Integrated Civilian-Military Planning for Afghanistan

I had the recent pleasure of spending three weeks with some of our government’s best and brightest as part of the State Department’s Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) Level One Planner’s Course. The purpose of the course was to develop interagency planners to support stability operations. This was the first iteration of this training and it delved heavily into assessment, more so than planning. The training was presented by staff at the National Defense University (NDU) and doctrine writers from S/CRS.

Considering that the Army devotes a better part of a year to growing its Functional Area 59 planners, I think NDU and S/CRS crammed a lot of learning into three weeks. The S/CRS doctrine is still draft at this point and is built around the S/CRS Integrated Conflict Assessment Framework (ICAF), which is a derivative of USAID’s Conflict Assessment Framework (CAF). Another child of the USAID CAF is the Tactical Conflict Assessment Framework (TCAF). All three frameworks are found in FM 3-07, Stability Operations.

I like the TCAF better because it starts off with fewer western preconceived notions and simply asks the population in the country to be stabilized four questions:
1. “Has the population of the village changed in the last twelve months?”
2. “What are the greatest problems facing the village?”
3. “Who is trusted to resolve the problem?”
4. “What should be done first to help the village?”
These questions are loaded enough, and can result in expensive solutions, such as the one Afghan village that answered question four with “Give us volleyball equipment.”

The ICAF is far more “nuanced” and therefore doesn’t bother to gather input from the local population. In our two exercises (Haiti and Afghanistan) we did not have any role players from either of these two countries participate in the ICAF because the ICAF doesn’t require it. The ICAF can be conducted in or out of theater in as little or much time as you feel you have to react to the crisis. The model calls for the group to first establish “context” and tells us that “Context includes, for example: environmental conditions, poverty, recent history of conflict, youth bulge, or conflict-ridden region.” In step two, again, without thoroughly polling a broad sample of the people we intend to help, upper middle class Americans will identify for our beneficiaries their core grievances, identity groups and “articulate how societal patterns reinforce perceived deprivation, blame and inter-group cleavages and/or promote comity and peaceful resolution of inter-group disputes.” What is key here is that we are really talking about our perceptions of deprivation and blame, since we did not ask a broad number of Haitians or Afghans anything. We relied on anecdotal information from hardly unbiased sources that saw terrible things they wanted fixed in other people’s societies but really had no good recommendations about how to fix them.

Other than the first two steps of the ICAF, I thought the S/CRS planning process made sense, though it would be useful to compare it to the planning system the United States Government used in Vietnam during the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) program. I realize that Vietnam is the war that most of US want to forget, but we can take pride in the fact that the Republic of Vietnam did not fall to a popular communist uprising or insurgency, but to a conventional attack by the communist North supported with Soviet supplied tanks and artillery. Our cold war proxy may have not been the model of stability, but the communist North had to kill at least a couple hundred thousand civilians during their final conquest and invested a lot of blood sweat and tears in “reeducating” many more Southerners in subsequent years.

The final week of the course came as the Washington Post printed an assessment by General McChrystal on the situation in Afghanistan (see attached link “COMISAF’S INITIAL ASSESSMENT.”) General McChrystal’s assessment, dated 30 August, drew from the United States Government Integrated Civilian-Military Campaign Plan for Support to Afghanistan, dated 10 August 2009 (see link “Integrated Civilian-Military Campaign.”) NDU and S/CRS used both these documents in their instruction.

I think the 10 August plan is well written and I had the pleasure of meeting the two S/CRS planners who worked inside Afghanistan with USG military planners to craft it over a two month period. They drew heavily on existing civil-military plans from the regional commands in Afghanistan. They did not use ICAF to craft the assessment. From my discussions with one of the planners, they did not use a lot of polling data from Afghans or work with Afghans Government on the plan either. They did have a numerous Afghan employees of our DOS who provided local cultural and political expertise. However, these good Afghans are as susceptible to Stockholm Syndrome as the best American. This plan is not an inexpensive one, though I am pretty sure it is a lot cheaper to create “Sustainable Jobs” in Afghanistan (for Afghans at least) than it is to create sustainable jobs in America. The plan includes a transformative effect “Claiming the Information Initiative.” I would like to see some polling numbers cited here, but I am afraid I am getting more anecdotes such as “However, in many rural communities, insurgent messaging resonates more deeply, feeding on mistrust of centralized government, unhappiness with lack of services, and widespread grievances related to continuing insecurity, government corruption, and the presence and actions of foreign actors.” This may all be true, but it may also reflect our perceptions of basic government services and corruption. Again, I hearken back to a classmate who told me the villagers she talked to just wanted volleyball. I like polling figures, and they are out there. Max Boot used them when he wrote last month “The Taliban and related groups are tough, tenacious foes but they are hardly invincible. Their Achilles heel is lack of popular support. An International Republican Institute poll of 2,400 Afghans in July found that only 19% have a favorable view of the Taliban compared to 62% who have a positive impression of the U.S. and 82% who view the Afghan National Army favorably. A poll taken earlier this year by the BBC and ABC found that only 4% of Afghans want the Taliban to return to power.” I think we have been in Afghanistan long enough for S/CRS to get Gallup to poll some (more than 2,400) Afghans on what they really want, taking care not to suggest to them what that should be, or to suggest that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) is corrupt. They will tell you what they really want and if a corrupt government is a core grievance for them.

For our graduation exercise, the class was broken down into two planning teams. Each team role played a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) and we developed an abbreviated plan addressing just two of the eleven “transformative effects” in the 10 August plan – “Creating Sustainable Jobs” and “Border Access for Commerce, Not Insurgents.” (In S/CRS planning parlance, transformative effects would be called “Major Mission Elements” at the Washington level, and “Objectives” at the country team and PRT level. Once we built our plan, we presented it to an S/CRS executive with recent experience in Afghanistan and responded to many prodding questions that challenged our assumptions and forced us to prioritize our sub-objectives.

I would rate the course as very ambitious, considering what it hopes to teach in three weeks. It was an extremely worthy effort that needs to continue so that S/CRS can effectively execute its “civilian surge” in Afghanistan. I was impressed with the NDU and S/CRS instructors. I was very impressed with the S/CRS personnel in the student body. Most had recent experience in Afghanistan or Iraq, some had come under fire, all were sincere, capable, and willing to return and serve again under hazardous conditions. I think the ICAF assessment framework is flawed in that it relies on western social science to determine what is good for the people of another country rather than outright asking them, but the overall S/CRS planning process made sense to me. I thought the Integrated Civilian-Military Plan was good in that it did recognize “the presence and actions of foreign forces” as “widespread grievance” in many rural communities of Afghanistan. This will be a challenge for US and GIRoA – thinning the lines of US while we bulk up GIRoA and its military so that we really do achieve “peace with honor,” so we, and not UBL, can declare victory when we go home.


15 Responses to “Integrated Civilian-Military Planning for Afghanistan”

  1. Ed Johnson (LTC, CA, Retired) Says:

    Since this was a State Department sponsored training event I can only assume that the Office of Transition Initiatives (under the State Department’s US Agency for International Development) as well as the Office of Military Affairs (also under USAID) collaborated on the course content and that US Government doctrine is in lockstep across DOS and DOD lines. Great to hear. Many times during these complex situations these offices are on the ground at the same time with competing programs.

