ÈÍÒÅËÐÎÑ > Vol. 2, No 1. 2010 > Post 9/11 Stability Operations: How U.S. Army Doctrine is Shaping National Security Strategy
Corri Zoli and Nicholas J. Armstrong
We recognize that in a contemporary operational environment in the 21st century, conventional military operations, offensive and defensive, will be conducted simultaneously with stability operations. Our hope is that [Field Manual] 3–07 [Stability Operations]becomes a source document not just for the military and agencies within our government, but also nongovernmental agencies with whom we routinely work.
—General William S. Wallace, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
It was only a matter of time before the elevated language of post-9/11 security discourse, and the phrase the global war on terrorism itself, was bound to reap both practical applications and studied reversals.1 Without the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan and each country's challenging reconstruction projects, one might expect idealist solutions to this historical juncture.2 Only 8 short years ago, the 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States (NSS 2002) offered just that, the virtues of pressing for freedom and democracy against a new breed of post–Cold War threats.3 In now memorable language, the policy document linked "the great struggles" of the 20th century "between liberty and totalitarianism" to a "single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise."4 Displaying the "black and white" worldview of unchallenged power, NSS 2002 grouped 21st-century nations together that "share a commitment to protecting basic human rights and guaranteeing political and economic freedom," arguing that these values would "assure their future prosperity."5 Such values, it noted, are "right and true for every person" in "every society," and, in turn, "the duty of protecting" them "against their enemies" is the "common calling of freedom-loving people across the globe and across the ages"—a role spearheaded by the United States insofar as it enjoyed "unparalleled military strength and great economic and political influence."6
Yet from a similar appraisal of this era, defined by the idealism of the 2002 and 2006 National Security Strategy policy documents, the newly released Field Manual (FM) 3–07, Stability Operations, adopts a very different tone and comes to very different conclusions. Briefly, stability operations is defined as the military support role for "broader governmental efforts" that include "various military missions, tasks, and activities conducted outside the United States in coordination with other instruments of national power to maintain or reestablish a safe and secure environment, provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief."7 Most notably, the new field manual (along with FM 3–0, Operations, and FM 3–24, Counterinsurgency) adopts the unprecedented policy position that nationbuilding missions will equal conventional warfare responsibilities, which means, as Lieutenant General William Caldwell concludes in his prefatory remarks to Stability Operations, "we must strengthen the capacity of the other elements of national power, leveraging the full potential of our interagency partners" since military success "alone will not be sufficient to prevail."8 Thus, in a critical move that has gone largely unnoticed among various government and policy communities, this manual puts stability operations into doctrine after its importance was recently elevated on a par with offensive and defensive operations (see FM 3–0, Operations, 2001, and Department of Defense [DOD] Directive 3000.05, November 2005).9 In fact, this document may very well be unique among military doctrinal efforts to explicitly bridge the gap between traditionally separated realms of security strategy, development, and humanitarian arenas and to build an integrated initiative that gives shape to new U.S. foreign policy priorities on the horizon. In these ways, this field manual's security analysis is decidedly complex, interdisciplinary, and, most interesting, not military-centric.
In this article, we attempt to capture this shift in tone and approach as articulated by the new field manual—one that amounts to new military doctrine with implications for shaping a still unsettled post-9/11 U.S. national security strategy. To do this, we analyze several key features of Stability Operations as contributing to an emerging sea change in security policy in light of lessons learned in two increasingly related areas: post-conflict reconstruction and a critically reflexive moment in U.S. national security policy defined by the influence of soft power in doctrinal and strategic planning.10 We describe, for instance, the changing nature of operational environments through the eyes of this document; the civilian tasks deemed necessary in new conflict environments; the changing role of the military and its new areas of responsibilities; and emergent practices in the evolution of postconflict reconstruction military paradigms. At the core, we see a major departure from 9/11-era security strategy (in NSS 2002 and NSS 2006, among other documents) in this manual as a function of perspective—a whole-of-government approach informed by both a war-based and a postconflict vantage point.11 We also see, as a product of this changed perspective, an increasing convergence of mission in U.S. national and international security policy objectives and in interventions more broadly, evident in the 2010 NSS. Most significantly, we frame Stability Operations as a document pervaded by a self-reflective process in which a military institution, in this case the U.S. Army, is in the act of reimagining itself to play a different role in international security and, consequently, adapting to a transforming identity.
The Changing Shape of Military Intervention
In framing this document, it is essential to begin with several ironies in expectations, most obviously that the military can and should spearhead tasks that assume, as mentioned, "military success alone will not be sufficient to prevail" in present complex environments. The impetus for this shift indicates how far military theorists have moved beyond 9/11 thinking to a new strategic orientation, namely, the belief that U.S. forces and particularly the Army must achieve not only military victories but also peace in postconflict settings. Such an orientation now includes, first and foremost, charging the Armed Forces with "strengthening the capacity of the other elements of national power" and "leveraging the full potential of our interagency partners," including working "with and through" the community of nations "to defeat insurgency, assist fragile states," and "provide vital humanitarian aid to the suffering."12 This core "comprehensive approach" to stability operations, which integrates "the tools of statecraft with our military forces, international partners, humanitarian organizations, and the private sector," is the distinctive contribution of this field manual.13 Without delving too deeply into U.S. civil-military relations, this changing comprehensive role of the Armed Forces also raises serious questions of whether our expectations about the military are an indicator of a reasoned approach to a changing security environment or symptomatic of institutional vacuums in our Federal system, leaving the military a role that no other agency can or will address.14
Aside from an aggrandized view of the ability of DOD to influence other government branches, agencies, and non-U.S. political and nongovernmental actors, such efforts also imply a second, potentially flawed expectation: notions of victory discordant with feasible military objectives and a new role for the Armed Forces arguably incompatible with the nature of its missions. In today's security climate, as Caldwell notes, "victory" itself must "assume new dimensions," and we must "strengthen our ability to generate ‘soft' power to promote participation in government, spur economic development, and address the root causes of conflict among the disenfranchised populations of the world"—a recognition that winning wars in new ways creates conditions for peace.15 This enlarged view of victory acknowledges present "uncertainty and persistent conflict," backed up by contemporary conflict data, where "the lines separating war and peace, enemy and friend" are blurred and where "drivers of conflict and instability" combine "with rapid cultural, social, and technological change."16 This view also presumes a complex global security climate, one in which military success "alone will not be sufficient to prevail."17 Part of this shift in thinking stems from redefining the nature of the threat: failed states have replaced "ideological causes" (of NSS 2002 and 2006) as the "greatest threat" to national security and the focus has shifted to governments "unable or unwilling to provide for the most basic needs of their people," thus breeding crime, terrorism, and cultural (religious, ethnic) strife from "ambitious powers."18 Yet to imagine the Armed Forces as not only capable of but also deft at deploying soft power would seem to stretch even the innovative concepts of Stability Operations too far.
