Civil Affairs

Articles on Civil Affairs:

Barnes, Rudolph C., Jr., The Rule of Law and Civil Affairs in the Battle for Legitimacy, see in 2009 Military Legitimacy and Leadership Journal.

Barnes, ____________, see chapters 2, 6 & 7 in Military Legitimacy: Might and Right in the New Millennium.

Benjamin, Mark, and Slavin, Barbara, Ghost Soldiers: The Pentagon’s Decade-Long Struggle to Win Hearts and Minds Through Civil Affairs, The Center for Public Integrity, February 6, 2011.  See below.

Bingham, Bruce B., Rubini, Daniel L. & Cleary, Michael J., US Army Civil Affairs: The Army’s Bridge to Stability, Civil Affairs, Updated December 2010.  See below.

Gordon, David S., Promoting the Rule of Law in Stability Operations: Myths, Methods and the Military, see in 2009 Military Legitimacy and Leadership Journal.

Keller, Shawn, Challenges and Opportunities: Civil Affairs Training on the Battlefield, Civil Affairs, August 2010.  See below.

Manwaring, Albert H., IV, My Experience With the Rule of Law Mission in Iraq, Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, December 2010.  See below.

Rubini, Daniel L., Justice in Waiting: Developing Rule of Law in Iraq, see in 2009 Military Legitimacy and Leadership Journal.

 

Reprinted by permission of The Center for Public Integrity: www.publicintegrity.org

Ghost Soldiers: The Pentagon’s Decade-Long Struggle to Win Hearts and Minds Through Civil Affairs

By Mark Benjamin and Barbara Slavin | February 06, 2011

Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Lawrence Morrison would have celebrated his 51st birthday next month if he hadn’t been sent to Iraq.

Instead the Postal Service dock worker was mobilized in 2005 despite a bad knee, a bum shoulder, and high blood pressure, and sent to be a Civil Affairs officer based at Taji, north of Baghdad. He died five months later during the Iraqi insurgency, a victim of an IED that tore apart his Humvee.

“This was not the way I wanted my life with him to end,” said his widow, Becky, of Yakima, Wash.

Morrison was among thousands of reservists called up on short notice for Civil Affairs work, a class of specialists that was supposed to be so plentiful and deeply trained that it would change the course of future warfare.

Instead, Civil Affairs has struggled as a stepchild in the vast military effort in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although a mere fraction of the troops are dedicated to Civil Affairs, they have been deployed without proper training and equipment to hostile territory to carry out heroic efforts against difficult odds and they are killed far out of proportion to their numbers, a Center for Public Integrity investigation found.

Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks prompted the Bush administration to declare a global campaign against terrorism, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld vowed to fight “a different kind of war” in which U.S. soldiers would help “make allies” of suppressed people.

The Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command should have been the vanguard of those efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping to restore electricity, building water systems and spreading good will.

But for most of Rumsfeld’s tenure, the command lacked the soldiers, training and equipment to do the job successfully, and disguised its weaknesses by keeping “ghosts” on its books, internal Army memos show.

“This won’t do!” Gen. Bryan D. Brown, the four-star general then in charge of Special Operations Command, wrote in a handwritten notation on a 2004 memo warning that Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations was short of critical supplies and had hundreds of “ghosts” on its books.

The hundreds of ghost soldiers on the Civil Affairs rosters were reservists who couldn’t perform their duties in a combat zone for a variety of reasons, such as they had physical ailments, had missed mandatory training or had lost contacts with their units. Their appearance on the books made the Civil Affairs command look like it had more human resources to deploy than it did, and that forced commanders to keep re-deploying the same reservists time and again to meet the demand. Heavy casualties thinned the ranks over time, leaving the force even more depleted, according to memos and interviews with former officers.

Generals in the field, unable to obtain sufficient Civil Affairs units, sent reservists into harm’s way without hardened armored vehicles, protective plates for their armored vests and machine guns.

Rumsfeld repeatedly sent “snowflake” memos to top officials in the Pentagon and the field demanding answers, and in 2006 he ordered a reorganization of Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations that split the forces and removed most of them from the military’s elite Special Operations Command.

Military commanders say the reorganization backfired and Civil Affairs troops remain in short supply well into Robert Gates’ tenure as defense secretary, although equipment problems have eased.

The statistics offer a grim picture. Though Civil Affairs soldiers only make up about 5 percent of the Army’s reserve forces, they account for 23 percent of the combat fatalities among reservists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The command’s lack of resources and legacy of dysfunction also complicates U.S. efforts to withdraw from Afghanistan starting this summer and calls into question the ability of the military to fight future insurgencies or respond to humanitarian disasters, current and former military officers say.

“It was too small of a force to begin with. We are scrambling right now to meet additional requirements for Afghanistan,” Maj. Gen. David Blackledge, the commander of the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, told the Center. “Our mission load is actually going up.”

The Pentagon has sought to compensate for these gaps in recent years by reorganizing the command structure and increasing the number of Civil Affairs units. But the reorganization has been widely panned as awkward and counterproductive, and growth in Civil Affairs has been relatively anemic given the demand.

The Army currently has only about 8,000 Civil Affairs troops, or less than 1 percent of its active and reserve force. And the number of Civil Affairs battalions has increased by only about a third since the late 1990s, despite two massive, ongoing counterinsurgency operations.

Gates plans to grow Civil Affairs to 11,152 troops by 2013 and “is exploring ways to better integrate Civil Affairs functions with complementary stability operations” in Afghanistan, spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

As for Rumsfeld, he wrote in his memoir published this week that he didn’t believe soldiers should have been involved in nation-building.

“I did not think resolving other countries’ internal political disputes, paving roads, erecting power lines, policing streets, building stock markets, and organizing democratic governmental bodies were missions for our men and women in uniform,” Rumsfeld wrote.

“If some later contended that we never had a plan for full-fledged nation building or that we under-resourced such a plan, they were certainly correct. We did not go there to try to bring prosperity to every corner of Afghanistan. I believe—and continue to believe—that such a goal would have amounted to a fool’s errand.”

The ‘Glue’ Between the Military and Civilians

In contrast to conventional combat soldiers, Civil Affairs troops are mostly reservists with day jobs like judges or lawyers. They are experts at helping to build new governments, get the lights on, the water running, set up justice systems, and in the process, win the hearts and minds of local populations. They are supposed to be the link between the military and the civilian government and people living in a war zone.

Civil Affairs have figured in U.S. military campaigns in all U.S. wars since the American Revolution. They reached their zenith during World War II, when extensive preparations were made early on for stabilizing and reconstructing postwar Europe and Japan. Two months after entering the war, the Roosevelt administration ordered creation of a school of military government at the University of Virginia to train senior Civil Affairs officers. According to an official Army history, the first graduating class included a city manager, police chief, doctor, two city attorneys, several utility specialists, a public health officer, judges and the fiscal director of the Port of Oregon. Such forces have also been used extensively in Vietnam and in post-conflict situations and natural disasters in Central America, the Caribbean and the Balkans.

The Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command was deployed to “make allies” of the suppressed peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan, as former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put it.  These forces are especially crucial today, said David Barno, a retired lieutenant general who commanded U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan from late 2003 through mid 2005.

“They can get a power grid up and operating and look at how societies interact. These are the skills that are typically outside the mainstream of the combat-centric military…but in the environments we’re in now, they’re absolutely essential,” Barno explained. “They are the glue that binds the military effort to the civilian population.”

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Rumsfeld seemed to acknowledge the importance of these personnel in waging what he called “a different kind of war”—one in which it would be crucial to portray Americans as liberators instead of infidel invaders.

“While we may engage militarily against foreign governments that sponsor terrorism, we may also seek to make allies of the people those governments suppress,” Rumsfeld said on Sept. 27, 2001.

On Oct. 8 of that year, he told Fox News that in conducting the war in Afghanistan, “we want to make sure that we can do everything we can to help the misery of the Afghan people which has been imposed on them by al Qaeda and by the Taliban leadership.”

But senior officials serving under Rumsfeld said he had little interest in the unglamorous work of stabilization and reconstruction and chafed at the fact that under a mid-1980s military reorganization, Civil Affairs units reported to U.S. Special Operations Command.

A paper trail left by the former defense secretary suggests Rumsfeld thought Civil Affairs units weren’t worthy of Special Operations, which also operates highly selective 12-man Special Forces “A-Teams” that conduct secret missions such as hunting down and killing alleged terrorists.

Rumsfeld wrote on March 7, 2005 in one of his notorious “snowflake” memoranda that Civil Affairs’ “skill sets are, at this stage, probably more of a distraction than a benefit to the increasing Special Operations roles and missions.” This was one of a half dozen memos Rumsfeld penned to various Pentagon officials suggesting that Civil Affairs be removed from Special Operations.

“Secretary Rumsfeld focused largely on the high value target set,” said Thomas O’Connell, assistant secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict from July 2003 until April 2007. “The Special Operations Forces components that operated at the lower end of the spectrum…were less appreciated by many civilian policymakers as to their potential for effectiveness in the fight.”

As recently as April 2009, the Pentagon in a report to Congress acknowledged the shortcomings of its reliance on reservists for Civil Affairs work. But its plan to remedy the situation called for reducing reservists from 89 percent of the Civil Affairs force to 74 percent by 2013, still an overwhelming burden on citizen soldiers.

A Stark Warning from the Field

The crisis was evident by 2004 at Fort Bragg, N.C., the mobilization center for Civil Affairs troops. A Jan. 14, 2004 trip report by Sergeant Major John W. Young Jr., the senior Army Reserve Enlisted Advisor monitoring reserves at Special Operations, describes multiple serious problems:

  • “1,000 or more ghosts” on the books. (A unit roster might look full on paper but the “ghosts” have not gotten the necessary training and cannot be deployed)
  • Lack of quarters for those who actually turned up, requiring some personnel to be billeted on cots in the gymnasium.
  • Widespread “cross-leveling” resulting in units comprised of soldiers from across Civil Affairs. This means cherry-picking soldiers from disparate units, a violation of the military rule that soldiers fight best alongside those they trained with.
  • Reservists who got only two weeks’ notice before mobilizing.
  • Soldiers forced to sign statements that they were “volunteering” for what was “an involuntary mobilization.”
  • Soldiers issued body armor without protective plates and bulky M-16s instead of smaller M-4 rifles more suitable for traveling in cramped vehicles. In training, due to “a shortage of weapons and ammo they got to fire [only] one round.”
  • The memo also describes a “critical shortage” of senior noncommissioned officers.

A copy of Young’s report obtained by the Center for Public Integrity shows that next to several of the concerns, Gen. Brown, the Special Operations commander, wrote “why” and “this won’t do.” A cover memo addressed to Lt. Gen. Philip R. Kensinger, Jr., one of Brown’s deputies, said, “Please take action not a very encouraging report.”

But instead of rectifying the situation, the military brass at Special Operations turned on Young, accusing him of going behind commanders’ backs and being “out of touch with reality” according to emails obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

“They chewed my butt out and then ignored me until I retired,” said Young, who left the military in 2005 and now lives in Tulsa, Okla. “They were aware that the whole system was broke and there wasn’t much they were going to do to change things.”

Meanwhile, a number of top Army officials told Congress that Civil Affairs units were fully qualified. On March 11, 2004, two months after Young’s report, Brown told a House Armed Services subcommittee that Kensinger and the Army had been working to “ensure that all of our Civil Affairs forces are trained to…standards. They are fully qualified,” he said. Kensinger then told the subcommittee that, “Each one of those units are about 115 percent or more manned. People come into Civil Affairs because there’s a great balance in what they do in the civilian sector.”

The result of the shortages and mismatches was that soldiers died “needlessly,” said Timothy M. Haake, a retired major general and former deputy commander for mobilization and reserve affairs for Special Operations who elevated Young’s concerns to higher ups. “These generals didn’t do their job,” Haake said.

Neither Brown or Kensinger could be reached for comment.

The ‘Divorce’

In 2006, after a blizzard of Rumsfeld snowflakes, most Civil Affairs units were split away from Special Operations and now report to the Army Reserve. In an awkward compromise, however, four battalions of active duty Civil Affairs soldiers are assigned to Special Operations. Many military experts consider this so-called “divorce” a mistake that has fractured Civil Affairs capabilities between two bosses. The split of Civil Affairs was “probably flawed in its conception, it certainly was flawed in its implementation,” a 2009 U.S. Army War College report by Col. Hugh Van Roosen found. “Given the recent rise in the importance of stability operations, relying significantly upon CA capabilities, this decision should be revisited by the current Secretary of Defense.”

Maj. Gen. David Morris, who commanded U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command during the reorganization, said he opposed the “divorce” at the time and that it caused multiple problems. Among them: getting money for replacement equipment when he suddenly lost access to regular Special Operations funds.

“We had to work our way through that with the Special Operations community, which we did,” he said. “But we were in the middle of a fight, and it was one of those bureaucratic things that was like an anchor slowing us down.”

Meanwhile, Special Operations Command has retained authority for long-term planning and doctrine for Civil Affairs—a situation akin to giving custody of a child to one parent after a divorce but allowing the other parent to make most of the decisions about how the child will be raised.

Blackledge, the major general who currently has Morris’ old job, said about the divorce, “I have not met anybody who thinks that was a good decision.”

Afghanistan: Under-Resourced and ‘Second Dibs’

U.S. officials from President Barack Obama to generals in the field have all stressed the importance of the Civil Affairs’ mission to stabilizing Afghanistan.

In a March 2009 speech on Afghanistan, Obama emphasized “agricultural specialists and educators, engineers and lawyers” rather than foot soldiers. Likewise, now-retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal highlighted the establishment of local judicial systems more than military action in his confidential assessment of the Afghan war in 2009.“Our strategy cannot be focused on seizing terrain or destroying insurgent forces; our objective must be the population,” he wrote in the report, which was leaked to The Washington Post. “This is a ‘deeds-based’ information environment where perceptions derive from actions, such as how we interact with the population and how quickly things improve.” He called for an “integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign that earns the support of the Afghan people and provides them with a secure environment.”

While the Obama administration reports fragile progress in the war, there is still a mismatch between Afghan needs and the skills of the Americans sent to help.

The demand for Civil Affairs soldiers in Afghanistan is so acute today that the Army routinely still resorts to “cross-leveling” to get enough warm bodies into a Civil Affairs unit before it deploys. This means cherry picking qualified Civil Affairs troops from disparate units to get one unit ready to go. The move, however, violates the military tenet that soldiers fight best alongside those with whom they have trained.

The Pentagon tries to provide reserve soldiers with four years of rest between year-long deployments. Blackledge, the current commander of Civil Affairs, said his units deploy every 20 months. But even that number is misleading and time at home—known as dwell time—was often reduced to less than two years, meaning reservists were treated like active-duty soldiers and deployed multiple times. An individual Civil Affairs soldier deploys much more frequently as he is cross-leveled from one unit to another. “The actual dwell time is much less for any individual soldier,” Blackledge said. “And that is the best it has been since the war started.”

“I seriously am amazed at what our soldiers go through with their personal lives.”

The shortage of Civil Affairs capability in Afghanistan is not a new story to some military leaders. One of the first things David Barno did when he arrived in Afghanistan in October 2003 was to resolve to increase the number of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in the Afghan countryside.

There were only four of these civil-military units at the time—only two manned by Americans—and Barno decided to raise the number to 12 by the spring of 2004.

While Barno praises the efforts of the PRTs, which sought to help meet the urgent needs of a population devastated by decades of war, he concedes that “we were clearly under-resourced in this commodity and the system had a lot of difficulty generating enough capacity in Civil Affairs just for the PRTs much less for units out there in the field.”

Also, the demands of the Iraq invasion meant “we were going to get second dibs on all the resources across the board, Civil Affairs certainly being part of that,” Barno said. He is a senior fellow and adviser with the Center for a New American Security.

“The initial deployment of Civil Affairs teams was just too small,” agreed Robert Perito, a senior program officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) who has written extensively about PRTs. These organizations were “an effort to compensate for the scarcity of Civil Affairs personnel,” Perito said.

The shortage of Army Civil Affairs personnel became so acute at one point that Navy and Air Force reservists were sent to head up PRTs in Afghanistan. The Marines have at times used artillery officers to fill the Civil Affairs role. Barno described the performance of these units overall as “a very mixed bag.”

During World War II, Perito said, the American in charge of creating a police force for postwar Germany had been chief of police for the state of Connecticut—and spent several years planning before being deployed. In contrast, Perito said, the Civil Affairs adviser to Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry—which is trying to build a police force of more than 100,000 men—was a police chief in an Atlanta suburb with only 24 people under his command.

While the State Department has attempted to fill the gap in expertise with its own “surge” of 1,000 civilians, many are contractors in country for less than a year and are not suited to working in hostile environments. “The vast majority are in Kabul, not out in the countryside,” said Paul Hughes, a senior program officer at USIP and 30-year Army veteran who advised the U.S. occupation government in Iraq in 2003. “It leaves the military units down range to deal with this.”

