Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Civilian SSTR Planning: NSC or Private Sector Lead

There's a huge need for a civilian planning capacity related to SSTR and post-conflict situations (I have written about this before). This need may be the single most important element in the organizational transformation need to prepare ourselves for the next time around.

This blog often takes an American perspective - or looks primarily at American developments. This is because US leadership is paramount. Whatever happens elsewhere is likely to be to small to be consequential or effective. But this doesn't mean that other countries - notably the UK or e.g. Denmark - could not in theory either develop interesting concepts or organizational innovations which might either be of use or inspiration to the US institutions (as in e.g. the PCRU).

Establishing better integrated military-civilian planning is the only way to construct a strategically realistic "total cost of life" approach to future interventions. Such an approach should make clear e.g. the need for civilian (local or external) police forces. Of course, the Dobbins Handbook gives hints but we need more concrete planning.

Evidently, the Pentagon is not going to open their warplanning to civilians - not even the NSC. But it would be helpful if the civilian side could at least know that the Pentagon planning process had or will be reformed in accordance with the DoD Directive 3000.05 (the problem is here that the NSPD 44 formally gives State the lead, and the S/CRS does not have resources even remotely comparable to OSD, Pentagon itself or even JFCOM.

Of course, some of this planning stuff could be produced or at least introduced in generic form by the private and international public sector - here preferably the non-profit side - like e.g. a combination of UN people (from the UNDP plus the Peace-building Commission) and relevant think-tankers like the Dobbins people, and maybe concerted or hosted by the ICG.
But in purely US terms, the NSC could play such a role.

The NSC seems to be the only place where funds can be found for this kind of exercise (given substantive executive interest, i.e. will not happen until the next administration). But this means that now would be a good time to spread such and idea in order for it to be somewhere on the upcoming administrations' agendas. Richard Clarke's great "Against All Enemies" explains and exemplifies how an adept operator can help create leeway for interagency policy development inside the NSC. In fact, as he mentions explicitly, he was part of the process for creating POL-MIL plans starting with Haiti. So the nuts and bolts and precedence are there. As always it is more a matter of political will and focus than anything else.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Scandinavia: Weber Incarnate (Plus Bacon)

Oh, and this week's bonus - the most precise and succinct analysis of that region of applied Max Weber: Scandinavia.
Cartoon courtesy of wulffmorgenthaler.com.

Suskind's One Percent Doctrine

Just to stick to the bad conscience theme: Reading is always sweeter when the book you're flipping through as night falls is not the one you ought to read. Actually, in this case we're talking double bad conscience as The One Percent Doctrine by Ron Suskind was a book that was on my list when it came out.

This is not a review, just a recommendation (hereby given) - plus a few general observations:
  • Suskind writes well, very well even. Once in a while even too well when his asides on the general character of modern politics become to fluffy, even if they're generally illuminating.
  • The book underscores the most important lesson one can learn about politics: It is about ideas that are put to work. Not everyone can do grand strategy, but every (political) organization should prize and protect the people they have that will question the assumptions - doxa in Bourdieu's sense - that we take for granted.
  • Explicitness and formalization of the policy process are paramount. It doesn't have to be difficult: hear out the stakeholders and experts, then make a choice. Cherry picking reality is ... evidently idiotic.
  • Even if the GWOT (or the Long war) may be in bad standing in European press and public, nobody can or should close their eyes to the basic challenge that Cheney tries/tried to solve with the one percent doctrine. We cannot allow a nuke to go off in our cities - or elsewhere for that matter. As Blair so emphatically stated in his farewell op/ed in the Economist it is not going to go away - we have to fight this struggle.

Monday, July 02, 2007

GAO Report Confirms Civil Planning Need

New GAO report out on US Stability Operations capability and reform (link here is to pdf). From the exec summary:
DOD has taken several steps to improve planning for stability operations, but faces challenges in developing capabilities and measures of effectiveness, integrating the contributions of non-DOD agencies into military contingency plans, and incorporating lessons learned into future plans. These challenges may hinder DOD’s ability to develop sound plans. Since November 2005, the department issued a new policy, expanded its military planning guidance, and defined a joint operating concept to help guide DOD planning for the next 15–20 years. These steps reflect a fundamental shift in DOD’s policy because they elevate stability operations as a core mission comparable to combat operations and emphasize that military and civilian efforts must be integrated. However, DOD has yet to identify and prioritize the full range of capabilities needed for stability operations because DOD has not provided clear guidance on how and when to accomplish this task. As a result, the services are pursuing initiatives to address capability shortfalls that may not reflect the comprehensive set of capabilities that will be needed by combatant commanders to effectively accomplish stability operations in the future. Similarly, DOD has made limited progress in developing measures of effectiveness because of weaknesses in DOD’s guidance.

