Activation of Army Irregular Warfare Fusion Cell

Via STAND-TO! - Activation of Army Irregular Warfare Fusion Cell

What is it?

The U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, recently activated the Army IW Fusion Cell (AIWFC) to assess, integrate, coordinate, and synchronize irregular warfare (IW) activities, initiatives, and capabilities across the U.S. Army and joint services. The AIWFC establishes a repository of key IW functional expertise under one roof and from which important actions are coordinated and implemented, particularly those IW actions that have DOTMLPF (doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development, personnel, and facilities) implications.

What has the Army done?

Enduring Army requirements from Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom showed the need for a permanent and integrated Irregular Warfare capability. CAC constructed the AIWFC this year by taking advantage of existing CAC IW expertise. It also called on other Army IW organizations to participate by establishing permanent liaison officers within the AIWFC thereby bringing IW expertise under one roof. These liaison officers provide functional IW expertise and can coordinate for "reachback" support and additional subject matter expertise with their organizational headquarters. The AIWFC has a small core "cell" that includes the director, and has a wider "in-house" staff from other organizations including:

Army Asymmetric Warfare Group

Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute

U.S. Army Special Operations Command

U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Center

U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Proponent Office

U.S. Army Center for Army Lessons Learned

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

The AIWFC will assist in the development of a coherent Army IW and Countering Irregular Threats strategy that accounts for building partner capacity, stability operations and the integration of unconventional warfare and counterterrorism. As part of the Mission Command Center of Excellence, the AIWFC will also assist and facilitate an enduring IW capability within the operational force both for current and future conflicts.

Why is this important to the Army?

IW constitutes one of the most prevalent forms of armed conflict. DoD Directive 3000.07 states: "It is DoD policy to recognize that irregular warfare is as strategically important as traditional warfare."

Army forces will vigorously train for conventional warfighting, but the requirement for the same forces to also understand the history, doctrine, and lessons of irregular warfare, and to practice it, is also important. With its complement of subject matter experts and practitioners with IW combat experience, the AIWFC brings fresh thinking and understanding to help Army forces educate, apply, and maintain IW knowledge and skills.

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While I agree that synchronizing efforts across organizations is helpful I dont necessarily agree that emplacing another layer of bureaucracy in order to do so is necessarily the right answer either. Instead of standing up a 'fusion cell separate from another organization that is already looking specifically at irregular warfare (like AWG) why dont we incorporate that work with an already existing organizations structure? It seems like a flawed trend that we feel the need to 'standup entities in order to accomplish the synchronized efforts of multiple agencies. Throwing money and personnel at 'standing up the Office of the Director of National Intelligence doesnt necessarily mean we fix the problem of information sharing. Taking an existing organization and focusing on a culture change within that organization to communicate and synchronize efforts like irregular warfare doctrine would be cheaper and more efficient. This seems to me to be good intent but poor execution.

CPT Matthew Shown
Student, Command and General Staff School
U.S. Army Combined Arms Center
Fort Belvoir, Virginia

"The views in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government."