Observers with non-governmental organizations said the Army’s embrace of Civil Affairs and counterinsurgency in general has been sporadic. “One of the gaps that has not been addressed is I think there has been a recognition that they need these [Civil Affairs] officers, but I don’t think they have thought much about how they would be used,” said Erica Gaston with the Open Society Institute who has been in Afghanistan for three years. “I know there are officers in Kabul and they will say, ‘We are trying to reach out, but nobody will reach out to us.’”

Mixed Picture in Iraq

Although Iraq drew substantial resources away from Afghanistan, the Iraq war also suffered from strained Civil Affairs units.

Civil Affairs 1st Sgt. Christopher Coffin had served 23 years in uniform and had recently deployed to Kosovo when the Army blocked his retirement from the reserve force and shipped him to Iraq in 2003. He died in July 2003 after his Humvee was apparently ambushed. Fellow soldiers later told his wife, Betsy, that they did not have enough vehicles, protection and equipment needed that day. Her husband’s medical evacuation following the ambush was also delayed because the convoy’s only satellite phone had been destroyed.

Betsy Coffin recalls talking to her husband in Baghdad. “I know that he spoke at length about the lack of resources for the unit,” she recalled. “I know my husband was not happy about that convoy.”

Coffin was an experienced Civil Affairs reserve soldier whose civilian job was as a federal law enforcement officer.

Joseph Collins, who served as deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Stability Operations under Rumsfeld, called Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations personnel “some of the great unsung heroes” of the Afghan and Iraqi wars.

“Over time, the good units get used up and low readiness units get mobilized,” Collins said. “They start force feeding people into units who are not fit or well qualified.”

These forces are likely to be in high demand for the foreseeable future. “They are a transition element to get the military out of the lead role,” USIP’s Hughes said. “They are going to be extremely important over the next 20 years because I fully expect that the U.S. will be fighting more insurgency-type wars.” Civil Affairs units are also likely to be needed for humanitarian emergencies caused by natural disasters and to prop up fragile and failing states.

Such geostrategic thinking affords little comfort to Becky Morrison. Morrison said her husband, who had been working at the post office in Yakima, should never have been sent to Iraq in 2005 given his physical ailments.

Once he was reactivated, he attended a few classes in Oklahoma for two weeks and then was sent to Fort Bragg, she said.

“I don’t know what kind of training he got in North Carolina,” she said. She does recall that Morrison told her that just before they deployed to Iraq, the reservists were told to grab gear from a hodge-podge spread out on a large table that included women’s bras and flak jackets.

“They had to go through and pick out what fit them best,” she said.

Once in Iraq, Morrison spent most of his time handing out toys to Iraqi children even though he had been trained as a medic during his active duty in the 1980s. He died near a water mill that “wasn’t even his mission,” Morrison said. “They were on their way somewhere else when they were called to this place. He was tired, he was scared,” she said. “He had never been in combat before. I’m still upset over it.”

“My husband was killed and we’re walking away from Iraq now. I’m angry at the fact they’re bringing them all home because they didn’t accomplish what they set out to accomplish.”

Reprinted by permission: The Center for Public Integrity® | 910 17th Street NW | Suite 700 | Washington, DC 20006 | USA | (202) 466-1300

 

Challenges and Opportunities:

 Civil Affairs Training for the New Battlefield

By Major Shawn Keller

 Chris, a 28-year old captain from the Boston area, stood stone-faced as Ja´sim continued his angry tirade just inches from his nose.  No doubt he wished he were somewhere else at this particular moment than in this bleak and stuffy room reeking of sweat and incense – if it was a hundred degrees outside, it was even hotter in here.  His three teammates stood on either side and nervously shifted their glances between the angry uncle, the wailing women and the black and white picture of Fatima encased in a cheap, gold-tinted frame.  The picture sat atop the small coffin covered with a black shroud and which held the body of the 12-year old girl who was struck and killed by an American HUMVEE the previous evening.

The soldiers were part of Civil Affairs Team (CAT) 312 and had been attached to the “Panther” Brigade Combat Team (BCT) of the 82nd Airborne with the mission of restoring stability in this troubled region and legitimizing the host nation government.  This would be no easy task considering the decades of hostilities, the religious and sectarian violence as well as the still barely-functioning government unable to provide even the most basic of essential services.  In the distance, a loud explosion could be heard followed by sporadic gun fire and the squelch of a keyed mike coming across the radio as a SITREP was being called up to higher. 

The breadth of human suffering which has plagued the country since the fighting began is staggering with thousands of internally displaced citizens living in makeshift camps in the nearby forest.  With little to no aid reaching these people, illness and disease related to exposure, malnutrition and waterborne pathogens have resulted in a growing humanitarian crisis which US forces will have to address if they have any hope achieving their mission and transitioning out of this country.  Further complicating the situation is the consolidation of political power by a relatively small minority of Sunni Arabs at the expense of a disenfranchised local Christian sect.  The humanitarian crisis coupled with disputes over land-ownership and a lingering economic malaise have fueled militias and a growing insurgency which have shut down relief efforts by the few remaining NGOs operating in this area.  Indeed, a monumental task faced CAT 312 as well as the other Civil Affairs teams operating in the area – it was made even more difficult by the death of the little girl in a tragic accident involving American forces.

Inside the dark room, the soldiers struggled to de-escalate the situation which was continuing to spiral out of control.  Ja´sim, who spoke English close to fluently, translated for the mother of the dead girl and her aunt who continued to wail and beat their chests as they screamed angrily at the American soldiers in Arabic.  In keeping with Muslim customs, the body had to be cleansed with fresh water, wrapped in a burial shroud and buried within 24-hours of death.  Unfortunately, this impoverished family had no money for a funeral and little clean water with which to prepare the body.  Although CAT 312 was miles away when the accident happened, it was their mission to now mitigate the situation which, if left unchecked, would certainly escalate local animosity and seriously undermine the BCT’s efforts in the region. 

After expressing deep regret for the accident and the death of their daughter, Chris, the team leader, offered to pay the family the equivalent of $500 to help pay for the funeral and to ease the family’s suffering.  In addition, he promised to deliver 10-gallons of water from the nearby American base so that they could prepare the body in an appropriate manner.  A $500 solatia payment and 10-gallons of water for the death of a child was a paltry sum by American standards but here it was a priceless good-will gesture intended to show that while accidents sometimes do happen in war, at least the Americans are determined to make things right again – or at least as right as they can be. 

This was Consequence Management 101 and CAT 312 would never forget this lesson.

“ENDEX!” the enhancement coach called as he stepped from the shadows of the corner with his clip board and pen in one hand and wiping the sweat from his brow with the other.  Even though it was after 1900 hours, the heat and humidity of mid-August still teamed to put the heat index at over 105 degrees here in the woods of Camp MacKall, NC.  He gestured to a row of folding, metal chairs lining one wall.  “OK, you guys can ground your equipment and drink some water.” 

All four soldiers on the team exhaled simultaneously, relieved that the intense, twenty-minute engagement was at last over as much as they were to take their gear off, even if for a short while.  The members of CAT 312 were part of the 134 students in the current Civil Affairs Qualification Course run by the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, NC.   This engagement was part of the 10-day culmination exercise called Operation Certain Trust which brings together students from the Active Duty and the Reserve courses to the secluded training center about 40 miles west of Bragg in the fictional country of “Pineland.”  The students include Army and Marine officers and NCOs from the Active and Reserve components as well as National Guard officers from four states and Allied students from seven countries.

“Role players, do you have anything for the team from the cultural perspective?”

“Yes, they did very good,” said one of the female role players in broken English.  “It is very important in our religion that we bury the body in one day’s time and we must have the water to wash the body.”

“I felt you showed proper respect for our beliefs by helping us with the water and giving the money,” said the other women – her English slightly better than her colleague.

“There is one thing,” said Ja´sim.  “You should never speak directly to a woman without first asking permission of the man.  It is considered very disrespectful.”

“Yeah, that’s true,” said Mike, the enhancement coach.  “That’ll get you kicked out quicker than almost anything downrange.  I know it’s hard sometimes and something we’re not used to back here, but over there, in most cases, women don’t exist unless the man of household says it’s OK to engage them.”

Mike is a former Special Forces master sergeant employed by the private contractor who provided support to Operation Certain Trust.  He is one of eight observer-controllers and psychologists who provided after action critiques of student performance in what is known as the SURF village.  The Soldier Urban Reaction Facility is a fenced-off compound which contains four rooms where teams rotate through four distinct and intense engagements over the course of two and half hours.  The dozen or so cultural role players, who in real-life live as far away as Raleigh and Charlotte, originally hailed from places such as Baghdad, the Sudan and Djibouti, and along with the Arabic music and the barnyard-smell from the chickens and goats roaming the yard, help add realism to the “Pineland” scenario.  The training is physically and mentally demanding and challenges the students to demonstrate adaptive thinking and leadership as preparation for future deployments to hotspots such as Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and the Philippines.

“It’s a tough room but just imagine the consequences if you were to blow this in real life,” said Mike.  “If you don’t make a situation like this right, you’ve just sent this entire family over to the insurgency along with all their cousins and neighbors and everybody else in this tribe.  It’s like the old cliché about one oh, crap ruins a thousand at-a-boys.” 

“He’s right, this is a tough room,” I offered.  “But just imagine how much tougher it’s going to be when you’ve got seventy five people screaming and yelling, not just three.  Over there crisis and tragedy bring people out of the woodwork.  If there’s a dead kid in the street and American soldiers standing there, you’re going to look up and the entire village will have materialized in no time and they’re going to take out their years of anger and resentment on you.  No matter what else you’ve done before this and no matter what you do after, the only thing this family and that entire village will remember is how the Americans killed their daughter.  You blow this and you just made those seventy five people insurgents for life.”

Other rooms in the SURF village include an engagement with a radical imam in one of his anti-American madrasas, an abusive militia commander seeking more weapons for his “police force,” and the village mayor who appears to be a pawn of the local Djiboutian drug lord.  The SURF is widely regarded by most students coming through the course as the best training event in their military career and comes a few days into the exercise.  Operation Certain Trust began with a nighttime, combat equipment jump into “Pineland” followed by two days of Situational Training Exercises (STX) in which students ruck march around 25 kilometers performing numerous Civil Affairs (CA) engagements with the various characters on the battlefield. 

The remainder of Certain Trust is comprised of more engagements in the Camp MacKall training area as well as off-site assessments of real-world facilities and organizations in the cities and towns surrounding Camp MacKall.  These off-sites include police and fire stations, water treatment facilities, hospitals and clinics, schools, a hydroelectric dam, a women’s prison, a fish hatchery, a Red Cross office, an animal stockyard, and the Rockingham Speedway as a potential site of a displaced citizen’s camp.  Off-site establishments are not compensated for their participation but instead volunteer their time and expertise several times a year in order to supplement and enhance the training of the Civil Affairs and Special Forces (SF) students.  

Small Group Instructors (SGIs) mentor the teams in mission analysis, mission planning, tactics, engagements, reporting and briefings.  Through the course of the 10-day exercise, teams must prepare a Civil Military Operation Annex to the Brigade Combat Team operation order, use the Military Decision Making Process to choose courses of action, run the Civil Military Operation Center (CMOC) for a 24-hour period, nominate Commander’s Emergency Relief Program (CERP) reconstruction projects and prepare a transition book to brief to the notional team which will replace them in this theater of operation.  Operation Certain Trust culminates in the Regimental Induction Ceremony for those students who successfully complete the rigorous training and are recognized with the Civil Affairs Regiment pin and the awarding of the Civil Affairs branch; this time 143 students began the 10-day exercise and 134 completed it.

That’s a lot of students for this exercise, which although well developed and resourced provides limited depth and opportunity to assess every student adequately.  While the optimal number of students is eighty, the need for growth in the Active and Reserve CA force mandates growing classes taught more times a year.  For the Active Component, CA has traditionally been limited to support of the Special Operation community; however force restructuring calls for thirty new CA conventional General Purpose Force (GPF) companies to be stood up beginning in Fiscal Year 2011.  These GPF companies will be based out of Fort Hood, Texas and destined to support conventional units such as the 82nd, the 101st and the 1st Armor Division.  The first GPF class is scheduled to come through the Center and School beginning in January of 2011 with a class size of one hundred students.  It will be taught three times a year until those thirty companies are at one hundred per cent strength.

The Active Component CA has already been experiencing rapid growth over the past several years with a growing demand for CA soldiers in the 95th CA Brigade, which supports SF teams around the world.  Recent classes, which are also taught three times a year, have been exceeding the optimal size by at least fifteen per cent.  For the Active Component, training consists of approximately ten weeks of CA core and supporting tasks following three to six months of language training.   During those ten weeks, students receive introductions to worldwide culture and religion, Adaptive Thinking and Leadership as well as digital training in software programs designed to assist in link analysis, data-mining as well as building a common operating picture with GIS. 

For the Reserve Component, growth includes a new brigade in Germany to support Europe Command as well as increased numbers throughout the United States Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC) as well as other Reserve units in direct support of Pacific Command.  Reserve Component classes have also been seeing an increased number of National Guard soldiers filling S9 positions at BCTs in their respective home states.  The traditional Reserve pipeline, which consist of a distant learning Phase 1 followed by a 29-day resident Phase 2, is offered three times a year and is likewise experiencing consistently growing class sizes.  The challenge for Reservists in this course is in balancing their military education requirements with the demands of their civilian jobs and lives.

As of January, 2010, the Special Warfare Center and School re-assumed responsibility from USACAPOC for the execution of the Mobilization Civil Affairs Course (MCAQC), an 8-week resident course.   The course, which is offered four times a year, trains Army and Navy Reservists as well as soldiers called-up from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) for mobilization in a CA billet.  These students, who range in rank from second lieutenant to lieutenant colonel, go on to serve as CA team leaders, on civil-military operations planning staff sections as well as on Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa.

Not counting the as yet to be executed GPF course, the CA training company under the JFK Special Warfare Center and School runs three separate courses a total of ten times a year for close to six hundred students with less than two dozen cadre.  With the projected influx of another three to four hundred students in FY11, the CA training company will see a two-fold growth in cadre as well.  Currently fifty instructor positions are slated to be filled with experienced, Active Duty and Reserve CA operators from the 95th CA Brigade as well as USACAPOC.  

While the influx of instructors will certainly alleviate the pressure on the existing staff from the current and future surge of students, the challenge will be in competing for space in the Center and School as well as on Fort Bragg.  While operations are being curtailed in Iraq with the transitioning to Operation New Dawn, new and existing problems will continue to require the attention of US forces.  Economic crisis, environmental disasters, sectarian and religious violence, failed or collapsed states as well as problems arising from globalization have been identified in the new National Security Strategy as growing areas of concern for the United States.  These issues, along with those unforeseeable contingencies, will continue to require the talents of trained and experienced Special Forces, Psychological Operations (now known as Military Informational Support Operations, or MISO) as well as CA soldiers.  All three branches which fall under the purview of the Special Warfare Center and School are experiencing increased growth in size and number of classes each year. 

Classroom and office space is already at a premium and will be even more so with the projected twenty to thirty thousand additional personnel arriving with the US Army Forces Command and US Army Reserve Command headquarters, which are scheduled to move to Fort Bragg.  Possible solutions to alleviate the overcrowding include the construction of several modular office and classroom buildings as well as leasing commercial office and classroom space in the Fayetteville area.  The challenge is accentuated by the current economic realities and budgetary concerns throughout all branches of the government and military.  As directed by the Secretary of Defense, the US military must and should be responsible stewards of the taxpayer’s money.  As always, we must strive to find efficiencies and eliminate waste.  As always, we must do more with less.

Back in “Pineland,” Chris, his teammates and the other one hundred and thirty students of Class 03-10 must be aware of concerns over instructor numbers, classroom space and budgets.  Many of these students will soon find themselves in harm’s way in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, the Philippines or South America. 

As they step out of the dark, sweltering room and leave Ja´sim, the two women and the empty coffin behind, the soldiers are blinded temporarily by the setting sun.  They are indeed relieved to be leaving this room, but they still have three more rooms to experience tonight and seven more days of the exercise before they can join their assigned units.  Sure, this was a tough room, but it’s only going to get worse from here.

Shawn Keller is the Civil Affairs Qualification Course manager for the Reserve Component at Fort Bragg and is currently in the Active Guard-Reserve (AGR) program.  He has a combined twenty years of service including reserve and active duty, first in the South Carolina Army National Guard and then in the Army Reserves.  He has served two deployments to Iraq, most recently as a CA team leader during the surge of 2007-08.  Prior to entering the AGR program, he was a small business owner in Charleston, SC.