There is undoubtedly a role for the military in postconflict reconstruction, as well as a vital need now for a stability-oriented comprehensive approach and unity of effort among various players—approaches that we describe in detail below.19 Likewise, the emphasis on postconflict reconstruction reflects a broader sea change toward interagency initiatives in the Federal Government, particularly among foreign policy agencies and communities. The following initiatives and their metrics give some indication of the focused energy that such collaborative efforts are garnering, including the Department of State's Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS), its helpful Post Conflict Reconstruction Essential Tasks Matrix (2005), the Joint Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Association of the United States Army's Post-Conflict Reconstruction Task Framework (2002).20 But only the military, as Caldwell attests, has developed a detailed "how to" manual, new matrices, and best practices for the colossal interdisciplinary nature of these reconstruction efforts—ones that, given the major stability operations under way in Afghanistan and Iraq, are testing even U.S. military resolve. In this respect, the changing approach of Stability Operations is a moment of reflection and course-correction not only based on reassessing root causes of conflict and instability, but also gleaned from a pragmatic culling of experientially based insights for the purposes of strategic practice.21
It also must be said, however, that renewed interest today within the defense community regarding postconflict operations is also revitalizing an older available role that the U.S. military has played historically in conflict settings. "Contrary to popular belief," as Stability Operations begins, "the military history of the United States is one characterized by stability operations, interrupted by distinct episodes of major combat of the United States."22 In its short history, the manual authors are quick to note that the United States has actually fought few conventional wars (the American Revolution, arguably Operation Iraqi Freedom), the typical wars "for which the military traditionally prepared," whereas it has conducted hundreds of military operations that we now would categorize as stability operations.23 The stability stance underlying the new field manual, then, draws upon an enduring role that U.S. forces have played in conflict settings to ensure "the safety and security of the local populace, assisting with reconstruction, and providing basic sustenance and public services."24 But the manual also goes significantly further in derogating its own role to one of support of civilian agencies responsible for leading postreconstruction initiatives—an unusual formulation of the military's role that we take up in the last section of this article.
Thus, one additional irony of expectations evident in Stability Operations emerges as the authors try to think well beyond Afghanistan and Iraq about "America's future abroad," one "unlikely to resemble" today's conflicts, as Caldwell notes, "where we grapple with the burden of nation-building under fire."25 In keeping with the de-centering of the traditional military role and mission, Stability Operations imagines a strategic future defined by collaborative and multilateral efforts that take on, at once, counterinsurgency, state vulnerability and failure, humanitarian aid, and development.26 If this distinctive comprehensive approach integrates military and statecraft instruments, while developing international, humanitarian, development, and private sector partnerships,27 the field manual is also defined at a less tangible level by "humility," as Michèle Flournoy and Shawn Brimley astutely declare in their foreword to the University of Michigan Press edition. Flournoy and Brimley note that the manual accepts that "U.S. combat power alone cannot, in the end, produce lasting political change and enduring stability."28 In many respects, such a sentiment attests to the evolving nature of armed conflict today as well as the trial-by-fire role the United States has played over the last two decades in its involvement in seven major postconflict reconstruction and stabilization operations (Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Liberia, Afghanistan, and Iraq) with varying results. But it also attests to a change in posture on the part of the military with respect to the traditional objectives of security.