    The more cross-fertilization between the military civil affairs stratigic planners and the OTI/OMA/OFDA folks the bettter.

  2. civilaffairspksoi Says:


    I know that the ICAF was based in large part on the USAID CAF and I know that some key USAID personnel had input into the draft interagency stability operations doctrine. The planning doctrine itself was not lock-step with the military process (and I am not saying that it should be.) There were lots of differences in terms as well between traditional military planning, but overall the process was understandable and I think it is a big step in the right direction.

    Thanks for the comment.



  3. Cynthia Irmer Says:

    I am gratified to see such a thoughtful discussion of the USG’s conflict assessment tools in this blog. Believe it or not, until recently, there was very little thought, time or effort given to “framing the environment” prior to beginning planning activities. The assessment tools you refer to (the Interagency Conflict Assessment framework (ICAF), USAID’s Conflict Assessment Framework (CAF) and USAID/OMA’s Tactical Conflict Assessment and Planning Framework (TCAPF)) work hand-in-hand with each other.

    Although the S/CRS pilot course you took introduced you to the ICAF methodology there was insufficient time to familiarize you with all of its possible designs or applications. As you said, a very large amount of information was jammed into the two weeks of training (prior to the week-long exercise).

    These comments address some of your observations on the ICAF. First, the ICAF did not arise from a redesign or modification of USAID’s CAF; it is a wholly new framework developed by a truly interagency group. And while we say it “stands of the shoulders of the CAF,” it was the CAF that was recently redesigned (now CAF Version 2.0) to be “fully ICAF compliant.”

    You are correct in saying that the major focus of the ICAF is to bring members of the USG Interagency to a shared understanding of a situation so that in joint or individual strategy or program planning, design and implementation, diverse agencies might begin from a common perspective of what they’ll be planning against ensuring that USG efforts work together to reduce conflict, not against each other or with unintended consequences. Surprisingly, this type of approach did not exist before the ICAF was created.

    Unfortunately, you apparently did not realize in your group work during the class that during the application of an ICAF we very much hope to get out to meet and talk with the people in the country we’re assessing. For example, in conducting the Cambodia ICAF we interviewed more than 425 Cambodians (fisherfolk, farmers, school kids, out-of-school kids, garment factory workers, garment factory owners, government officials, members of minority groups, religious leaders, etc.). This is not always do-able, though, and when only a short amount of time exists before a plan is needed the ICAF will be designed for a Washington, DC based application only to provide the USG as much of a shared understanding of the environment as is possible in a short amount of time. The ICAF is always designed to fit the situation the requesters believe exist.

    Conducting an ICAF generates the type of information that is a pre-requisite for conducting a TCAPF; the TCAPF refers to this as “Context”. The four questions in the TCAPF have no meaning outside such context and the best way to generate that context is by first conducting an ICAF. The TCAPF was also recently revised to be compatable with the ICAF. After TCAPF has collected data, that data should feed back up into an operations or strategic level ICAF, informing updates and revisions. The revised ICAF should in turn re-inform the next TCAPF, and so on.

    We hope soon to have additional courses available that focus solely on developing the expertise needed to lead an application of the ICAF so that this type of detail, and perhaps answers to additional questions you might have, can be addressed. Always feel free to contact S/CRS/CP with questions about ICAF.

    • civilaffairspksoi Says:

      Thank you for your detailed response. I was not aware that you talked to so many people in Cambodia during the conduct of your ICAF there. I would say that the USG should always make time to talk to people before it embarks on an expensive stability operation. This is cetainly doable in Haiti and even Afghanistan prior to 9/11 and even afterwards. Probably not so much in Sadaam Hussein’s Iraq or Kim Jong Il’s north Korea. However, we were able to talk to lots of Iraqis from April 2003 on, and to conduct Gallup polls to support our activities. None of this ever guarantees peaceful stability operations, since “spoilers” certainly have their votes. The ICAF can certainly achieve its purpose of developing a commonly held understanding accross relevant USG Departments and Agencies, etc., but if that understanding is a misunderstanding based on our cultural biases, then it may not be very useful. More to the point, in as much as we have been in Afghanistan for eight years and in Haiti for far longer, I would think full time professional analyst should use ICAF or another model, complete with exhaustive polling, and have a better assessment of the situation that can be presented to the diplomacy, development and defense establishment representatives that are called to draft an interagency plan to stabilize a fragile state. The current process does not do that. It calls on the freshly assembled team to apply their smarts to a situation that they have little or no cultural expertise in. Our western social science may not be the appropriate way to divine or address eastern “root causes.” The ICAF model does not mention polling the population before hand, and it should.

  4. Tod (Col, Ret) Says:

    I am sorry that some students left the Level I planning course without the understanding that all plannning requires the use of as much information and detail from all sources to fully develop one’s understanding of the situation. I think additional classroom material/handouts such as current polls and surveys and sectoral assessments, which were used in the Afghan provincial and regional planning processes (when available to the planning participants) and were certainly read and well understood by the interagency planning participants in the development of the Campaign Plan, would help ensure this misunderstanding does not happen again.

    However, the military, of all people, understand you plan with the time and information available. It may by 90 days or you can plan with 9 minutes. The important aspect is a continued process that seeks to improve situation understanding and validate or invalidate assumptions. The continuous turnover of military forces in Afghanistan have made this a particularly significant shortcoming which has been recognised and started to rectify with the new military “Afghan Hands” program.

    In Afghanistan we have also struggled to find ways to increase local content given there are no Afghan COIN or Stability plans at the national, regional or provincial level. But I can assure all that were the planning process could draw in Afghan preceptive it was sought and encouraged.

    I can also tell you that few RFIs were actually filled during the military planning for Afghanistan or Iraq particularly in terms of Phase V Stability Operations. Interestingly both Annex Vs were TBD at the end of the initial planning cycles, but I would not take away that the planners did not try their to get the best and most accurate information, including reaching out to internatuional organizations and NGOs.

    Happy to see such a good discussion following a pilot Level I Planning course, which has been long over due. These discussions will allow us to continue improving and expanding the course. THanks! Tod

  5. civilaffairspksoi Says:

    Thanks for the insights. I have no objections to the 10 August plan being written in sixty days, I just felt that it should have relied more heavily on polling data of the Afghan population. I liked the eleven transformative effects. I think that besides COMISAF and our Ambassador signing the document, it would have sent a strong postive message to the American and Afghan people had President Karzai signed it as well. I thought the course was good and necessary and very ambitious for three weeks. I would say that with exception of the ICAF, which does not expliclity look for local imput, the rest of the process made sense, though perhaps for future courses the S/CRS doctrine writers should examine what process we used to plan for ECLIPSE in Europe after WWII, what McArthur used in Japan, and what we used to plan CORDS for Vietnam. I understand from Dr. Irmer that the ICAF does draw from TCAF and local input, but this wasn’t clear during the level 1 instruction. I still feel that if national assets used ICAF concepts of drivers of conflict, critical dynamics, etc. in their daily updates of their countries of interests, we would not have good Americans unfamiliar with the selected countries making rushed assessments of the problems and possibly bad recommendations on how to stabilize certain fragile states. Overall, Level 1 was a good and necessary effort and I support its continued refinement.

