Current Department of Defense (DOD) policy directs the development of capabilities within the Department to foster integration of the stability operations mission internally as well as externally with interagency partners. This policy identifies support to integrated civilian military efforts as a key element of successful stability operations. DOD efforts parallel those taken by U.S. Government civilian agencies that respond to national level guidance endorsing the importance of stability operations missions and emphasizing the importance of civil-military integration in those missions. The question remains, how is the U.S. Government faring in achieving the objectives of interagency integration for stability operations?
This article will explore progress to date, outline some remaining challenges, and posit areas that can be improved. It will cover key elements of integration including availability of authorities (congressional mandates as well as executive-level and departmental policies), guidance (doctrine), financial resources, civilian capacity, concepts for integrated planning and operations, integrated organizational structures to prepare and execute operations, and training strategies for civil-military teams.
Since 2005, DOD policy has recognized stability operations as an essential military mission of equal importance to major combat operations, first appearing with the issuance of DOD Directive (DODD) 3000.05, Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) Operations (2005), and superseded by DOD Instruction (DODI) 3000.05, Stability Operations (2009). This policy reflects support to national guidance embodied in National Presidential Security Directive (NSPD) 44, Management of Interagency Efforts Concerning Reconstruction and Stabilization Operations (2005), and congressional legislation outlined in Title XVI of the fiscal year (FY) 2009 National Defense Authorization Act, Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management.
DODD 3000.05 emphasized the need for DOD to support development of civilian capacities for stability and reconstruction operations and to be prepared to develop its own capacities to accomplish the mission alone if called upon. The DOD Directive and Instruction both laid out guidance for the development of appropriate concepts, doctrine, tasks, and training to support planning and execution of this mission. In 2008, the U.S. Army developed Field Manual (FM) 3—07, Stability Operations, in response to this guidance, and the development of a new Joint Publication (JP) 3—07, Stability Operations, was initiated in 2009.
A key aspect of 3000.05 that was captured in FM 3—07 and in the August 2011 version of JP 5—0, Joint Planning, is the recognition that the stability operations mission cannot be accomplished by the military alone, and that it requires coordination with and support to U.S. Government interagency partners to achieve unity of effort. JP 5—0 emphasizes the need for comprehensive efforts by the United States in stabilization operations. DODI 3000.05 further emphasizes the importance of integrated civilian and military efforts for successful conduct of stability operations, and outlines actions the Department should take to foster this integration.
DOD has provided regular progress reports on implementation of 3000.05. In May 2009, a report to Congress highlighted the biggest challenge to integration as the lack of civilian department and agency capacity; while DOD has a capability to fulfill most shortto mid-term requirements for stability operations, it cannot achieve long-term strategic success alone. The report recognized the need for better U.S. Government architectures and capacity for integrated civil-military action as well as more resources to increase civilian expeditionary capacity within civilian departments.1
At present the challenges outlined in the 2009 DOD report to Congress remain persistent gaps. This article will elaborate on this point, drawing from personal research on stability operations and interagency coordination issues to examine current progress and prospects for interagency integration in stability operations. It starts with a background discussion on the development of U.S. Government guidance and structures for stability operations from the 1997 interagency planning and management policies of the Bill Clinton administration through to the 2008 passage of legislation during the George W. Bush administration codifying the creation of a new deployable civilian capacity. Next, it evaluates what has been accomplished to date on key concepts (processes and organizational constructs), doctrine, and training for the planning and execution of stability operations. Finally, the article concludes with an assessment of future prospects for interagency integration in stability operations based on planned reform efforts and the likely political environment of the future.
The U.S. Government has set forth a variety of guidance documents since 1997 aimed at improving the ability of the government to address what DOD calls stability operations and civilian agencies have called reconstruction and stabilization operations.
During the Clinton administration, Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 56, Managing Complex Contingency Operations, created new planning and implementation mechanisms for complex contingency operations. During that time, DOD published the Handbook for Interagency Management of Complex Contingency Operations, and PDD 56 encouraged all agencies to distribute it in order to support creation of a "cadre of professionals familiar with this integrated planning process."2
PDD 56 emphasized the need for close integration of civilian and military components of an operation to "maximize the effect of judicious military deployments," and also emphasized that "integrated planning and effective management of agency operations early on in an operation can avoid delays, reduce pressure on the military to expand its involvement in unplanned ways, and create unity of effort within an operation that is essential for success of the mission."3
PDD 56 called for a cadre of professionals familiar with the integrated planning process, and also for the National Security Council (NSC), with the support of the Department of State and DOD, to work with the appropriate U.S. Government educational institutions to form and conduct an annual interagency training program for mid-level managers in the development and implementation of politicalmilitary plans for complex operations. PDD 56 was never fully implemented because it met with bureaucratic resistance. Eventually the directive was rescinded by incoming President Bush in 2001.