Postconflict Reconstruction and Redefining the Role of Security
Today's renewed interest in postconflict reconstruction is defined by five insights established by scholars and practitioners in the field to describe the evolution of armed conflict and its response. First, most post–Cold War conflicts are no longer conventional interstate wars but intrastate low-intensity conflicts in which security objectives are inseparable from multipronged stability and reconstruction missions. Second, the root causes of conflict have shifted from power struggles between states to the impacts of fragile or failing states on societies and regions. These conflicts then become at once humanitarian crises and national and international security concerns, as new kinds of actors and networks (insurgent, terrorist, organized crime) vie for power and increase regional anarchy. Third, governments and multilateral institutions that once avoided nationbuilding are now extending their institutional capacities into this area at the military and civilian levels, including refining intellectual models and frameworks for such missions. Fourth, there is broad realization of the complex and necessary interagency nature of stability and reconstruction projects, defined by what some term the four functions or pillars of reconstruction: security/public safety, justice/reconciliation, governance/public participation, and economic/social progress. It is important to note, however, that while there is broad recognition of the complexity of today's conflicts and the multiple sectors necessary for their amelioration, well-worn paths for success are less than forthcoming. Fifth, states and multilateral institutions are devoting increasing percentages of their aid budgets to stabilization, peace, and postconflict efforts: a 1998 World Bank study, for instance, showed that its lending to postconflict societies increased by 800 percent since 1980 and that postconflict assistance is between 20 and 25 percent of total current lending (the World Bank lent $18.5 billion in 2003).29
If a core tension in the changing conflict environment is the nature of the role the military is poised to play, then a further complexity is the status of security in the formula for postconflict success—an issue that often involves transitioning from conflict to postconflict functions.30 At the heart of this issue is the relative decrease in military authority and expertise in postconflict settings and the increasing importance, even aggrandizement, of security as a priority in practice, even by nontraditional agents and actors. In one view among the many academic and policy discussions of the various pillars of stability operations in the postconflict literature, the security element is simply equated with other tasks and functions. Yet, as Scott Fiel has importantly argued, conflict and postconflict situations have "by definition at their core" a "significant security vacuum that is often the proximate cause for external intervention."31 As Fiel notes, if regional or domestic security forces and institutions could provide security, or if their security processes were compliant with current and accepted norms (eschewing corruption), there would be little need for military intervention in the first place. In fact, Fiel argues that the "absence of physical human security" is what "differentiates postconflict interventions" from those efforts "conducted solely for humanitarian reasons" (for example, natural disasters)—though, obviously, postconflict environments have critical humanitarian components.32
Postconflict capacity-building in the various sectors of governance, economic progress, and civil and justice institutions, all of which are intertwined, requires security as a fundamental prerequisite for success. The importance of the "provision of collective and individual security to the citizenry and to the assistors" remains "the foundation on which progress in the other issue areas rests," Fiel notes.33 This priority remains evident in ongoing debates, for instance, about the protracted nature of stabilization efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, which many experts simply attribute to lack of security—the inability to secure the environment, which then disables other institutions and initiatives from taking firm root. But the security priority is also demonstrated in unexpected ways and by nonmilitary and non-conventional actors in conflict zones. Logistics experts at the World Food Program, for instance, will not place humanitarian personnel on-site if certain security provisions remain unmet because they know from experience that it will not only imperil staff but risk the effectiveness of their initiatives and programs as well.34 The elemental role of security is also clear in the strategic targets of nonconventional actors. A cornerstone of irregular warfare strategy is to transform civilian spaces, including aid launching areas, into battlefields with high civilian casualties so as to politicize aid and reconstruction along with military efforts, all of which belies identified core pressure points of a society. In this respect, contemplating security in postconflict settings requires nonformulaic and context-specific approaches to a given setting. But it also requires grappling with the tensions between the relative decrease in military authority in these settings and the increasing importance of security, even among nontraditional agents and actors. Recognizing the primary role of security also enables clarification about what constitutes security in conflict and postconflict settings, which may otherwise amount to one of the more politically contentious processes in nationbuilding.
Stability Operations addresses not only these critical aspects of postconflict security, but also, in its interagency emphasis, how these priorities rest at the nexus of policy and political tensions, especially involving areas of responsibility. In cases of transitioning a conflict to a postconflict situation involving specialized agencies, for instance, turf wars may result from fights over resources, especially where agency leadership and facilitation are calibrated to budget decisions or broader parameters of authority for planning efforts.35 An indication of systemic administrative and budgetary challenges of this kind can be seen in the S/CRS, which is designed to take a lead role in coordinating postconflict institutions and personnel-building processes. The location of S/CRS in the State Department not only ensured integration with U.S. foreign policy objectives, but also provided an interagency office to join capabilities across civilian and military worlds and efforts.36 Coordinator Ambassador Carlos Pascual explained the S/CRS role in 2006, including its limitations: "After the major conflict issues are over, we stand down, and then we have to learn it all over again . . . too often, we not only relearn the positive things, but we also repeat the mistakes" because "we haven't had the people prepared, trained, and exercised to be able to engage in these activities."37 Equally important, budgets for these programs are secured from DOD transfers, according to Section 1207 of the National Defense Authorization Act, including $100 million per year in 2006, 2007, and renewed in 2008. This also included the Office of the President's 2009 DOD budget of $200 million to continue support for operations transferred under Section 1207 (in Lebanon, Haiti, Yemen, Colombia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and the Trans-Sahara), which integrate security, development, and governance in critical areas where immediate action can tip the balance toward peace. Though political processes, including budget disbursement, have not yet been challenged or changed,38 the interagency emphasis of the Stability Operations manual represents a critical shift in negotiating agency relations and responsibility before teams arrive in the conflict or postconflict zone.
In the meantime, FM 3–07 serves as a guidebook for Army leadership and officers, a means to collaborate with and assist other U.S. agencies in the brass tacks of postconflict reconstruction, a self-deprecating admission that military involvement is a necessary but insufficient factor for success in postconflict reconstruction,39 and a concrete instance in the transformation of strategic thought that is shaping, at once, grand strategy and intergovernmental policy.
