Small Wars Journal

Why Civilian Integration is Essential in Post-Stability Operations

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Why Civilian Integration is Essential in Post-Stability Operations

by Master Gunnery Sergeant John Ubaldi

Small Wars Journal

Why Civilian Integration is Essential in Post-Stability Operations (Full PDF Article)

After the euphoria of the removal of Saddam Hussein from power had abated in April of 2003, disorder and chaos became the order of the day. It became apparent that the United States had failed to plan for the restoration of the political and economic order after major combat operations had ended. U.S. experience in Iraq and Afghanistan have amply shown that America's national security structure is still engrained in the Cold War mind set and not adequately prepared to meet the challenges of a post Cold War environment. Civilian and defense leaders failed to understand that combat operations and governance are integral parts of warfare and do not end on a set timetable. The result was a strategic failure on their part to effectively plan for the reconstitution of the Iraqi governmental structure. The current national security strategy is badly flawed and a total reorganization of how the U.S uses its immense power is long overdue. The U.S. will face many types of contingencies in the future, and how we respond will have repercussions beyond the region that the U.S is engaged. For the U.S. to avoid a repeat of Iraqi Freedom it must reform its national security structure, have a designated unity of command in the initial post stability operations, and finally integration of civilian agencies into the military command structure.

Since the end of the Second World War, the nature of warfare has evolved to 4th generation warfare or irregular operations. Unfortunately the U.S. national security apparatus is deeply embedded in the bygone era of the Cold War and not suited for the challenges that confront the U.S. in the 21st century. The root of Washington's failure to anticipate the political disorder in Iraq rests precisely in the characterization of these challenges as postwar problems, a characterization used by virtually all analysts inside and outside of government. The Iraq situation is only the most recent example of the reluctance of civilian and military leaders, as well as most outside experts, to consider the establishment of political and economic order as part of war itself.

Why Civilian Integration is Essential in Post-Stability Operations (Full PDF Article)

About the Author(s)


Ken White

Thu, 05/07/2009 - 12:29pm

A sense of reality inside the Beltway might help. Here's a great example of Bureaucracy unconstrained <a href=…; (LINK)</a>. A law passed for stateside in peacetime doesn't work well in a combat theater. It's simply a cost of doing business. That applies to your comment as well, I believe...

Sustaining rather than dismantling USAID would have been a good start. Fostering government competence by Congress instead of using the Federal budget to reward sycophants and pet rocks would have helped.

Regrettably, the one has happened and the other is unlikely to change. The best solution is to refocus our Foreign, Intelligence and Defense policies to identify problems and act to defuse or ameliorate them before they get to be potential disasters.

Some changes are needed to get there and if the Administration and the Congress are smart and start within a year or two, we should be able to get there in about five to ten years. Problem is that means at least two and possibly more Administrations...

Thus the prognosis is not good. Anything that cannot be 'achieved' on one Watch is a difficult sell in Washington. Politicians must be <i>seen</i> as 'doing something.'

The terribly sad thing is that what's needed is not that difficult.

It means increasing pay, attracting and hiring more FSOs and people who are interested in helping others to preclude military deployments. That will not be difficult, all that's required is will.

Also required is approaching our Intelligence requirements sensibly, realizing it is not a fun or nice game and Civil Service rules -- and civility -- cannot always apply as effective intelligence is acquired by using people, not technology. Again, not hard, just needs will.

Effort to remove some of the primacy of the Combatant Commands in de facto diplomacy as now exists is needed as well. They should be involved but not be the lead. That, too is fairly easy, a little will should do it.

Where's will?

Charles Martel

Thu, 05/07/2009 - 8:05am

I believe that everyone is convinced of the essentiality to get civilians out to do the non-military tasks as the security environment allows -- now how do we do it? Afgh is relatively secure (some places better than others obviously) but we still have to use Army Reservists to fill even the very modest "civilian surge" in Afgh. -- HMR