During the early years of the Afghanistan and Iraq engagements, the Bush administration had no overarching directives to cover the interagency coordination issues related to complex contingencies. Several specific directives were issued related to Iraq. On January 20, 2003, NSPD 24, Post-War Iraq Reconstruction, placed DOD in charge of managing reconstruction efforts following the invasion (replacing the interagency planning process that typically would have been civilian-led). Reconstruction in Iraq was carried out initially by the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA) and later subsumed by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). On May 11, 2004, NSPD 36, United States Government Operations in Iraq, then transferred responsibilities for relief and reconstruction operations from CPA/DOD to the State Department, placing the Chief of Mission at the new U.S. Embassy in charge.
According to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) analysis of February 2010, "both ORHA and CPA lacked sufficient personnel, contracting, information technology, and financial resources to carry out their respective missions."4 The SIGIR also cited the ambiguity of NSPD 36 as a cause of interagency coordination problems among State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and DOD. Despite State Department designation as lead for reconstruction efforts, confusion was caused by the blurred lines of authority and responsibility with DOD regarding contracting for reconstruction programs because State did not have the capacity or experience to run such a large effort.
In July 2004, the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) was created within the State Department to address the civilian deficit. S/CRS was charged with promoting a whole-of-government approach to reconstruction and stabilization (R&S) operations; its mission was to "lead, coordinate and institutionalize U.S. government civilian capacity to prevent or prepare for post-conflict situations, and to help stabilize and reconstruct societies in transition from conflict or civil strife, so that they can reach a sustainable path toward peace, democracy, and a market economy."5
The November 2005 issuance of DODD 3000.05, Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction Operations, identified stability operations as a "core U.S. military mission" that should receive emphasis comparable to major combat operations. It signaled DOD commitment to developing stability operations doctrine, resources, and capacities; it also signaled DOD support for U.S. Government planning, preparations, and conduct of stability operations, and emphasized the importance of integrated civil ian and military efforts as key to successful stability operations.
The Bush administration followed the department level reform initiatives with an Executive-level directive in December 2005, NSPD 44, Management of Interagency Efforts Concerning Reconstruction and Stabilization, which addressed the void left by the rescission of PDD 56 and outlined changes to move the planning and implementation of R&S operations under the leadership of the State Department. This directive gave S/CRS the mandate to lead the development of a new R&S civilian capacity and called for the integration of "stabilization and reconstruction contingency plans with military contingency plans when relevant and appropriate." Finally the directive established an NSC-level Policy Coordination Committee for R&S operations cochaired by the coordinator for S/CRS and a member of the NSC staff who was directed to manage development, implementation, and coordination of R&S policies.6 In 2008, Title XVI of the FY2009 National Defense Authorization Act codified S/CRS in law, expanded its functions, and authorized the creation of a deployable civilian cadre, now called the Civilian Response Corps (CRC), with funds appropriated to support recruitment and training of members from across the Federal Government including State, USAID, and initially six domestic agencies (currently seven).7
S/CRS worked together with interagency partners over the years since its creation in 2004 with much concept development and experimentation support provided by DOD (primarily carried out by U.S. Joint Forces Command/J9) to develop processes and organizational structures for whole-of-government R&S operations. These concepts were designed to provide standardized frameworks in order to build and prepare civilian capacity, as well as plan, manage, and execute operations using a whole-of-government approach. Application of these standardized interagency structures could then foster greater U.S. Government unity of effort in stability operations. Key concepts developed include the Draft Planning Framework for Reconstruction, Stabilization and Conflict Transformation (2005), an Interagency Management System (IMS) for R&S to coordinate the management and execution of operations (2007), and an Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework (ICAF) (2008).
