Skip to comments.Winning the Peace: The Need for Full Spectrum Operations
Posted on 10/07/2006 1:25:47 PM PDT by Axhandle
You [military professionals] must know something about strategy and tactics and logistics, but also economics and politics and diplomacy and history. You must know everything you can know about military power, and you must also understand the limits of military power. You must understand that few of the important problems of our time have, in the final analysis, been finally solved by military power alone.John F. Kennedy1
FOR THE LAST 3 decades serving as an Army officer, the traditional military training model prepared me to win our Nations wars on the plains of Europe, or the deserts of the Middle East. I envisioned large, sweeping formations; coordinating and synchronizing the battlefield functions to create that point of penetration; and rapidly exploiting the initiative of that penetration to achieve a decisive maneuver against the armies that threatened the sovereignty of my country. But in Baghdad, that envisioned 3-decade-old concept of reality was replaced by a far greater sense of purpose and cause. Synchronization and coordination of the battlespace was not to win the war, but to win the peace. Penetration did not occur merely through synchronization of the battlefield functions, but that and more: local infrastructure improvement; training of security forces, understanding and educating the fundamentals of democracy; creating longlasting jobs that would carry beyond short-term infrastructure improvement; and, an information operations (IO) campaign that supported the cultural realities of the area of operations.
The proverbial point of penetration for the 1st Cavalry Division and the coalition occurred on 30 January 2005. Millions of eligible Iraqi citizens, from across the sectarian divides, triumphed over a fractured insurgency and terrorist threat in a show of defiance never before seen across the Middle East. The purple index finger, proudly displayed, became a symbol of defiance and hope. The Iraqi people proved to the world their willingness to try democracy in whatever unique form evolves.
Task Force Baghdads campaign to win the peace in Iraq has forced us, as an instrument of national power, to change the very nature of what it means to fight.2 Although trained in the controlled application of combat power, we quickly became fluent in the controlled application of national power. We witnessed in Baghdad that it was no longer adequate as a military force to accept classic military modes of thought. Our own mentality of a phased approach to operations boxed our potential into neat piles the insurgent and terrorist initially exploited.
We found that if we concentrated solely on establishing a large security force and targeted counterinsurgent combat operationsand only after that was accomplished, worked toward establishing a sustainable infrastructure supported by a strong government developing a free-market systemwe would have waited too long. The outcome of a sequential plan allowed insurgent leaders to gain a competitive advantage through solidifying the psychological and structural support of the populace.
Further, those who viewed the attainment of security solely as a function of military action alone were mistaken. A gun on every street corner, although visually appealing, provides only a short-term solution and does not equate to longterm security grounded in a democratic process. Our observation was born not from idealism, but because it creates the essence of true security, protecting not only our soldiers, but Iraq, the region, and, consequently, our homeland.
On 3 August 2004, following a tenuous ceasefire agreement between Task Force Baghdad and the forces of Muqtada Al Sadr in Shia-dominated Sadr City, over 18,000 city residents went to work for the first time earning sustaining wages by rebuilding the decrepit infrastructure that characterized the 6- by 8-kilometer overpopulated area located on the northeast corner of Baghdad.
For the first time, visible signs of the future emerged with clear movement toward a functioning sewage system, a functioning fresh water system, electricity being wired to every house, and trash being picked up out of the streets. Those performing the projects were residents from Sadr City. The extraordinary effort by the leaders and soldiers of Task Force Baghdad to synchronize the elements needed to implement the first mile projects within Sadr City were to pay big dividends not only to the people of Sadr City, but to the force protection of the soldiers of Task Force Baghdad.
But on 5 August 2004, 72 hours after an entire city had been mobilized to improve their infrastructure, Muqtada Al Sadrs forces attacked. He broke the fragile 6-week-old cease fire and mounted an offensive against coalition forces.
The jobs in the northern two-thirds of Sadr City stopped. The repair to infrastructure stopped. The question is: why?