DOD is taking steps to develop more comprehensive military plans related to stability operations, but it has not established adequate mechanisms to facilitate and encourage interagency participation in its planning efforts. At the combatant commands, DOD has established working groups with representatives from several key organizations, but these groups and other outreach efforts by the commanders have had limited effect. Three factors cause this limited and inconsistent interagency participation in DOD’s planning process: (1) DOD has not provided specific guidance to commanders on how to integrate planning with non-DOD organizations, (2) DOD practices inhibit sharing of planning information, and (3) DOD and non-DOD organizations lack a full understanding of each other's planning processes, and non-DOD organizations have had a limited capacity to participate in DOD's full range of planning activities.

Although DOD collects lessons learned from past operations, planners are not consistently using this information as they develop future contingency plans. At all levels within the department, GAO found that information from current and past operations are being captured and incorporated into various databases. However, planners are not consistently using this information because (1) DOD’s guidance for incorporating lessons into its plans is outdated and does not specifically require planners to take this step, (2) accessing lessons-learned databases is cumbersome, and (3) the review process does not evaluate the extent to which lessons learned are incorporated into specific plans.
The report then confirms what I have said before (in "The Most Unsexy Headline Ever: Planning Capabilities in the Inter-Agency Process"): We need civil planning - or at least: planning for the civilian side of contingency plans. And nobody - including internationally - has the knowhow and the resources to do it but Pentagon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Bad Conscience: International Security's Most Downloaded Articles

The net serves great purposes ... like making life more efficient. That too, for bad conscience. See e.g. this list over the most downloaded articles from the International Security site:

This list is updated each day based on the volume of full text downloads.

Track Citation for selected articles

Why Terrorism Does Not Work (2882 times)
Max Abrahms
International Security Fall 2006, Vol. 31, No. 2: 42-78.
Abstract | PDF (205 KB) | PDF Plus (219 KB) | Add to Favorites

Osirak Redux? Assessing Israeli Capabilities to Destroy Iranian Nuclear Facilities (2674 times)
Whitney Raas, Austin Long
International Security Spring 2007, Vol. 31, No. 4: 7-33.
Abstract | PDF (122 KB) | PDF Plus (124 KB) | Add to Favorites

The Future of U.S.-China Relations: Is Confict Inevitable? (2552 times)
Aaron L. Friedberg
International Security Fall 2005, Vol. 30, No. 2: 7-45.
Abstract | PDF (191 KB) | PDF Plus (205 KB) | Add to Favorites

The Unipolar Illusion Revisited: The Coming End of the United States' Unipolar Moment (2180 times)
Christopher Layne
International Security Fall 2006, Vol. 31, No. 2: 7-41.
Abstract | PDF (150 KB) | PDF Plus (161 KB) | Add to Favorites

How al-Qaida Ends: The Decline and Demise of Terrorist Groups (1987 times)
Audrey Kurth Cronin
International Security Summer 2006, Vol. 31, No. 1: 7-48.
Abstract | PDF (175 KB) | PDF Plus (185 KB) | Add to Favorites

The Strategies of Terrorism (1984 times)
Andrew H. Kydd, Barbara F. Walter
International Security Summer 2006, Vol. 31, No. 1: 49-80.
Abstract | PDF (154 KB) | PDF Plus (165 KB) | Add to Favorites

The End of MAD? The Nuclear Dimension of U.S. Primacy (1458 times)
Keir A. Lieber, Daryl G. Press
International Security Spring 2006, Vol. 30, No. 4: 7-44.
Abstract | PDF (240 KB) | PDF Plus (245 KB) | Add to Favorites

Who "Won" Libya? The Force-Diplomacy Debate and Its Implications for Theory and Policy (1279 times)
Bruce W. Jentleson, Christopher A. Whytock
International Security Winter 2005/06, Vol. 30, No. 3: 47-86.
Abstract | PDF (164 KB) | PDF Plus (171 KB) | Add to Favorites

Regime Insecurity and International Cooperation: Explaining China's Compromises in Territorial Disputes (1223 times)
M. Taylor Fravel
International Security Fall 2005, Vol. 30, No. 2: 46-83.
Abstract | PDF (169 KB) | PDF Plus (178 KB) | Add to Favorites

Building a Republican Peace: Stabilizing States after War (1070 times)
Michael Barnett
International Security Spring 2006, Vol. 30, No. 4: 87-112.
Abstract | PDF (118 KB) | PDF Plus (127 KB) | Add to Favorites

Warlordism in Comparative Perspective (953 times)
Kimberly Marten
International Security Winter 2006/07, Vol. 31, No. 3: 41-73.
Abstract | PDF (137 KB) | PDF Plus (141 KB) | Add to Favorites

Getting Religion? The Puzzling Case of Islam and Civil War (830 times)
Monica Duffy Toft
International Security Spring 2007, Vol. 31, No. 4: 97-131.
Abstract | PDF (198 KB) | PDF Plus (203 KB) | Add to Favorites

Fostering Stability or Creating a Monster? The Rise of China and U.S. Policy toward East Asia (717 times)
Thomas J. Christensen
International Security Summer 2006, Vol. 31, No. 1: 81-126.
Abstract | PDF (184 KB) | PDF Plus (194 KB) | Add to Favorites