The interagency planning and conflict assessment concepts outlined above have been applied (to various degrees) for scenario-based (contingency), real-world steady state and crisis-related cases. The Planning Framework has been renamed the "Integrated Planning Process for Conflict Prevention, Response and Transformation," and its principles have been utilized by S/CRS to support development of the Integrated Civil-Military Campaign Plan in Afghanistan, scenario-based contingency planning efforts for the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, development of a strategic plan for U.S. engagement in Haiti (2005—2006), developing U.S. Government plans to support United Nations—led international efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and planning/facilitation support to U.S. Embassy Bangladesh in development of its Mission Strategic Resource Plans in a manner that fosters conflict prevention and stability.8
PRT Farah, State Department, and USAID representatives meet with local Afghan women to discuss health care
ISAF (Alexandra Hoechlander)
The ICAF is designed to facilitate environment and problem framing and is a valuable part of the planning process that can inform plan development, refinement, execution, and programs that prevent or avert potential conflict by addressing the appropriate aspects within the environment and changing the conflict dynamic. To date, the ICAF has been utilized 35 times (including 4 updates to existing ICAF applications) for 19 countries since 2008.9 It continues to be a prominent element of S/CRS operations and support to U.S. Embassies.
ICAF training offered by S/CRS as part of the CRC curriculum is open to military participation, though only after completing the S/CRS Foundations Course and the 3-week Level 1 Planners Course. One concern is that the prerequisites (and the associated time commitment) might hinder military participation. To date, DOD has not sought development of an ICAF course for delivery to a military audience, although introductory presentations have been given at the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute and Marine Corps University. Reference to the ICAF is included in current doctrine including JP 3—08, Interorganizational Coordination for Joint Operations, FM 3—07, and draft JP 3—07 (still under review). ICAF is not referred to in JP 5—0, Joint Operations Planning.
DOD's evolution of its doctrine and policy for planning since 2005 has served to enable greater interagency interaction in military contingency planning for stability operations. While war plans development remains a relatively closed process due to its sensitive and highly classified nature, there are some approved mechanisms developed over recent years that allow appropriate interagency interaction during the contingency plan development process.
A 2009 study analyzed the results of an "experimental" approach to incorporating interagency perspectives into military planning at U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) that took place during 2004—2008.10 In a departure from typical practice, DOD officially authorized State Department and USAID representatives to participate in the development of strategic guidance framing the plan. Traditionally, there had been limited opportunities for interagency contributions. The typical point of interagency review had been at the coordination stage after the plan was already developed, and perhaps only to vet its Interagency Annex.
The USEUCOM experimental planning process reflected a greater degree of interagency participation in the development of strategic guidance and the concept of operations for the plan, and participants in the process (civilian and military) acknowledged the added value of interagency contributions. A prominent deficiency identified was the lack of formal interagency collaboration and coordination mechanisms, as well as the need to codify such processes in DOD doctrine, training, and policy guidance. Another finding from the research was that the compressed planning timelines in DOD’s adaptive planning construct complicated the accommodation of inputs from the interagency partners, given the lack of civilian capacity to participate in and contribute to such planning.
The Joint Staff—hosted Promote Cooperation forum is a coordination mechanism for interagency input to DOD plans development (including theater campaign plans), although civilian agency "band width" remains a challenge to participation in the many sessions offered. Generally, these events occur at both the working and Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) levels to ensure DOD’s plans are complementary to ongoing operations and initiatives at other agencies, especially the State Department. Additionally, a new approach developed by the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) Plans to enable interagency input to contingency plans is the "core team" concept. Small interagency groups are formed at the working level to review and provide critical feedback during contingency plan development. The teams usually include participants from the State Department Regional Bureau and other relevant agencies, all of whom are cleared to participate in sensitive planning. DASD Plans has piloted the concept for country focused plans in different geographic theaters. The goal of the core team model is to help regional desks and DAS-level personnel gain better awareness of DOD planning efforts and areas where interagency coordination and assistance are needed.11
Another avenue for interagency inputs to plans development is the Plans Review cycle, which is part of the adaptive planning approach.12 Plan reviews are an iterative, internal DOD process scheduled throughout the planning lifecycle that helps prompt clarification of policy issues and identify issues for interagency discussion. In recent years, Office of the Secretary of Defense Policy has engaged senior-level interagency counterparts empowered to provide authoritative feedback on policy issues uncovered during planning at the geographic theater level.13 This addresses a gap also identified in the aforementioned USEUCOM study.14
In addition to the processes outlined above, organizational constructs have been created to foster interagency coordination and civil-military integration for stability operations. Some remain as concepts while others have been applied to real world operations. The IMS remained as a concept, only tested in experiments and U.S. combatant command (CO COM) exercises. This concept included interagency organizational constructs to be stood up during R&S operations at the strategic (Washington/NSC), operational (geographic combatant command) ,and tactical levels (Embassy and field/province) for interagency management of the planning and execution of operations. This concept was recently integrated into U.S. military doctrine with inclusion as an annex in the 2011 revision of JP 3—08 and FM 3—07.
