A Culture of Inclusion

A Culture of Inclusion:

Defense, Diplomacy, and Development as a Modern American Foreign Policy

by Captain Nathan Finney

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Observers and commentators on modern American foreign policy have consistently identified that collaboration between the elements of national power appear to be punctuated by years of uncoordinated programs and internecine fighting. In the past the U.S. approach (to foreign policy) was a rather messy amalgam of the dominant preoccupations of the Department of Defense, State Department, and USAID, oftentimes in that order. Broadly speaking, the Pentagon views fragile and post-conflict states primarily through the national security prism, as part of a larger counterterrorist and counterinsurgency agenda, with a particular focus on the Muslim world; the State Department is preoccupied with transforming a wider range of weak and war-torn states into effective democracies; and USAID regards state weakness as a developmental challenge to be addressed by working with local actors to create the institutional foundations of good governance and economic growth.

In response a 3D (defense, diplomacy, and development) approach is a recent concept described by senior U.S. government officials, including the Secretary of Defense in his Landon Lecture at Kansas State University and the then Secretary of State-select in her testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee. This approach highlights the need for an increased focus on balancing defense, diplomatic, and developmental elements of national power. It provides "a national security tool chest that has been enhanced with a wide variety of capabilities which would flow from the integration of our nation's soft power."

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Captain Nathan K. Finney, U.S. Army, is a strategist and currently serving with the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan. Captain Finney was previously a doctrine writer and wrote the Security Sector Reform section of Joint Publication 3-07, Stability Operations.

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Comments

Although Nate makes an effort to distinguish the "3 Ds" from the "whole of government" approach- I'm not sure this was sufficient. The problem with "whole of government" is that it is a "good idea" as opposed to a practical solution. I still fail to see what the practical solution here is.

Problem: in complex efforts like COIN as defined by 3-24 and supported by our political establishment, we have no institution that can manage effectively the divergent but necessary ways/means to establish holistic solutions.

The only solutions I saw here were "the creation of a central coordinating mechanism", "the use of appropriate terminology", the SRPR, and principles identified by the SECDEF: "agile and flexible; sufficient oversight mechanisms for Congress; conducted steadily and over the long term for predictability and planning/programming purposes; decisions must reinforce the State Departments role as the lead agency for U.S. foreign policy; and always be modest and realistic."

The underlying problems I see are the entrenched interests that make-up our political landscape: DoD (as an aggregate) doesn't really want State interefering with its pools of money and control of the efforts on the ground and likewise DoS (as an aggregate) doesn't want the military interefering any more that it already does with its operations.

The solution? Instead of talking about a utopia ("agile, oversight mechanisms, long-term predictability, State Department as lead agency for U.S. foreign policy, DC-managed approval, and modest and realistic" are words that should never go together) we should require two things:

1) all planning documents, orders, and other HQs products that result in action should be signed off by, contain input from, and- preferably be a shared product- of ALL planners/action officers/principals of the "3D" world (maybe we need truly "Joint" HQs- but "COIN-joint" as opposed to "military-joint"), and, 2) parts of both State and DoD personnel's evaluations should be written by their "non-parochial" partners.

For instance, if I'm working in Afghanistan, my Officer Evaluation Report should have a portion filled out by a State Dept. principal who managed the action officer I worked with the most as well as perhaps portions for the IPCB, EUPOL, USAID, and maybe even an Afghan portion. This would mean substantial and REAL collaboration at the ground level instantly. That our evaluations look the same today as they did on 10 SEP 2001 is a travesty in my opinion.

Failing that, I'm not sure any central coordinating mechanism will result in any real change. Top-down solutions just don't seem to work in complex environments: the bureaucracy always figures out an end-run.

Grant Martin
MAJ, US Army

The comments above are the author's own and do not represent the position of DoD or the US Army.