Success Matters: Casualty Sensitivity and the War in Iraq (544 times)
Christopher Gelpi, Peter D. Feaver, Jason Reifler
International Security Winter 2005/06, Vol. 30, No. 3: 7-46.
Abstract | PDF (256 KB) | PDF Plus (261 KB) | Add to Favorites

Governance without Government in Somalia: Spoilers, State Building, and the Politics of Coping (542 times)
Ken Menkhaus
International Security Winter 2006/07, Vol. 31, No. 3: 74-106.
Abstract | PDF (341 KB) | PDF Plus (162 KB) | Add to Favorites

Soft Balancing against the United States (529 times)
Robert A. Pape
International Security Summer 2005, Vol. 30, No. 1: 7-45.
Abstract | PDF (185 KB) | PDF Plus (196 KB) | Add to Favorites

Is China a Status Quo Power? (503 times)
Alastair Iain Johnston
International Security Spring 2003, Vol. 27, No. 4: 5-56.
Citation | PDF (271 KB) | PDF Plus (279 KB) | Add to Favorites

China Engages Asia: Reshaping the Regional Order (447 times)
David Shambaugh
International Security Winter 2004/05, Vol. 29, No. 3: 64-99.
Citation | PDF (164 KB) | PDF Plus (170 KB) | Add to Favorites

Structural Realism after the Cold War (415 times)
Kenneth N. Waltz
International Security Summer 2000, Vol. 25, No. 1: 5-41.
Citation | PDF (257 KB) | PDF Plus (264 KB) | Add to Favorites

Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air? (412 times)
Roland Paris
International Security Fall 2001, Vol. 26, No. 2: 87-102.
Citation | PDF (135 KB) | PDF Plus (139 KB) | Add to Favorites

Not only do you discover things you didn't read. You also see that things you saw in the TOC and thought "nah, doesn't matter, no time" and now its here, being downloaded and the market always tells the truth, eh, so maybe you should read it anyway?

Either that, or the list is just an expression of what's free and what's not. All of the Top 12 articles are free: the first paying article is Thomas J. Christensen's "Fostering Stability or Creating a Monster? The Rise of China and U.S. Policy toward East Asia", who then wins the contest for being most attractive in spite of the cost.

The great thing about the list is the daily update. Now, you kinda see in the spirit how several of the authors will click in every day to follow their stock in the trade,
nervously tracking their fortunes on the waves of academia.

That of course leaves open all kinds of ridiculous possibilities, like repeats of the record promoting business where promotors would buy endless stacks of records to get their singles high enough on the charts to get them airtime and make that generate some real sales... Will a Professor be tempted to pull several thousand downloads through his students? Can you make money with a company that will enable academics to buy enhanced visibility through automated and timed downloads?

Bensahel/Survival: Useful Nationbuilding Reform Overview

Whether, how and how far to reform for nationbuilding operations has become the central strategic question in the OECD/NATO camp. We all now we have to contribute to and take the lead in administrating the state system, but how and especially how far do we want to go? Will preparing well mean creating an offer that begets a demand? Will it weaken our resolve in terms of "real war"? Or has modern war been finally rendered clausewitzian -- to be always about political endstates, and does this mean we have to take an institutional leap? The new issue of Survival contains an overview over recent bureaucratic efforts in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, EU and G8 -- prepared by Nora Bensahel from the RAND Corp.
Recent years have seen numerous initiatives to build organisational capacity for nation-building operations in both national govern­ments and international organisations. These initiatives have made some progress, but they share a number of common problems, including bureaucratic turf wars, interagency and intergovernmental coordination challenges, limited financial resources, and shortages of qualified personnel. If left unchecked, these problems may prevent these initiatives from addressing the capacity challenges they were designed to solve.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Failed State Index 07: Convergence Between Security and Development

Failed states are perhaps the best illustration of the convergence between security and development policy. Foreign Policy magazine (in cooperation with the Fund for Peace) has now published its 2007 edition.

Go check it out.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tic Tacs #6

Miami Herald: "Iran aid to Taliban hints at policy shift. U.S. officials suspect that Iranian weapons shipments to the Taliban may be retaliation for U.S. foreign policy."

Secrecy News: National Intelligence Council Sponsors Wiki on Global Disease. Students at Mercyhurst College created a wiki-based resource on global disease to support the National Intelligence Council, while demonstrating the utility of the wiki approach for intelligence analysis. "The fundamental question had to do with the impact of chronic and infectious diseases on US national interests over the next 10-15 years," said Prof. Kristan J. Wheaton, whose class produced the wiki.

Counterterrorism Blog: "A few days ago, I spoke with a U.S. official working for one of the new embedded provisional reconstruction teams (EPRTs) in Iraq. (...) The EPRTs are different. Rather than operating separately from and parallel to the military, they are embedded within the military structure. Six EPRTs operate in Baghdad, three in Anbar, and one in Babil. Their structure is similar to that of the PRTs (run by a foreign service officer, featuring a U.S. Army deputy, a USAID member, a bicultural advisor, and other staffers) but rather than functioning in the top-down manner of the PRTs, the EPRTs are designed to make more of a difference at what the official called the "granular" level. That is, the EPRTs are integrated into the military's tactical operations, and are designed to advance reconstruction efforts on a street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood basis.