 

US Army Civil Affairs- The Army’s Bridge To Stability

Bruce B. Bingham, Daniel L. Rubini, Michael J. Cleary 

Introduction- In the American classic “A Bell for Adano”, John Hersey wrote “America is on its way to Europe. You can be as isolationist as you want to be, but that is a fact. . . . Until there is a seeming stability in Europe, our armies and our after-armies will have to stay in Europe…Neither the eloquence of Churchill nor the humaneness of Roosevelt, no Charter, no four freedoms, no dreamer’s diagram . . . no treaty-none of these things can guarantee anything. Only men can guarantee, only the behavior of men under pressure, only our [soldiers]”.[i]  Published in 1944, A Bell for Adano is a fictionalized story based on the real-life struggles of then Major Frank E. Toscani (subsequently Colonel Toscani), a US Army Civil Affairs (CA) Officer in occupied Sicily during World War II.  It won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize.  Sixty-five years later, Hersey’s words remain true, not only for military peacekeeping operations but for counter-insurgency wars like Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever we fight wars where we must win support of a nation’s people rather than just take and hold real estate.  In counter-insurgency (COIN), we not only “clear and hold”, we also “build”.  Combat operations are destructive.  CA operations are constructive.

Civil Affairs is one of the most complex and sensitive operations in which the US Army can engage, involving the interface between our soldiers and the civilians in the area of operations.  It is also one of the most misunderstood Army missions and-to some who see it as “unwarriorlike”-the most criticized.  History, however, shows that successful Army CA operations during and after more conventional military stability and reconstruction operations are key to moving from battlefield success to final victory.[ii]  The new Counterinsurgency Field Manual incorporates all the activities of CA since its first days as Military Government in World War II.  In wartime, CA prevents civilian interference with military operations and conducts humanitarian assistance. It mobilizes foreign civilian resources for combat support. In counterinsurgency (COIN), postwar and peace operations, CA provides specialized assistance directly to foreign governments to establish services and stabilize functions throughout all levels of government up to the highest ministerial level.  Civil Affairs soldiers bridge the dangerous gap between the end of war and the establishment of a stable foreign government capable of providing essential services.  If we are to win the peace as decisively as we win the war, CA must be a player in the planning and execution of Army operations from beginning to end.

The roots of US Army Civil Affairs can be traced back to civil-military operations in the American Revolution in 1775, when Montreal and other parts of Canada were under Continental Army control.  Finally recognized during World War II as an inherent command responsibility, CA was initially designated as “Military Government” in the occupation of Germany, Italy, Korea and Japan and have deployed to every significant operation since.  Today, the pressure on the Reserves is brutal because of frequent wartime deployments.

1. Glad to See Them Come and Sorry to See Them Go- The Role of the US Military in Nation-building[iii]  “The military has a uniquely demanding job today.  Instead of preparing for territorial defense, US troops must safeguard vaguely defined American and global ‘interests’ in an increasing number of far flung places.”[iv]  The US military has engaged in these nontraditional operations throughout its history, far more than it has waged conventional warfare.  After the Mexican War in the 1840’s, General Winfield Scott’s occupation was such a model of excellence that one of his junior officers, Ulysses S. Grant remarked that the Mexicans regretted Scott’s departure almost as much as they hated to see his arrival.

The CA branch of the Army originated as Military Government during World War II to meet requirements for military specialists to administer areas liberated from German and Japanese occupation and to govern areas in Germany and Japan occupied by the US Army during and after the war.  Military personnel with appropriate civilian skills and education were formed into military government units to assure law and order and provide essential services to the populations of territories administered by the US Army.  After World War II, these units were renamed “Civil Affairs.”  In its postwar mission of military government in Germany, Japan and Italy, US Army CA became the world’s model for maintaining stability, restarting democratic civilian governments and preventing future wars.  Unfortunately, CA in Korea remained a hit-or-miss, come-as-you-are operation until the last few months of the war.  Few, if any, of the lessons of World War II had been learned.  ”The Army desired to put Korea behind it and go back to its preferred strategy, the defense of Europe against the Soviet hordes.”[v]

By the early 1960s, almost all (97 percent) of the US Army’s CA capability was in the Army Reserve, where it remains today.  This was (and remains) appropriate because the professional competence of CA personnel is derived principally from their civilian careers.  In Vietnam, the concept of COIN was characterized as “winning the hearts and minds of the people.”  That slogan was exemplified by US Army Special Forces and military advisors engaged in COIN.  After America’s failed nation-building efforts in Vietnam, the Army swore “never again” and prepared to “win” conventional wars, not to “contain” or even fight counterinsurgencies.  Certain important experiences of fighting COIN were forgotten again.  Lessons learned about “winning hearts and minds” (i.e., civilian support and stability operations) faded to black.  Enlightenment focused on achieving victory in conventional war.  Securing the victory was taken for granted and fighting a COIN war was out of the question.  There was no thought given to what must be done after the shooting stopped.  Civil Affairs slid into the backwaters of the Army’s priorities-that is, until Panama in 1989.

Then Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell said this of the Panama intervention (Just Cause): “We are going to eliminate Noriega and the PDF [Panamanian Defense Forces].  If that succeeds, we will be running the country until we can establish a civilian government and a new security force.”  The Panamanians were totally unprepared to govern, let alone make democracy work.  Despite these handicaps, one Panamanian businessman remarked, “You [the United States] got the police working; not too well, but working, and you got the government ministries working’.”   But General Powell concluded, “We did not plan well enough for reintroducing civil government.”[vi]

In 1989, after the Russians were ousted the US walked away from its Afghan allies and gave them no significant help to build a government.  The Afghans saw it as betrayal and abandonment.

Then in 1991, came Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  President George H. W. Bush mandated large-scale involvement of CA: “The legitimate [Government of Kuwait, or GOK] will be restored to its rightful place and Kuwait will once again be free.”[vii]  CA advisors worked with the Kuwaiti ministries to “jump-start” GOK functions and to prevent human rights abuses.  CA was instrumental in transition from military control to civilian control by GOK after war’s end.  In 1991, after Operation Desert Storm, the US, while establishing “no-fly” zones, did not support Iraqi and Kurdish factions rebelling against the Saddam Hussein regime.

In Haiti in 1994, Operation Uphold Democracy once again placed demands on CA for specialized talent to work with heads of a foreign government at the ministerial level.  Short term objectives were met, but the Haitian government did not embrace the long term goals of democracy, economic reform, human rights and the rule of law that were bequeathed to them by US CA advisors.  But, only Haitians could save themselves and they freely elected a government that was interested only in returning to business-as-usual and having the donor nations subsidize them.

About Bosnia, Richard Newman wrote in US News & World Report, “As the multinational force [Implementation Force, or IFOR] . . . was waiting to enter Bosnia in 1995 . . . Army CA soldiers [drank very bad whiskey with local chieftains] . . . listening to their concerns that IFOR might disrupt their communities. . . . Ten years ago, integrating these unorthodox warriors into a major mission from the start would have been unthinkable.  But today Special Operations Forces (SOF), which includes CA . . . are becoming the military’s most sought after troops. . . .  The unique capabilities and accomplishments of SOF appeal to ambassadors and [military commanders] alike.  As a result, SOF missions had nearly tripled since 1991.”[viii]

Unlike Desert Storm, Haiti and Bosnia, CA in Afghanistan in 2001 was originally limited to logistical aspects of humanitarian aid.  But necessity demanded that the mission expand, and newly formed Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) were recommending and coordinating projects that have impact at the national level to bolster the Karzai government.

We face threats which have no conventional military forces or clear national centers of gravity, as illustrated by Somalia, Rwanda and Haiti, and now Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, and elsewhere in Africa.  Here threats are sub-national groups, disintegrating social structures, disease and environmental degradation.  The conventional forces that fight aggressor nations are usually not appropriate to address these unconventional threats.  But Bernard Trainor, writing for The Wall Street Journal, was more critical.  He said the military has trouble coming to terms with this post-Cold War phenomenon of peacekeeping in places like Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo.  It is easy to understand the military’s unease.  US soldiers are trained to close on the enemy and destroy him with the utmost violence.  COIN and postwar stability and peace operations, on the other hand, require a complex balance between carefully targeted violence against hardcore insurgents and restraint to avoid collateral damage to a population whose support is essential to mission success.  It is difficult to expect young American soldiers to be warriors, policemen and diplomats as well.[ix]

Once again, there was heated debate on the extent of US military involvement in reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There was no support in the Bush administration for “nation-building” in Afghanistan or Iraq, but necessity dictated otherwise.  Many civilian and military leaders believed that war-fighting was the only appropriate role of the military and, beyond exerting control, reconstruction must be done by civilians.  They believed that military involvement in nation-building was wrong and that peace operations were a misuse of soldiers and resources.  The US military intensely dislikes its involvement in nation-building.  No matter how constricted the military mission at the outset, Afghanistan, Iraq and all of the failed-state peace operations have forced an expanded military role to engage in rebuilding efforts. Necessity has so dictated, and every sizable military operation since World War II has repeatedly demonstrated that necessity, not doctrine, dictates policy.

Jay Tolson wrote in US News & World Report that America recoils from the concept of “empire.”[x] United States foreign policy is conflicted between isolation and humanitarian intervention.  The nation has agonized over not being principled enough while engaged in “realpolitik”, a strategy whose objective is to maintain stability by endorsing the status quo regardless of how despotic and repressive the regimes we support.  We have the state of mind of a country that has not decided what it wants to be on the world stage.   As disagreeable to some who regard American imperialism as the root of all evil as it is to others who believe that the world beyond US shores is not the nation’s business, there is a basic truth-Many people owe their freedom to the exercise of American military power.

US Army CA is the most qualified and competent military capability to initiate and manage reconstruction efforts that involve the civilian population.  The U.N., nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and private volunteer organizations (PVOs) and the international donor community play a key role in distributing humanitarian assistance in high-risk areas in collapsed states.  These civilian aid organizations play a huge role in nation-building when the military has control or where a functioning state exists.  But in a conflict environment in which the US is an occupying power, or at the end of hostilities when a government is unable to provide essential services, or in COIN operations-whenever political objectives that require civilian support are more important than conventional military objectives-then CA should take a priority role in coordinating military and civilian activities.   In violent environments like COIN, there is no other US military or civilian capability that can manage and coordinate civil-military operations. Legitimacy is the primary objective, and building that legitimacy against insurgents requires public support.  As the interface between the US military and the civilian population the mission of CA is to build the public support needed for legitimacy by helping to establish essential services and promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law through the supported government.

2. The Civil Affairs Mission- Civil Affairs is inherently a responsibility of command.  There are four mission areas for Army CA, each having significant operational law guidelines:

1. Support for conventional operations.  This includes support for combat operations by minimizing civilian interference and mobilizing human and natural resources for combat support.  It also includes assessments to determine the humanitarian and life-sustaining operations and   status of the foreign nation (FN) infrastructure.

2. Support for special operations, including irregular warfare and counterinsurgency (COIN).

3. Support for civil administration.  This includes nation-assistance, which usually involves specialized advice and assistance to foreign nation officials based on CA expertise in those CA functional specialties listed below.

4. Military assistance to domestic civil authorities and support in domestic emergencies such as natural disaster and civil disturbances.

The work of CA was divided into 21 functional specialties which are not the equivalent of active component career specialties, but instead related to essential services provided by a government to its people: Rule of Law, Public Administration, Public Education, Public Safety, Public Health, Economic Development, Food and Agriculture, Public Communications, Transportation, Public Works and Utilities, Cultural Relations, Civil Information, Dislocated Civilians, Emergency Services, and Environmental Management, etc.  That number was reduced further to 6 “specialty areas”: rule of law, economic stability, governance, public health and welfare, infrastructure, and public education.

Civil Affairs elements in the US Marine Corps operate in support of conventional USMC amphibious-based combat operations.  In the USMC, military lawyers are cross-trained to function as a CA staff officer until CA units arrive.  USMC CA units remain in the Reserve and have fully engaged in COIN in Iraq.  With most of the CA capability in the US Army, other branches of the US armed services have only recently-since the Iraq war-created a CA capability.  The Air Force is creating a CA capability in civil aviation support.  The US Navy has recently established CA units to engage in civil maritime development.

What does CA offer that is not found in the rest of the armed forces?  It is the soldier capable of being a warrior-diplomat and possessing technical skills needed to build or manage a country’s infrastructure-sanitation, public transport, rule of law, health care systems and other public services. This can be done only by soldiers with unique and appropriate civilian backgrounds.  Highly skilled personnel from the reserve component have performed such jobs in Panama, the Persian Gulf, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, and Iraq, and they offer expertise that exists only in Reserve CA units.  The functional specialists bring their civilian careers with them to the Active Duty.

The challenge to the Army is determining what CA operations and activities the world will need in the future.  The trend for deploying CA soldiers will continue as has been the case in Iraq and Afghanistan.  When the mission calls for an investment banker with fifteen years of Wall Street experience or someone who runs schools or a health care system, or an engineer who has built national road systems, the mission planner cannot go to the active component and say, “Give me one of these people.”  By their very nature, these functional specialty positions require civilian skills and must come from the reserve components because the Defense establishment cannot maintain them in the active component.  CA’s true value is its ability to access the necessary civilian-acquired skills, put those soldiers in uniform and deploy them to perform specific technical missions.  The National Guard and the Reserve have been particularly effective in relating to the civilian-oriented needs because they bring to the table the wealth of experience gained in their civilian roles which is enhanced by their Guard and Reserve training.  They can and have operated with the foreign-nation Prime Minister and the Ministers as their counterparts.

3. Bridging the Gap- There is often a dangerous gap between the end of war (or intervention in peace operations) and the establishment of a stable foreign government capable of providing essential services.  In Iraq and Afghanistan, reconstruction continues amid instability as insurgents make war on Iraqi and Afghani efforts to establish a better way of life.  The gap is “instability” in which victory on the battlefield can be lost to upheaval, violence and disintegrating social structures.  Military operations must continue to prevent anarchy and support both short-term and long-term recovery.  After victory is achieved, the end-state now becomes “stability.”  Even after Department of State (DOS) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) resume their responsibilities as lead agencies, the military is still needed to bridge the gap between military victory and political stability.  With increasing frequency, host nations request help from CA.  Afghanistan and Iraq have required it, and CA has filled the gap.  CA coordinates US Armed Forces activity with non governmental and private volunteer organizations (NGO/PVO), US civilian agencies and the international community to prevent duplication of efforts and to provide security and assistance for their activities.

In the long-term plan for recovery, there are three tiers to the CA mission that move the operation across the “Bridge to Stability”:

A. Civil-Military Operations (CMO) and Humanitarian Assistance – CA generalists prevent civilian interference with military operations (e.g., assembling refugees out of the combat zone), mobilize civilian resources to support military operations (e.g., foreign nation labor, materials to be used by the military), and conduct emergency operations to sustain life (e.g., distribution of food and water).

B. Functional Team Assessments – CA specialists determine the status of the local infrastructure, develop short-term and long-term project and recovery plans, set project priorities based on reports of foreign nation water sources and food production, recommend projects to enhance production of food and potable water, and analyze necessity and “benefits versus risk” for the Civil Administration mission to achieve stability.

C. Civil Administration – CA specialists work directly with all levels of foreign nation ministries and the Inter-Agency Task Force to develop plans, develop human resources to assist the government, jump-start government services, implement reforms, and determine relations among the ministries (e.g., agriculture, veterinary and water experts consult with ministers of agriculture and public facilities to develop comprehensive plans for water treatment plants and farming systems).  CA functional specialists work with the highest levels of government to include the Prime Minister and Ministers as their counterparts. The foreign-nation counterparts are experienced and the Army must match this level of expertise or fail in its mission.

At the strategic level of the Ministerial Advisory Team (MAT) mission, CA is a tool of the commander and/or the ambassador to maintain stability, assist in accomplishing US foreign policy objectives at the national level, and to fulfill the commander’s legal and moral obligations.  This mission develops human resources in the foreign nation, mentors reformers and establishes an ethic of governing for the benefit of the governed.  Civil Affairs teams assist the host nation (HN) to secure a safe environment in which the rule of law can survive, whether performing CMO, conducting functional team assessments or advising HN ministries through Ministerial Advisory Teams.  The HN must demonstrate its legitimacy by responding to the needs of the very people the insurgency is trying to influence.  Civil Affairs has proven its value as a force multiplier in US military operations since World War II, but this is often forgotten, as it was again during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  To achieve the political objectives of COIN and stability operations, CA must be part of operational plans and deployed across the spectrum of US conflict, from civil-military operations to civil administration.

 4. An Exit Strategy- Civil Affairs units provide the most qualified, skilled and capable personnel in the inventory of the US government to go into troubled areas during and immediately following hostilities to guide a nascent democracy in the recovery and reconstruction process.  With that said, CA does not contemplate seeing that recovery and reconstruction through to conclusion.  CA establishes the process, sets short-term, mid-term and long-term goals and objectives, and plans for the transfer of the assistance mission to mid and long-term aid providers such as the UN, USAID, NGO/PVO community and the host nation itself.  In other words, CA works its way out of a job once stability is achieved.

To develop an exit strategy, one must first determine the conditions of those ministries of the HN that are responsible for the rule of law, providing essential services and establishing a viable economy. Using the different models of Kuwait, Haiti and Bosnia, and now Iraq and Afghanistan, we know that even after the most basic humanitarian assistance mission (e.g., food and water distribution), CA cannot simply depart the Area of Operations (AO).  CA soldiers must devise a transition plan and exit only upon achievement of the transition criteria.