While it is heartening that this interagency concept is referenced in military doctrine, the information is outdated. Since the IMS has never been activated, the State Department has decided to drop this concept and remove it from current COCOM exercises conducted with S/CRS and the CRC. It will be replaced by a yetto-be-developed International Operational Response Framework (IORF) recommended by the State Department’s 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). In the interim, beyond the ad hoc structures in Afghanistan, there are no standardized operational structures for civilian interagency participation or civil-military integration in stability operations other than the existing country team platform. This challenges the ability of the government and military to train on civil-military integration during stability operations.
At the field level, the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) concept was developed and deployed by the U.S. military first in Afghanistan and later by the State Department in Iraq. There is no standardized construct for a PRT, but the teams have evolved some common principles in each country application. PRTs in Iraq are civilian-led by State Department personnel, while those in Afghanistan were originally military-led and predominately staffed by military personnel, with a small number of civilian advisors from State, USAID, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The U.S. PRT structure in Afghanistan has since evolved to an integrated structure, with a military commander leading the military component of the PRT complemented by a Department of State lead on policy, governance, and political issues, and USAID and USDA representatives providing development advice on local governance and agriculture.15 More recently, in 2009, additional structures beyond the PRT were developed to foster greater civil-military coordination, integration, and unity of effort in Afghanistan. These include the creation of the Civil-Military Planning and Assessment Sub-section mission within the U.S. Embassy, responsible for developing and maintaining the Integrated Civil-Military Campaign Plan for Afghanistan, and the establishment of the Office of Interagency Provincial Affairs (IPA) at the Embassy to provide strategy and policy guidance on subnational governance, stabilization issues, Afghan capacity-building programs, and civil-military integration. The IPA’s organizational structure parallels the military command and control structure with civilian regional platforms that mirror the regional commands (RCs), each with a senior civilian representative (SCR), who is the counterpart to the military commander in the RC. The SCR’s main task is to foster civil-military integration through the civilians working under them at the task force, PRT, and District Support Team (DST) levels.
When exploring how well the U.S. civilmilitary structures in Afghanistan have fostered integration and unity of effort, several challenges are revealed.16 Chief among these are the distinct civilian and military coordination channels, which run parallel to one another with little cross-coordination. That is to say, civilian regional platforms and military RCs typically interact via separate video teleconferencing (VTC) sessions to communicate with the IPA (run by U.S. Embassy civilians) and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Joint Command (IJC) (run by the U.S. military). Weekly governance VTCs that connect relevant parties (for example, ISA F, IJC, Embassy, regional platforms, regional commands, and the Afghan government) are an effective and efficient exception. Another structural challenge is the use of separate information technology (IT) networks (four classified and three unclassified) and the lack of cross-platform information-sharing mechanisms between the civilian and military elements. Embassy civilians cannot connect to military liaison officers housed in the Embassy over classified channels, as officers are on separate military classified networks. At regional platforms, only two out of four classified systems are compatible and a limited number of terminals allow interaction with military classified systems. PRTs have access to some, but not every U.S. system, and U.S.-led DSTs had access to Secure Internet Protocol Router and Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange methods of communication. Most unclassified communications are on commercial email channels to bridge the IT barriers. Additional challenges to civil-military integration in Afghanistan include personnel tour length (civilian tours run 6—9 months) and frequent turnover. Furthermore, many U.S. civilian staffers lacked formal professional development in small unit leadership; they typically do not get such opportunities until much later in their careers, in contrast to the military. Thus, civilians sent to the field often lacked the tools to lead. Finally, mutual unfamiliarity of civilian and military planning and operational constructs challenges civilmilitary communication.