Thomas P.M. Barnett: "The talks are cordial, but go nowhere. ARTICLE: "U.S. and Iranian Officials Meet in Baghdad, but Talks Yield No Breakthroughs," by Kirk Semple, New York Times, 29 May 2007, p. A8. Why should they? We hold talks to see what Iran can do to save our asses in Iraq but refuse to use that venue to discuss any quid pro quo Tehran might desire. These talks aren't designed to work. They're designed to check a box. That's my weekend column. "

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Politics of Assessing and Strategizing Iraq

Go Big, Go Home, Go Long. Thus were the options scrutinized in JCS Pace's study back in November last year. The first was the logical military solution, the second the somewhat (now: really) pressing political solution, and the third, a little unclearly, represented something between a smart version of the first (through the lens of the COIN manual) and a compromise between the two first - each expressing the needs on the ground in Iraq and the needs on the ground in the domestic US situation.

Back last year I wrote:
The Long War is marked by its accelleration of the politicization of the use of force: the fronts are simultaneously on the ground and at home. Operations happen within two realms: effects are created almost at the same time in the immediate/practical and in the symbolical/communicative realms.
Modern war, it seems, better get it right fast enough that the domestic situation doesn't catch up with it, and start redefining. Not unjust that - merely a democratic precondition for the use of force.

From NYT:
Some Hitherto Staunch G.O.P. Voters Souring on Iraq
From The AP (via the Age, Australia):
Military leaders doubtful about success in Iraq
From WashTimes (Harlan Ullman): Assessing the Iraq surge
From the LAT: Iraq likely to miss goals set by U.S.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Will Europeans Block Ghani Candidature for WB Prez?

According to the WashPost the World "Bank May Vote No Confidence in Wolfowitz". One piece of information suggest that diplomatic scheming might be bad news for Ashraf Ghani who's been mentioned as the Bush administration's top of the list candidate to replace Wolfowitz in case this would become necessary:

Though prominent officials from Europe to Latin America have publicly called for Wolfowitz to go, and though the board has the power to fire him, a decisive vote would break sharply with the bank's consensus-minded culture, while presenting nettlesome questions of procedure and diplomacy. Never in the six decades of the World Bank's existence has the board removed the institution's leader, who, by tradition, is selected by the U.S. president.

In pursuing an expression of no confidence in place of a decisive vote, board members were working under instructions from the governments they represent, with major European countries intent on avoiding a fresh imbroglio with the Bush administration, senior officials said. European governments fear they could lose their right to name the head of the World Bank's sister institution, the International Monetary Fund.

The thing is: If Bush appoints Ghani, who's Afghan - and effectively ends the tradition that an American gets the top WB job - then the Europeans will be less able to defend getting to name the head of the IMF. Might that cause the Europeans to support or push for a US citizen?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tic Tacs #5

Tom Barnett on John Robb's book Brave New Wars: "John's book is deeply informed by the fact he's a serious technocrat who distrusts politics. Indeed, politics as any form of solution is basically missing in action in this book. When it's referred to glancingly here and there, it's always to catalogue dysfunction or corruption (e.g., America's entire political system is dismissed with a reference to Jack Abramoff's ability to purchase it at will--a blanketing statement which comes off as strangely naive in its cynicism, but that's not unusual for military guys who often describe Washington like it's some modern-day Sodom)."

From the AP via Yahoo: "The Pentagon is setting up a civilian Language Corps, a cadre of some 1,000 foreign-language speakers who can help the government in times of war and national emergencies. In a three-year pilot program, the Defense Department will recruit volunteers and do testing to see if such a program would work. If successful, a permanent corps could be developed, said Robert Slater, who heads the Pentagon personnel office's security education program. "The federal government can't possibly identify, hire and warehouse professionals with skills in 150 languages," Slater said Wednesday. "So it's invaluable to be able to respond in emergencies, whether international or national.""

World Bank Private Sector Development Blog on quality of FDI (quote from referenced paper): "This paper exploits a comprehensive, industry level data set for the period 1985-2000 that encompasses 29 countries to examine the various links between different “types” of FDI and growth. An appealing feature of industry analysis is that it mitigates some of the effects of unobserved heterogeneity and model misspecification, which are difficult to control at the national level. We also use as an instrument a new industry-level data set on industry targeting. We find FDI at the industry level to be associated with higher growth in value added. The relation is stronger for industries with higher skill requirements and for industries more reliant on external capital."

North County Times: "CAMP PENDLETON -- The first five of 24 Iraqi civilians killed in Haditha by a squad of Camp Pendleton Marines in 2005 were repeatedly shot by two sergeants who then agreed to blame the slayings on the Iraqi army, one of the shooters testified Wednesday afternoon. Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz said he fired at the five men moments after Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich unleashed a barrage of bullets at the group being held at gunpoint with their arms raised in the air."

