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by Lieutenant Colonel Morgan Mann
The purpose of this paper is to put forth an alternative or augment to conventional military planning processes when incorporating non-lethal fires, effects and targeting. The tactical units of the joint force are now infused with many non-lethal 'enablers' and coordinating agencies with which to influence the battlespace. However, this augmentation does not come with the additional planning frameworks that can assist the commander and his staff to integrate and synchronize the additional tools and capabilities. Several planning concepts from corporate America may be able to assist.
In 2004 the Secretary of Defense developed a 6 phase concept for fighting the Long War. Four of the six phases involve primarily non-lethal activities, and 2 of these are likely to require a commitment of U.S. ground forces. Stabilization and the enablement of civil authority, phases 4 and 5 respectively, involve engagement with numerous hostile and non-hostile actors by tactical units. It will be brigades, battalions, and companies of the joint force that will plan and execute much of Phase 4 and 5 operations. They will do this by integrating non-lethal military enablers such as engineers, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operation Teams. They will also need to coordinate with interagency teams such as Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) and US Agency for International Development (US AID), as well as non-government organizations (NGOs). Battalions will also shape the perceptions of various host nation actors by their own organic operations.
There are numerous techniques and procedures documented for the accurate and timely incorporation of lethal fires. From fire support plans, to execution matrices and targeting board mechanics, the services are masters of integrating lethal fires. However, the planning frameworks for our tactical units to conduct non-lethal fires and targeting are limited. Recently published field manuals such as Stability Operations (FM 3-07), Counterinsurgency Operations (FM 3-24/MCWP 3-33.5), and the Army's new Operations (FM 3-0) manual reference non-lethal fires as critical components to planning and executing operations; however, there is little in way of prescriptive help. There are doctrinal publications pertaining to Information Operations (FM 3-13 and JP 3-13) and Non-Lethal targeting but these publications are focused on Division and higher level units where there are dedicated staff's for non-lethal fires and effects. In addition to the lack of tools at the tactical level we also lack much of the joint or service specific doctrinal language to communicate what 'non-lethal' or 'non-kinetic' fires and targeting are, and how they are suppose to affect the battlespace. We seem to try to shoehorn non-lethal efforts into lethal fires language.