Elevating Stability Operations into Strategic Defense Policy
Stability Operations details the Army's new approach most directly in its second chapter, which defines stability operations on par with offensive and defensive operations within an overarching "full-spectrum operations" framework.40 Full-spectrum operations emerged in the 1990s as an inclusive way to envision the range and variable nature of the conflict spectrum and military operations in them (offense, defense, and stability efforts) in post–Cold War conflicts.41 Prior to this flexible approach, military actions were viewed along three bifurcated categories of operations: offensive (an assault on an enemy position), defensive (blocking an enemy force from a strategic piece of terrain), and deterrent (massing troop formations for strategic posture). Given rapidly changing and insecure conflict and postconflict zones and the increasing use of asymmetric warfare tactics, this linear vision of warfare changed. Full-spectrum operations embrace the "continuous, simultaneous U.S. combinations of offensive, defensive, and stability tasks" through the application of "mutually supporting lethal and nonlethal capabilities of Army forces."42
Unlike bifurcated approaches of the last century, full-spectrum operations accommodate the ways in which the Army anticipates a flexible, changing, and wide-ranging role for its forces, from low-intensity conflicts such as those in Bosnia to more high-intensity combat as in both the Gulf War of 1991 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Moreover, the notion that a military force may conduct a "simultaneous combination" of offensive, defensive, and stabilization tasks captures the essence of full-spectrum operations that are designed to apply all available military resources in a contingent fashion, specific to a given situation, and factoring in echelon, time, and location—all with the understanding that no one single tactic is more important than another. It is the "simultaneous combinations of the elements, constantly adapted to the dynamic conditions of the operational environment" that is "key to successful operations."43
It is important to remember, however, that despite this new, holistic approach to military operations that implicitly values stabilization operations, these endeavors were viewed, until recently, as a marginal category of operations compared to institutionally favored offensive methods employed in traditional high-intensity, conventional warfare. The predecessor to Stability Operations, for instance, published just 1 month before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in February 2003, positioned stability operations as a discrete action alongside offensive, defensive, and civil support operations. In the aftermath of recent experiences, including U.S. and coalition interventions in Iraq, the Army manual makes a deliberate effort to highlight the elevated significance of stability operations and to integrate this operation with existing ones. As Stability Operations points out, "no single element is more important than another" and "simultaneous combinations of the elements, constantly adapted to the dynamic conditions of the operational environment, are key to successful operations."44 Not only does this change incorporate the "state-building under fire" approach that the U.S. Army and Marine Corps have used in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last several years, but it also represents a significant departure from the last Army manual.45
Thinking from a full-spectrum operations approach maximizes opportunities in the combat phase to leverage for future stabilization and reconstruction initiatives—the collapse of organized resistance as in the offensive phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, for instance. The traditional hallmarks of combat operations are "speed, surprise, and shock," where the force that is "better able to leverage these effects defeats its opponent quickly and incurs fewer losses."46 Viewed in this light, traditional combat operations can pave the way for stability operations that, in turn, use the "coercive and constructive capabilities of the military force to establish a safe and secure environment; facilitate reconciliation among local or regional adversaries; establish political, legal, social, and economic institutions; and facilitate the transition of responsibility to a legitimate civil authority."47 In effect, military forces "set the conditions" to "enable the actions of the other instruments of national power to succeed in achieving the broad goals of conflict transformation."48 In this process, "providing security and control" not only "stabilizes the area of operations" but also provides "a foundation for transitioning to civilian control and, eventually, to the host nation,"49 or supports the efforts of a transitional civil or military authority when no legitimate government exists. It is in this role that military forces—when no authorities exist—may also provide for the basic needs of the local populace until a civil authority can provide those services.
The operational "surge" of troops into Iraq under General David Petraeus in 2007 is a useful example for considering the integrated combination of offensive, defensive, and stability operations under the full-spectrum concept. In accordance with the new canon, Army units employ a combination of offensive, defensive, and stability tasks weighted appropriately to the nature of the environment in which they operate. In the months leading up to the bombing of the al-Askari mosque in Samarra, Iraq, in February 2006, for instance, U.S. forces had been largely conducting limited offensive operations while focusing mainly on defensive operations (such as protecting polling sites during national elections and securing key infrastructure) and stability operations (training Iraqi security forces, supporting governance, and restoring essential services). However, in the weeks and months following the attack, fierce Shia and Sunni sectarian violence greatly increased the complexity of the existing challenges that were posed by elements of al Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias operating within Iraq. While this eventually led to a major increase in troop levels, most significant was the changed nature of U.S. operations in relation to the current circumstances. Instead of units conducting mounted patrols in Humvees, based out of large, well-fortified camps (defensive in nature), the new approach involved troops operating semi-permanently within the populace (more offensive in nature). By establishing a lasting presence on the ground, U.S. forces have successfully denied insurgents and sectarian elements the ability to influence the populace.50
The full-spectrum operations approach, thus, adds to—if it does not entirely modify— traditional definitions of offensive and defensive operations or "employing the lethal effects of combat power against an enemy force."51 If offensive operations are "the most direct and sure means of seizing, retaining, and exploiting" the tone and pace of combat in a campaign, and if they "compel the enemy to react," thereby exposing "weaknesses that the attacking force can then exploit," the full-spectrum approach deals with the gaps in offense, when offensive moves cannot deal effectively with an "adaptive enemy."52 The same is true in defensive operations. While these are traditionally designed to "counter the offensive actions of enemy or adversary forces, destroying as much of the attacking enemy as possible," defensive moves can also be used strategically "to preserve control over land, resources, and populations, retain terrain, guard populations, and protect critical capabilities and resources, or even gain time through economy of force so offensive and stability tasks can be executed elsewhere."53
Stabilization operations thus exemplify the full-spectrum concept, as these missions typically demand a mix of humanitarian development, offensive counterinsurgency efforts, and defensive protection of civilians and key infrastructure. Two concepts—reconstruction and stabilization—comprise the emphasis of these operations. Reconstruction, as the new field manual notes, is "the process of rebuilding degraded, damaged, or destroyed political, socioeconomic, and physical infrastructure of a country or territory to create the foundation for long-term development."54 Stabilization is "the process by which underlying tensions that might lead to resurgence in violence and a breakdown in law and order are managed and reduced, while efforts are made to support preconditions for successful long-term development."55 Stability operations are thus a distinctive contemporary form of military operational response that embody, at once, the contingent, full-spectrum approach to conflict and the recognition, as mentioned, that military measures are insufficient to stabilize conflict and postconflict societies. Moreover, this integrated thinking at the operations phase has an impact on the overall posture of the U.S. Armed Forces that has "shifted from direct military action towards new capabilities to shape the security environment in ways that obviate the need for military intervention in the future," as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates notes, including the "need to work with and through local governments to avoid the next insurgency, to rescue the next failing state, or to head off the next humanitarian disaster."56
A similar operational shift to full-spectrum approaches and stability and reconstruction efforts is currently occurring in Afghanistan. Such a shift was initially evident in the Secretary's analysis of strategic limits in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee: "It is also clear that we have not had enough troops to provide a baseline level of security in some of the most dangerous areas—a vacuum that increasingly has been filled by the Taliban."57 To date, President Barack Obama has increased both troop levels and the number of State Department civilians in Afghanistan.58 Both Generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus, likewise, integrated these approaches to counterinsurgency strategy, prioritizing the protection of civilians and soft power initiatives of winning hearts and minds above offensive operations, as the situation requires. Yet while the troop increase and these innovative methods are designed to turn around a deteriorating security situation, the civil-military imbalance in stabilization operations remains clear.