WorldPublicOpinion.org: "Publics around the world say the United Nations has the responsibility to protect people from genocide and other severe human rights abuses even if this means acting against the will of their own government, according to a multinational study."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Darfur: Proxy War Over Good Governance Unfolding

If the controversial report about Chinese and Russian arms shipments to Sudan in breach of a UN embargo are true, then this post about the rising Chinese influence in Africa seems properly wrought, including the pointy title part about "Proxy Wars Over Good Governance". From the AP via the cutely named Seattle Post Intelligencer:
A top human rights group accused China and Russia on Tuesday of violating a U.N. arms embargo by supplying Sudan with weapons and equipment that were used to fuel deadly violence against civilians in Darfur and neighboring Chad. (...) The report said "the bulk" of the arms used in Darfur and Chad were transferred from China and Russia, with Sudan importing $83 million in arms from Beijing and $34.7 million in military equipment from Moscow in 2005, the latest available figures. It did not provide specific up-to-date figures. "The irresponsible transfer of arms to Sudan and its neighbors are a significant factor in the massive human rights catastrophe in Darfur and its spread into eastern Chad," London-based Amnesty said in a statement. (...)

Amnesty said it was particularly concerned about Russian Mi-24 helicopter gunships acquired by the Sudan air force that were allegedly being used to launch attacks in Darfur. The report included a photo, allegedly from March, of three Chinese "Fantan" fighter jets on the tarmac of an airport in Nyala in southern Darfur. It said the aircraft were "specifically designed to be used for ground attack operations." Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Beijing does not sell arms to regions under a U.N. embargo. She said China's weapons sales to Africa were made to sovereign nations and were "very limited and small in scale" but refused to say specifically how much was sold to Sudan. (...)

The Amnesty report followed the leaking of a U.N. report last month asserting that Sudan's government was flying attack aircraft, painted white to resemble U.N. planes, and other military equipment into Darfur against the embargo. Sudan denied the claims. Following that report, the U.S. and Britain began leading a push for new sanctions against Sudan if it continues to refuse to deploy U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur. An ill-equipped and understaffed African Union force is patrolling the western Sudan region. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has refused calls for a joint U.N.-AU force, although he recently agreed to let the U.N. send 3,000 peacekeepers to Darfur, backed by six helicopter gunships.

Both Russia and China, which have close trade ties with Sudan, oppose the U.S.-British sanctions proposal. China - which buys two-thirds of Sudan's oil exports - is facing increasing international pressure to use its influence in Sudan to pressure Khartoum into stopping the violence. "Nobody has the leverage that the Chinese do - not the Arab League, not the U.S., not the EU. It's the Chinese; they're the ones," said Eric Reeves, a Sudan expert at Smith College in Massachusetts.

From the post from April 2006:

China's recent African Policy document outlines an extensive interest in engaging in African development. The most notable difference from Western development policies is the absence of good governance as a leitmotiv -- and its logical counterpart, the adherence to the "Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence". The Principles support non-interference: as such they are at odds with the essence of Western development policy which posits that there can be universally applicable most-effective ways of undertaking government, i.e. "good governance". (...) [T]he most crucial countries are the natural ressource rich kleptocracies that from the outset will be least inclined to ever participate in good governance initiatives. Here, the intention of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative already suffers from combination of the Chinese need for oil and the willfully blind perspective of the Five Principles. In short, the good governance agenda looks set to really suffer from China's African engagement. And unfortunately, that effect will be the same elsewhere too.
If the Chinese (and Russians) are really flushing weapons - including gunships and A10-like fixed-wing aircraft - into Sudan in spite of the UN embargo, this is a clear example of a proxy war in spe. Even if the responsible partners in global security management (UN, NATO) are struggling to find the ressources necessary to help stop the conflict, there is no doubt - viz. the embargo - that these same actors agree about the basic goals and values that the challenge represents. How ironic that I meant the 'proxy wars' over good governance to be taken mostly metaphorically. China must step up to the plate of responsibility here - but as written in the post quoted, this is unlike to to happen as long as there is something as the five principles (and a craving for ressources).

Shaping: Clever Slide and New Name

Just a few notes on the coming Shaping JOC. There is a remarkably clever graphic in the 2005 JFCOM capstone document which clearly deserves wider attention. It shows the move from a sequential conception of conflict management (like wagons on a train) to a parallel conceptualization; and also a move from a purely military to an integrated, political conceptualization of the conflict phases. Note e.g. the role of Stabilization and Reconstruction in violet and orange. I can only blame myself for not flipping through the appendixes earlier, but here goes:
Phases, however, tend to imply a sequential approach to campaigns with an associated lack of flexibility and inadequately reflect the importance of integrated effort among all interagency players. The CCJO acknowledges that “complex adaptive” adversaries and other situations will demand an integrated and flexible approach. A new campaign framework should provide a means to plan, execute and assess campaigns in an integrated manner. This appendix retains the traditional phase titles and includes proposed new phase titles--portrayed as lines of effort (Figure D-1).
Instead of showing these lines of effort in a traditional horizontal array, however, it stacks them vertically, emphasizing the potential for all lines of effort to be applicable throughout a campaign. The lines of effort represent the activities in which a JFC must engage to successfully accomplish objectives during a campaign. They are titled Shape, Deter, Seize Initiative, Dominate, Stabilize and Enable Civil Authority. The aggregate of all lines of effort equate to the full level of effort necessary (in planning or execution) or available (in execution or assessment) to accomplish objectives. (...)