Training is the key to fostering the civil-military integration necessary for unity of effort in the field. National-level guidance reinforces the importance of training for integrated operations, but current R&S Interagency Training Strategy is not integrated and does not cover the military. In the main, training is carried out by separate civilian and military regimens with separate strategies, to include predeployment training for the integrated Afghanistan PRTs.17
The current state of affairs for interagency integration in stability operations reveals several gaps in planning and operations and, based on the current trajectory, an uncertain future.
While civilian and military concepts, doctrine, and training reference the need for increased interagency integration and unity of effort, the civilian and military concepts and processes remain distinct from one another. There are no institutionalized overarching planning and operations concepts in place for stability operations applicable to both civilians and the military, nor is there integrated U.S. Government training for stability operations. These factors challenge progress on achieving unity of effort during operations. While several whole-of-government concepts for planning and operations have been developed since 2005, none has been operationalized or institutionalized in a way that has broken down the separate civilian and military stovepipes.
Concepts for civil-military teams have been developed and applied in an ad hoc fashion, with a lack of consistency or a predictability that challenges training and operations. Training and education levels between civilian and military counterparts are separate and uneven, and integrated training of civil-military teams has not materialized. The number of properly trained, readily deployable civilian experts is dwarfed by the number of military personnel available for such missions. There is no official common U.S. Government doctrine for stability operations or systematic approach to planning for such operations, and the approved operational construct originally developed for interagency management of stability operations (the IMS) was never implemented and was recently abandoned.
Given these remaining challenges to interagency integration in stability operations, what are the prospects for the future? Two major factors will influence these prospects:
The relevant QDDR reforms include the creation of the new Bureau of Conflict Stabilization Operations (CSO) within the State Department, which will absorb the functions of S/CRS. As S/CRS transitions to the new CSO, the scope of its mandate will change and reconstruction will be removed. The CSO focus will be conflict prevention and response with the three elements of prevention, stabilization, and transition.18 State Department working groups are actively discussing implementation of the S/CRS to CSO transition, looking at different functional areas, and developing work plans with milestones.
Iraqi men unload truck as part of PRT effort to distribute chickens to farmers in Badoush, Iraq
U.S. Navy (Manhea Kim)
One aspect of the changes related to planning is the move away from whole-of-government language to more references to "integrated" planning, which could employ any combination of government agencies. For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Washington supports a broader international effort, integrated planning involves USAID, the Department of Justice, and State along with some DOD military components. In this format, S/CRS is not coordinating U.S. Government integrated planning as envisioned by some of the earlier concepts; rather, it is contributing as a supporting element to a country team or a regional bureau.
The new focus of CSO will be along these lines, to support Embassies with expertise for prevention and crisis response—related requirements. CSO involvement and the use of experts from various government departments will be mission-dependent and plugged into the State Department regional bureau process.
The emerging approach envisions a list of 25 to 30 countries of interest with national security impact that CSO will focus on to be prioritized and framed by the regional bureaus. The intent is to have a more systemized approach within State as to how and when CSO is called in to help the regional bureaus and/or country teams.
The regional bureaus and Embassies will be the locus of coordination and engagement efforts abroad, and CSO will provide expertise regarding conflict to the larger effort. The CSO will be able to offer civil-military planning and assessment expertise as well as functional subject matter expertise drawn from the CRC. The plan is for the Embassy to identify recommended requirements for expertise for missions it has defined and request CSO support to fulfill these requirements. The definition of CSO’s role is under review, but the intent is that CSO will participate in mechanisms for validating and refining requirements up front. Based on personal past research and interaction with CRC member agencies outside State and USAID, there will be great interest on their part to inform the decisions for mission and expertise requirements. If not already addressed, this issue should be considered by the CSO working groups to ensure continued support and engagement by the CRC agencies.
One working group is looking at future CSO coordination with the military, which according to discussions with a current S/CRS staff member will likely include conflict prevention as a priority area, making early engagement the focus for civil-military interaction in phase zero. That said, crisis response and transition efforts will still be part of the CSO mandate. Given that State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (State/PM) is the focal point for coordination of State inputs to DOD contingency plans or theater campaign plan development, as well as DOD participation in steady state country planning, it will be interesting to see how CSO implements phase zero— focused interaction with DOD and how State/PM will be involved.
