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.

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