  6. Steve Henthorne Says:

    Just a few comments about the “integrated Civilian-Military Plan” that you wrote about. Sorry, but I must admit that I get slightly amused that not a day goes by that I do not speak with someone at the Pentagon, or exchange e-mails with both civilian and military organizations, or individuals, that have almost the same thing to say, i.e.: “My organization is contributing heavily to the writing of the Civil-Military Campaign Plan for Afghanistan.”

    When I show an interest, and question them further, their response turns to “well, gee, I know a guy, who knows a lady, who is friends with the CEO, who knows General McChrystal’s Chief of Staff, who has an ongoing dialogue with someone in the White House,” or—“Our organization is having a symposium which will generate a major way ahead position paper for General McChrystal that will clearly define success for Afghanistan.”

    Let’s take a look at some rather stark realities regarding the Civil-Military Campaign Plan for Afghanistan. The very small group of people in the Pentagon, having apparently been given the task for writing, gathering forces, and implementing an effective Civil-Military Campaign Plan, currently consists of one senior civilian and a Lt. Colonel, both with very light intelligence backgrounds and no apparent prior Civil-Affairs experience. They have no administrative staff, or visible budget, and have been given a time frame of less than 14 months to accomplish creating all those campaign plan related tasks.

    The senior civilian in charge of this two man effort indicated that he had been appointed to his slot by the SECDEF in JUN 09, but only recently received his written appointment last week. The opinion, circulating within U.S. Army circles at the Pentagon, seems to give the view that U.S efforts are geared more toward having all of those tasks completed by the 2010 U.S. Mid-Term Elections, thus seemingly enhancing the U.S. political landscape rather than stabilizing Afghanistan.

    The growing opinion within the Pentagon is that if one were to combine the information in the proceeding paragraph with the OPTEMPO coming out of the Pentagon being far too pressurized, and priority time sensitive, to accomplish, even close, to any meaningful civil-military dialogue, let alone meaningful joint interaction on the ground, you would seemingly have a plan being written with very little chance of success.
    Success in Afghanistan has nothing to do with the quantity of troops, but rather everything to do with the quality of the functional specialist skill sets that that can be provided to successfully support full spectrum stability operations.

    Despite all of the media attention to the contrary, the facts are quite clear that the Department of Defense lacks the institutionalized solutions to support civilian led operations and meet future civil-military teaming requirements at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels. We truly have not created a real, lasting, or stable, Peace in Iraq, or Afghanistan, because we are not conducting the in-depth joint training necessary to accomplish that desired end state.

    As a result many believe that we can’t truly stabilize Iraq, Afghanistan, nor can we train their soldiers or police to do it either. This lack of training is due to a “War Fighter Insurgency” within the U.S. Army, which still espouses, although in seemingly subtle ways, kinetic operations as their preferred method of operation; ways that, combined with the fact that truly no one in DOD is paying any attention to a very transparent problem, have re-enforced a U.S. Army kinetics first, last, and always, approach to operations.

    As we are all aware U.S. Army doctrine visualizes three major areas that comprise “Full Spectrum (Stability) Operations,” each of equal importance: Offense, Defense, and Stability. The requirement for the Army to conduct full-spectrum operations is derived from: The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), National Security Program Directive (NSPD) #44, DoD Directive 3000.05 (Stability Operations), and Army Campaign Plan.

    The “War Fighter Insurgency,” originally created in 2003, and allowed to continue to function through the administrations of two Secretaries of Defense, is an insurgency against the expressed mandate of the three DOD Directives listed in paragraph (7.) above, as well as the U.S. Army’s own Campaign Plan, and other documents, designed to enhance the Army’s ability to conduct stability operations.

    This insurgency is conducted with malice a forethought, in secret where possible, and with the intent to maintain the U.S. Army’s kinetic mission as paramount. Why? The U.S. Army General Staff understands kinetics. It does not understand non-kinetics, and lack of understanding breeds fear, and fear breeds avoidance. In short the U.S. Army was painfully unprepared in 2001, and this “War Fighter Insurgency” was born the day that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld made his famous statement that “U.S. Troops would no longer do nation building.” That continues to be the U.S. Army’s “Raison d’être” today for their resistance to seriously training for, or conducting, viable stability operations.

    It is literally impossible for the U.S. Army, the main provider of manpower and expertise to support U.S. national interests, to successfully transition to Phase 4 & 5 Operations [post combat stability operations], because the U.S. Army is not properly trained, and therefore the operations can not be properly planned, or executed, to make that vital transition. Quite simply, we may see what needs to be done, but we can’t do what needs to be done, because there is now a six year training void in how to effectively use our non-kinetic enablers; mainly Civil-Affairs. The “War Fighter Insurgency” is continuing to prevent that from happening.

    If, after reading this personal communication, you have an interest in reading a short article on the “War Fighter Insurgency” I would urge you to take a look at the following article:


    This isn’t Rocket Science. Even though U.S. Army combatant commanders understand that they have two doctrinal responsibilities, i.e.: (1.) To fight and win our nations wars, and (2.) to conduct Civil-Military Operations, they are only trained in-depth for number (1.), and have no understanding at all in how to best utilize their non-kinetic enablers to successfully accomplish number (2.); nor have they been encouraged to learn, nor do they really want to, because non-kinetic operations just aren’t “Warrior” like.

    Today almost every ranking General we have in the U.S. Army is suddenly espousing the enhanced use of non-kinetic operations on the same, if not higher, footing with kinetic operations. I firmly believe they’ve gotten non-kinetic religion because they are under intense pressure to come up with a new approach, and a dedicated non-kinetic approach is the one really new thing they have left in their quiver to try, and also because the President of the United States wants to see stability and fewer civilian casualties.

    The real problem is that almost all of these U.S. Army General’s are “War Fighters.” They are grating at the prospect of being forced to conduct non-kinetic operations. Even more they truly do not understand how to successfully accomplish making non-kinetics work, even though that they will turn every phrase possible to convince the Commander-In-Chief that they do. To make matters worse the current op tempo to ramp up for the new adventure in Afghanistan is moving forward at such lighting speed, that there is truly no time to accomplish the remedial training that needs to be done.

    There is a great deal of disbelief, in both the civilian and military communities, that General McChrystal, a genuine, fire breathing, SOF snake-eater, along with his “War Fighter” counterparts, have totally gone against their nature on how they believe to best fight and win battles. Some inside the Pentagon suggest that if a Civil-Military Campaign Plan, that is the very best it can be on paper, were to seriously falter, or fail, then the “War Fighters” could convince President Obama, as they convinced President Bush, to relax the ROE on the use of kinetic force.

    The U.S. Army has a six year vested interest in kinetic operations. To support that investment they have almost totally ignored in-depth training for stability operations, and have virtually decapitated and disemboweled U.S. Army Civil-Affairs. The U.S. Army Civil-Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC) is the U.S. Army’s, and this nation’s, primary tool for conducting stability operations. Quite a few people have been wondering if perhaps some “War Fighters” might secretly be hoping that a failed Civil-Military Campaign Plan in Afghanistan might have the same effect on the current U.S. administration that it had on the last administration—–mainly to let the U.S. Army Generals have their kinetic way, and leave them to bask in their “War Fighter” glory. Some see this as possibly becoming a direct challenge to the authority, and desired end state, of the Commander-In-Chief.