Multi-National Division-Baghdad (MND-B), Task Force Baghdad, at its zenith a 39,000-soldier, 62-battalion coalition task force centered in and around Baghdad, conducted a relief in place with the 1st Armored Division on 15 April 2004. This relief in place was midstride of an unforeseen 11-day-old multiparty insurgent uprising that left many soldiers injured or killed and rocked the foundation of Task Force Baghdads campaign to achieve decisive results in the influential center of gravity of Iraq.
But the task force, through adherence to an overall thematically based commanders intent, maintained orientation on a well-founded operational campaign plan balanced across five integrated conceptual lines of operations (LOOs). Each LOO was tied to a robust IO capability (equating to a sixth LOO), moving incrementally and cumulatively toward decisively accomplishing the ultimate goal of shifting Baghdad away from instability and a fertile recruiting ground for insurgents, to a thriving modern city encompassing one-third of Iraqs population. Baghdad had to be secure not only in its sense of self-preservation, but its economic future had to be led by a legitimate government that radiated democratic ideals across Iraq. This article examines Task Force Baghdads approach and methodology in implementing full-spectrum operations.
Operational Art in an Urban EnvironmentBaghdad
With the mass migration of humanity to cities and the inability of developing nations to keep abreast of basic city services relative to growth, discontent erupts. Such conditions create advantageous conditions ripe for fundamentalist ideologue recruitment.
Baghdad, a city about the size of Chicago in population density, and Austin, Texas, in landmass, divided through the center by the Tigris River, is, like many overpopulated yet underdeveloped cities, subdivided into neighborhoods with distinct demographic divergences, reliant on a social system of governance based on tribal and religious affiliations, and interconnected by modern lines of communications and technology. The neglect by Saddam Hussein and the gray period following initial coalition combat operations created those ripe conditions in Baghdad.
The Demographic Battlespace
In accurately defining the contextual and cultural population of the task force battlespace, it became rapidly apparent that we needed to develop a keen understanding of demographics as well as the cultural intricacies that drive the Iraqi population.3 Although tactically distinct in scope, density, and challenges, we operationally divided the populace into three categories that help define the battlespace: anti-Iraqi forces, supporters, and fence-sitters.
Anti-Iraqi forces. The first group defined as insurgents (and terrorists) were those who cannot be changed, who cannot be influenced, and who, although politically and ethnically different in scope, had essentially the same desired endstate to perceptually de-legitimize the current Iraqi Government and drive a wedge between the Iraqi populace and coalition forces.4 Through forcing a demonstration of the inability of the government to bring security, projects, hope, and prosperity to the city of Baghdad and greater Iraq and increasing the psychological distance between coalition forces and the Iraqi populace through increased limited use of force, they turn the populace to accept their message.5 Their aim is disruption for political gain; their organization is cellular based and organized crime-like in terms of its rapid ability to take advantage of tactical and operational gaps. Iraqi insurgents take full advantage of the Arab Bedouin-based tribal culture so important to understanding the battlespace. They target the disenfranchised neighborhoods that see little to no progress, recruiting from those who see, through the insurgent, basic services being fulfilled, societal leadership, safety being provided, and ultimately, direction given.
Read the rest of the article at Military Review
One thing that sticks out in this article is the quote at the bottom of the post: "... insurgents (and terrorists) were those who cannot be changed, who cannot be influenced..." This paints a very hopeless picture when viewed in light of another quote from Chiarelli (not in this article) that "for every one I kill or capture, I create another ten insurgents." So we create ten insurgents for every one that we kill and we cannot change or influence them once they become insurgents? One of the two quotes has got to be wrong or we're totally screwed.
Have you read the article? It doesn't sound all that down and out to me.
We are currently winning in Iraq right now. Problem is thanks to the Junk Media and the Treason of the Democrat Party Leadership most Americans have no clue how well the mission is actually going.