Role Ambiguity: Civil-military Relations in Stability Operations
If the long-established normative approach to civil-military relations in the United States is one of calculated separation, the new field manual implies practical and logistical overlap in tasks and responsibilities. Following its clarification of the military's supporting role to S/CRS and its essential tasks for postconflict reconstruction, Stability Operations describes the many responsibilities that the military would assume in stabilization missions. According to the manual, the Army views its stabilization responsibilities in three categories: tasks for which military forces retain primary responsibility, tasks for which civilian agencies or organizations likely retain responsibility but military forces are prepared to execute, and tasks for which civilian agencies or organizations retain primary responsibility.59 Generally speaking, the military mindset typically errs on the side of caution by overestimating the threat or task at hand due to the unacceptable security consequences of a miscalculation.60 This should give indication that the U.S. Army will continue to think conservatively as an organization by preparing to carry the bulk of responsibility in stability operations, if necessary.
Stability Operations describes at some length what military forces do to properly execute these tasks, yet it only addresses the first two, those "essential tasks for which military forces retain primary responsibility" or "must be prepared to execute."61 Tasks with a security component, such as enforcing ceasefires, disarming belligerents, and training host-nation security forces, fall into the first category where the military has the highest expectation of responsibility, whereas tasks such as providing support and resources to restore essential services, assisting in local governance support, or implementing public works projects for economic development are often shared civil-military responsibilities.
The absence of a discussion on how shared civilian and military responsibilities will be resolved over time leaves behind a grey area in interagency expectations on the ground. To an extent, this ambiguity allows a degree of flexibility for military commanders and civilian leaders to organize themselves in a manner appropriate to the situation. In fact, this flexibility is critical given the need to achieve tangible results quickly in postconflict environments. Organizational constraints and unnecessary layers of interagency bureaucracy can often hinder progress and perhaps become counterproductive, potentially leading to increased host-nation grievances and greater instability.
However, this grey area of shared responsibility between U.S. military and civilian agencies drives to the heart of the ongoing debate: the appropriateness of the military role in conducting tasks for which civilians are better suited or prepared to execute and calls for additional civilian capabilities to perform nationbuilding tasks. Surely, some tasks such as humanitarian assistance and medical treatment would be carried out by the military exclusively at the outset of any intervention. While the new field manual stresses the importance of transferring responsibilities from military forces to host-nation forces or government agencies, it remains unclear as to if, how, or when responsibilities will transfer from military forces to U.S. Government civilian agencies or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the interim. At the very least, an acknowledgment in Stability Operations of the organization responsible (most likely S/CRS) for deciding the transfer of stability responsibilities between military and civilian agencies would be beneficial in providing better clarity, accountability, and planning guidance. A solution to this problem might entail the development of a "slidingscale" guide by S/CRS, for instance, outlining the transfer of responsibilities from military to civilian as key objectives are met and as intergovernmental capacities allow. Such a planning tool would provide direction, clarify roles, and retain the necessary flexibility for responsive adaptation to conditions on the ground.
Nonetheless, this issue holds the potential for principal-agent challenges and tensions between the Departments of State and Defense, compounded by a current and contentious funding mechanism for foreign assistance in stabilization efforts in failed or failing states. Such a mechanism, as mentioned, allows DOD authority to transfer funds to State for postconflict reconstruction activities.62 Undoubtedly, this is a short-term solution to the larger administrative challenge of finding an appropriate allocation of resources between them. Transforming two major U.S. agencies while conducting two decisive yet very different stabilization missions overseas is no easy task. Even so, DOD currently possesses the greater share of human and physical capital to sustain ongoing stabilization operations, despite the fact that State is the more appropriate institution for certain functions of state-building. While the transfer authority is necessary to maintain support for an underresourced S/CRS and sustain current missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is an inappropriate funding mechanism that is surely not in line with the spirit of a whole-ofgovernment approach to postconflict reconstruction. Simply put, if S/CRS is statutorily responsible for coordinating the interagency efforts in stability operations, it should control the funding stream for these missions, not DOD.
Unity of Effort: Extending the Concept Beyond the U.S. Government
Coordination of postconflict reconstruction efforts across the U.S. Government is arguably more problematic than any individual postconflict reconstruction task. While the Departments of Defense and State play significant roles in stabilization operations, other agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and Department of Justice emerge as key players as conditions improve, along with a myriad of NGOs and international partners. The Clinton, Bush, and now the Obama administrations have clearly struggled with finding an appropriate solution to interagency coordination, reflected in the sundry organizational models implemented between the country team model of an ambassador and military commander (for example, two chains of authority) in the Balkans and the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.63 This ongoing challenge ultimately led to the creation of the S/CRS to function as the lead coordinator of all U.S. Government efforts in stability operations, including those of DOD.