    Whether it is Iraq, Afghanistan, or someplace yet unknown, at some point in time the force of arms will have to lift, and there will need to be a solid foundation to build long term stability on. The U.S. Army has not been successful in helping to build those foundations. That is why we will forever be going back to these trouble spots that we have here-to-fore declared victory. That is why we now find ourselves going back to Afghanistan.

    I do believe that the Command and Control (C2) of the U.S. Army wants to be able to demonstrate that they have made every reasonable effort to have a functionally successful campaign plan in place, but at the end of the day their primary tool for use in Afghanistan will continue to be kinetics. Why? Once again, because of a lack of training in the non-kinetic skills required to establish stability The U.S. Army will simply be forced to “happily” fall back on what they know best, and feel most comfortable with—kinetic force.

    Once again the issue is not just in not knowing what to do, as in stability operations, but knowing how to do it, and the U.S. Army C2 really has no earthly idea how to do it. They have not come up with one viable STABOPS training concept that will overcome the 6 year training void for STABOPS. As a result the civil-military casualty rates may well climb even higher in Afghanistan; especially for U.S. and Allied Forces.

    The U.S. Army leadership has historically seen stability operations as an “either/or” situation. Either the U.S. Army trains “Warriors” or “Peacekeepers,” but not both; training for one precludes training for the other. No one, especially me, is expecting the U.S. Military, particularly the U.S. Army, to “forswear kinetics,” but rather to simply practice its own doctrine recognizing “Offense, Defense, and Stability” to be on the same footing. Then to actively train for smooth and successful transitioning from Phase 3 to Phase 4-5 operations, and hopefully come home with real honor, leaving a local population capable of at least half way taking care of themselves; without costing the American people, and our allies, sons and daughters killed and wounded in action, and a great deal of money invested that could be much better spent at home.

    By all means kinetics does obviously win wars, but non kinetics wins the other side of the COIN – – – “Peace and Stability.” They are meant to be used “Jointly,” in a “comprehensive approach,” with one leading to the other–then leading home. “Stability Operations are the other side of the COIN.”

    No one is asking the U.S. Army to yet again invent the wheel, or spend time and money designing new training programs for Stability Operations. The U.S. Army’s needs and, in turn, the needs of any Joint effort, could be effectively met by simply adding 2-3 days of specialized stability operations oriented programs to both existing home station and pre-deployment training, and by using training materials that currently exist, but were forced into disuse at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana in 2004.

    There are also very effective training enhancements available from other U.S. Services, U.S.M.C. Civil-Affairs Groups, The U.S. Navy’s Maritime Civil-Affairs Group, and assorted NATO CIMIC organizations. The U.S. Army has to be made to understand that “Joint Operations” include more than just the combined arms within the U.S. Army.

    The failure of U.S. Forces to significantly contribute to successful Joint Stability Operations in Afghanistan, or anywhere else for that matter, will continue to directly result in our national interests, and resources, being stuck in places we truly do not want to be, for many decades longer than we can afford to be there.

    Please trust me when I tell you that General McChrystal’s two man Civil-Military Campaign Planning team in the Pentagon, if they are in fact working for General McChrystal, will never be able to give the President an effective Civil-Military Campaign Plan for Afghanistan. There is a growing belief, that a Civil-Military Plan for Afghanistan is being designed to fail. This seems to be so much the case that the “War Fighter Insurgency,” that has been written about since 2004, might well be more accurately termed a “War Fighter Mutiny.”

    There seems to be a general consensus within the Pentagon that the General Staff of the U.S. Army is struggling, and grasping for straws. There is also a clear realization that Congress, the Senate, and the President, all want a speedy solution to the problems in Afghanistan-Pakistan. The ground truth is that there simply is no quick fix coming, especially from the leadership of the U.S. Army. There is neither enough trained functional specialists, nor time, to support any Civil-Military Campaign Plan that the U.S. Army Leadership comes up with. It truly will have to be a “Joint” plan, with a very strong training element, for both civilian as well as military organizations; plus the dedicated force of the Commander-In-Chief behind it to guarantee total, in-depth, compliance to carry out the training necessary to see us through the next decade in Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

    Just recently, it has come to light that the U.S. Army (AC) has shelved the new AC CA BDE until 2013, in favour of building more combat BDEs, is attempting to divest all CA assets to the USAR, and has flatly declared its opposition to the AC performing stability operations. A solution for proponency for CA continues to drag on into its fourth year.

    So even if the Civil-Military Campaign Plan for Afghanistan is perfect, blessed by the President and General McChrystal, the time bomb waiting to go off will be the very young soldier, untrained in STABOPS, to any depth to be effective, who under stress will fall back on the only skills he knows—point and shoot. That is something that neither the President, nor General McChrystal can control.

    To those that will answer that those training problems can be overcome by leadership on the tactical level, leadership from Captains and Majors that have been in combat and in country before, I would say that is quite true if you can find a plentiful supply of those Captains and Majors. However the U.S. Army has been losing Captains and Majors at an alarming rate. Well over 70 % of one West Point Class, General McChystal’s Alma Mater, have resigned their commissions upon returning from Iraq. In short that trained, middle management leadership pool is shrinking daily.

    Finally the Department of State has been minimized in the writing process. I believe they do submit injects–but those injects do not make it out the other side. Bottom line, once again, the writing of a Joint Civil-Military Campaign plan for Afghanistan does not seem to be very much of a serious writing effort at all, at least from the DOD side. Thanks

  7. civilaffairspksoi Says:

    I know there are a lot of plans out there. The one I was referring to was the 10 August plan, signed by GEN McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry, excerpts of which are found in GEN McChrystal’s 30 August COMISAF Assessment. The plan is at the links on the right. I can tell you I met with two of the planners from S/CRS who worked on the 10 August plan. They worked inside Afghanistan with planners from US Army Afghanistan and from SOCOM. I am sure that they did the best they could to make a successful plan. I think had they worked with Afghan Government and had Karzai sign the plan along with McChrystal and Eikenberry, it would have gone a long way towards reassuring the US and Afghan electorate. The 10 August plan has its shortfalls and its strongpoints, but Department of State had a large part to play in its writing. I strongly suspect it is a bit more of an integrated civ-mil plan than that which the Taliban are using. For all our lack of civil-military-interagency-coalition prowess, US forces are preferred 3 to 1 over Taliban, and only about 4% of Afghans would welcome another Taliban government.

  8. Steve Henthorne Says:

    The 10 August plan is, within the confines of the “J” Staff, considered a good draft level document—even though it is sign. It lays out quite well what to do, but falls short of explaining how to do it. Since there is now a admitted six year void in any meaningful training in STABOPS, especially within the U.S. Army, I’m puzzled as to how the “how to” is supposed to be filled in. Possibly by osmosis? Perhaps a ceremony sort of like the British Trooping of The Colour, with the BCT Commander marching up and down a BCT formation holding the Doctrine, assorted FM’s and TTPs. As the breeze flips the pages the troops will catch the sense of the meaning of STABOPS and instantly know how to conduct it?