It is incredibly odd how Democrats, via their mouthpieces in the Junk Media, demand a level of perfection in Military operations that NO Journalist or Politician could ever live up to in their own professional spheres. ODD how Americans, who expect a very high level of incompetent in their government, their media, themselves are so surprised and scotched to discover war does work the way their two hour Hollywood action movies told them it did. So they get "war weary" rapidly. It is one of the biggest Achilles heels of US Foreign Policy. Our foes count on us getting bored with it all and going home. I guess we could call it the American Publics Policy Attention Deficit Disorder.
Counter Terrorism (or Counter Insurgency) is as much about politics as it is about war. Conventional Military often find them incredibly frustrating because they are usually a case of 3 steps forward, 2 steps back, pause, repeat. Conventional Military people think in terms of go there, kill them, wreck their stuff, make them stop pissing us off. Counter Insurgency does not work that way. Counter Insurgency works by making the local political structure strong enough to contain or beak the Insurgency. THAT is a slow painful process.
It is made a lot hard in Iraq by the hyper negative Media coverage and excessive nonsense spewed out by Domestic Politicians using the war because they think it will help them politically. I suspect that if we win Nov 7th, the Iraq mission is won. By 2009 the Iraqis political structure will be strong enough to stand on its own with minimal US support. Probably Iraq security forces stiffened with US SOF support teams.
Here is a respond I wrote about Woodward's latest attempt to be the new Kitty Kelly. The data applies here fits this thread
Here is the raw data on Iraq. Seems Bob Woodward latest work is simply a regurgitation of every falsehood, half truth and exaggeration present by the Junk Media on Iraq since 2003.
In a vain attempt to falsely validate preconceived notions, Mr Woodward demonstrated how the Left has managed to be wrong on every aspect of the Iraq War. Mr Woodward's central thesis is that attacks are "as high as they have ever been". Perhaps that is true. Even if true those attacks are getting less and less effective. If conditions are worsening why were the Iraqis taking higher monthly casualties in 2004 and 2005 with a smaller force?
Simply put BW, like the rest of the American Political Left is full of it. They have had their minds made up about Iraq from even before the war started. In his latest work it is clear Mr Woodward simply went to find people who would say what he wanted to hear. It is also becoming apparent that when he did not hear what he wanted, Mr Woodward simply misquoting the source to put his Democrat Party Masters spin on the data. Apparently this current book is his act of atonement to the DC Establishment for writing a fairly balanced book on President Bush last time.
If you chart the data at the sources above, you see a base line of violence. While the violence ebbs and flows the base line is steady at 65 Coalition casualties a month. The Iraqis are averaging a steady 200 casualties a month. No sustained rise in baseline casualties to validate the "Iraq is heading for Civil War" Democrat Media Machine spin.
What is particularly significant about the Iraqi Security Forces casualties is they are averaging the same casualty levels with a much larger force. As of Aug 2006 there is a 300,000 Iraqi security force in the field with about 5,000 being added a month. By the end of the year the Iraqi Security Forces will be complete fielded. Right now out of 18 provinces in Iraq only 2 are considered "not ready" for transition to Iraqi control. Of course the two provinces are Anbar, the province along the Syrian border and Basrah the Shi'a stronghold along the border with Iran. Yet even in both those areas significant progress has been made just in September 2006 alone.
In Anbar the Iraqi tribes have entered into an agreement to work with the Iraqi Government to root out the foreign terrorist groups. In Basrah, the British and Iraqi forces just started operations to crack down on the Shi'a militias.
Iraq: British, Iraq troops begin Basra mission http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1709154/posts
Most Tribes in Anbar Agree to Unite Against Insurgents (The NY Times is deeply saddened)
This data totally undercuts the spin presented by Bob Woodward, and other Democrat Party propagandists, that Iraq is "heading for Civil War" or is "spinning out of control". What Woodward et all seem to fixate on is Iraqi Civilian casualties. What they forget is a terrorist or a militia member killed in intra tribal gang warfare is considered "an Iraqi civilian casualty". So when you hear a news story that says "40 bodies discovered around Baghdad" MOST of them are probably casualties from gang on gang violence. While that violence is an on growing crises we and the Iraqis will have to deal with, it is not a fundamental threat to the long term survival of the Iraqi Government.