The other QDDR reform relevant to stability operations is the development of a new IORF to replace aspects envisioned in the IMS construct mentioned earlier. The lead for the IO RF development is not S/CRS or CSO, but rather the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration. There have been debates within State and USAID regarding what the framework should look like, and different concepts have been proposed. A completion date for this framework has not been publicly announced, and few details have been released on the concepts.
In the realm of training, CSO hopes to test new standard operating procedures built for the CSO to work with other elements of government, and will seek to conduct more exercises that provide individual training for the CRC on work with civil affairs and train and advise teams along with more field-based training and exercises. Additionally, more civilian-only exercises are planned where DOD would be brought in to observe. S/CRS, which originally depended on DOD support, has since developed in-house capacity to design and evaluate its own exercises. This capacity, if retained in the new CSO, would enable the Bureau to carry out the ambitions articulated previously. One drawback to CSO self-run exercises is that they will not be as well resourced as DOD exercises (given the disparity in funding between departments) and thus may not provide as many opportunities for exercising civil-military integration for stability operations. The CSO team will need to focus its work and collaborate with military counterparts to come up with creative ways to bridge the resource gap and provide such opportunities.
On the topic of resources, the budget austerity measures under the congressional Budget Control Act will certainly affect the ability of the CSO to develop its own internal bureau capacity as well as the CRC cadre. The draft version of the FY12 State and Foreign Operations budget for the CSO, which includes CRC funding, has already been cut severely from the original submission. The domestic agency member departments of the CRC rely on CSO funding to hire and fund their CRC expert cadres, as stabilization operations are not within their core agency mandates and most do not have internal funding authorized to support stabilization operations. Even if they had such funding, domestic agency budgets are being cut so dramatically that it is unlikely they would be able to take up the slack from any CSO budget cuts.
These two issues, budget austerity measures and the QDDR reform efforts, will likely affect the further development of civilian capacity for stability operations along with prospects for interagency integration into them. The outlook seems headed more toward development of a smaller core civilian capacity for planning and assessment than originally envisioned, with some surge capacity expertise in specific functional areas to support smallto medium-size crisis prevention and response missions run out of U.S. Embassies, which may sometimes support international efforts.
The current trajectory does not indicate that Washington is developing an interagency capacity capable of handling something on the scale of the efforts in Iraq or Afghanistan. The U.S. Government has not been able to develop civilian targets to fully support the ambitions for those missions, and with reductions in budgets, that is not apt to change in the near future. Accordingly, ambitions for involvement in future stability operations engagement should be scaled back to match the likely capacity. Prospects for civil-military integration will probably be more possible on a much smaller scale in more targeted submission areas.
What does this mean for DOD as it moves forward with implementation of DODI 3000.05 and other guidance related to stability operations? DOD should take the above factors into account when developing its contingency plans for stability operations and adjust its planning assumptions accordingly. Recently revised DOD Joint Doctrine 2011 on planning and operations will need to be revised once again when there is more clarity on the status of the CSO Bureau in the State Department and future capacity and role of the CRC, and when a more concrete concept for the IORF exists. In the interim, DOD doctrine will lag behind reality regarding State Department operational constructs. To avoid misplaced expectations, DOD will need to ensure that its planners and operators are trained and kept current on the state of transitions within civilian agencies (to include the fluidity of civilian capacity for stability operations) so they can carry out their work successfully.
Despite the lower capacity levels of civilian counterparts and the lack of operational structures for civil-military integration for stability operations, this should not mean complete DOD disengagement with civilian counterparts or the end of interagency coordination. To the contrary, during times of austerity it behooves DOD and its civilian counterparts to work on ways to engage more strategically to ensure that limited U.S. Government resources are applied to the best effect. DOD should continue to seek interagency coordination for steady state planning to foster prevention and avoidance of crises requiring stability operations missions. This includes interagency coordination in theater campaign plan development all the way down to the country plan level, and appropriate engagement with the CSO on its prevention activities.
For contingency planning, DOD should seek continued senior-level engagement with State to coordinate on priority countries to include the 25 to 30 that are envisioned for CSO focus.
Finally, if it is not already happening, State should invite DOD inputs to the QDDR implementation discussions specifically related to stability operations to ensure that DOD can adjust accordingly and better complement future U.S. Government civilian activities.