    Bottom line here, as we told George W. Bush’s father “It’s about the economy stupid,” folks can write plans on paper all day long, but if the troops aren’t trained to fully execute the plans chances are the results will not be that wonderful. It isn’t about the plan, nor is it about the number of troops sent to Afghanistan. It is about sending troops trained, with the right functional skill sets, to get the job done right.

    I can tell you that DOS may well think it is in the fight, but when they go to the CAR asking for man power, because they can’t produce what they’ve projected, manpower wise, they are not really considered seriously in the game. I’ve not seen one DOS rep in any of the briefing rooms I’ve been in. BTW who is the SECSTATE now? I thought it was Hillary Clinton, but I must be mistaken—as she seems to have vanished.

    I will give you this about the 10 August plan, and you can confirm this with Bill Flavin, it does cover far more than the Civil-Military Campaign Plan for Iraq.

  9. civilaffairspksoi Says:


    I am not sure what you mean when you keep referring to a “six year void in meaningful training in STABOPS” and what your definition of meaningful STABOPS is. We teach stability operations at the War College, it is being taught at Fort Leavenworth, it is being taught at the Maneuver Captain’s Career Course as well. JFKSWCS continues to pump out quality CA officers and NCOs in droves. There are rotations at JRTC where some units are doing more MEDCAPs and VETCAPs than cordon and searches. I think our Soldiers and Marines have done lots of meaningful training in STABOPS, albeit OJT, since we first set foot in Iraq. SFC Jack Robison understood STABOPS when he wrote FRESH PAINT (see link). Our troops regularly train to minimize civilian casualties, respect foreign cultures, and fix what they break as soon as possible. Our work on infrastructure repair in Iraq and Afghanistan, our work providing security to elections and helping draft new constitutions and train new security forces should count for something. Just because AQ and Taliban have not quit fighting does not mean that our Soldiers don’t understand stability operations doctrine and aren’t applying it.

    I don’t doubt that there are some within the military who want to wish away stability operations, but most of our Soldiers practice it every day. I think we should give them their due.


  10. Steve Henthorne Says:


    I hope this isn’t headed toward a defending the honor of the Army thing. I have stated repeatedly that such training takes place, if you call several hours out of a month at JRTC sufficient training. Just because a subject is listed on a list of training modules, does not mean it happens in depth, at JRTC. Likewise just because something is taught in a Classroon at USAWC, NDU, NWC, NPS, etc. doesn’t mean that is taught in a way to ingrain it and retain it. If the military is tasked with keeping Offense, Defense, and Stability on an equal footing—then all three should be trained on an equal footing and they are not.

    The OPTEMPO at JRTC/NTC are quite high, and over the course of time there mentioning STABOPS at the begining, or running a couple of scenarios part way through a rotation, does not mean the BCT C2 retain it. Especially when, still today, the last words whispered in a BCT Commander’s ear is “Sir–don’t worry about the STABOPS/BCT stuff. There will be people in the AO to help you.”

    As well, prior to a BCT coming to JRTC, the JRTC sends out a team to the BCT to help the BCT design their training time at the JRTC. Often the BCT Commander and staff are convinced to minimize non-kinetics for kinetics. Thus the majority of commanders receive no indepth STABOPS training, delivered in a manner that the knowledge can be retained.

    As for the MEDCAPs and VETCAPs , not too long ago an AVN BDE came to JRTC and it brought a CSH (Combat Surgical Hospital). The CSH was kept at the ISB, and played absolutely no role in the pre-deployment training, and was never even got close to the box. In similar fashion a Vet unit was embedded with a BCT. The Vet unit was assigned to the main post Vet Hospital, and never got close to the animals used in the box–which were stabled out side the box—at a holding facility only blocks from the Vet Hospital. However–both the MEDCAP & VET CAP were truly there.

    You ended by saying “I don’t doubt that there are some within the military who want to wish away stability operations, but most of our Soldiers practice it every day. I think we should give them their due.”

    There are more than some that wish away STABOPS, and like it or not most of those are in the Army. Yes, you are correct that our Soldiers do practice it, or something like it, on the lower operational-tactical levels–because they need to do something to just survive the experience. Under stress they draw on personal social skills and ingenuity to make things work on the ground. Things, ways and means, that are put togther with chewing gum and rubber bands. I personally give the muddy boots soldier, doing the job on the ground, the highest of kudos.

    I fully realize that this is a very sensitive subject for the Army, because the Army has dropped the ball. You are a CA Officer. Do you like the way CA is continuing to be minimized? Maybe if BCT Commanders were trained effectively in how to best let CA really do their job, as mission enhancement tools, then just maybe this mess might not be as bad as it really is—-and maybe we might actually save some lives of those soldiers so worthy of our kudos.

    Finally, “STABOPS are the other side of the COIN.”


  11. civilaffairspksoi Says:

    Let’s come back to “six years.” You have mentioned repeatedly that the Army has not done meaningful training in Stability Operations for the last six years. Does this imply you feel we did meaningful Stability Operations training seven years ago, and if so what is the difference now?

    I agree that stability operations is the other side of COIN. As for professional education, I would think it would be useful to look at curriculum hours in NCOES and officer career courses to see how many hours are devoted to stability operations as compared to offense and defense and adjust as necessary. I think that Law of armed conflict and both the 3rd and 4th Geneva conventions should be taught at NCOES and at officer basic and career courses, along with our doctrine in FM3-07, to include USAID’s tactical conflict assessment framework. The Army should probably write some TTPs to accompany 3-07 very soon, to include ideas on what Soldiers in the BCTs should do to support key civil events such a voter registration and elections and who to call to help fix essential services and critical infrastructure.

    I agree there is a war-fighter insurgency that forgets or wants to forget how many stability operations like activities the Army conducted during and immediately after WWII and in Vietnam. I think what is also key is that the paramount mission for most of our Soldiers in SO is establishing security so that the local civilians, not NGOs or our own military, can rebuild their cities and their lives. Germany was rebuilt by Germans, Japan by Japanese, Korea by Koreans. The USG provided money and resources and some guidance to these people, but dealt directly with them, not through middlemen. This rebuilding did not start within 24 hours of the Army securing the objective either.

    As for Civil Affairs, I agree with some that each AC and ARNG BCT should have its own organic Civil Affairs company and that the USAR Civil Affairs strength must be preserved at current levels to provide echelons above BCT support and to help our DoS and the supported nation with “nation building” type activities. I don’t think Civil Affairs is being marginalized. We are expanding from one AC CA battalion to ten battalions and two brigades. Again, making CA companies organic to BCTs will help, along with senior leader education, in making sure CA is employed properly.

    As for “Maybe if BCT Commanders were trained effectively in how to best let CA really do their job, as mission enhancement tools, then just maybe this mess might not be as bad as it really is—-and maybe we might actually save some lives of those soldiers so worthy of our kudos” – do you believe that we were attacked on 9/11 because we weren’t doing enough stability operations? Do you believe Muslim extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to kill their fellow citizens in much greater numbers than our Soldiers because we aren’t doing enough stability operations? Do you think after successive elections in both countries, improvements in infrastructure and essential services, that these attacks are due to our not being trained enough in stability operations? We have a responsibility under the 4th Convention to conduct activities that today we describe as stability operations tasks, and I think we are doing those today in Iraq and Afghanistan. I believe our stability operations efforts in Afghanistan are one reason that in recent nation-wide polling there, US forces are over three times as popular as Taliban. I think based on what I have heard from previous ISAF G-staff officers and what I have read in McChrystal’s assessment, we need more Soldiers so that we can better protect the Afghan population from Taliban intimidation and violence, and this is a stability operation task every bit as much as it is defensive.