 The end-state of a CA mission is stability, and CA soldiers are the gap-fillers to achieve it and initiate the hand-off.  Military planners should relate their exit strategies to the end state of stability.  Stability operations are qualitative, not finite.  Such operations require that the military work with a foreign population, often to break with the past.  That defies setting an absolute end-date.  Haitians said, “How soon you want the troops to leave depends on how soon you want them back.”[xi]

5. A Never-Ending Debate and the “Flat Learning Curve”But why is this a job for the US military?  Isn’t it a responsibility of the Department of State (DOS)?  Interventions in Haiti and Bosnia proved once again that the need for ministry advisers in Panama in 1989 and Kuwait in 1991 was no fluke.  Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt considered the first military government missions during World War II, this has been a never-ending debate.  At first President Roosevelt wanted civilian agencies to exercise control over conquered and liberated areas. After all, wasn’t this DOS business?  But political preferences could not long resist the course of the war.  Adverse experience in the North African campaign showed there was an immediate need for experts with critical civilian skills not found in the Active Component, and that DOS personnel could not function in such environments.  These experts had to be soldiers because only soldiers could operate under such dangerous conditions.  These specialized civilian-soldiers had to collaborate with local civilian authorities and their DOS counterparts to fulfill their civil-military mission.  And contrary to opinions held by many conventional military thinkers, the mission was much greater in scope and complexity than mere “control” or low-level sustainment of foreign civilians.  The Army had the capability to perform the mission while civilian agencies did not.  Necessity, not doctrine, dictated the policies that deployed military government units and gave birth to modern CA.[xii]  Thus, the army involuntarily inherited the lead on missions that go well beyond the initial objectives of war because of the inability of the civilian agencies that should be participating.

Until December, 2006, the debate on the role of the military in Iraq as well as postwar and peace operations continued unchanged and unabated.  With war casualties and costs mounting and no stability achieved, it was as divisive as any debate over US involvement in rebuilding other nations.  The long-held conventional sentiment was that the exclusive mission of the military is to kill people and destroy things.  Over-simplistic to be sure, but conventional military thinking was that the employment of combat forces in COIN, peacekeeping and postwar was a misuse of its soldiers and resources.

While that sentiment is widespread, necessity has overruled it again and again.  The reasons that CA ends up doing these missions is that the DOS and DOJ and other civilian agencies never show up.  The debate over the scope and extent of the CA mission has repeated itself for every major deployment, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, necessity has again trumped doctrine and driven policy.  The “Flat Learning Curve” has been travelled again.  Army leadership assumed that every war could be fought like Desert Storm, which was the last battle between conventional armies and determined by overwhelming force.  The “mission accomplished” syndrome explains the Army’s desire to depart as soon as the shooting stops and to dump the CA mission on someone else.  Our enemies were not so considerate.  They chose and will always choose to fight us where we are the weakest.  All elements of military and civilian assistance must have security to function.  The CA capability is one that can function and coordinate with civilian agencies in the violent and unforgiving environments of COIN and post-war stability operations.[xiii]

6. The Debate Is Resolved…at least for now- Although there were lonely voices arguing that the Army needed to focus on COIN in the wake of the Cold War, the sad fact is that when an insurgency began in Iraq in the late summer of 2003, the Army was unprepared to fight it.  The US Army was designed, organized, trained and equipped to defeat another conventional army.  It was not prepared for an enemy that knew it could not hope to defeat the US Army on a conventional battlefield, and therefore chose to wage asymmetric warfare from the shadows.  And because commanders did not know COIN or were risk-averse to any casualties on non-combat missions, they held back on CA activities for fear of being docked on an Officer Efficiency Report.  Examples came out of Haiti and Bosnia where commanders considered their prime (or sole) mission as force-protection with no room for any mission with risk.  The US was again slow to adapt, but adapt it did.  The surge strategy of General Petraeus, one of the authors of the Counterinsurgency Manual, was to use an influx of US forces as a constabulary force in Iraqi neighborhoods to protect civilians and win popular support for the Iraqi government.  That, in combination with the “Anbar Awakening”, the change of alliances negotiated by the Army and Marines with the Sunni fighters in Anbar Province, turned defeat into a gradual and tenuous victory.  That resulted in more cease-fires throughout Iraq.[xiv]

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has fully recognized these problems and stated that the Pentagon has to do more than modernize its conventional forces; it must also focus on today’s unconventional conflicts, as well as tomorrow’s.  The defining principle of the Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy is balance. The US cannot expect to eliminate national security risks through higher defense budgets that buy everything to do everything.  The strategy strives for balance in three areas:  

-between trying to prevail in current conflicts and preparing for other contingencies, 

-between institutionalizing capabilities for COIN and foreign military assistance and maintaining the US conventional and strategic technological edge against other military forces; and  

-between retaining those cultural traits that have made the US armed forces successful and  shedding those that hamper their ability to do what needs to be done. The US ability to deal with future threats will depend on its performance in current conflicts.  To fail-or to be seen to fail-in either Iraq or Afghanistan would be a disastrous blow to US credibility, both among friends and allies and especially among potential adversaries.[xv] 

The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, US Army Center for Law and Military Operations has published The Rule Of Law Handbook- A Practitioner’s Guide For Judge Advocates 2008 which states: “It is highly likely the Global War on Terror (GWOT) will require the US military to engage in operations that include rule of law operations as an essential part of the overall mission.  The term was mentioned nine times in the 2002 National Security Strategy, and sixteen times in the 2006 National Security Strategy (NSS).  As the 2002 NSS explains: America must  stand firmly for the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the absolute power of the state; free speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect for women; religious and ethnic tolerance; and respect for private property.

But, still feeling whipsawed in the “never-ending debate,” the authors expressed frustration while recognizing necessity.  “While there is little debate over the need for such a practitioner’s guide, there is little else in the rule of law arena upon which there is widespread agreement. There are divergent, and often conflicting, views among academics, various US government agencies, US allies and even within the Department of Defense (DOD), as to whether or not to conduct rule of law operations, what constitutes a rule of law operation, how to conduct a rule of law operation, or even what is meant by the term “rule of law.”  As in the case of any emerging area of legal practice or military specialty, doctrine is non-existent, official guidance is incomplete, and educational opportunities are limited. While acknowledging the above challenges, the Judge Advocate General’s Corps leadership still recognizes the inevitability that Judge Advocates on the ground under extraordinarily difficult conditions will be called upon to support, and even directly participate in and lead rule of law operations.

In Iraq and Afghanistan US policy makers suffered from a lack of focus in choosing development initiatives and rotating personnel.  Bureaucratic turf battles and demands for “credit” plagued efforts to establish legitimacy, an effective rule of law and governmental capacityMission success required seeking the common good rather than promoting narrow agency and personal agendas.  In another replay of the “Flat Learning Curve”, these problems were evident in civilian-based Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) which are dedicated to rebuilding critical infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan such as schools and utilities.  The PRTs were plagued by low funding, not enough staff and poor leadership.  PRTs are mostly ad-hoc outfits, commonly described as a “pickup game.”  Because government workers lack many of the skills needed for post-conflict reconstruction, private contractors (many with military backgrounds) are hired.  Lacking institutional precedents, PRTs are largely personality dependant for their success or failure, and there are no clear lines of authority because the leaders often answer to multiple agency commands both in country and back in Washington.

A significant challenge is finding people with the needed skills and willing to serve in combat zones.  Whenever military personnel are put in CA assignments in divisional organizations, Joint Task Forces or whatever, these soldiers feel that their assignment is career diminishing and not career enhancing.   The Defense Department provides the majority of PRT members, but there are not enough CA staffers to fill all the teams’ open slots.  Several sources told committee investigators that they feared that serving with a PRT would be a “career disruption, not career enhancing,” because officer promotion boards might not place the same value on this service as they would for service in conventional combat units.  Neither the military nor civilian agencies offer a career track for personnel performing what the government calls “stability and reconstruction operations.”[xvi]

 7.  Conclusion-  US Army Civil Affair is the Army’s Bridge to Stability- The strategic lessons experienced but not learned from US military history, especially since Vietnam, should have taught that COIN is not an obsolete concept, and that military operations other than war-by whatever name-are essential to protect US interests postwar and in peacetime.  Painful lessons have taught that traditional combat capabilities are unsuited for these non-combat operations.  Dr. Stanley Sandler, a historian, said the fact that conventional US military officers find themselves adrift in such operations is not without irony, in that these undertakings are nothing new.  Rather, the US military has engaged in nontraditional peace and stability operations more than conventional warfare throughout its history.[xvii]

Yet, the “Flat Learning Curve is alive and well.  The Active Component continues to diminish the role of CA, especially in the Civil Administration support role where the Reserve Component is the prime source for the mission.  They continue to view Reservists as second-class soldiers.  CA assignments should be seen as career enhancing and not career diminishing.  Recently in Iraq one military deputy PRT leader recommended that the deputies should not come from the military’s CA brigades, as is common, because these deputies tend to be reservists viewed as civilians by the combat brigade leadership.  Instead, he argued, the deputies should be active duty combat arms officers.  In the eyes of the brigade leadership, they have more credibility in explaining PRT capabilities to higher ranks and are thus better positioned to get the PRTs needed support.[xviii]

In wartime, CA supports combat forces; but in COIN there is a complex balance to be achieved between “wining hearts and minds” and killing or capturing those who can never be persuaded.  In postwar and peacetime, priorities are most often reversed: combat forces end up supporting CA missions.  In a seamless Total Force, CA civilian soldiers are not just Reservists, but are full partners not only with their active-component counterparts, but as an extension of both the US military and the diplomatic corps in an interagency and multinational environment.  Much of the opposition to military operations other than war has to do with their unconventional nature, which requires the unique leadership found in CA Reserves.  The Reserves combine the characteristics of both the warrior and the diplomat and with expertise that matches the highest levels of their foreign nation counterparts in government.  Post-Cold War strategy requires military capabilities that are as constructive during peacetime as they are destructive during wartime.

BG(RET) Bruce B. Bingham served as the Commander of the US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (ABN) from 1997 to 2001, and was involved in planning and staffing the Civil Affairs missions in Bosnia and Kosovo.  He created and led the Ministerial Advisory Team during Operation Just Cause in Haiti, and served as an advisor to three ministries during Operation Just Cause in Panama.  He holds a BA from Rutgers College and a MPPM from the Yale School of Organization and Management

COL (RET) Daniel L. Rubini served in the 358th Civil Affairs Brigade, Norristown, PA.  He served in Desert Shield/Storm, in Haiti (Operation Uphold Democracy), in Central America as Chief of Civil Affairs, US SouthCom’s Hurricane Mitch reconstruction.  He served as Senior Advisor, Coalition Provisional Authority, Ministry of Justice from September 2003 to February 2004. COL Rubini practiced law for 22 years and is a US Administrative Law Judge in Philadelphia, PA.

COL (RET) Michael J. Cleary, a Philadelphia prosecutor, participated in Operation JUST CAUSE, Operation DESERT STORM, several missions to Haiti in the 1990s, and commanded the Combined Joint Civil Military Task Force in Bosnia during Operation JOINT GUARD in 1998.  In 2005 COL Cleary served as senior legal advisor to the Justice Attaché at the US Embassy in Baghdad.  He holds a B.A. from LaSalle College, an M.A. from Villanova, and a J.D. from the Delaware Law School. 


[i] John Hersey, A Bell for Adano (New York: Vintage Books, 1946), foreword.

[ii] Bingham, Bruce B  and Daniel L. Rubini and Michael J. Cleary  “US Army Civil Affairs-The Army’s ‘Ounce of Prevention”  Association of the United States Army, Institute of Land Warfare No. 41 March, 2003

[iii] Stanley Sandler, Glad to See Them Come and Sorry to See Them Go: A History of US Army Tactical Civil Affairs/Military Government, 1775-1991 (Fort Bragg, N.C.: US Army Special Operations Command, 1998)

[iv] Jay Tolson, “The New American Empire?” US News & World Report, 13 January 2003, pp. 34-40.

[v] Sandler,  id.

[vi] Colin L. Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography (New York: Random House, 1995), p. 431.

[vii] Quoted in David Fairhall, Larry Elliot and Martin Walker, “Allied planes bomb Iraq: Kuwait’s liberation begun, says US,” The Guardian, 17 January 1991.

[viii] Richard J. Newman, “Tougher than Hell,” USNews&World Report, 3 November1997, p. 42.

[ix] Bernard E. Trainor, “The Perfect War Led America’s Military Astray,” The Wall Street Journal, 2 August 2000.

[x] Tolson  id.

[xi] Bingham, Rubini and Cleary, “US Army Civil Affairs Ministerial Advisory Teams Deploy to Haiti”; Rubini and Cleary, “Judicial Intervention in Haiti.” Military Review   September 2001.

[xii] Coles, Harry L. and Albert K. Weinberg. US Army in World War II Special Studies: Civil Affairs Soldiers Become Governors. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1964

[xiii] Nagl, John A. and Sewel, Sarah   Forward and Introduction to the University of Chicago Press Edition of “US Army & Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual”   December 2006

[xiv] Nagl,  id  Forward

[xv] Gates, Robert M.  “A Balanced Strategy- Reprogramming the Pentagon for a New Age”  Foreign Affairs,  January/February 2009

[xvi] Greg Grant “Reconstruction Teams Hindered By Lack of Resources”   Skills Government Executive.com   April 28, 2008 and Rusty Barber and Sam Parker “Evaluating Iraq’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams While Drawdown Looms: A USIP Trip Report”  United States Institute of Peace  By December 2008

[xvii] Sandler,  id.

[xviii] Grant, Barber and Parker,  id.

US Army Civil Affairs- The Army’s Bridge To Stability

Bruce B. Bingham, Daniel L. Rubini, Michael J. Cleary 

Introduction- In the American classic “A Bell for Adano”, John Hersey wrote “America is on its way to Europe. You can be as isolationist as you want to be, but that is a fact. . . . Until there is a seeming stability in Europe, our armies and our after-armies will have to stay in Europe…Neither the eloquence of Churchill nor the humaneness of Roosevelt, no Charter, no four freedoms, no dreamer’s diagram . . . no treaty-none of these things can guarantee anything. Only men can guarantee, only the behavior of men under pressure, only our [soldiers]”.[i]  Published in 1944, A Bell for Adano is a fictionalized story based on the real-life struggles of then Major Frank E. Toscani (subsequently Colonel Toscani), a US Army Civil Affairs (CA) Officer in occupied Sicily during World War II.  It won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize.  Sixty-five years later, Hersey’s words remain true, not only for military peacekeeping operations but for counter-insurgency wars like Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever we fight wars where we must win support of a nation’s people rather than just take and hold real estate.  In counter-insurgency (COIN), we not only “clear and hold”, we also “build”.  Combat operations are destructive.  CA operations are constructive.

Civil Affairs is one of the most complex and sensitive operations in which the US Army can engage, involving the interface between our soldiers and the civilians in the area of operations.  It is also one of the most misunderstood Army missions and-to some who see it as “unwarriorlike”-the most criticized.  History, however, shows that successful Army CA operations during and after more conventional military stability and reconstruction operations are key to moving from battlefield success to final victory.[ii]  The new Counterinsurgency Field Manual incorporates all the activities of CA since its first days as Military Government in World War II.  In wartime, CA prevents civilian interference with military operations and conducts humanitarian assistance. It mobilizes foreign civilian resources for combat support. In counterinsurgency (COIN), postwar and peace operations, CA provides specialized assistance directly to foreign governments to establish services and stabilize functions throughout all levels of government up to the highest ministerial level.  Civil Affairs soldiers bridge the dangerous gap between the end of war and the establishment of a stable foreign government capable of providing essential services.  If we are to win the peace as decisively as we win the war, CA must be a player in the planning and execution of Army operations from beginning to end.

The roots of US Army Civil Affairs can be traced back to civil-military operations in the American Revolution in 1775, when Montreal and other parts of Canada were under Continental Army control.  Finally recognized during World War II as an inherent command responsibility, CA was initially designated as “Military Government” in the occupation of Germany, Italy, Korea and Japan and have deployed to every significant operation since.  Today, the pressure on the Reserves is brutal because of frequent wartime deployments.

1. Glad to See Them Come and Sorry to See Them Go- The Role of the US Military in Nation-building[iii]  “The military has a uniquely demanding job today.  Instead of preparing for territorial defense, US troops must safeguard vaguely defined American and global ‘interests’ in an increasing number of far flung places.”[iv]  The US military has engaged in these nontraditional operations throughout its history, far more than it has waged conventional warfare.  After the Mexican War in the 1840’s, General Winfield Scott’s occupation was such a model of excellence that one of his junior officers, Ulysses S. Grant remarked that the Mexicans regretted Scott’s departure almost as much as they hated to see his arrival.

