Tuesday, June 29, 2010

US Army War College -- What is the Mission? What are the metrics for success?

Achieving Peace - What are the defined Mission & Metrics for Iraq and Afghanistan?

I asked a couple of questions throughout my week at USAWC.  One question was around the topic of the defined Mission & Metrics of Success.

The basic question I had for the officers I spoke with was framed like this:
"I believe I am not alone in saying that I am not clear on what the defined Mission is for Iraq and Afghanistan.  Conceptually I know that it includes fighting and deterring terrorism but that is too high level.  In addition, since what gets measured gets done, what are the metrics for success in Iraq and Afghanistan?  For example, is a success metric that by mid-2010, that 80% of the protective forces would be Afghani military vs. the U.S. and its Allies?"


Regarding our Missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, I walked away with more questions than answers.
This should concern you.  This is not the fault of the military.  The mission and metrics for success are defined by the civilian leadership.  Who are the civilian leaders?  These are your elected officials (and their political appointees).

The officers were very candid in their responses.  In summary:
1.  The Mission is somewhat defined by proxy in Iraq but  is not clearly defined for Afghanistan
2.  The success metrics change regularly - moving target
3.  The officers see signs that they are making positive and sustainable progress
4.  They are not sure the American public has the patience for the time horizon it will truly take to see "peace" - number of years ranged from 10-50 years depending upon who I talked to

My Key Questions:

1.  Are we Nation Building, Nation Re-Building, Both, or Neither?
2.  What does Constitutional Democracy look like for these countries?
3.  What time horizon of patience is required before we see the emergence of peace?
4.  What are the U.S. and International Allies defined set of metrics that help measure success in both theaters?  What gets measured gets done, what are we measuring?

1.  Many of the officers I met had more than 1 deployment to the Middle East 
a.  tell your elected officials - the U.S. military needs a clearly defined mission and metrics for success 
b.  the U.S. Military is willing to fight for your right to disagree with the war, they ask that you not take it out on the military and instead alert your elected officials

2.  The U.S. Military is facing extreme budget cuts while serving in MULTIPLE theaters
a.  hold elected officials accountable - if they want to cut the budget tell them they can do so ONLY AFTER cutting the mission

3.  The U.S. Military recognizes that the definition of "enemy" and "winning" have changed and they are adjusting accordingly - but has our press/media?  our politicians?  the public?
a.  educate yourself and others on the issues - what does "winning" look like in your opinion?  tell your elected officials how you define "winning"
b.  cyberwarfare - the rules of engagement yet to be defined - how, when, why to deploy; the ethics; how to gain international agreement; understanding ripple effects

5.  The officers I spoke with indicated that one of the most effective tools in the quest for peace is Nation Building - teaching them to farm, building schools, teaching health care techniques, improving literacy

a.   this makes a lot of sense and perhaps this approach requires different training and resources deployed to focus on these issues
b.  Review additional deployment of the U.S. Department of State has a Civilian Response Corps  (see notes below)

Definition of "Peace"

Who defines what a "better peace" is?  Does a country own this?  If you believe that all men are created equal and that our human rights come from God and not from man, what yardstick should be used to define "peace" or "better peace"?  

One of the quotes cited:
"The object in war is to attain a better peace—even if only from your own point of view.  Hence it is essential to conduct war with constant regard to the peace you desire.  This is the truth underlying Clausewitz’s definition of ‘war as a continuation of policy by other means’—the prolongation of that policy through the war into the subsequent peace must always be borne in mind."  
--B.H. Liddell Hart

When you evaluate the current civilian leadership policy towards the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are different centering points for the operations.  

As I understood it from the presentations at the US Army War College there are 2 primary centering points to consider:
(1) Enemy-centered operations:  aimed at defeating the enemy, mostly through "kinetic" means.
Tactics deployed:  Counter-terrorism and / or Counter-insurgency
Teams deployed:  U.S. and Multinational Forces; International Organizations; Local Organizations; Potentially Multinational Corporations

(2) Population-centered operations are aimed at assuring, persuading, and influencing indigenous populations through the provision of security, humanitarian assistance (this could be building schools, roads, teaching women how to be mid wives, fighting illiteracy), basic services, infrastructure, institution-building, support for the rule of law, etc.
Key Tactic deployed:  Stability Operations (supported by Dept of Defense's DoDI 3000.05)

Why the Civilian-Military Cooperation is so Important:
Getting to the Goal Line:  Concentrate on common objectives between the U.S. and the locals.  Promote programs that serve the local population and take away power from and frustrate the insurgents.

U.S. Department of State has a Civilian Response Corps  -- 
A ready-to-deploy team of trained civilians that can help with stabilization and reconstruction programs.  

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