  12. Steve Henthorne Says:

    I think that we are starting to go a little far afield, but let’s break your note down into sections to be delt with one at a time. For starters to answer your historical questions, I would urge you, and any other interested readers that we have already driven off by now, to take a look at a very well written thesis from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, in 2006, entitled “The Small Change of Soldiering”: US Army Doctrine for Stability Operations in the Twenty-first Century,” by Major Oliver Kingsbury, of the British Army. It can be found at:

    The War Fighter Insurgency is truly very real, and can be visibly seen. However, it does not have really anything to do with WWII, Germany or Japan. It has its initial roots in Vietnam, or rather just immediately after vietnam. The War Fighters came home with something to prove–“Yes–we can win one if allowed to.” That made the mental ground fertile for the new Warrior Ethos model provided by Gen Schoomaker in 2003. The “War Fighter Insurgency,” and the “Warrior Ethos” is best described in a paper by the same name, which I’ve quoted before, by Gordon Housworth, to be found at:

    You stated that you “don’t think Civil Affairs is being marginalized.” In all honesty I can’t speak to that Army wide, but the new CG USACAPOC evidently thinks it is because he has reported had several detailed meetings with the CAR. It’s been three years since the great split of Ca in 2006, and proponency is still not officially settled. As well, the CAR would like to see CA go away as soon as possible.

    You also wrote “We are expanding from one AC CA battalion to ten battalions and two brigades.” That second Brigade has been put off until 2013, and those CA Btns could well turn into supplements for Combat Brigades should 40,000 + troops actually be need for OEF. The Army today is all about building combat brigades, not support brigades.

    You wrote “do you believe that we were attacked on 9/11 because we weren’t doing enough stability operations? ”

    Obviously no I do not believe we were attacked for those reasons alone.

    You wrote “Do you believe Muslim extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to kill their fellow citizens in much greater numbers than our Soldiers because we aren’t doing enough stability operations?”

    Actually I believe that to be partially true. It is not just the quanity, but the quality of stability operations that are not being done.

    You wrote “Do you think after successive elections in both countries, improvements in infrastructure and essential services, that these attacks are due to our not being trained enough in stability operations?”

    Yes. The answer is in the type of stability operations being conducted. Is driving out to a ville dropping MREs a stability operation? Is digging a well a stability operation? Those are tactical level tasks, or operations if you prefer. The failure is in not planning for stability operations, as a full partner with offensive and defensive operations, from phase 1 through phase 5, on all levels, strategic, operational & tactical.

    You wrote “I believe our stability operations efforts in Afghanistan are one reason that in recent nation-wide polling there, US forces are over three times as popular as Taliban.”

    I believe the elections took place, in those areas that were secured, because of a heavy troop presence. US forces may well be over three times as popular as the Taliban—–in those areas where US troops have a majority presence. The people of Afghanistan, if there is really such a country, have for centuries given their loyalty to their tribal and family leaders first, not to a central government. I would submit that it is very naive to believe it will ever be any different.

    General McColl, the first UK Commander of ISAF, seriously believed that the major problem was in Pakistan, and wanted US support in sealing as much of the AFPAK border as possible. He was denied, and the US troops went off to chase Poncho Villa through the deserts of Iraq instead.
    In truth, we’ve basically supported the people that are shooting at us, through their surrogates.

    All of the attacks are not coming from the Taliban. They are coming from farmers that can’t make a living, because of our inability to come up with a viable, realistic, drug control program. They are coming from tribes that resent their tribal areas being invaded, and they are coming from just plain groups of bandits taking advantage of the situation.

    Tribal life in Afghanistan has always been part and parcel intimidation and violence. At the end of the day no one has even asked the tribal people if they want a democratic government. Most of them don’t even understand what democracy is.

    What they do know is that a truck is going to drop off two big crates, one marked “Democracy,” the other marked “Freedom.” The problem is that the “Instruction Manuals” are missing from both of those crates. To make matters worse we, in the west, expect for these tribal people to totally change their life style in months, or a few years, at best. That’s why the average person in the village is angry. He simply doesn’t understand. That problem, like a lot of problems in Afghanistan are complex, only in their simplicity.

    Finally, when we left Afghanistan we left a lot of broken promises behind. Our leaving in itself has fueled the come back of the Taliban. These tribal people don’t have much, but they live by their personal word being their bond. We broke our word in 2003. Now we are being back saying “trust us–we are here to help you;” while at the same time only showing a force of arms. If the situation were reversed would you respond with trust?

    I’ll research your question about detailed training, and respond later.


  13. civilaffairspksoi Says:

    We are doing a lot more than dropping of MREs in villages and drilling wells, and you know it. I will agree that the previous adiministration, briefed by “warfighter insurgents,” and probably looking for peace dividends in times of war, foreswore “nation-building” and we know that Franks was told not to plan for phase IV. Still, I can tell you that the Marines and Soldiers I served with in Iraq clearly saw themselves as engaged in stability operations. They helped repair critical infrastructure from schools to sewage treatment plants, they helped train and equip Iraqi police and military, they helped with the issue of a new Iraqi currency and they were all about job creation.

    I know there is resistance to change in any organization, but the Marines quickly saw the reality of the “four block war” and the Army for the most part was simply documenting best practices when it published FM3-07 last year. Is more training in stability operations needed? Yes, it is. We need to relearn our history of successful stability operations and see the resources the Army put into it in past wars, from the Philippines, WWII, and Vietnam. FM3-24 and FM3-07 allude to these campaigns, but not in sufficient detail. They don’t tell you we had up to 14,000 USAID officers in Vietnam during the height of CORDS, that we had over 200 MACV teams assessing over 12,000 hamlets on a montly basis to see how well the Government of Vietnam was delivering essential services and how the local populace was participating in available self-help and public works activities. More importantly, they don’t understand that these stability operations efforts did in fact contribute to a successful counteinsurgency. The Republic of Vietnam did not fall to a popular uprising or an insurgency. It fell to a North Vietnamese attack supported by artillery and tanks supplied by the Soviet Union to its proxy while whe abandoned ours. During the final assault, the communist felt it necessary to kill 200,000 RVN civilians and to reeducate many more in the years to come. Would this mass murder and reeducation have been necessary in the minds of the communist victors if these civilians felt no affinity for the RVN and if there was widespread support for Hanoi amongst the RVN civilian populace?

  14. Steve Henthorne Says:

    Bryan, I fully understand the need to protect CA, as if you read my material carefully you will see, as well as anyone who knows me, that I am exttremely supportive of Civil Affairs.

    I am very glad that you mentioned the Marines. I helped train some of the first Marine Civil-Affairs Groups deploying, and spent a great deal of time at Camp Pendelton preparing training materials. The Marines get it, and they have gotten it since the late 1990’s when the Navy started actually working their Joint Vision 2010, “operational Maneuver From the Sea.”