Obviously the immediate counter the Leftist propagandists will claim is that ;We are not making fast enough progress" That is nonsense.
look at the data on Iraqi security forces. More and more of the job is being taken up by Iraqi forces. 2 of 18 Providence have been turned over to complete Iraqi control. Out of 18 Iraqi provinces all but 2 are at least partially under Iraqi control All the progress in the war is on our side. The enemy is making no progress. Time is on our side, not theirs.
Another factor on Iraq the Leftists fails to grasp is how the war in Iraq has fundamentally changed in the last 6 months. Because the external Terrorist threat has been significantly reduced, we are able to focus on other lesser threats. Witness what the British down south, and the US in the Baghdad region, are doing. They are working with the Iraqis to weed out the gangs and militia that sprung up in the wake of Saddam's fall.
Counter Insurgency is slow, painful work. But the progress is all on our side. The "Insurgents" has demonstrated no ability to politically or militarily evolve. Guerrilla war strategy consists of 3 phases.
1. Stage one: very small unit harassment actions.
2. Stage two: continuation of state one with an evolution to large units actions. Development of larger and large geographic areas fully under Guerrilla control.
3. Stage three: conventional warfare between large units.
The Terrorists are still stuck in stage one of Guerrilla Warfare. They can wreck stuff and kill people they cannot grow. They cannot take and hold ground or engage in anything beyond small scale hit and run attacks.
Their failure to develop a shadow political structure to act as a polar opposite to the Iraqi Government is their fatal flaw. They simply lack the structure or local support network needed to move beyond state one
The claims and assumptions stated as "fact" by Mr Woodward on Iraq are fraudulent. Considering he has got just about everything on Iraq completely wrong in his recent public statements, one has to wonder just what else he make up for this book?
In this war (and I'm talking globally) the object is not to change the minds of the terrorists, as that's not gonna happen, at least not for the hardcore terrorists. The object is to marginalize them in whatever nation we're talking about.
(Note: that's not to say we don't kill them whenever possible)
Problem is thanks to the Junk Media and the Treason of the Democrat Party Leadership most Americans have no clue how well the mission is actually going.
Then it's up to the likes of you and I to do something about it. Talk to people, I like to print out articles and leave them laying around.
Contrary to what John Murtha, Dick Durbin, Kerry and the New York Times suggest, neither our soldiers nor their leaders want to harm innocent civilians (even when it appears that some of the civilians may not be too darn "innocent"). The military chiefs also don't want to leave a residue of bitterness against this country amongst the Iraqis that will last a century (although in the Arab world I suspect that may already be a lost cause, through failings on the part of that culture much moreso than our own).
I have read elsewhere, by people whom I respect, such as MG Bob Scales (USA Ret), that we are in danger of becoming an Army that is too busy to learn. I think on the enlisted side of the house, that is quite true (accelerated promotions, less NCOES requirements, less overall training, etc), but not on the senior officer side. The senior officers, in addition to their standard professional education, have ample time to mull things over even while in theater. The mission is as much execution as it is an ongoing experiment.
What does concern me on the officer side of the house is that while these leaders do have the time to mull over these things, reevaluate and rewrite doctrine, experiement, create, and learn, there seems to be a real disconnect between their ideas and the implementation of those ideas. The field-grade officer ranks lack any type of vetting process for promotion and the new ideas being thrown around often result in new staff officer positions - meaning that the demand for field grade officers remains high, which helps to ensure that promotion rates exceed the supply of great leaders, allowing the mediocre to advance with the top performers.
The result is that increasingly less able individuals are finding themselves with greater responsibilities. Many react to this by falling back on what they know and do well: logistics and recreating the garrison environment. And then you end up with what we have today: smart folks at high echelons coming up with sound doctrine and good ideas, but too little energy going into implementation of those ideas at or about BDE level because it might detract from the softball tournament or a disruption in the flow of Baskin Robbins ice cream to the chow hall. A little generalized, but more or less what I see happening.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.