9 APR 2010
SUBJECT: Recommendation from PRISM Vol. 1, No. 1, 12/2009
1. First I want to thank you for your contributions to PRISM: Center for Complex Operations. As an active duty officer in the USA it was both encouraging and inspiring to read that there is progress being made on how the US handles the current and future challenges which face our nation. The articles were both informative and insightful.
I humbly offer this recommendation of the topics discussed in the first four articles of Prism which focused on the future of America’s strategy in complex operations. As a former platoon leader on the ground everyday in Iraq I am not attempting to criticize anything in the journal; I simply hope to add to the discussion of how America can take on such challenges as Iraq and Afghanistan in the future.
Thank you again for the time and effort made to enlighten young officers like myself and thank you for your service to our nation.
2. The current shortfalls.
As Dr. Schaubelt points out in his Complex Operations article the greatest shortcoming in America’s handling of complex operations is its Interagency operations, or lack thereof. Currently Battalion level leadership is what has driven progress in Iraq and Afghanistan and will drive progress in every imaginable complex operation. It is the Battalion Commander (Lt. Colonel) and his staff which guide actions on the ground. They execute the day to day operations and thus have the greatest influence over the politics as much as security level of the area. It is because of this that I believe the most efficient way to maximize U.S. involvement in complex operations is to put State Department civilians inside the Battalion and above staff sections and transform the Army National Guard force into a Corp of Engineers.
The structure of the military in the 21st century should no longer be limited to military soldiers and DOD civilians. The “shadow” enemy of the 21st century which was the U.S. and NATO have been facing down since 9/11 has forced the tactical evolution from the Cold War doctrine to a more flexible, divers, and highly integrated military warfare. This transformation has proven successful, but should not stop at its current aims.
The transformation in the U.S. Army from Pure (infantry, armor, artillery) brigade and battalion size elements to the Combined Arms brigade and battalion has proven successful and is a testament to the effectiveness of the military community as a whole as well as the DOTLMP-F over all. However, the transformation and diversification has not gone far enough to be as efficient as possible because it lacks effective civilian political mission analysis at the lowest level and depends too heavily on short term deployable DOD contractors. As Lieutenant General Barno USA (Ret.) reminded readers in his article Military Adaption in Complex Operations, all warfare is an extension of politics and that is the expertise missing on the ground in today’s military.Click here to read more.