The simultaneous execution of activities within each line of effort reinforces the need to continuously consider activities across all lines of effort during campaign planning and execution. This approach also captures the proportionate levels of activity that may be required to achieve priority objectives. In so doing, it helps the JFC visualize the required activities for future transitions and subsequent operations, reflecting increasing or decreasing levels of effort. As the campaign is executed, the JFC acquires knowledge, extends reach and creates effects. Concurrently, the JFC assesses the changing operational environment and varies the amount of effort within each applicable line while focusing on a series of priority objectives that contribute to achieving the strategic objective. The level of effort will vary depending on the type of operation, and the actual events that occur. Figure D-2 depicts a proportional level of effort for a notional campaign where actual events have modified the framework from what was originally planned (Figure D-1).
Lines of effort demonstrate a more sophisticated approach the future joint force could take in planning, executing, and analyzing campaigns. Although all lines of effort are considered concurrently, some lines will be given priority due to their relevance to the specific objectives assigned. Identifying priorities will help the JFC allocate and re-allocate resources between lines of effort. Figures 1 and 2 reflect the likely need for multiple instruments of national power to engage based on the objectives and therefore helps reinforce the need to integrate interagency activities throughout the campaign.
The 'lines of operation' concept necessitates a broader civil-military (or: properly strategic) conceptualization of conflict. It therefore basically synthesizes the basic challenge in modern warfare and conflict management we are faced with. This includes the clausewitzian goals of transitioning to and from civil ownership of the aggregate process, and the implication of COIN approximate wider political, administrative and economic means and ends. These thoughts looks like a path way toward what Antulio J. Echevarria called for - from a way of battle to a way of war in a proper clausewitzian (i.e. political) context.

Another thing is that apparently, it is likely that the JOC will have its name changed as 'shaping' carries a too meddling connotation. The possible change is understandable to the extent that it follows the same logic as the CENTCOM reasoning behind giving up on the Long War concept.

But it is less sensible if the change merely results in newspeak, i.e. if the JOC will not refer to actual "meddling" practices (with the risk of rendering the exercise futile). Of course, we are here in the midst of the whole, very politically laden "post colonial" debate - over sovereignty. Personally, I'm all for calling things what they are - and it seems that some euphemisms in the development policy circuit could be done without. But that is (albeit only slightly) a different matter.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Most Unsexy Headline Ever: Planning Capabilities in the Inter-Agency Process

The USG inter-agency process* is dependent upon the planning capabilities of the Pentagon - and maybe it shouldn't be. Increasingly, the inter-agency process is the center of gravity for the United States' aggregate security capabilities (for simplifying reasons, let's stick here to the functional phases of conflict as conceptualized within US defense - phases zero to IV. Obviously, not all conflicts contain use of armed force). But only the US Department of Defense has extensive planning and business development sections working on generalized and concrete preparations for pre-conflict and post-conflict issues.

No-one doubts that the US rules phase III - major combat operations. But the US is not amassing the potential power it has for phases zero and IV. The latter refers to postconflict and the former to preconflict. To each of these belong at set of tasks that are more or less well-described and more or less well-understood. Post-conflict is a more well-described in terms of probable solutions and possibly better understood than pre-conflict. This is because post-conflict is more clearly a challenge for concrete organizations - ours, at least to begin with.

Post-conflict refers to both a complex organizational and logistic task (establishing country and government-wide administrative functioning organizations through military and civilian capabilities while/and handing them over to the host nation) and a strategic task namely identifying the wanted host national endstate, in fucntion of feasibility and ambitions (the choice is evidently shaped by political and anthropological both ramifications and limitations). To this effect, JFCOM has created the SSTR JOC which describes in general terms the challenges and is used as basis for doctrine development; Pentagon has issued the DoD Directive 3000.05, which sets SSTR Ops on par with major combat operations (i.e. the military has to be able to brak stuff efficiently and to hand over the pieces to subsequent civilian authority in accordance with the overall, wanted political endstate); and State has been given coordinate authority over phase IV so that the military in principle only has a supportive function - the chief of State's Office for the Coordinator of Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) is in charge of coordinating this particular element in the inter-agency process (not really sure how it/he formally ties in with the NSC which is in charge of the overall process).

Pre-conflict on the other hand is about identifying and addressing - ultimately managing - emerging conflicts so that they do not evolve into something we cannot live with for humanitarian or security reasons, or both. If we put on the USG glasses then, in principle, this challenge calls for both civilian and security (military and covert) means, because the challenge in itself has a political and anthropological character - it cannot be purely military. Much of the existing framework of international organizations and here especially the UN deals with pre-conflict. Development policy itself is a central piece in this puzzle. Conceiving of development policy as a means in to a pre-conflict management end is controversial but helpful.