The CA branch of the Army originated as Military Government during World War II to meet requirements for military specialists to administer areas liberated from German and Japanese occupation and to govern areas in Germany and Japan occupied by the US Army during and after the war.  Military personnel with appropriate civilian skills and education were formed into military government units to assure law and order and provide essential services to the populations of territories administered by the US Army.  After World War II, these units were renamed “Civil Affairs.”  In its postwar mission of military government in Germany, Japan and Italy, US Army CA became the world’s model for maintaining stability, restarting democratic civilian governments and preventing future wars.  Unfortunately, CA in Korea remained a hit-or-miss, come-as-you-are operation until the last few months of the war.  Few, if any, of the lessons of World War II had been learned.  ”The Army desired to put Korea behind it and go back to its preferred strategy, the defense of Europe against the Soviet hordes.”[v]

By the early 1960s, almost all (97 percent) of the US Army’s CA capability was in the Army Reserve, where it remains today.  This was (and remains) appropriate because the professional competence of CA personnel is derived principally from their civilian careers.  In Vietnam, the concept of COIN was characterized as “winning the hearts and minds of the people.”  That slogan was exemplified by US Army Special Forces and military advisors engaged in COIN.  After America’s failed nation-building efforts in Vietnam, the Army swore “never again” and prepared to “win” conventional wars, not to “contain” or even fight counterinsurgencies.  Certain important experiences of fighting COIN were forgotten again.  Lessons learned about “winning hearts and minds” (i.e., civilian support and stability operations) faded to black.  Enlightenment focused on achieving victory in conventional war.  Securing the victory was taken for granted and fighting a COIN war was out of the question.  There was no thought given to what must be done after the shooting stopped.  Civil Affairs slid into the backwaters of the Army’s priorities-that is, until Panama in 1989.

Then Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell said this of the Panama intervention (Just Cause): “We are going to eliminate Noriega and the PDF [Panamanian Defense Forces].  If that succeeds, we will be running the country until we can establish a civilian government and a new security force.”  The Panamanians were totally unprepared to govern, let alone make democracy work.  Despite these handicaps, one Panamanian businessman remarked, “You [the United States] got the police working; not too well, but working, and you got the government ministries working’.”   But General Powell concluded, “We did not plan well enough for reintroducing civil government.”[vi]

In 1989, after the Russians were ousted the US walked away from its Afghan allies and gave them no significant help to build a government.  The Afghans saw it as betrayal and abandonment.

Then in 1991, came Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  President George H. W. Bush mandated large-scale involvement of CA: “The legitimate [Government of Kuwait, or GOK] will be restored to its rightful place and Kuwait will once again be free.”[vii]  CA advisors worked with the Kuwaiti ministries to “jump-start” GOK functions and to prevent human rights abuses.  CA was instrumental in transition from military control to civilian control by GOK after war’s end.  In 1991, after Operation Desert Storm, the US, while establishing “no-fly” zones, did not support Iraqi and Kurdish factions rebelling against the Saddam Hussein regime.

In Haiti in 1994, Operation Uphold Democracy once again placed demands on CA for specialized talent to work with heads of a foreign government at the ministerial level.  Short term objectives were met, but the Haitian government did not embrace the long term goals of democracy, economic reform, human rights and the rule of law that were bequeathed to them by US CA advisors.  But, only Haitians could save themselves and they freely elected a government that was interested only in returning to business-as-usual and having the donor nations subsidize them.

About Bosnia, Richard Newman wrote in US News & World Report, “As the multinational force [Implementation Force, or IFOR] . . . was waiting to enter Bosnia in 1995 . . . Army CA soldiers [drank very bad whiskey with local chieftains] . . . listening to their concerns that IFOR might disrupt their communities. . . . Ten years ago, integrating these unorthodox warriors into a major mission from the start would have been unthinkable.  But today Special Operations Forces (SOF), which includes CA . . . are becoming the military’s most sought after troops. . . .  The unique capabilities and accomplishments of SOF appeal to ambassadors and [military commanders] alike.  As a result, SOF missions had nearly tripled since 1991.”[viii]

Unlike Desert Storm, Haiti and Bosnia, CA in Afghanistan in 2001 was originally limited to logistical aspects of humanitarian aid.  But necessity demanded that the mission expand, and newly formed Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) were recommending and coordinating projects that have impact at the national level to bolster the Karzai government.

We face threats which have no conventional military forces or clear national centers of gravity, as illustrated by Somalia, Rwanda and Haiti, and now Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, and elsewhere in Africa.  Here threats are sub-national groups, disintegrating social structures, disease and environmental degradation.  The conventional forces that fight aggressor nations are usually not appropriate to address these unconventional threats.  But Bernard Trainor, writing for The Wall Street Journal, was more critical.  He said the military has trouble coming to terms with this post-Cold War phenomenon of peacekeeping in places like Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo.  It is easy to understand the military’s unease.  US soldiers are trained to close on the enemy and destroy him with the utmost violence.  COIN and postwar stability and peace operations, on the other hand, require a complex balance between carefully targeted violence against hardcore insurgents and restraint to avoid collateral damage to a population whose support is essential to mission success.  It is difficult to expect young American soldiers to be warriors, policemen and diplomats as well.[ix]

Once again, there was heated debate on the extent of US military involvement in reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There was no support in the Bush administration for “nation-building” in Afghanistan or Iraq, but necessity dictated otherwise.  Many civilian and military leaders believed that war-fighting was the only appropriate role of the military and, beyond exerting control, reconstruction must be done by civilians.  They believed that military involvement in nation-building was wrong and that peace operations were a misuse of soldiers and resources.  The US military intensely dislikes its involvement in nation-building.  No matter how constricted the military mission at the outset, Afghanistan, Iraq and all of the failed-state peace operations have forced an expanded military role to engage in rebuilding efforts. Necessity has so dictated, and every sizable military operation since World War II has repeatedly demonstrated that necessity, not doctrine, dictates policy.

Jay Tolson wrote in US News & World Report that America recoils from the concept of “empire.”[x] United States foreign policy is conflicted between isolation and humanitarian intervention.  The nation has agonized over not being principled enough while engaged in “realpolitik”, a strategy whose objective is to maintain stability by endorsing the status quo regardless of how despotic and repressive the regimes we support.  We have the state of mind of a country that has not decided what it wants to be on the world stage.   As disagreeable to some who regard American imperialism as the root of all evil as it is to others who believe that the world beyond US shores is not the nation’s business, there is a basic truth-Many people owe their freedom to the exercise of American military power.

US Army CA is the most qualified and competent military capability to initiate and manage reconstruction efforts that involve the civilian population.  The U.N., nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and private volunteer organizations (PVOs) and the international donor community play a key role in distributing humanitarian assistance in high-risk areas in collapsed states.  These civilian aid organizations play a huge role in nation-building when the military has control or where a functioning state exists.  But in a conflict environment in which the US is an occupying power, or at the end of hostilities when a government is unable to provide essential services, or in COIN operations-whenever political objectives that require civilian support are more important than conventional military objectives-then CA should take a priority role in coordinating military and civilian activities.   In violent environments like COIN, there is no other US military or civilian capability that can manage and coordinate civil-military operations. Legitimacy is the primary objective, and building that legitimacy against insurgents requires public support.  As the interface between the US military and the civilian population the mission of CA is to build the public support needed for legitimacy by helping to establish essential services and promoting democracy, human rights and the rule of law through the supported government.

2. The Civil Affairs Mission- Civil Affairs is inherently a responsibility of command.  There are four mission areas for Army CA, each having significant operational law guidelines:

1. Support for conventional operations.  This includes support for combat operations by minimizing civilian interference and mobilizing human and natural resources for combat support.  It also includes assessments to determine the humanitarian and life-sustaining operations and   status of the foreign nation (FN) infrastructure.

2. Support for special operations, including irregular warfare and counterinsurgency (COIN).

3. Support for civil administration.  This includes nation-assistance, which usually involves specialized advice and assistance to foreign nation officials based on CA expertise in those CA functional specialties listed below.

4. Military assistance to domestic civil authorities and support in domestic emergencies such as natural disaster and civil disturbances.

The work of CA was divided into 21 functional specialties which are not the equivalent of active component career specialties, but instead related to essential services provided by a government to its people: Rule of Law, Public Administration, Public Education, Public Safety, Public Health, Economic Development, Food and Agriculture, Public Communications, Transportation, Public Works and Utilities, Cultural Relations, Civil Information, Dislocated Civilians, Emergency Services, and Environmental Management, etc.  That number was reduced further to 6 “specialty areas”: rule of law, economic stability, governance, public health and welfare, infrastructure, and public education.

Civil Affairs elements in the US Marine Corps operate in support of conventional USMC amphibious-based combat operations.  In the USMC, military lawyers are cross-trained to function as a CA staff officer until CA units arrive.  USMC CA units remain in the Reserve and have fully engaged in COIN in Iraq.  With most of the CA capability in the US Army, other branches of the US armed services have only recently-since the Iraq war-created a CA capability.  The Air Force is creating a CA capability in civil aviation support.  The US Navy has recently established CA units to engage in civil maritime development.

What does CA offer that is not found in the rest of the armed forces?  It is the soldier capable of being a warrior-diplomat and possessing technical skills needed to build or manage a country’s infrastructure-sanitation, public transport, rule of law, health care systems and other public services. This can be done only by soldiers with unique and appropriate civilian backgrounds.  Highly skilled personnel from the reserve component have performed such jobs in Panama, the Persian Gulf, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, and Iraq, and they offer expertise that exists only in Reserve CA units.  The functional specialists bring their civilian careers with them to the Active Duty.

The challenge to the Army is determining what CA operations and activities the world will need in the future.  The trend for deploying CA soldiers will continue as has been the case in Iraq and Afghanistan.  When the mission calls for an investment banker with fifteen years of Wall Street experience or someone who runs schools or a health care system, or an engineer who has built national road systems, the mission planner cannot go to the active component and say, “Give me one of these people.”  By their very nature, these functional specialty positions require civilian skills and must come from the reserve components because the Defense establishment cannot maintain them in the active component.  CA’s true value is its ability to access the necessary civilian-acquired skills, put those soldiers in uniform and deploy them to perform specific technical missions.  The National Guard and the Reserve have been particularly effective in relating to the civilian-oriented needs because they bring to the table the wealth of experience gained in their civilian roles which is enhanced by their Guard and Reserve training.  They can and have operated with the foreign-nation Prime Minister and the Ministers as their counterparts.

3. Bridging the Gap- There is often a dangerous gap between the end of war (or intervention in peace operations) and the establishment of a stable foreign government capable of providing essential services.  In Iraq and Afghanistan, reconstruction continues amid instability as insurgents make war on Iraqi and Afghani efforts to establish a better way of life.  The gap is “instability” in which victory on the battlefield can be lost to upheaval, violence and disintegrating social structures.  Military operations must continue to prevent anarchy and support both short-term and long-term recovery.  After victory is achieved, the end-state now becomes “stability.”  Even after Department of State (DOS) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) resume their responsibilities as lead agencies, the military is still needed to bridge the gap between military victory and political stability.  With increasing frequency, host nations request help from CA.  Afghanistan and Iraq have required it, and CA has filled the gap.  CA coordinates US Armed Forces activity with non governmental and private volunteer organizations (NGO/PVO), US civilian agencies and the international community to prevent duplication of efforts and to provide security and assistance for their activities.

In the long-term plan for recovery, there are three tiers to the CA mission that move the operation across the “Bridge to Stability”:

A. Civil-Military Operations (CMO) and Humanitarian Assistance – CA generalists prevent civilian interference with military operations (e.g., assembling refugees out of the combat zone), mobilize civilian resources to support military operations (e.g., foreign nation labor, materials to be used by the military), and conduct emergency operations to sustain life (e.g., distribution of food and water).

B. Functional Team Assessments – CA specialists determine the status of the local infrastructure, develop short-term and long-term project and recovery plans, set project priorities based on reports of foreign nation water sources and food production, recommend projects to enhance production of food and potable water, and analyze necessity and “benefits versus risk” for the Civil Administration mission to achieve stability.

C. Civil Administration – CA specialists work directly with all levels of foreign nation ministries and the Inter-Agency Task Force to develop plans, develop human resources to assist the government, jump-start government services, implement reforms, and determine relations among the ministries (e.g., agriculture, veterinary and water experts consult with ministers of agriculture and public facilities to develop comprehensive plans for water treatment plants and farming systems).  CA functional specialists work with the highest levels of government to include the Prime Minister and Ministers as their counterparts. The foreign-nation counterparts are experienced and the Army must match this level of expertise or fail in its mission.

At the strategic level of the Ministerial Advisory Team (MAT) mission, CA is a tool of the commander and/or the ambassador to maintain stability, assist in accomplishing US foreign policy objectives at the national level, and to fulfill the commander’s legal and moral obligations.  This mission develops human resources in the foreign nation, mentors reformers and establishes an ethic of governing for the benefit of the governed.  Civil Affairs teams assist the host nation (HN) to secure a safe environment in which the rule of law can survive, whether performing CMO, conducting functional team assessments or advising HN ministries through Ministerial Advisory Teams.  The HN must demonstrate its legitimacy by responding to the needs of the very people the insurgency is trying to influence.  Civil Affairs has proven its value as a force multiplier in US military operations since World War II, but this is often forgotten, as it was again during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  To achieve the political objectives of COIN and stability operations, CA must be part of operational plans and deployed across the spectrum of US conflict, from civil-military operations to civil administration.

 4. An Exit Strategy- Civil Affairs units provide the most qualified, skilled and capable personnel in the inventory of the US government to go into troubled areas during and immediately following hostilities to guide a nascent democracy in the recovery and reconstruction process.  With that said, CA does not contemplate seeing that recovery and reconstruction through to conclusion.  CA establishes the process, sets short-term, mid-term and long-term goals and objectives, and plans for the transfer of the assistance mission to mid and long-term aid providers such as the UN, USAID, NGO/PVO community and the host nation itself.  In other words, CA works its way out of a job once stability is achieved.

To develop an exit strategy, one must first determine the conditions of those ministries of the HN that are responsible for the rule of law, providing essential services and establishing a viable economy. Using the different models of Kuwait, Haiti and Bosnia, and now Iraq and Afghanistan, we know that even after the most basic humanitarian assistance mission (e.g., food and water distribution), CA cannot simply depart the Area of Operations (AO).  CA soldiers must devise a transition plan and exit only upon achievement of the transition criteria.

 The end-state of a CA mission is stability, and CA soldiers are the gap-fillers to achieve it and initiate the hand-off.  Military planners should relate their exit strategies to the end state of stability.  Stability operations are qualitative, not finite.  Such operations require that the military work with a foreign population, often to break with the past.  That defies setting an absolute end-date.  Haitians said, “How soon you want the troops to leave depends on how soon you want them back.”[xi]

5. A Never-Ending Debate and the “Flat Learning Curve”But why is this a job for the US military?  Isn’t it a responsibility of the Department of State (DOS)?  Interventions in Haiti and Bosnia proved once again that the need for ministry advisers in Panama in 1989 and Kuwait in 1991 was no fluke.  Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt considered the first military government missions during World War II, this has been a never-ending debate.  At first President Roosevelt wanted civilian agencies to exercise control over conquered and liberated areas. After all, wasn’t this DOS business?  But political preferences could not long resist the course of the war.  Adverse experience in the North African campaign showed there was an immediate need for experts with critical civilian skills not found in the Active Component, and that DOS personnel could not function in such environments.  These experts had to be soldiers because only soldiers could operate under such dangerous conditions.  These specialized civilian-soldiers had to collaborate with local civilian authorities and their DOS counterparts to fulfill their civil-military mission.  And contrary to opinions held by many conventional military thinkers, the mission was much greater in scope and complexity than mere “control” or low-level sustainment of foreign civilians.  The Army had the capability to perform the mission while civilian agencies did not.  Necessity, not doctrine, dictated the policies that deployed military government units and gave birth to modern CA.[xii]  Thus, the army involuntarily inherited the lead on missions that go well beyond the initial objectives of war because of the inability of the civilian agencies that should be participating.

Until December, 2006, the debate on the role of the military in Iraq as well as postwar and peace operations continued unchanged and unabated.  With war casualties and costs mounting and no stability achieved, it was as divisive as any debate over US involvement in rebuilding other nations.  The long-held conventional sentiment was that the exclusive mission of the military is to kill people and destroy things.  Over-simplistic to be sure, but conventional military thinking was that the employment of combat forces in COIN, peacekeeping and postwar was a misuse of its soldiers and resources.

