it is to other civilians — not the military — that we must turn. The military can’t save us from COVID-19, and we shouldn’t ask it to.
Jointness, meaning cross-service cooperation, is generally a good thing. But one can have too much of a good thing, and the Pentagon has too much jointness. Jointness in organizing military operations makes so much sense that the concept is overprescribed. Enhancing interservice competition for resources and relevance would encourage military innovation, civilian control, and economies in the vast Pentagon budget.