Ad hocery and Successful Intervention

 

     Senator Lugar, in coordination with others concerned with the haphazard manner in which interagency coordination in post-conflict scenarios is presently handled, has called for the creation of The Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (CRS) within the US State Department.  This move is in response to calls from multiple sources for improvement in the coordination and structural mechanisms for dealing with 

stability and support operations.  Funding for the organization, which is proactively being stood up in testament to its great need, is pending passage of the Lugar-Biden bill, or The Civilian Management Reconstruction and Stabilization Act, introduced by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  The Secretary of State’s proactive establishment of the office hopefully bodes well for the passage of the bill and is indicative of the nature and extent of the problem.  Although much, undoubtedly, remains to be worked out as to implementation details, the effort will fill a much needed void in regards to coordination of stability and support operations in Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) if successful.  Additionally, and hopefully, it will help to clarify and accelerate the transformations necessary in our national command structures to effectively deal with these types of operations.  Lastly, such efforts will help in the further demarcation the boundary between combatant and non-combatant operations and responsibilities, a boundary that has become increasingly blurred.

 

     Recent operations, as well as those not so recent, have highlighted the need for major  modifications in our government’s structure for dealing with unstable regions.  DoD efforts to create collaborative information environments which fuse national capabilities into a coherent whole to deal with the seeds of instability are laudable, if unrealistic, as such a fusion is essential but cannot occur within the confines of the DoD establishment, attempting to affect political, military, economic, social, infrastructure, and informational domains without the requisite authorities or capabilities to do so.  As well, a DoD effort alone is, on the face of it, inappropriate as many of the related activities have nothing to do with the application of force, but are rather applications of “soft power,” relying more on persuasion through the satisfaction of real social needs.  Although the Department of Defense should be complimented on their recognition of the problem and attempts to solve it, it is critical to the success of our efforts that such attempts be relegated to appropriate departments in order that the skills of each may be both maximized in dealing with the problem as well as preserved in dealing with problems more specifically in their domain of expertise. 

 

     The military exists for the application of force under the direction and control of the national government.  The fact that military force alone is often insufficient to solve the problem should not lead us to relegate by default to the military establishment the coordination of all other elements of national power in the prevention or resolution of a crisis situation.  The establishment of the CRS is both a recognition of the predominant necessity of non-military elements in stability and support operations (SASO) as well as of the necessity of a non-military organization to coordinate such efforts.  The later necessity is in consequence of the nature of SASO operations and the purpose of military forces.  Existing as they do to win the nations wars, the military is consequently structured for effectiveness in the application of force.  Force, however, is not an effective tool in establishing stability unless one is unencumbered by resource constraints.  Although stability can be achieved by force, stability so achieved is both extremely costly as well as self perpetuating in regards to the application or threat of application of force.  Encumbering the military with requirements outside of the realm of force application necessarily detracts from their effectiveness in their primary responsibility while additionally, and as importantly, further blurring the lines between combatant and non-combatant operations. 

 

     Military transformation is really a misnomer as what is actually needed is a transformation in our national focus and our methods for dealing with instability.  Such a transformation necessitates an integration of our national capabilities heretofore unparalleled.  It is both necessitated as well as enabled by social and technological changes.  The Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) has positioned us as a unique power in the realm of military force.  Such a change has been substantially technology driven.  The uni-polar nature of the balance of military power, as well as the competition to get there, has resulted in asymmetric threats and the uncovering and resurgence of ancient destabilizing forces.  Without the means to stabilize the international environment alone by force, we are finally recognizing the ultimate futility of such an attempt.  By attempting to characterize all such instabilities as war, we are furthering the progression of that activity to its unlimited, unsustainable, and gruesome conclusion, and also predisposing ourselves to attempting to solve them all by military means. The recognition by Senators Lugar and Biden of the larger transformation issue is both timely as well as critical to our effectiveness in dealing with both the current as well as predictable future instabilities that will occur.