Pre-conflict there has not recieved the same institutional attention as post-conflict. Only the JFCOM is developing a new Joint Operating Concept for 'Shaping' operations. The CINC at AFRICOM will be likely to get the responsibility for contingency planning like the other CINCs have. A number of these will be proper war plans. The majority will likely deal with evacuation, humanitarian assistance and especially FID, COIN and counterterrorism - foreign internal defense operations and (support to) counterinsurgency. But the most consequential work, if the AFRICOM commander gets it right, will be based on the conceptual work being done on pre-conflict issues.

There is an institutional trap here: the military traditionally is very strong in war planning. In its self-understanding the military exists to carry out major missions. These are represented in war and contingency plans. But the pre-conflict logic is more civilian, oriented towards day-to-day process of political subjects (but it is at the same time more general, strategic than a war plan case). The challenge for both JFCOM and AFRICOM will be to enhance the pre-conflict stuff to the same institutional importance as those threats that can be addressed through war planning.

The military develops and produces contingency planning and joint concepts at COCOM and JFCOM levels. No such equivalent exists within the civilian apparatus. The US military has some unique institutional strengths in planning and concept development, both in terms of talent and numbers, and in terms of formalization of process. The civilian side could learn a lot from these guys.

But there is an institutional imbalance here. Neither State Department or the NSC have ressources for strategic planning comparable to Pentagon's. Pentagon is 'only' responsible for developing plans and JOCs in support of the overall USG inter-agency process on pre- and post-conflict where the civilian agencies are in the lead. One solution is of course for e.g. the AFRICOM commander to involve or integrate civilian agencies very much up front in strategic planning and forecasting. But even if this is an understandable and pragmatic approach there is something lopsided about a process that will then hinge the institutitional setup of carrying out US foreign policy (State's domain) on the individual character of e.g. the AFRICOM commander. In the end, pre-conflict management can then be boiled down to whether the given commander 'gets' the political and anthropological stuff.

That seems like an unnecessarily contingent element.
Maybe State Department or the NSC should get into the conceptual development and planning work on their own account so that they get a better - more strictly institutionalized - chance of getting heard? That might also ensure, that the military winds up with less situations where they are formally in a supportive function while really having to do it all.

* For the non-US reader: the 'inter-agency process' is the term describing the policy coordination going on inside US Government (USG). The National Security Council is the agency responsible for the process concerning national security matters.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

MountainRunner Breaches Petraeus' Wall

MountainRunner picks apart Gen. Petraeus' security wall in Baghdad:
Can the tactical mistakes get any worse? Building a wall around Baghdad's communities, starting with Al a'zamiyah, or Adhamiya? The prime contractor may as well have been Arbeit Macht Der-Frei Gmbh as the idea of partitioning any part of the city devastates any chance for peace, or "victory" if you prefer. This is another brick in a different kind of wall, the wall of moral legitimacy and strategic appreciation of the requirements to succeed. Neither political nor military doctrine or logic can justify this folly. (...)
At best, this is an attempt to recreate the strategic hamlet program from Vietnam, and even British fortresses in the Sudan and Afghanistan a century and a half ago. But this isn't the countryside and these are not autonomous units to be caged. To say there are "serious problems" with the gated communities, as Anthony Cordesman puts it, is an understatement. Cordesman notes partitioning in Ulster and the Balkans brought security but at a significant cost. Sadly, Ambassador Crocker defended the plan as a means "to try and identify where the fault lines are and where avenues of attack lie and set up the barriers literally to prevent those attacks." A tactical tool at best, al-Hayat quoted several Iraqi officials who defended the strategy, claiming that building such walls will "give security forces a bigger chance of executing their military missions."
Go read the whole thing here.

EDIT: Noah Schachtman caught up on this great post too - here, at Wired's blogs.

Central Command Drops "Long War" Moniker

Launched as a cornerstone notion to replace the GWOT, the "Long War" concept has been with us for few years. Central Command has now, according to the New York Times, dropped it as the aggregate name for what is also known as the GSAVE - Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism. Michael R. Gordon also reports that the change comes solely at the level of Central Command, not Pentagon or the White House - but in parallel with e.g. the wish of the UK.
Military officials said that cultural advisers at the command had become concerned that the concept of a long war alienated Middle East audiences by suggesting that the United States would keep a large number of forces in the region indefinitely.

Admiral Fallon was also said to have been unenthusiastic about the phrase. He has stressed the importance of focusing on the difficult situation in Iraq and in achieving results as soon as possible. The notion of a long war, in contrast, seemed to connote an extended conflict in which Iraq was but a chapter.

The change “is a product of our ongoing effort to use language that describes the conflict for our Western audience while understanding the cultural implications of how that language is construed in the Middle East,” Lt. Col. Matthew McLaughlin, a spokesman for the command, said in an e-mail message. “The idea that we are going to be involved in a ‘Long War,’ at the current level of operations, is not likely and unhelpful.”