The new Stability Operations emphasizes explaining the concept of unity of effort between the military and other U.S. Government civilian agencies. This runs counter to well-established theoretical propositions on civil-military integration claiming that: (1) "military doctrines tend to be poorly integrated with the political aspects of grand strategy" in order to reduce uncertainties of combat and increase independence from civilian authority, and (2) "civilians and soldiers tend to know too little about each other's affairs" due to functional specialization.64 But in fact, the manual explicitly names S/CRS as the lead coordinator of all U.S. Government efforts in stability operations and emphasizes its central role in the interagency effort throughout the document.65 Since its inception in 2004, S/CRS has focused its efforts on developing interagency planning mechanisms and essential tasks to ensure unity of effort.66
One benefit of this strong emphasis is the clarification of military goals as they fit within the more broadly defined interagency goals and ultimately the national security strategy. Stability Operations, in fact, devotes an entire chapter to explaining the interagency planning mechanisms, the military's role within the S/CRS planning framework, and the essential post-conflict reconstruction tasks aligned along the five stability sectors: security, justice and reconciliation, humanitarian and social well-being, governance and participation, and economic stabilization and infrastructure.67 Impressively, it provides in-depth explanation of the five stability sectors and associated military tasks, including useful descriptions of what each sector entails and demands, the appropriate role of the military operating in these sectors, and why each is important to achieving the desired endstate.68 At least on paper, the contents of this new field manual provide clear evidence of increased civil-military integration and motivation of Soldiers and U.S. Government civilians toward a mutual understanding of roles in a rapidly changing security environment.
But while this document is indicative of government-wide institutional learning from several hard-fought campaigns, it falls short in recognizing that today's security environment requires a unity of effort on an international level as well. History suggests that multilateral, coalition-style efforts are more likely to succeed in the long run when they are viewed as legitimate by the host nation and throughout the international community.69 In this respect, unity of effort is paramount to an effective U.S. stability operations campaign. Thus, unity is needed not only at the national level, but also at the international level, as explained by Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart in their emphasis on the importance of collective power in Fixing Failed States.70 The "need for effective, dynamic international organizations" comprised of multidisciplinary specialists from the security, developmental, and political domains is critical, not the least because such international teams "play an invaluable role in bringing focus and unity to the task."71
Equally important is an understanding of how the U.S. Government will integrate its efforts into a multilateral operation. DOD and State have well-established relationships with their military and diplomatic counterparts, as represented in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, and the former Multi-National Forces–Iraq headquarters. While all missions are unique and require nuanced approaches to achieve success, surely there are some common principles to ensure unity of effort among international partners. Stability Operations provides less than two pages of description of its relationship with the United Nations (UN) and NATO in Annex A.72 Unfortunately, these sections amount to little more than a courtesy note that coordination with the UN remains within the State Department and the U.S. military might work with or under the umbrella of either organization. It offers little substantive description of key military relationships or multilateral planning processes.
A useful starting point for integrating the international component of stability and reconstruction operations into U.S. philosophy is NATO's Comprehensive Approach. Analogous to unity of effort, the Comprehensive Approach is NATO's attempt at an international doctrine for responding to conflict. Aimed at promoting cooperation and coordination across the international community, "it is a way of thinking and a tool that can be applied to all phases of conflict, to all the actors involved and at all operational levels."73 While NATO is a military alliance lacking the full civilian capacities necessary for effective stabilization operations, the Comprehensive Approach recognizes this need, and NATO has made steady progress in its development, although more is needed in establishing the necessary partnerships with the UN, European Union, and NGOs in order for it to be adequately comprehensive.74
Perhaps beyond the scope of Stability Operations, as a U.S. Army document, the publication of a formal document by S/CRS to clarify the U.S. role within the broader international Comprehensive Approach is necessary.75 Although NATO is the organization expending the greatest effort toward its development, fundamentally, the Comprehensive Approach is a concept for the international community—NATO plays one role out of many others within the larger global framework.76 With S/CRS holding sole custody of coordinating U.S. stabilization efforts, it is the most appropriate organization to draft such a document. A clearer policy on the U.S. role in multilateral stabilization operations would help to establish commonly understood planning concepts and capacities, serve the U.S.interagency in better shaping department-level policies much like Stability Operations, and strengthen the overall legitimacy of current and future conflict interventions. Expanding the unity of effort concept to the international level will remain a long-term objective for governments and NGOs alike for the foreseeable future. In this light, the U.S. focus must remain on resolving interagency roles and responsibilities in stabilization operations.
To date, Stability Operations is the most comprehensive public document that codifies collaborative concepts into U.S. defense and interagency policy. This fact suggests that through this publication the Army may influence and shape other U.S. Government institutions with respect to security policy and that the Army is out in front of its intergovernmental partners in leading a major philosophical shift to stabilization and postconflict reconstruction operations—a measure of influence in the wider push toward unity of effort that is clearly evident in the 2010 National Security Strategy.77
In any case, as the security environment remains dominated by asymmetric threats originating in failed or failing states, stabilization operations will remain the dominant mode of civil-military and interagency operations for the foreseeable future. This newest field manual represents a clear sign of how the Army has transformed its mindset toward current and future military operations by stressing concepts such as the whole-of-government approach, unity of effort, and the roles and responsibilities between military and civilian agencies. In doing so, the manual reflects an agency that understands its critical yet insufficient ability to ensure success in a postconflict environment. In fact, it is important to realize that part of this revisioning of role is based on a core recognition on the part of the Army in relation to new battlefields: its own eclipse. This humility that Flournoy and Brimley describe emerges from a sober reckoning with a new "fog of war"—the inescapable fact that warfare at the operational level remains an unpredictable endeavor, an "immutably human affair," replete with human frailties and errors, especially given the challenging conflict environments of Iraq and Afghanistan. But this self-critical stance that the military mission is only part of the solution, a significant but not exclusive player in new conflicts that cannot be ameliorated without partners, also emerges from a conceptual fog of war at the policy level in light of the shocks to the international system over the last decade, including 9/11, which have resulted in efforts to rethink national and international security. In the midst of such reflective moments, an organization might simply reproduce outmoded doctrine or downplay the fact that many are bereft of solutions in a changing world. Stability Operations, by contrast, shows a conceptual agility in adapting its core assumptions, and an ability to rethink the complex continuum of conflict itself. In this respect, Field Manual 3–07 represents a significant departure from the Army field manual genre with its acknowledgment of the degree to which national and international security efforts will no longer be military-defense institutional endeavors alone. Such thinking will fundamentally expand the meaning of security to include such priorities as reconstruction, stability, and ultimately peace.