    I was also present when the Marines turned to the Army and asked for increased training in Civil-Affairs. and when the Army said “No” a small few of us got the Marines engaged with the Canadians and British in cross border training for CIMIC. That training grew and today the Marines practice a hybrid form of CIMIC-CMO–which works very well for them.

    In fact the new USMC ” Concept for Unified Action Through Civil-Military Integration” is really an excellent publication. As well, the current issue of the “Marine Corps Gazette” has some really very good articles on the subject matter at hand. As well, to zero more in on the RC & NG, I would urge all to read “The Future of the Guard and Reserve: Roles, Missions and Force Structure,” by Frank G. Hoffman, February 8, 2005, at the Foreign Policy Research Institute web site at That article contains some useful historical information.

    You are very correct when you talk about Vietnam. There was some really good stuff accomplished. You wrote-“They don’t tell you we had up to 14,000 USAID officers in Vietnam during the height of CORDS, that we had over 200 MACV teams assessing over 12,000 hamlets on a montly basis to see how well the Government of Vietnam was delivering essential services and how the local populace was participating in available self-help and public works activities. More importantly, they don’t understand that these stability operations efforts did in fact contribute to a successful counter insurgency.”

    The “They” you wrote about truly threw the baby out with the bath water after Vietnam. After the withdrawal from Vietnam, anything good, or bad, just went away. It wasn’t popular to discuss it because the Army associated it with what it believe was a politically induced failure. The Army still believes that, if given the political support, it could have won that war; and some officers from that time are still out to prove that point today.

    I’m sure other readers have quit long ago, shortly after the first paragraph, however you asked for specifics on JRTC training. The following is an excerpt from my evaluation report to the Chief of Staff of the Army in 2004; written in my capacity as D-CMO (O-88)at JRTC:

    At JRTC, there is a heavy influence on maneuver driven units, partly because of the 400 to 20 ratio of maneuver O/Cs compared to very, very light assortment of non-lethal O/Cs that are present during a conventional rotation. Needless to say, this will be what is represented by the training agendas also before deployment. Some would say that they need to justify their existence for the heavy concentration of maneuver personal. Some would also say that Lethal and non-lethal do not belong together in a combat environment. Thus here are some common problems of Civil Affairs rotations:

    1. CMO Scenario Weight

    Current Scenarios are weighted to heavily toward the combat and tactical operations side. While understanding the need to test the tactical proficiency of a unit going down range, JRTC also has an obligation to accurately reflect what is occurring down range in order to prepare the RTU for deployment. Currently CMO is the primary mission of most units (even Combat Arms) down range and reflects approximately 75-80% of down range operations. This is even more important in an MRE, which is designed specifically to prepare the unit for going down range. We have to set the scenario and achieve a proper balance in which we can test the unit tactically and still reflect the current situation as it relates to CMO. This simply isn’t happening and it is having a direct negative impact on insurgency operations, both in training and in the real area of operations. Our combat maneuver mindset first is only serving to increase resistance. Bottom line is that our troops can do little to bring about stability and peace if they aren’t being trained for that job. Civil-Military Operations are failing because of an inability, and in many cases an unwillingness, of the Army leadership to transition from warfighting to post conflict stability operations; from what they know, and understand, to what they don’t want to know and understand.

    I would also add that the perverse reaction of the Civilians on the Battlefield (COBs) at the Combat Training Centers do nothing to re-enforce the maneuver commander’s appreciation of CMO. I can speak personally for the new JRTC/MRE scenario, and for similar scenarios at the NTC, as well. The CA teams would go into a town, win the people over with some good works and it had little or no effect on their behavior in follow-on operations. It was as though there was no prior interaction with the CA teams. The COBs were only doing what they were scripted to do, which was very unrealistic human behavior. This only taught the maneuver commander that the interaction by the CA teams have little or no effect on the events in his AOR and that he should simply focus his war-fighting skills in all likelihood to be used on the civilians.

    2. FORSCOM Training Guidance

    FORSCOM needs to seriously provide specific Stability/CMO related training guidance. Currently there is minimal, if any, guidance that can be related to CMO even under the SOSO or IO related task. CMO task should be specific and separate from IO task and it should start at the FORSCOM level.

    3. JRTC – CMO\CA and IO

    JRTC needs to define CMO and the role of CA and how it relates to IO and Vice Versa. Currently there is a push to lump many of the CMO related task into IO, which comes from a misunderstanding of both concepts. This misunderstanding seems to go across much of Plans as well as the Observer/Controllers (O/Cs). They should be synchronized, compliment each other but be seen as separate. IO should always be seen as an extension of the 3 and not as a separate BOS. Additionally the 5 should always be seen as the primary Staff Officer responsible for planning and implementing CMO.

    4. CMO\CA Education

    CA should take a more active role in educating RTUs on CMO and the capabilities and integration of CA. To facilitate this we need to fill several of the positions at both JRTC and NTC with competent CA soldiers as O/Cs/trainers. We need to confirm the status of the 2 AGR positions at SOT-D that were supposedly approved but have yet to be filled. Additionally the 18 series slot at SOT-D that is the SNR CA O/C E-8 slot should also be filled with an AGR soldier or when the active MOS (38B) comes into being this year. This education needs to start with JRTC Plans and O/Cs as well. In addition, I would strongly urge the CG at JRTC to apply some fire to the feet of the G-3 at USACAPOC to help him over come his reluctance/unwillingness to fill the empty CA slots at SOTD with permanent rather than ADSW personnel.

    5. Additional Fund Training and Integration

    JRTC needs to step up the FUND play and O/C coverage during rotation. Funds continue to be an issue and will be down range. This will send soldiers and Commanders to jail if not handled properly. JRTC needs to have additional instruction on fund related issues, pay agents and the like for the RTU. Additionally JRTC needs to make fund tracking a priority during rotations. Currently there is no total accountability at the end of a rotation or is it covered in the AAR. This is probably due to the close proximity of ENDEX to AAR times. Recommend forcing the unit to pull back all unused funds, account for spent funds and cover the shortcomings in the AAR. JRTC and the RTU will be surprised. The end result of a lack of knowledge on funding is that no commander wants to spend any money on his/her watch.

    6. CMOC Purpose and Integration

    This important CMO component is totally misunderstood, under trained, and almost intentionally minimized in training. CMO is almost completely eliminated from the BDE AAR at the end of the exercise.

    7. Project Process and Knowledge

    This whole key issue to providing successful Stability/Civil-Military Operations is almost totally lacking U.S. Army wide. The mind set being if it can’t be outsourced it is to be avoided.

    8. Integrate CAPOC JRTC Training Objectives

    Additionally USACAPOC should facilitate this and do at a minimum an annual review of the objectives. USACAPOC’ lack of attention to its personnel assignment issues adds greatly to the failure of Civil-Military Operations, both in training and in the Area of Operations. USACAPOC basically is struggling to stand up under the weight of demand of personnel, and is very busy placing individuals rather than units.

    9. Placing CA in The Wrong Tactical Environment

    In most cases, both the JRTC/NTC and the rotational BDE have put CA in the wrong tactical environment due to a failure of the current situational understanding (SU) of what CA’s role is. In the new Units of Action (UA), all the same problems have carried over to meet the same fate. Although only three UA rotations have been supported at JRTC, it is evident that the same problems have followed CA at JRTC/NTC and have not yet been corrected.

