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December 06, 2005

That rumbling you hear... a shifting paradigm - or at least, the formal acknowledgement of the need.

Good News from Iraq even a Leftist could love.

One of the reasons this blog changed from what it was to what it is revolves around the changes in my day-to-day work responsibilities, the areas covered, and the resultant restrictions on what I can talk about, whether via OPSEC or classification constraints, or via judgements made about talking "out of school" in areas where the information is my client's, not mine, or my confidentiality agreement with my employer rules. In addition, I generally like my job, and don't want to blog myself out of it. It's my way of doing my bit for the war effort. So there's lots of stuff I used to blather about - I don't anymore. C'est la guerre.

This is not one of those times, thanks to DoD. I've had a DoD-issued ID card my entire life. I have lived within or around the bubble that is the Armed Services of the United States, mostly the Army, pretty much from the day I was born. And, since I'm a retiree, I'll be a leech on the national treasury until I die, too. Heh. Even my "private sector" paycheck is just public money laundered through an intermediary, not having work a single commercial project thus far.

Okay, why the long-winded setup? Being on the outside, many of you don't see changes, or understand what they can mean when you do see them. If you are on the inside, they seem to come along so incrementally that they don't seem that monumental.

On November 28, the Department of Defense published a paradigm-shifting document... if it gets implemented properly. It is also a tacit admission of the inadequacy of post-war planning - because we didn't have a doctrine for it. Make no mistake - while the current administration gets all the darts and laurels attendant to the war - previous administrations had a vote. And *they* didn't develop a doctrine for this, either. We haven't had a doctrine for this, not really, since Vietnam, when we decided (the military *and* the politicians) we weren't going to do this anymore. The Left should be able to love this document - it's something they've blathered about for years. Let's see.

Certainly, we were working towards it - the Balkans, Somalia, and Haiti, as well as massive disaster relief efforts were pushing us this way - but only in a band-aid fashion, and all within the "Warfighter" paradigm, with all else as a secondary mission to the Prime Directive - Fight and Win Big Wars. We proceeded from the assumption that others would fall in the vacuum left behind and deal with all the fiddly bits. Only they didn't very often. And the US military establishment hadn't had true experience of this since the end of the Constabulary period in Germany and Japan after WWII.

What am I talking about? The Bogeyman. Nation Building.

Or as we call it now - "Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) Operations." Formerly called SASO, Stability and Support Operations. This is definitely full-spectrum.

Interested in the rest? Hit the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

As the Directive puts it:

It is DoD policy that: 4.1. Stability operations are a core U.S. military mission that the Department of Defense shall be prepared to conduct and support. They shall be given priority comparable to combat operations and be explicitly addressed and integrated across all DoD activities including doctrine, organizations, training, education, exercises, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities, and planning.

4.2. Stability operations are conducted to help establish order that advances U.S. interests and values. The immediate goal often is to provide the local populace with security, restore essential services, and meet humanitarian needs. The long-term goal is to help develop indigenous capacity for securing essential services, a viable market economy, rule of law, democratic institutions, and a robust civil society.

4.3. Many stability operations tasks are best performed by indigenous, foreign, or U.S. civilian professionals. Nonetheless, U.S. military forces shall be prepared to perform all tasks necessary to establish or maintain order when civilians cannot do so. Successfully performing such tasks can help secure a lasting peace and facilitate the timely withdrawal of U.S. and foreign forces. Stability operations tasks include helping:

4.3.1. Rebuild indigenous institutions including various types of security forces, correctional facilities, and judicial systems necessary to secure and stabilize the environment;

4.3.2. Revive or build the private sector, including encouraging citizen-driven, bottom-up economic activity and constructing necessary infrastructure; and
4.3.3. Develop representative governmental institutions.

4.4. Integrated civilian and military efforts are key to successful stability operations. Whether conducting or supporting stability operations, the Department of Defense shall be prepared to work closely with relevant U.S. Departments and Agencies, foreign governments and security forces, global and regional international organizations (hereafter referred to as “International Organizations”), U.S. and foreign nongovernmental organizations (hereafter referred to as “NGOs”), and private sector individuals and for-profit companies (hereafter referred to as “Private Sector”).

4.5. Military-civilian teams are a critical U.S. Government stability operations tool. The Department of Defense shall continue to lead and support the development of military-civilian teams.

4.5.1. Their functions shall include ensuring security, developing local governance structures, promoting bottom-up economic activity, rebuilding infrastructure, and building indigenous capacity for such tasks.

4.5.2. Participation in such teams shall be open to representatives from other U.S. Departments and Agencies, foreign governments and security forces, International Organizations, NGOs, and members of the Private Sector with relevant skills and expertise.

4.6. Assistance and advice shall be provided to and sought from the Department of State and other U.S. Departments and Agencies, as appropriate, for developing stability operations capabilities.

4.7. The Department of Defense shall develop greater means to help build other countries’ security capacity quickly to ensure security in their own lands or to contribute forces to stability operations elsewhere.

4.8. Military plans shall address stability operations requirements throughout all phases of an operation or plan as appropriate. Stability operations dimensions of military plans shall be:

4.8.1. Exercised, gamed, and, when appropriate, red-teamed (i.e., tested by use of exercise opposition role playing) with other U.S. Departments and Agencies.

4.8.2. Integrated with U.S. Government plans for stabilization and reconstruction and developed when lawful and consistent with security requirements and the Secretary of Defense’s guidance, in coordination with relevant U.S. Departments and Agencies, foreign governments and security forces, International Organizations, NGOs, and members of the Private Sector.

4.9. The Department of Defense shall support indigenous persons or groups – political, religious, educational, and media – promoting freedom, the rule of law, and an entrepreneurial economy, who oppose extremism and the murder of civilians.

4.10. DoD intelligence efforts shall be designed to provide the optimal mix of capabilities to meet stability operations requirements, taking into account other priorities.

4.11. Stability operations skills, such as foreign language capabilities, regional area expertise, and experience with foreign governments and International Organizations, shall be developed and incorporated into Professional Military Education at all levels.

4.12. Information shall be shared with U.S. Departments and Agencies, foreign governments and forces, International Organizations, NGOs, and the members of the Private Sector supporting stability operations, consistent with legal requirements.

Emphasis throughout is mine.

You can download the pdf by clicking here.

Gad. Co-equal to military operations. *That* will be a tough, generation-long change to get through the officer corps, just as "jointness" has been, and continues to be, a periodic whack-a-mole process of change.

75 percent of this capability rests in the Reserve. There are serious implications in force structure here - *especially* if we're going to make this work in a career where commanding units that kill people and break things has been the traditional road to the top.

And we have to do it without breaking the ability to kill people and break things.

Much of what is contained in this directive is being, or has been, done in the past, from yesterday to decades ago - but almost always as an add-on task, subordinate to the Main Event, the warfight.

If we make this work - you are going to see a very different officer corps.

The bad thing? This is a real, transformative change, that will be hard to ram down people's throats.

The good thing? The difficulties of Iraq and Afghanistan will do much to speed this along - as the junior officers through the Majors - already can see the need, first hand.

As I said, the challenge in the services will be how to maintain the warfighting edge while developing a very new skillset.

Now - where are the similar directives from State, Commerce, Justice, etc - because therein lies the really long pole in the tent. DoD can pop it's officer corps little heads like pimples - this kind of culture shift for everyone else will be possibly even harder, if my personal experience with State and Justice are any indication.

Whoof! This is a Big Deal.