While Stability Operations represents a significant development in U.S. security policy, two issues remain: the appropriate mix of responsibilities assumed by military and civilian agencies in stabilization and reconstruction operations, and the extent to which the United States can partner with allies to create an international unity of effort. While these matters must be addressed in the National Security Council, a more robust force of civil servants, particularly in the Foreign Service Officer corps, would serve to build greater capacity for the civilian assumption of responsibility in stability operations. PRISM
1 For a discussion of the problems and subtle retiring of this term, see Daniel S. Roper, "Global Counterinsurgency: Strategic Clarity for the Long War," Parameters 38, no. 3 (Autumn 2008), 92–108; Jeffrey Record, Bounding the Global War on Terrorism (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, 2003); Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 19; David C. Gompert and John Gordon IV, War by Other Means: Building Complete and Balanced Capabilities for Counterinsurgency (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2008), 6. Also see Seth C. Lewis and Stephen D. Reese, "What Is the War on Terror? Framing Through the Eyes of Journalists," Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 86, no. 1 (Spring 2009), 85–102.
2 Consider Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell's prefatory remarks to the new Field Manual (FM) 3–07, Stability Operations, released October 6, 2008, which characterizes the post-9/11 security climate as an epic struggle against new adversaries:
Since the terrorist attacks on the American people seven years ago, we have been engaged in an epic struggle unlike any other in our history. This struggle, what may be the defining ideological conflict of the 21st century, is marked by the rising threat of a violent extremist movement that seeks to create anarchy and instability throughout the international system. Within this system, we also face emerging nations discontented with the status quo, flush with wealth and ambition, and seeking a new global balance of power.
FM 3–07, foreword (Washington, DC: Headquarters U.S. Department of the Army, October 6, 2008), available at <http://downloads.army.mil/docs/fm_3-07.pdf>.
3 The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS 2002) (Washington, DC: The White House, December 2002), iv. Much of this language and framing was repeated in the foreword by George W. Bush in The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS 2006), Washington, DC, March 16, 2006.
4 NSS 2002, iv.
7 Joint Publication 3–0, Joint Operations (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, September 17, 2006, Incorporating Change 1, February 13, 2008), available at <www.dtic.mil/doctrine/new_pubs/jp3_0.pdf>.
8 Caldwell, foreword, FM 3–07.
9 Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 3000.05, "Military Support to Security, Stability, Transition and Reconstruction Operations" (November 2005), emphasized that stability operations were no longer secondary to combat operations:
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.
The directive further stressed that stability operations were likely more important to the lasting success of military operations than traditional combat operations. Thus, the directive elevated stability operations to a status equal to that of the offense and defense. That fundamental change in emphasis sets the foundation for this doctrine (vi). See also Department of Defense Instruction 3000.05, September 16, 2009, available at <www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/300005p.pdf>.
10 Shawn Brimley, "Crafting Strategy in an Age of Transition," Parameters 38, no. 4 (Winter 2008), 27–42; Joseph Nye, Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics (New York: Perseus Books Group, 2004); James B. Steinberg, "Real Leaders Do Soft Power: Learning the Lessons of Iraq," The Washington Quarterly 31, no. 2 (Spring 2008), 155–164.
11 Such a contrast in viewpoints is evident in the opening lines of NSS 2006 in which President George W. Bush began his discussion of policy with: "My fellow Americans, America is at war."
12 Caldwell, foreword, FM 3–07.
18 Stability Operations supersedes FM 3–07, Stability Operations and Support Operations (Washington, DC: Headquarters Department of the Army, February 20, 2003).
19 Caldwell, foreword, FM 3–07.
20 National Security Presidential Directive 44, December 7, 2005; Robert C. Orr, Winning the Peace: An American Strategy for Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Significant Issues, No. 26 (Washington, DC: CSIS, 2004).
21 The entree of stabilization operations into the sphere of military doctrine indicates the Army's realization that troubled and failing states, as well as global hotspots and ungoverned spaces, threaten U.S. national security and fuel transnational grassroots extremists in ways that will aid international instability.
22 FM 3–07, 1–1.
24 Caldwell, foreword, FM 3–07.
28 Michèle Flournoy and Shawn Brimley, "Foreword: Stability Operations in a Changing Strategic Context," in U.S. Army Stability Operations Field Manual No. 3–07 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2009), v.
29 Martin A. Weiss, "World Bank Post-Conflict Aid: Oversight Issues for Congress," in Peacekeeping and Stability Issues, ed. Keith Gerbick et al. (Hauppauge, NY: Nova, 2007), 119; Samuel R. Berger, Brent Scowcroft, and William L. Nash, In the Wake of War: Improving U.S. Post-conflict Capabilities, Report of an Independent Task Force, Council on Foreign Relations, 2005.
30 In fact, certain accounts defend this equalizing move by appeal to democratic procedural precepts of transparency and accountability, arguing that without such a constraint, the military component would take over reconstruction efforts. One problem with this view is that it conflates describing priorities in the post-conflict setting with prescribing government roles, as well as deferring inquiry into practice-based analysis of the security dimension in transitioning from conflict to postconflict settings. Scott Fiel (see note 31) defines security as comprising "all aspects of public safety," including those institutions that enable "the development of legitimate and stable security institutions." He likewise groups postconflict security aims into two core functions or tasks: (1) the "provision of collective and individual security to the citizenry and to the assistors," especially from "immediate and large-scale violence," and (2) "restoring the state's ability to maintain territorial integrity." After such security tasks as controlling belligerents, establishing territorial security, and the general protection of the populace are achieved, several cluster areas are identified to achieve minimal security in light of these twin functional objectives: (a) protection of key individuals, infrastructure, and institutions; (b) reform of indigenous security institutions; and (c) regional security.