“We remain committed to our friends and allies in the region and to countering Al Qaeda-inspired extremism where it manifests itself, but one of our goals is to lessen our presence over time. We didn’t feel that the term ‘Long War’ captured this nuance,” he added.
This more anthopological - or, oh, politically adept or holistic or effects based - approach to the semantics of military action is highly welcome. But as the article notes in conclusion: there is not yet any good replacement candidate. At least one half of the old term captured a very true perspective about the struggle: it will not go away. Even so, the other half was definitely problematic as the "war" part in reality looks more like the metaphorical "war on drugs" than a classic state-on-state piece of warfare.

The threat that we are facing is still a reaction to the increasing connectivity of globalization - and the solutions are even more polticial than military (even if they will likely include a lot of military components): OECDification of the rest of the world - shrinking the Gap - will not happen overnight.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ghani to Replace Wolfowitz?

Ashraf Ghani, the former Afghan contender for the job as UN Secretary General is now in play again - this time as the US candidate to replace Wolfowitz as chief of the World Bank. Having the US's support is the surefire way to get the job as the US traditionally decides who gets the WB top post, while the Europeans in practice appoint the IMF boss. Here from The Australian:
THE future of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz was in further jeopardy yesterday after it emerged the White House was drawing up a list of candidates to succeed him. The most prominent potential replacement is Ashraf Ghani, credited with overhauling the economy of Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US. Such an appointment would mark the first time a non-American has held the position in the 60-year history of the global bank. Senior officials in the US administration have noted that the White House is softening its support for Mr Wolfowitz, President George W.Bush's former deputy defence secretary. They pointed yesterday to the silence of the Treasury Department and Henry Paulson, the Treasury secretary, as a sign of the administration's attempt to distance itself from the man it parachuted into the job in 2005. (...)

Mr Ghani was special adviser to the World Bank between 1991 and 2002. After the overthrow of the Taliban, he was Afghan finance minister for two years, carrying out extensive reforms, including issuing a new currency, balancing the budget and overhauling the Treasury's systems. Currently Chancellor of Kabul University, he was a candidate to replace Kofi Annan as UN secretary-general last year but lost out to Ban Ki-moon, of South Korea. Mr Ghani was described then as someone with a strong record as an administrator. As well as the first non-American chief of the World Bank, he would also be the first Muslim in the job.

Draconian Observations strongly supported Ghani's candidature for UNSG, and of course also supports him this time around. More than a mere competent administrator as described above he is a producer of policy ideas in his own right, and as such 'gets' what it means to be innovative - but most importantly, as few practitioners he understands the defining feature of our time: the convergence between security and development. The previous posts on Ghani can be found here.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cordesman on the Long War

Just discovered that the ever-prolific Cordesman has a new ppt file up on his site, which deals with the Long War concept. The interesting thing here is that Cordesman is an invaluable resource in terms of present policy analysis but he rarely dabbles in more lofty academic or conceptual stuff. As an example, take Tony Corn's Long War analysis.

So it is interesting to see Cordesman's practical approach to grand strategy, e.g. pointing out that currently there is none. In this he echoes the again more academic analysis of Antulio J. Echevarria in his great paper,
Toward An American Way of War.The Long War concept ties together the coming Shaping JOC, the SSTR JOC, AFRICOM and also - because of the holistic, true clausewitzian approach - points to the troubled division of labor between State and Pentagon. But that is another story.

Click here for Cordesman's ppt (in pdf format).

For more on the Long War from Draconian Observations, click here.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shaping Input: Africa's Horn in Foreign Affairs

The new issue of Foreign Affairs features a fine article on the conflicts – present and lurking – on Africa’s Horn, and the weaknesses of US policy ("Blowing the Horn", subscription required).

People at JFCOM currently working on the coming Shaping JOC are well advised to read John Prendergast and Colin Thomas-Jensen’s article. The challenges and solutions that they outline are basically what the JOC will have to address: learning full-scale diplomacy not in its diplomatic sense, but rather as a holistic problem-solving approach, which includes addressing grievances and issues over livelihoods.

The essential lessons of U.S. counterterrorism policy over the last five years – apparently unheeded by the Bush administration – is that in order for local Muslim populations to take the United States’ counterterrorism agenda seriously, the United States must take their state-building and power-sharing agenda seriously, too. Ironically, the strategy is already there on paper. In its 2002 National Security Strategy and elsewhere, the Bush administration has argued that failing states foster terrorism and has laid out a comprehensive approach to counterterrorism that involves promoting peace building, state reconstruction, and good governance. When it comes to the Greater African Horn, however, the Bush administration has simply not implemented its own policies. By relying on sporadic military strikes and continued support for autocrats without broader political planning, it has combined the worst elements of its current strategy in Iraq with the Cold War-era policy of cronyism. Conflict resolution and good governance are, in fact, the keys to countering terrorism in the Greater Horn of over the long term.

More on the Shaping JOC in this post – including the natural African focus of the JOC and here especially the CJFT-HOA. People who should also read their article include the CIA analysts involved not only with HOA related stuff, but also those working on projects similar to the Shaping JOC.

A final aside: Not surprisingly, the sharpest minds on the intricacies of policy development are no longer to be found in academia: they are more often at the best think tanks – and among them evidently the ICG where both authors reside.