While that sentiment is widespread, necessity has overruled it again and again.  The reasons that CA ends up doing these missions is that the DOS and DOJ and other civilian agencies never show up.  The debate over the scope and extent of the CA mission has repeated itself for every major deployment, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, necessity has again trumped doctrine and driven policy.  The “Flat Learning Curve” has been travelled again.  Army leadership assumed that every war could be fought like Desert Storm, which was the last battle between conventional armies and determined by overwhelming force.  The “mission accomplished” syndrome explains the Army’s desire to depart as soon as the shooting stops and to dump the CA mission on someone else.  Our enemies were not so considerate.  They chose and will always choose to fight us where we are the weakest.  All elements of military and civilian assistance must have security to function.  The CA capability is one that can function and coordinate with civilian agencies in the violent and unforgiving environments of COIN and post-war stability operations.[xiii]

6. The Debate Is Resolved…at least for now- Although there were lonely voices arguing that the Army needed to focus on COIN in the wake of the Cold War, the sad fact is that when an insurgency began in Iraq in the late summer of 2003, the Army was unprepared to fight it.  The US Army was designed, organized, trained and equipped to defeat another conventional army.  It was not prepared for an enemy that knew it could not hope to defeat the US Army on a conventional battlefield, and therefore chose to wage asymmetric warfare from the shadows.  And because commanders did not know COIN or were risk-averse to any casualties on non-combat missions, they held back on CA activities for fear of being docked on an Officer Efficiency Report.  Examples came out of Haiti and Bosnia where commanders considered their prime (or sole) mission as force-protection with no room for any mission with risk.  The US was again slow to adapt, but adapt it did.  The surge strategy of General Petraeus, one of the authors of the Counterinsurgency Manual, was to use an influx of US forces as a constabulary force in Iraqi neighborhoods to protect civilians and win popular support for the Iraqi government.  That, in combination with the “Anbar Awakening”, the change of alliances negotiated by the Army and Marines with the Sunni fighters in Anbar Province, turned defeat into a gradual and tenuous victory.  That resulted in more cease-fires throughout Iraq.[xiv]

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates has fully recognized these problems and stated that the Pentagon has to do more than modernize its conventional forces; it must also focus on today’s unconventional conflicts, as well as tomorrow’s.  The defining principle of the Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy is balance. The US cannot expect to eliminate national security risks through higher defense budgets that buy everything to do everything.  The strategy strives for balance in three areas:  

-between trying to prevail in current conflicts and preparing for other contingencies, 

-between institutionalizing capabilities for COIN and foreign military assistance and maintaining the US conventional and strategic technological edge against other military forces; and  

-between retaining those cultural traits that have made the US armed forces successful and  shedding those that hamper their ability to do what needs to be done. The US ability to deal with future threats will depend on its performance in current conflicts.  To fail-or to be seen to fail-in either Iraq or Afghanistan would be a disastrous blow to US credibility, both among friends and allies and especially among potential adversaries.[xv] 

The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, US Army Center for Law and Military Operations has published The Rule Of Law Handbook- A Practitioner’s Guide For Judge Advocates 2008 which states: “It is highly likely the Global War on Terror (GWOT) will require the US military to engage in operations that include rule of law operations as an essential part of the overall mission.  The term was mentioned nine times in the 2002 National Security Strategy, and sixteen times in the 2006 National Security Strategy (NSS).  As the 2002 NSS explains: America must  stand firmly for the nonnegotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the absolute power of the state; free speech; freedom of worship; equal justice; respect for women; religious and ethnic tolerance; and respect for private property.

But, still feeling whipsawed in the “never-ending debate,” the authors expressed frustration while recognizing necessity.  “While there is little debate over the need for such a practitioner’s guide, there is little else in the rule of law arena upon which there is widespread agreement. There are divergent, and often conflicting, views among academics, various US government agencies, US allies and even within the Department of Defense (DOD), as to whether or not to conduct rule of law operations, what constitutes a rule of law operation, how to conduct a rule of law operation, or even what is meant by the term “rule of law.”  As in the case of any emerging area of legal practice or military specialty, doctrine is non-existent, official guidance is incomplete, and educational opportunities are limited. While acknowledging the above challenges, the Judge Advocate General’s Corps leadership still recognizes the inevitability that Judge Advocates on the ground under extraordinarily difficult conditions will be called upon to support, and even directly participate in and lead rule of law operations.

In Iraq and Afghanistan US policy makers suffered from a lack of focus in choosing development initiatives and rotating personnel.  Bureaucratic turf battles and demands for “credit” plagued efforts to establish legitimacy, an effective rule of law and governmental capacityMission success required seeking the common good rather than promoting narrow agency and personal agendas.  In another replay of the “Flat Learning Curve”, these problems were evident in civilian-based Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) which are dedicated to rebuilding critical infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan such as schools and utilities.  The PRTs were plagued by low funding, not enough staff and poor leadership.  PRTs are mostly ad-hoc outfits, commonly described as a “pickup game.”  Because government workers lack many of the skills needed for post-conflict reconstruction, private contractors (many with military backgrounds) are hired.  Lacking institutional precedents, PRTs are largely personality dependant for their success or failure, and there are no clear lines of authority because the leaders often answer to multiple agency commands both in country and back in Washington.

A significant challenge is finding people with the needed skills and willing to serve in combat zones.  Whenever military personnel are put in CA assignments in divisional organizations, Joint Task Forces or whatever, these soldiers feel that their assignment is career diminishing and not career enhancing.   The Defense Department provides the majority of PRT members, but there are not enough CA staffers to fill all the teams’ open slots.  Several sources told committee investigators that they feared that serving with a PRT would be a “career disruption, not career enhancing,” because officer promotion boards might not place the same value on this service as they would for service in conventional combat units.  Neither the military nor civilian agencies offer a career track for personnel performing what the government calls “stability and reconstruction operations.”[xvi]

 7.  Conclusion-  US Army Civil Affair is the Army’s Bridge to Stability- The strategic lessons experienced but not learned from US military history, especially since Vietnam, should have taught that COIN is not an obsolete concept, and that military operations other than war-by whatever name-are essential to protect US interests postwar and in peacetime.  Painful lessons have taught that traditional combat capabilities are unsuited for these non-combat operations.  Dr. Stanley Sandler, a historian, said the fact that conventional US military officers find themselves adrift in such operations is not without irony, in that these undertakings are nothing new.  Rather, the US military has engaged in nontraditional peace and stability operations more than conventional warfare throughout its history.[xvii]

Yet, the “Flat Learning Curve is alive and well.  The Active Component continues to diminish the role of CA, especially in the Civil Administration support role where the Reserve Component is the prime source for the mission.  They continue to view Reservists as second-class soldiers.  CA assignments should be seen as career enhancing and not career diminishing.  Recently in Iraq one military deputy PRT leader recommended that the deputies should not come from the military’s CA brigades, as is common, because these deputies tend to be reservists viewed as civilians by the combat brigade leadership.  Instead, he argued, the deputies should be active duty combat arms officers.  In the eyes of the brigade leadership, they have more credibility in explaining PRT capabilities to higher ranks and are thus better positioned to get the PRTs needed support.[xviii]

In wartime, CA supports combat forces; but in COIN there is a complex balance to be achieved between “wining hearts and minds” and killing or capturing those who can never be persuaded.  In postwar and peacetime, priorities are most often reversed: combat forces end up supporting CA missions.  In a seamless Total Force, CA civilian soldiers are not just Reservists, but are full partners not only with their active-component counterparts, but as an extension of both the US military and the diplomatic corps in an interagency and multinational environment.  Much of the opposition to military operations other than war has to do with their unconventional nature, which requires the unique leadership found in CA Reserves.  The Reserves combine the characteristics of both the warrior and the diplomat and with expertise that matches the highest levels of their foreign nation counterparts in government.  Post-Cold War strategy requires military capabilities that are as constructive during peacetime as they are destructive during wartime.

BG(RET) Bruce B. Bingham served as the Commander of the US Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (ABN) from 1997 to 2001, and was involved in planning and staffing the Civil Affairs missions in Bosnia and Kosovo.  He created and led the Ministerial Advisory Team during Operation Just Cause in Haiti, and served as an advisor to three ministries during Operation Just Cause in Panama.  He holds a BA from Rutgers College and a MPPM from the Yale School of Organization and Management

COL (RET) Daniel L. Rubini served in the 358th Civil Affairs Brigade, Norristown, PA.  He served in Desert Shield/Storm, in Haiti (Operation Uphold Democracy), in Central America as Chief of Civil Affairs, US SouthCom’s Hurricane Mitch reconstruction.  He served as Senior Advisor, Coalition Provisional Authority, Ministry of Justice from September 2003 to February 2004. COL Rubini practiced law for 22 years and is a US Administrative Law Judge in Philadelphia, PA.

COL (RET) Michael J. Cleary, a Philadelphia prosecutor, participated in Operation JUST CAUSE, Operation DESERT STORM, several missions to Haiti in the 1990s, and commanded the Combined Joint Civil Military Task Force in Bosnia during Operation JOINT GUARD in 1998.  In 2005 COL Cleary served as senior legal advisor to the Justice Attaché at the US Embassy in Baghdad.  He holds a B.A. from LaSalle College, an M.A. from Villanova, and a J.D. from the Delaware Law School. 


[i] John Hersey, A Bell for Adano (New York: Vintage Books, 1946), foreword.

[ii] Bingham, Bruce B  and Daniel L. Rubini and Michael J. Cleary  “US Army Civil Affairs-The Army’s ‘Ounce of Prevention”  Association of the United States Army, Institute of Land Warfare No. 41 March, 2003

[iii] Stanley Sandler, Glad to See Them Come and Sorry to See Them Go: A History of US Army Tactical Civil Affairs/Military Government, 1775-1991 (Fort Bragg, N.C.: US Army Special Operations Command, 1998)

[iv] Jay Tolson, “The New American Empire?” US News & World Report, 13 January 2003, pp. 34-40.

[v] Sandler,  id.

[vi] Colin L. Powell, My American Journey: An Autobiography (New York: Random House, 1995), p. 431.

[vii] Quoted in David Fairhall, Larry Elliot and Martin Walker, “Allied planes bomb Iraq: Kuwait’s liberation begun, says US,” The Guardian, 17 January 1991.

[viii] Richard J. Newman, “Tougher than Hell,” USNews&World Report, 3 November1997, p. 42.

[ix] Bernard E. Trainor, “The Perfect War Led America’s Military Astray,” The Wall Street Journal, 2 August 2000.

[x] Tolson  id.

[xi] Bingham, Rubini and Cleary, “US Army Civil Affairs Ministerial Advisory Teams Deploy to Haiti”; Rubini and Cleary, “Judicial Intervention in Haiti.” Military Review   September 2001.

[xii] Coles, Harry L. and Albert K. Weinberg. US Army in World War II Special Studies: Civil Affairs Soldiers Become Governors. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1964

[xiii] Nagl, John A. and Sewel, Sarah   Forward and Introduction to the University of Chicago Press Edition of “US Army & Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual”   December 2006

[xiv] Nagl,  id  Forward

[xv] Gates, Robert M.  “A Balanced Strategy- Reprogramming the Pentagon for a New Age”  Foreign Affairs,  January/February 2009

[xvi] Greg Grant “Reconstruction Teams Hindered By Lack of Resources”   Skills Government Executive.com   April 28, 2008 and Rusty Barber and Sam Parker “Evaluating Iraq’s Provincial Reconstruction Teams While Drawdown Looms: A USIP Trip Report”  United States Institute of Peace  By December 2008

[xvii] Sandler,  id.

[xviii] Grant, Barber and Parker,  id.

 

 

Article in 2009 Military Legitimacy and Leadership Journal:

The Rule of Law and Civil Affairs in the Battle for Legitimacy

                                             ©Rudolph C. Barnes, Jr. 2009

Abstract

            Military legitimacy is about might and right.  In the history of warfare, might has most often made right; but in operations other than war such as stability operations and counterinsurgency operations (COIN), might must be right to achieve mission success.  That is because mission objectives in COIN are more political than military, and legitimacy is the center of gravity in achieving those political objectives.

            The US invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 were both characterized by the shock and awe of overwhelming combat force; but subsequent military operations have been characterized as COIN, and excessive military force has proven to be counterproductive to legitimacy and mission success.

            In COIN, the primary strategic objective is to promote the legitimacy of the supported government against insurgent threats, and that legitimacy is measured by public support in both the US and the area of operations.  In the violent, ambiguous and unforgiving environments of Iraq and Afghanistan, tribal traditions and religious values have produced conflicting concepts of legitimacy that threaten mission success.

US strategic objectives in COIN are to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law.  Security is the first requirement of legitimacy, but a government must also provide its people with human rights and a modicum of democracy to be considered fully legitimate.  Experience in Iraq and Afghanistan has shown that democratic elections and security are achievable objectives, but that protecting fundamental human rights through the rule of law is difficult at best due to oppressive religious and cultural traditions.      

            This paper explores the battle for legitimacy and the interrelated roles of the rule of law and civil affairs in stability operations and COIN.  It examines how religion and cultural traditions produce the moral and legal standards of legitimacy upon which public perceptions are based.  And it considers those strategic and operational concepts unique to stability operations and COIN, and the military capabilities, missions and roles needed to carry them out in the challenging environments of contemporary conflict.

***********************************************************************

About the author:  Rudy Barnes, Jr. is a practicing attorney and pastor at St. John United Methodist Church in Columbia, SC.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from The Citadel, and Master of Public Administration and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of South Carolina.  He is a retired colonel in the Army JAGC, having served on active duty as group judge advocate and civil affairs officer in Special Action Force Asia, and as a civil affairs legal officer and staff judge advocate in the Army Reserve.  He is a graduate of the Army War College and the recipient of the Legion of Merit.  He is the author of numerous articles in military journals and Military Legitimacy: Might and Right in the New Millennium (Frank Cass, London, 1996).

Introduction

            Establishing the rule of law and legitimate governance is the strategic political objective of US counterinsurgency operations (COIN) in Afghanistan and Iraq, and civil affairs is the primary military means to achieve that strategic end.  COIN is the violent competition between insurgents and an incumbent government for political power, and victory goes to the side that wins the public support needed for the legitimacy to govern.  That makes public support a primary strategic objective in the battle for legitimacy.

If the US is to achieve mission success in the ambiguous and unforgiving environments of COIN, policy-makers and military leaders must better understand how military legitimacy, the rule of law and civil affairs relate to strategic political objectives, and how the misuse of military power can compromise mission success.

The last time the US effectively used its military power to achieve its strategic objectives was in the first Gulf War in 1991.  It was a 100-hour war in which a US-led coalition liberated Kuwait from occupying Iraqi forces through the shock and awe of overwhelming combat power.  The second Gulf War of 2003 was a different story; while it began with shock and awe and an apparent military victory over the Iraqi army, it soon morphed from conventional combat into more protracted COIN operations.

COIN includes a broad range of military-political operations and activities ranging from offensive combat operations to stability operations and nation-building.  In military doctrine COIN is considered irregular warfare and shares many of the attributes of foreign internal defense, or FID.  Both are stability operations that emphasize political objectives over conventional military objectives.  While doctrinal terms overlap, political and military leaders have referred to operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan as COIN, and current doctrine for COIN emphasizes legitimacy, the rule of law and civil affairs.1

The transition in Iraq from conventional combat to COIN did not become clear until after the testimony of General David Petraeus before Congress in September 2007.  Only then did President Bush begin to speak of achieving political objectives rather than military victory in Iraq.  Real progress was made with the surge strategy of General Petraeus; yet even with violence down and status of forces agreement between Iraq and the US, there is still doubt whether the strategic objectives of the US will be achieved in Iraq, or whether the objectives of democracy, human rights and the rule of law will turn out to be ephemeral hopes of democratic idealism that dissipate when US forces depart.      

Military Legitimacy and Public Support in Counterinsurgency

            Military legitimacy is about might and right, and as a derivative of political legitimacy it depends upon public perceptions of what is right.2  In wartime might makes right since victory depends upon the defeat of the enemy by overwhelming force.  In COIN might must be right since mission success is not defined by military victory but by winning the battle for the public support needed for effective governance.  In COIN, defending a government against an insurgent threat involves strategic objectives that are more political than military, and the collateral damage caused by excessive military force can undermine the public support needed to achieve strategic political objectives.

Legitimacy is what gives a government its moral authority, and the standards for that legitimacy are grounded in the law.  But the law is only the beginning; public perceptions of legitimacy are also shaped by moral standards and values that are derived from secular and religious traditions.These standards of legitimacy reflect cultural values and define public perceptions of what is right and proper for a government and its military forces, including limits on the use of coercive force.  Such public perceptions are both a standard and measure of political and military legitimacy in a democracy.

This creates a double standard of legitimacy for US COIN operations: they must have public support in both the US and in the area of operations.  Given the vast cultural differences between the US and both Iraq and Afghanistan, meeting this double standard is a daunting task.4  Experience has shown that both culture clash and public reaction to collateral damage caused by excessive force can undermine the legitimacy needed for mission success in COIN.5

In the battle for legitimacy the objective of insurgents is to undermine the public support needed for legitimacy and political control.  The Islamists of al Qaeda have used a campaign of terror to exploit tribal and sectarian conflicts and undermine US supported governments in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to promote a fundamentalist theocratic empire, or caliphate.  While no insurgent group can gain political power without first gaining the public support needed to establish its legitimacy, terrorist activities can undermine the legitimacy of US supported governments by creating conditions approaching anarchy.