31 Scott Fiel, "Building Better Foundations: Security in Postconflict Reconstruction," The Washington Quarterly 25, no. 4 (2002), 97–109.
32 Ibid., 98.
34 The October 27, 2003, suicide bombing (an explosives-packed ambulance) at the International Committee of the Red Cross compound in Baghdad, which killed 18 civilian bystanders, and the UN headquarters bombing in August 2003 in Baghdad, which killed 23 civilians, indicated insurgent intentions to the aid community and caused many to leave the field. See Nicolas de Torrente, "Humanitarian Action under Attack: Reflections on the Iraq War," Harvard Human Rights Journal 17, 1–29; Ian Fisher and Elizabeth Becker, "Aid Workers Leaving Iraq, Fearing They Are Targets," The New York Times, October 12, 2003, 18; Sonni Effron and Shweta Govindarajan, "Aid Agencies Pulling Out of Iraq as Violence Rises," Los Angeles Times, November 15, 2003, A5; Vivienne Walt, "Red Cross Staff to Evacuate, Other Foreign Aid Workers May Leave over Iraq Attacks," The Boston Globe, October 30, 2003, A8.
35 Participating agencies may be prompted to declare larger roles for their organizations, for instance, instead of recognizing the pivotal role of security in stabilizing a region.
36 The S/CRS mandate to "lead, coordinate and institutionalize U.S. Government civilian capacity" for postconflict situations, and to "help stabilize and reconstruct societies in transition from conflict or civil strife" toward sustainable peace also recognized that "struggling states" are "the greatest national and international security challenges of our day" as potential "breeding grounds for terrorism, crime, trafficking, and humanitarian catastrophes" that can destabilize an entire region.
37 David H. Gurney and Merrick E. Krause, "An Interview with Carlos Pascual," Joint Force Quarterly 42 (3d Quarter, 2006), 80–85. Ambassador Pascual previously served as Director of the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization.
38 See Nina M. Serafino, Department of Defense "Section 1207" Security and Stabilization Assistance: Background and Congressional Concerns, RS22871 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, February 4, 2010); and Peacekeeping/Stabilization and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on the Civilian Stabilization and Reconstruction Capabilities, RL32862 (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, February 17, 2010).
39 Militaries have traditionally marginalized these missions in favor of preparing for and executing more conventional methods of warfare, but since the end of the Cold War, irregular and asymmetric conflict, humanitarian crises, and the lessons learned from past failures have exposed this strategic gap.
40 The term military operations other than war (MOOTW), which emerged in the 1990s, predates contemporary stability operations. MOOTW is not to be confused with full-spectrum operations, which is a distinct concept that describes the full range of possible operations that might be employed sequentially or in combination within a broader stabilization mission.
41 FM 3–07, 2–1.
43 See FM 3–0, Operations (Washington, DC: Headquarters Department of the Army, June 2001), for a full description of the concept of full-spectrum operations.
44 FM 3–07, 2–1.
45 See FM 3–0 for a full description of on the concept of full-spectrum operations.
46 FM 3–07, 2–2.
50 See also FM 3–24, Counterinsurgency (Washington, DC: Headquarters Department of the Army, December 2006), 1–19. This operational shift is also consistent with the Army's latest counterinsurgency manual, whose development and publication (led by General Petraeus at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College) occurred throughout the contested political debate over the troop surge authorization. Counterinsurgency is a specific subset of warfare that employs a unique combination of offensive, defensive, and stability operations based on the situation and mission.
51 FM 3–07, 2–2.
53 Ibid., 2–2.
54 Ibid., 2–1.
56 Ibid. 57 Robert M. Gates, Testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, January 27, 2009.
58 Karen DeYoung, "Civilians to Join Afghan Buildup," The Washington Post, March 19, 2009.
59 FM 3–07, 3–2. 60 Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1957), 66.
61 FM 3–07, 3–2.
62 Liana Sun Wyler, Weak and Failing States: Evolving Security Threats to U.S. Policy (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, August 28, 2008), 21.
63 Francis Fukuyama, ed., Nation-Building: Beyond Afghanistan and Iraq (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 240. 64 Barry Posen, The Sources of Military Doctrine: France, Britain, and Germany Between the World Wars (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984), 58.
65 FM 3–07, 2–5.
66 Nina M. Serafino and Martin A. Weiss, Peacekeeping/Stabilization and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on the Civilian Response/Reserve Corps and Other Civilian Stabilization and Reconstruction Capabilities (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, September 18, 2008).
67 FM 3–07, 2–5—2–9.
68 Ibid., 2–9—2–12.
69 Fukuyama, 238.
70 Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart, Fixing Failed States: A Framework for Rebuilding a Fractured World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 226.
71 Ibid., 225–226.
72 FM 3–07, A–9.
73 Peter Viggo Jakobsen, NATO's Comprehensive Approach to Crisis Response Operations: A Work in Slow Process, Danish Institute for International Studies Report 2008:15 (Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies, October 18, 2008), 9.
74 Ibid., 3.
75 The U.S. State Department has announced that it is in the process of producing a Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review modeled on the Armed Forces document to provide a "blueprint for our diplomatic and development efforts . . . [to] guide U.S. to agile, responsive, and effective institutions of diplomacy and development, including how to transition from approaches no longer commensurate with current challenges." See "The Department of State's Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review," Washington, DC, July 10, 2009, available at <www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2009/july/125956.htm>.
76 Ibid., 12.
77 The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Washington, DC: The White House, May 2010).