Small Wars Journal

COIN Civil-Military Cooperation

Fawzia Sheikh, Inside the Navy (subscription required at Inside Defense), reports that US Joint Forces Command is planning on publishing a commander's handbook and related assessments with the intent to improve US civil-military cooperation in counterinsurgency (COIN) operations. This effort is part of the results garnered from a Limited Objective Experiment (LOE) of JFCOM's Unified Action '08 program. The LOE, with US State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) in the lead, was conducted in June and included seminars and table-top "experimentation".

... The objective was to assess whether the planning framework was "able to incorporate and account for" civilian and military relationships, roles, responsibilities and authorities, and that the framework can support the execution of the "strategic interagency planning process"...

The LOE replicated a joint staff tasked with developing policy and an operations plan for responding to an insurgency. This included using a country reconstruction stabilization group to conduct interagency planning.

JFCOM also created an integration planning cell that looks at a strategic plan that has been developed or as it's being developed... and "actually deploys down to the combatant-command level to help harmonize the civilian and military plans."

JFCOM concluded that the planning framework used during the LOE provides the necessary guidance but further work has to be done to hammer out the details on how the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff will participate as each has its own unique strategic planning process.

While DOD has its own strategic planning systems, until now it lacked one that spanned across numerous government agencies...

ITN also reported on the three documents JFCOM plans to produce dealing with the issues raised by the LOE.

One is a companion "practitioner's guide . . . kind of a how-to book" that will be released in the October or November time frame...

The second document will be a joint force commanders' handbook outlining "their role in the system," he said, adding it will be ready in January or February.

The third document will be a LOE report on the experiment's findings. The last officially released Unified Action related document by JFCOM was the US Government Draft Planning Framework for Reconstruction, Stabilization, and Conflict Transformation dated December 2005.