Because the legitimacy of US COIN operations is dependent upon public perceptions of legitimacy in both the US and in the area of operations, a loss of public support in either venue for the supported governments or in public confidence that they can provide legitimate and effective governance would likely result in Congressional action to terminate funding for continued US operations.  This means that the success or failure of US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan depends upon political considerations and public support that are beyond the control of the US and its military forces.

The Rule of Law and Civil Affairs in Counterinsurgency

In US COIN operations in Afghanistan and Iraq the rule of law has become synonymous with US political objectives such as security (the first requirement of the rule of law), democracy and human rights.  The rule of law has acquired this expansive meaning since it has never been more narrowly defined by the Department of Defense or the Department of State.6  Operational law is a more limited term that defines those laws applicable to US military operations and provides a critical standard of military legitimacy,7 but in current military doctrine the rule of law refers to US political objectives, to wit: a key goal and end state in COIN includes a government that derives its powers from the governed as well as sustainable security institutions and fundamental human rights.8

If the rule of law is the political objective of COIN, then civil affairs is the primary means to achieve it.  Civil affairs is the interface of the military with a civilian population, and in its broadest sense describes all civil-military activities and operations in COIN, not just the specialized military forces that carry them out.  In COIN, civil affairs operations take precedence over conventional combat operations since strategic political objectives that require public support take precedence over conventional military objectives that are achieved through overwhelming military force. 9

The Rule of Law, Democracy and Human Rights

Promoting the rule of law, democracy and human rights have long been an integral part of US national security strategy, and they are primary US political objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The US national values of democracy and human rights incorporated in the rule of law have shaped US perspectives of legitimacy, but those values are not shared in Iraq and Afghanistan.  All would agree, however, that the legitimacy of any government must begin with the provision of law and order; and in Iraq and Afghanistan that prerequisite for legitimacy is elusive.  Long-standing ethnic, tribal and sectarian conflict challenge the concept of centralized power, so that US forces must tolerate cultural norms and values that conflict with US laws and policy objectives—even with fundamental principles of democracy and human rights.10

The mandates of the Shari’a Code (Islamic law) illustrate this conundrum: the comprehensive rules of Shari’a conflict with the secular norms of Western law and culture, and have no provision for democracy or human rights.  Shari’a is the rule of law in Muslim theocracies such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, and provides cultural values in Afghanistan and Iraq that clash with Western norms.  This conflict of law, religion and culture can jeopardize the legitimacy of US military operations in Muslim countries.

Achieving mission success in Iraq and Afghanistan requires understanding this conflict of law and values.  It is a conflict that underscores the importance of civil affairs, since one of its primary missions is to ensure that commanders comply with their legal and moral obligations to the local population.11

In order to gain the public support needed for mission success, US standards of law and morality (including democracy and human rights) that are not compatible with cultural values in the area of operations must be subordinated to those local values until the supported governments gain enough legitimacy to govern effectively.12   In such hostile cultural environments US forces have difficulty winning hearts and minds for Western ideals, but they can still find sufficient consensus with local leaders to define common political objectives and the limits of legitimacy.13  Since all can agree that law and order is the first requirement of legitimate governance, that mission priority dictates that the primary mission of US forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan is in a constabulary or law enforcement role, providing security for civilians until government security forces can assume that responsibility.

In a constabulary role US combat forces must restrict the use of coercive force much as do police officers; and as with law enforcement agencies, the use of excessive military force can undermine the legitimacy of the government they represent.  The constabulary role of US combat forces underscores their primary mission to promote the rule of law and the importance of civil affairs to mission success.14 

Once law and order is achieved, then the next priority of US policy is to promote democracy and human rights.  Even if they are not a priority of the local populace they are a universal measure of the legitimacy of any supported government.  Law and order, human rights and democracy are all interrelated components of legitimate governance under the rule of law.  Law and order standing alone can be oppressive, just as democracy (majority rule) can produce a tyranny of the majority without human rights to protect minorities.15  Even with impressive US military victories over oppressive regimes and the establishment of stable regimes to replace them, the US cannot claim mission success in either Afghanistan or Iraq unless and until the supported governments leaven law and order with democracy and human rights.16

 Lessons Learned in Legitimacy: Precedents and Principles

The US learned a painful lesson in legitimacy in Vietnam on the limits of military power in COIN.  It is illustrated by an oft-quoted conversation between a US and a Vietnamese colonel following the war: “You know you never defeated us on the battlefield,” said the American colonel.  The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this remark a moment. “That may be so,” he replied, “but it is also irrelevant.”17 

Superior military power can be irrelevant and even counterproductive in COIN, and that is as true today in Iraq and Afghanistan as it was in Vietnam.  The battle for legitimacy is characterized by asymmetric warfare in which military victory can be lost in political defeat.  Just as in Vietnam, every time a US air strike kills women and children in Afghanistan or Iraq in misguided efforts to defeat an evasive enemy, the US loses another battle in legitimacy, and reaffirms its vulnerability to asymmetric warfare.18

The vulnerability to collateral damage coupled with the tendency of US military commanders to rely on overwhelming combat force to achieve mission objectives proved fatal in Vietnam.  The US learned—or should have learned—the painful lesson that superior military force is never a substitute for legitimacy.  The ultimate failure of US COIN operations in Vietnam can be attributed to a corrupt and ineffective South Vietnamese government and its military, a failure exacerbated by collateral damage caused by US combat operations.  There are similarities in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the governments are corrupt and rely on US forces to maintain security, and where US combat operations continue to cause collateral damage that undermines public support.  Even so, there are dissenting voices that advocate keeping large numbers of US combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and argue that the US failure in Vietnam was due to having too few US combat forces to achieve US strategic objectives.19

Maintaining a large presence of combat forces in Vietnam for more than a decade cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars and more than 50,000 lives, and was unable to save a corrupt and unpopular South Vietnamese government from defeat.  It remains to be seen whether the Iraqi and Afghan governments can stand against the forces arrayed against them, both internal and external, when US forces withdraw.       

            The painful lessons of legitimacy learned in Vietnam should have been remembered by US policy-makers as they planned the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11, but the intoxicating power of shock and awe experienced during the first Gulf War seems to have blurred their memory.  Little thought was given to the need for extended stability and COIN operations; and while the surge strategy of General Petraeus gave the al-Maliki government an opportunity to prove its legitimacy, the Karzai government does not seem capable of standing on its own at the time of this writing.

            The problem was never the lack of military doctrine on COIN; it was with civilian leadership thinking it unnecessary.  The Counterinsurgency Manual (FM 3-24, December 2006) developed and used by General Petraeus20 cites principles of COIN that were first developed as imperatives of low intensity conflict (LIC) and later as principles of military operations other than war (OOTW).  Both COIN and civil affairs were included in OOTW, and after the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act created the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), they were both considered special operations activities to be conducted by Special Operations Forces (SOF). 21

The Preface to FM 3-24 notes: “COIN operations generally have been neglected in broader military doctrine and national security policies since the end of the Vietnam War over 30 years ago.”  That may have been true of conventional military doctrine, but not of SOF doctrine; and conventional strategists turned to COIN doctrine after conventional doctrine and tactics failed to achieve mission objectives in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The similarity of the principles of COIN in FM 3-24 to those of LIC and OOTW can be seen below:

LIC Imperatives22 Principles of OOTW23 COIN Principles24

1. legitimacy         1. legitimacy          1. legitimacy the main objective 

2. primacy of the political  2. objective  2. unity of effort                  

3. unity of effort   3. unity of effort   3. political factors primary

4. restricted use of force  4. restraint  4. understand the environment

5.perseverance     5. perseverance    5. Intelligence drives operations

6. adaptability      6. security               6. security under the rule of law

                                                                       7. long term commitment

In its list of principles for COIN, FM 3-24 adds intelligence driving operations to the historical principles of LIC and OOTW, but otherwise they remain the same. 25

The primacy of legitimacy in COIN is confirmed in FM 3-24 as in earlier doctrine.  As the dominant principle in COIN, legitimacy subsumes all others: The primacy of political objectives over military objectives, the need for US military personnel to work closely with other military and civilian personnel engaged in nation-building (unity of effort), the need to provide security while restraining the use of force to prevent collateral damage, and perseverance for a long-term commitment are all essential elements in building the public support needed for legitimacy and mission success in COIN.26  They are all tried and tested, their validity proven the hard way in Vietnam.

Legitimacy and the Just War Tradition   

            The above operational principles of COIN apply down to tactical levels, but they have strategic consequences.  There are other overarching strategic principles that determine the legitimacy of military interventions and combat operations which are derived from the Just War Tradition, and they can be categorized as those of jus ad bellum (the justice of going to war) and jus in bello (the justice of warfighting).

For an invasion to meet the moral criteria of just war (jus ad bellum), it must have a just cause, be authorized by competent authority, have the right intention, have limited objectives, be a last resort, and have a reasonable hope of success.  For warfighting to meet the moral criteria of just war (jus in bello), military forces must continually exercise discrimination in choosing legitimate targets, and proportionality in limiting lethal force to that required to achieve legitimate objectives.  The principles of discrimination and proportionality are more than moral guidelines for legitimacy; they are also principles of customary international law that have been incorporated into the Law of War. 27      

The legitimacy of an invasion influences the legitimacy of any government supported by the invading force.  The 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan met the requirements of international law and the moral requirements of Just War.  It was widely seen as a legitimate response to the Taliban and al Qaeda after the 9/11 attack on the US.  That was not the case for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the questionable legitimacy of that invasion initially tainted the legitimacy of the al-Maliki government.  Ironically, the Karzai government has forfeited the benefits of its initial legitimacy through corruption and inaction against a growing Taliban insurgency, while the al-Maliki government has overcome its initial lack of legitimacy by taking aggressive action against both Sunni and Shia militias and by asserting its sovereignty in negotiations with the US over a status of forces agreement.28

The invasion of Iraq did not meet the legal standards of the United Nations Charter or the moral standards of the Just War Tradition, and numerous polls indicate that it was widely perceived to have lacked legitimacy.  The Bush rationale of preemptive self defense based upon Saddam Hussein’s regime having weapons of mass destruction and supporting al Qaeda failed the test of credibility in the US and around the world. 29

 The success of the surge strategy of General Petraeus has compensated for earlier US strategic failures, but it cannot legitimize an illegal and immoral invasion.  That continues to haunt US military operations not only in Iraq but also in Afghanistan where a resurgence of the Taliban is threatening to turn an initial US victory into political defeat.  The US cannot expect to hold the moral highground and promote the rule of law when it fails to live by the same standards it promotes for others.     

The Reversal of Military Priorities in COIN

            There is a symbiotic relationship between the rule of law and civil affairs.  In COIN political objectives that require public support are primary mission objectives, so that civil affairs is an operational priority and conventional combat forces assume the subordinate mission of providing civilian security.  This is a reversal of traditional military priorities and requires the unique leadership traits of a diplomat-warrior.30

The priority of political over military objectives in COIN changes the very nature of military legitimacy.  In warfighting the legitimacy of military operations depends upon the destruction of the enemy with overwhelming force, and public support in the area of operations is of minimal importance; combat forces have priority, with civil affairs in a supporting role.  In COIN the priority between civil affairs and combat forces is reversed: the need for public support for political objectives gives civil affairs a priority mission and relegates combat forces to a supporting role providing security.31

This reversal of traditional military priorities is reflected in current COIN strategy and operational doctrine.  Priority is given to public support which is gained through effective security operations and compliance with legal and moral standards.  As in past military doctrine, the emphasis on public support makes the rule of law and civil affairs operational priorities for achieving and maintaining military legitimacy in COIN.32

The US surge strategy led by General David Petraeus in Iraq has emphasized securing the civilian population as the first priority in COIN, even if that priority came four years late—a delay that allowed al Qaeda to exploit sectarian violence into nascent civil war.  Conventional combat forces can provide security for civilians following combat operations, but the primary military capability to assist governments provide essential services is civil affairs, and security is an essential function of government.

In hostile cultural environments like Iraq, the presence of large numbers of heavily armed US combat forces providing security can detract more than it contributes to legitimacy.  The dilemma for US constabulary forces is that they must balance the need to provide adequate civilian security with restraint in the use of deadly force in order to minimize the collateral damage that can undermine legitimacy—this while insurgents are constantly exploiting situations to tempt combat soldiers to do what they are trained to do: to strike back with overwhelming military force.  That response invariably causes collateral damage that can compromise mission success.33 

 

The competing requirements of providing security and restraint in the use of lethal force in COIN call for a delicate balancing act, one that risks the loss of military legitimacy in embarrassing incidents that are inevitable whenever large numbers of conventional combat forces act as a constabulary force in a hostile cultural environment.34  It is the same dilemma faced by domestic law enforcement officers when they use excessive force.  It undermines their legitimacy and renders them ineffective.   

It is ironic that in an earlier assignment in Iraq then Major General Petraeus emphasized the strategic priority of US forces to train and equip Iraqi forces to provide their own security.  Later General Petraeus returned to Iraq to lead a surge of US constabulary forces to provide that security for Iraqis.  The surge was an operational success but it was also evidence of earlier US strategic failures.  It remains unclear whether the Iraqi government can provide adequate security against those internal and external threats that will challenge it whenever US combat forces are withdrawn.  Only then will we know whether US operations were a success or a failure.  

Matching Military Roles and Missions with Capabilities: Special Operations Forces and COIN

There have been recommendations coming out of the Pentagon for a hybrid “advisory corps” to conduct COIN,35 but the US already has that capability in the Special Operations Forces (SOF) of USSOCOM.  Unlike combat forces, SOF have specialized military training combined with cultural and linguistic skills that make them diplomat-warriors.  They are quiet professionals who blend in with the local population and keep a low profile while training and advising indigenous forces.  The Army’s SOF include Special Forces, Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations, and their operational doctrine emphasizes the priority of civil affairs and the rule of law in the battle for legitimacy.36

The skills needed for COIN take years to acquire, and there is no way to make conventional combat forces into diplomat-warriors quickly—nor is it necessary to do so.  The need is to acknowledge the limitations of conventional combat forces in COIN and utilize them in quick reaction combat support roles, assigning the primary role in COIN to those SOF who are better trained and equipped to perform it.  The US strategic goal in COIN should be to reduce the presence of large numbers of combat forces and rely on the low-profile indirect support of SOF personnel who have the capability to perform the unconventional (irregular warfare) missions of COIN.  Mission success depends upon the military forces of the supported government, not the US, defeating insurgents. 

Military capabilities need to be matched with military roles and missions.  Conventional combat forces should be used when mission success depends upon destroying an enemy with overwhelming power, while SOF should be used whenever strategic objectives are more political than military, and when language capability and cultural orientation are critical to achieving legitimacy and mission success.  In hostile cultural environments like Iraq and Afghanistan where extended US combat operations are impractical, the diplomat-warriors of SOF are needed to win the battle for legitimacy.

The complex legal standards governing the use of force in COIN also favor SOF over conventional forces.  The Law of War is an adequate standard of military legitimacy in conventional warfare, but because it applies only to international conflicts and requires a distinction be made between combatants and non-combatants, it has little applicability in COIN.  The standards for the use of lethal force are far more restricted in COIN than in conventional warfighting.  Military legitimacy in COIN depends upon providing security to the civilian population while restraining lethal force, and SOF are best able to do that in hostile and unforgiving cultural environments like those faced by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.      

The primary lesson of Vietnam is that no amount of US military force can compensate for the lack of legitimacy of a supported government, and that legitimacy can be undermined by the collateral damage of excessive military force.  Only the supported government can win the battle for legitimacy, and that depends upon winning the hearts and minds of those it must govern.  The objective of US COIN operations is to support and defend the legitimacy of the host government.  In the hostile cultural environments of Afghanistan and Iraq the smaller footprint and indirect operations of SOF coupled with their cultural and language training make them the ideal US military capability for COIN.     