    The bottom line is that, because of a lack of proactive training, either at NTC/JRTC, or by USACAPOC, supporting units do not have a grasp on how to employ and track the CA support, vital to their mission success in OEF/OIF, or any other “O”. The OIF/OEF theater has posed serious problems that are not the case with Bosnia rotations. OEF/OIF are quite different than Bosnia, and those Bosnian Templates just will not work in Iraq or Afghanistan. The threat environment is far harsher, and with BDE elements trying to get up to speed on all the new elements and personnel that they are responsible for training has been a challenge. The bottom line being that the bulk of the BDE
    missions are CMO weighted, but the training that they receive does not match that weighted responsibility. This remains ground truth at the JRTC/NTC specifically.

    10. JRTC Specific Problems

    (A.) LTPs (Pre-rotation)
    (1.) CA not invited to attend in planning scenarios of rotations.
    (2.) Maneuver units have no prior use of CERP Funding or Comptrollers (which only exist to support CMO, as per Doctrine JP 3-57, Chap 3,p22).
    (3.) Maneuver units often do not have a Bde S5 and are not trained for that position (S5 slot is usually filled by a organic senior officer to represent CA/CMO effort). This is not recommended, but only a quick fix, in both AC and NG units
    (4.) No understanding of how to TASKORG or employ CA units.
    Capability Briefs are disregarded
    (5.) No understanding of how CA needs to be supported for rotation or deployment.
    (6.) No pre-rotational details coordinated.
    (7.) No sharing of Units TACSOPs.
    (8.) No CPX play for CA units.
    (9.) No CA specifics in creation in rotational base order
    (10.)LTPs are training along maneuver agenda only There are no special classes to reflect all non-lethal slices prior to rotation.

    (B.) Rotations on the ground
    (1.) CA is not supported by supporting units S4.
    (2.) CA is a high maintenance and is usually supported by a Division. Current Units of Action are not able to support JRTC rotations due to high tempo of maneuver, no CMO coordination or schools available for maneuver units.
    (3.) Bde’s tasked to establish CMOC with no prior training.
    (4.) CA never has dedicated security to perform missions related to CMO
    (5.) CA are not prepared to support themselves due to OPTEMPO
    Supporting units do not bring an S8 to successfully support CMO (as per JP 3-57)
    (6.) Bde’s do not have any Funding training
    (7.) Bde’s rely on JRTC to train supporting units on Funding support, and it isn’t happening. The BDEs leave JRTC knowing just as much as when they came in—very little to nothing.
    (8.) Bde’s Do not usually have a Non-Lethal SOP, and are not really encouraged at JRTC to develop one.
    (9.) CA, PSYOP, JAG, PAO are not utilized until half the rotation is over.
    (10.)JRTC/NTC are becoming places not a to go and learn non- lethal skills, units should possibly learn these before they show up for rotations.
    (11.)100% of CA units are not supported by communications, this is a method of automatically defaulting TASKORG to DS to Bn’s which will not support CA at Bde level.
    (12.)Bde’s do not understand CA and methodology or tactics.
    (13.) CA needs full support for vehicles, weapons, commo, body armor, etc.

    (C)CA specific issues

    (1.) CA is not trained at the BDE level for CATB/A operations.
    (2.) CA is not trained on singars generation commo.
    (3.) CA is not trained on battle-tracking systems
    (4.) CA is not trained on TOC Operations
    (5.) CA does not usually have a CA TACSOP to incorporate into Bde SOP.
    (6.) Not trained in battle rhythms of Effects coordination and Synchronization.
    (5.) CA is not trained in project nominations formats.
    (6.) CA schoolhouse is not teaching current CA Worldwide Operations Techniques.
    (7.) CA needs more training in using interpreters and creative negotiations. They have no access to the excellent engagements module created, and in residence, at JRTC.

    In my view we are failing to secure peace and stability overseas because we are not training properly for it in here in the United States. The JRTC, NTC and other TCs, are, at the end of the day, training grounds for maneuver commanders. The ground truth is that none of them do a very good job of training those maneuver commanders on CMO, and CMO IS THE MANEUVER COMMANDER’S MISSION, NOT THE CA COMMANDER’S MISSION. It’s a systemic issue that is larger than CA, and possibly larger than the JRTC, NTC and other TCs.

    This is why the Chief of Staff of the Army is going to have a very tough job implementing the SECDEF’s directive to improve the Army’s capability to conduct long-term stability operations, and may ultimately fail in the attempt; not because the Chief of Staff isn’t an excellent leader, and because he won’t put forth a gallant effort, but rather because the cards, and time, are stacked against him. Neither he, nor any other Chief of Staff that follows him will be in that office long enough to make the hard changes happen. The maneuver mind set in the Army will wait him out, and in the end very little successful change will be accomplished.

    The question of the day is can the Army fight and win our nation’s wars? Darn straight they can! They are the best in the world at it! However, the bigger question is can the Army win the peace? The answer, at this point in the 21st. Century, is an even bigger no. They don’t have a clue how to do it, and far worse the majority of the Army’s maneuver leadership just really doesn’t want to learn how to do it.

    The Army’s maneuver only mindset is perpetuating a continuing failure in Joint Stability/CMO Operations. The influence of the Army’s maneuver leadership has its greatest negative impact at the JRTC, NTC, level; because it is at this level that BDEs are truly molded for their future missions. The seeds planted, especially at the JRTC, because as opposed to the NTC the JRTC does plant seeds, will produce according to their nurture—-the long term ethos of the BDE, for good or bad. The skills acquired at the JRTC will form the bedrock for how the BDE does business in the future.

    The JRTC, far superior in every way to the NTC, will be, at the end of the day, just as successful at its mission as the Army’s maneuver leadership will allow it to be. It can grow into the Center of Excellence that it should be, or it can eventually stagnate into the Army’s Center for Lessons Unlearned. The U.S. Military has perfected lessons unlearned in Civil-Military Operations into a higher art form, and until those lessons unlearned become lessons learned, applied, and Civil-Military Operations, as well as Peacekeeping and Stability Operations, are embraced as force multipliers, all the positive efforts of the JRTC aren’t going to help snatch victory from the jaws of defeat; or peace from war.

    Finally neither the U.S. Army, nor the Department of Defense, clearly understands the need for truly Joint Civil Affairs Force structure, including both Maritime and Air Civil-Affairs capability. A small, but dedicated, group of us has been trying to get this concept, at the very least, discussed by the Joint Chiefs. The only extracurricular Army success to date has been the establishment of the U.S. Marine Corps Civil-Affairs Groups.

    The Army’s militant view that the other services will be stealing from the Army’s Rice Bowl is ridiculous in the extreme. Each of the other major services; especially the Navy, will bring unique assets to the Joint Civil Affairs effort that will only enhance that effort. It will be a win-win for all the services.”

    That was written in 2004, and those conditions continue to exist today, even though some minor changes have taken place. Prior to 2004, as in pre-deployment training for the Balkans, there was much more attention paid to, as it was known then, “Operations Other Than War” (OOTW). The training was evolving at a constant pace. That pace drastically slowed in 2001-2003, and with the change of command at JRTC in 2004 it stopped completely.


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