The Evolution of Civil Affairs in Stability Operations and COIN

            As mentioned above, civil affairs was designated a Special Operations Activity in the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, but civil affairs was born as an operational concept at the end of World War II when it was known as military government and provided stability and nation-building operations in areas devastated by the war.  There was no insurgency to complicate these operations, so the rule of law was restored by conventional military personnel who had legal and public administration skills.  Commanders were quick to see the value of civil affairs personnel as force multipliers who could relieve their combat troops for more conventional duties.37 

 General Dwight D. Eisenhower initially requested 960 civil affairs officers, and that request was later increased to thousands of personnel.  Of these, approximately 200 were lawyers, most of whom were assigned to military government duties.  In some instances staff judge advocates provided legal support to US military governments.38

The current emphasis on lawyers in military government reflects the priority of the law in civil affairs.  This priority is evident in the civil affairs doctrinal imperative to assist commanders comply with their legal and moral obligations to civilians, and also evident in the provision for a Rule of Law Section “…to create security and stability for the civilian population by restoring and enhancing the effective and fair administration and enforcement of justice.”39

The Philippines 

            The politics of post-war Philippines were more complicated and contentious than those of Europe or Japan and produced an insurgency.  After the US granted the Philippines their national independence in 1946, Louis Taruc, a popular communist leader who had been denied a seat in the Philippine Lower House, left Manila to lead his Hukbalahap guerrillas (Huks) in an insurgency that would last for decades.  Taruc was aided in his efforts by a corrupt government that had only a facade of democracy to cover “a wave of get-rich venality involving both Filipinos and Americans.”40

            Following the classic model of insurgency, the Huks fed on public hatred and distrust of the government.  Had it not been for Taruc’s own excesses of violence against the people, his Huks may have overthrown the government before 1950, when President Quirino appointed Ramon Magsaysay as his Minister of Defense.  As Defense Minister and later as President, Magsaysay fashioned a combination of political reforms and COIN operations in the 1950s that are as relevant today as they were then.  First, he set his own house in order, ensuring that the Defense Department was supportive of his plans and competent to carry them out.  Second, he bolstered the legitimacy of his government with programs that responded to public needs, such as legal assistance for the poor and limited land reform.  Third, he infiltrated the Huks, and using all the instruments of political warfare won over many guerrillas.  Finally, he used limited but effective military force to neutralize the last hard-core Huks.41

     Magsaysay had limited but able US assistance in the person of Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Edward G. Lansdale.  Lansdale coined the phrase “civic action” in the Philippines and became the prototype for the socially conscious Colonel Edward Hillandale in The Ugly American.42  Lansdale understood the interrelationship between public support and legitimacy in COIN, and the need to limit the use of lethal force to prevent collateral damage that undermined legitimacy.

Vietnam 

After the French left Vietnam (Indochina) following the 1954 debacle at Dienbienphu, the US quietly filled the vacuum and began supporting COIN operations against the Vietminh similar to those against the Huks in the Philippines.43  Colonel Lansdale went to Vietnam to advise President Diem, but the result was different; Diem was not as effective as had been Magsaysay and the South Vietnamese government never overcame endemic corruption to gain the legitimacy it needed to defeat insurgent forces.  And despite Lansdale’s efforts to limit the US military commitment in Vietnam it was to escalate from advice and assistance to direct combat in 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson vowed that America would not lose its first war on his watch and sent in the US Marines, soon to be followed by Army combat divisions.  With those massive combat deployments, the Vietnam conflict became America’s war to win or lose.

Civil affairs units were effectively utilized in Vietnam, but it was too little too late.  The Marines were first with their Combined Action Platoon Program in 1965, followed by Army civil affairs units in 1967.  The effectiveness of civil affairs, however, was largely neutralized by a combination of collateral damage caused by large-scale US combat operations and government corruption.  By the time Robert W. Komer was able to coordinate all military and civilian agencies engaged in civil affairs COIN activities under the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support Program (CORDS) in 1967, the battle for legitimacy had already been lost.44

The American defeat in Vietnam resulted from misplaced reliance upon superior US military forces to win a military victory in COIN.  Had Johnson understood the primacy of legitimacy in COIN he would not have committed US combat forces in a direct role and become focused on a military victory that was destined to be lost in political defeat.  It is ironic that 38 years later another US President from Texas would make a similar strategic error and invade Iraq, relying on shock and awe to provide a quick and conclusive military victory—one that could still be lost in political defeat.

Post-Vietnam

Five years after the ignominious evacuation of US personnel from the roof of its Saigon embassy in 1975, the election of President Reagan marked the beginning of a new era of US military assertiveness.  The 1980s were the height of the Cold War, with the USSR supporting communist insurgencies in Latin America.  In this surrogate warfare between the US and the USSR, civil affairs played a vital role in COIN operations, including military civic action projects that were led “by highly trained civil affairs personnel, who [were able to] interface effectively with tactical planners, local civilian leaders and mid and high level officials of government ministries.”45

            Military legitimacy was tested in three major interventions from 1983 through 1991: Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada (1983), Operation Just Cause in Panama (1989) and Operation Desert Shield/Storm in Kuwait/Iraq (1991).  Both Grenada and Panama were surprise invasions with combat forces quickly withdrawn after military objectives were achieved.  This prevented public opposition and congressional interference with the President’s power as commander-in-chief, while meeting the requirements of the War Powers Resolution.46  The liberation of Kuwait in Desert Storm came quickly after an impressive display of shock and awe, but it differed from earlier US interventions in that both Congress and the UN approved the invasion in advance, and a broad coalition of other nations participated in it.

These “quick and dirty” interventions allowed the US to claim military victory and quickly withdraw its combat forces, thereby avoiding troublesome issues of legitimacy associated with an extended military occupation.  Civil affairs operations were primarily post-conflict stability operations that briefly provided civilian security until local governments could take over and then assisted with repairs and reparations.  Fortunately there were no insurgencies to complicate matters, and civil affairs lived up to its motto: it sealed the victory.

Grenada 

            In operation Urgent Fury in Grenada, civil affairs helped mitigate the effects of collateral damage caused by overzealous troopers with the 82d Airborne Division who had commandeered privately owned vehicles and modified them into armored vehicles by cutting off their tops and mounting machine guns in them.  Claims and solatia compensated Grenadians for such property damage.  Following the brief hostilities, projects were initiated to assist the Grenadian government; and in one project, civil affairs personnel worked with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to train Grenadians in construction skills while improving school facilities.47

Panama 

     In operation Just Cause in Panama, civil affairs personnel arrived in the airborne assault to prevent civilian interference with combat operations and to protect civilians in the aftermath.  But deficient planning allowed a breakdown in law and order during the combat phase, something that proper civil affairs planning could have probably averted.48  Civil affairs remained in Panama to provide a variety of civil administration functions, such as assisting the new government in rebuilding its law enforcement and judiciary systems after ousting General Noriega’s cronies.49 

Kuwait

     In Desert Shield/Storm, the primary civil affairs mission was civil administration, with the focus on Kuwait rather than Iraq.  The Kuwaiti Task Force (KTF) was made up of senior civil affairs officers, several of them lawyers, who worked with the US State Department and the Kuwaiti government in exile to prepare for its return to power.  The KTF advisors had a good relationship with Kuwaiti political leaders and helped smooth the transition from war to peace.  Kuwait was unique in that it had a government in waiting with the economic capability to rebuild its own infrastructure, so that less US support was needed than in Grenada and Panama.    

 Northern Iraq

Following Desert Storm, Operation Provide Comfort provided humanitarian and security assistance to the Kurds in Northern Iraq.50  It began with disaster relief and refugee control, and evolved into longer term humanitarian and security assistance.  Had there been a Kurdistan, Provide Comfort would have been described as stability operations or nation assistance; but by whatever name, it illustrated the value of civil affairs in achieving military legitimacy: 

“In this case, the military commanders conceived and planned the operation as a fundamentally civil-humanitarian operation carried out by both military forces and civilian agencies (both U.S. and international).  While the need to ensure security for the Kurds was a major consideration, military issues were never at the forefront.  The primary focus was on humanitarian assistance activities to feed, house, and care for Kurds displaced from their homes by Saddam’s campaigns.  One major reason this operation was carried out more smoothly than its larger counterpart in Kuwait and southern Iraq was the availability to the European-based commanders of expert civil affairs advice from trusted members of the team.”51

Somalia

            Operation Restore Hope in Somalia was unique: it began as a UN humanitarian assistance mission (UNISOM I) in December 1992 and was unopposed since there was no Somali government to resist entry.  Tribal warfare and anarchy had created a humanitarian crisis, and the UN mission was to provide security for those relief organizations providing humanitarian aid in Somalia.  UNISOM I was successfully concluded in May 1993, but the next phase of Restore Hope, UNISOM II, did not fare as well.  Poor strategic guidance and mission creep resulted in an abortive US raid against General Aideed, a Somali warlord in Mogadishu.  There were televised images of Somalis dragging the bodies of US soldiers through the streets, after which President Clinton ordered the withdrawal of US forces from Somalia.52  The Mogadishu debacle was later dramatized in the movie Blackhawk Down, and Somalia remains a failed state.

Haiti               

The purpose of operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti in 1994 was to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power after he had been deposed by General Raoul Cedras.  As in Somalia, the intervention was pursuant to a UN Resolution and met no real resistance; and also like Somalia, the biggest obstacle in Haiti was the lack of any effective government.  The rule of law was the mission objective and civil affairs the primary means of achieving it.  There was endemic lawlessness in Haiti, but there were no tribal warlords to oppose US efforts to restore security as there had been in Somalia.

The major issue of legitimacy in Haiti was creating order out of chaos–providing civilian security while restraining the use of lethal force.  Civil affairs worked closely with other SOF personnel to provide security to over 600 rural villages.  As one US official put it, they “skillfully established the law west of the Pecos putting local thugs out of business.”53  At the ministerial level civil affairs lawyers and judges addressed longer term measures “…to establish an effective judiciary in Haiti, one that will live by the rule of law rather than live in the shadow of corruption and fear.”54  Unfortunately, fourteen years later, Haiti still lacks effective governance.

The Balkans

Ethnic and sectarian violence in the Balkans has a long history.  It is a region where cultural and religious fault lines converge and produce culture clash.  Following the disintegration of Yugoslavia, ethnic and sectarian differences nurtured by idealistic notions of self-determination exploded into violence, creating lawlessness and anarchy.  Bosnian Serbs, led by Slobodan Milosovic, were the worst offenders; but all groups exploited the weaknesses of their adversaries, resorting to rape, torture and murder to promote their ethnic and sectarian interests. 

During the 1990s NATO peacemaking and peacekeeping missions in the Balkans included US forces, but there were few ground forces involved in combat operations.  NATO relied primarily on air power as a means of coercing the warring parties to comply with its directives and to avoid NATO casualties.  The lack of NATO ground forces and reliance on bombing to achieve political objectives, especially the bombing of Belgrade, created practical problems and significant moral, if not legal, issues of legitimacy.55  After years of NATO air strikes, creating separate regimes and war crimes trials, there remains but a fragile peace in the region.56 

The above highlights of US interventions since World War II illustrate the importance of civil affairs to seal the victory of combat operations.  Whenever there are strategic political objectives to be achieved, civil affairs has been a strategic requirement in every US combat operation within memory.  General Wayne A. Downing, a former Commander of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), emphasized the importance of civil affairs in post-conflict stability operations:

“[A]ny operation we undertake in the future will have to include civil affairs.  While we have always recognized the moral and legal obligations of the commander to the civilian population, the impact of this role has grown in recent years.  Such challenges as dealing with refugees and cementing military victory with a plan to create stable nations in the aftermath of war highlight the importance of civil affairs to the commander.  We must not only win the war, we must win the peace.  Civil affairs is a key part of this post-conflict mission.”57

 

            It is ironic that the Bush administration came into office opposing the idea that military forces should be involved in extended stability operations and nation-building, yet since 9/11 it has initiated military commitments that have required more of these military capabilities than any since Vietnam.  Administration policy-makers argued that US combat forces should not be distracted by humanitarian concerns and extended stability operations.  They believed that US strategic objectives in Afghanistan and Iraq could be quickly achieved by the shock and awe of overwhelming combat power, and that the State Department could take care of everything else.  Obviously, they were wrong.

Not since Vietnam has the operational priority of civil affairs been validated as it has in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Current military doctrine on COIN and stability operations refutes the rationale that overwhelming military force can achieve victory in COIN, and affirms those lessons learned in Vietnam.58  Among those lessons is the need for unity of effort among the many military and civilian components in COIN.

Unity of Effort in COIN: Civil Affairs and Provincial Reconstruction Teams

            An entire chapter of the Counterinsurgency Manual is devoted to the need for unity of effort between military and civilian components, and it begins by noting the importance of public support to the legitimacy contested in COIN.59  In military doctrine, unity of effort is synonymous with the mission of civil affairs.  To be successful, civil affairs stability operations must integrate the many and diverse military and civilian components in COIN.  Where the US military presence is limited, a civil-military operations center (CMOC) may be adequate to provide that unity of effort; but in large scale operations such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is the need for hybrid units known as provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) to provide the required integration of interagency activities.60

One of the lessons of Vietnam was the failure—at least until 1967—to provide adequate unity of effort among the many agencies participating in that conflict.   As noted above, the effective integration of civil affairs activities came too late in Vietnam.  Even coupled with successful pacification efforts, they were not enough to provide legitimacy to a corrupt and ineffective regime.61 

In both Afghanistan and Iraq, PRTs have been able to bridge the formidable gaps between doctrine and operational practices and procedures of military units and civilian components.  While there has been criticism of the lack of an overarching strategy and methodology for the hybrid PRTs, their interim and highly diverse nature makes standardization of doctrine, structure and evaluation difficult, if not impractical.  Given their daunting task of coordinating military, diplomatic and civilian agencies in hostile, ambiguous and unforgiving environments, most PRTs seem to have performed reasonably well.  There is a need for improvement, but we need to remember the lessons of history, especially those of Vietnam: not even the most efficient PRTs can provide legitimacy to a government that has none.62

Religion and Cultural Values as Sources of Legitimacy

            The primary dilemma for US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan is not a disconnect between military strategies and capabilities, or a lack of unity of effort between those military and civilian components engaged in COIN.  It is a problem of conflicting cultures and values that have been centuries in the making; and because they are interwoven with matters of faith and religion they produce standards of legitimacy that are often contentious and are slow to change.

After all, most of the world’s people believe that God is the source of all truth and defines good and evil.  Moral values and laws become sacrosanct when a people believe that they come from God; and when they conflict with other values and norms, fear, hatred and violence often the result.  That has been the case in the Middle East for millennia between Jews, Christians and Muslims, and it is increasingly prevalent in Africa between Christians and Muslims.  Even Europe has had its share of religious wars between Christians and Muslims and Protestants and Catholics.   .      

America has been something of an exception.  Between its unique and multifaceted religions and its liberal pluralistic political culture, there has been much friction and smoke, but little fire.  There have been raucous relationships between Christians and Jews and Protestants and Catholics in America, but there has not been the intractable religious violence found in other parts of the world.

Most Americans are religious, but their diverse religious beliefs have evolved in such a way as to conform with the secular requirements of democracy, human rights and the rule of law—national values that have been shaped more by the Enlightenment than by religion.  Clearly religious and secular traditions influence each other in America, and it is difficult to determine which one has the greater influence on the other.63

The capacity for religious reconciliation has made America an example for the rest of the world.  The evolution of pluralistic religions in America illustrates trends that can apply outside the US—this as formerly segregated religions and cultures experience forced integration and multiculturalism through the inexorable forces of globalization.

All of the world’s religions are in a continuous state of reformation driven by advances in knowledge, technology and cultural preferences.  The evolution of Christianity is no exception, with the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century only a dramatic stage in a continuing process of change.  Scientific discovery and the printing press had as much to do with the original Reformation as did Martin Luther and John Calvin, and scientific discoveries and information technology continued to transform Christianity.  And we can expect the dynamics of globalism and multiculturalism to continue to transform Christianity—and Islam as well—into forms shaped by their cultural and political environments.  The question is not whether the world’s religions will change, but in what direction that change will take them—whether toward reconciliation and peace or toward polarization and violence.

Religious fundamentalism is a current trend in both Christianity and Islam that has led to polarization and violence.  Fundamentalism arose in the 19th century in response to modernism—those dynamic forces of knowledge and cultural preferences that threaten the inflexible doctrines of traditional religion.64  Countering this trend to religious fundamentalism is a trend among religious moderates to question exclusivist doctrines and move toward more inclusive or pluralistic religious beliefs.65  For example, a group of distinguished Muslim leaders has invited Jews and Christians to share a common word of faith based on the greatest commandment of the Gospels.66      

These divergent trends in American religion have been evident since the Revolution.  Thomas Jefferson is perhaps the most respected figure of that era; as the author of the Declaration of Independence, one of the founding fathers of the US Constitution, the author of the First Amendment, and the third President of the US, Jefferson authored a small book which has come to be known as The Jefferson Bible.   It was a powerful critique of the Christian religion of the early 19th century, emphasizing the moral teachings of Jesus as “the sublimest moral code ever devised by man” while ignoring the mystical doctrines of the church and criticizing its leaders. 67

At about the same time as Jefferson was completing his Bible, America was experiencing its Second Great Awakening, with lively camp meetings taking religion to the fringes of the frontier.  Known for their carnival atmosphere and unrestrained emotional excesses, it has been said that more souls were made than saved at these gatherings.  Camp meetings were characterized by fiery sermons and ecstatic behavior, such as dancing, barking, the shakes, and passing out (being “slain by the spirit”) as a result of the emotional fervor.68

Jefferson’s Bible represented a theological trend among the intellectual elite of his day away from the traditional church, and at the same time camp meetings represented a social trend of the masses away from the church—but the two went in different cultural directions.  Jefferson’s radical theology would have to wait more than 100 years before being acknowledged by biblical scholars—and then it was by those liberal scholars who participated in the controversial Jesus Seminar.69 

While Jefferson was taking liberties in picking and choosing divine passages from the Bible, most church leaders of his day were emphasizing the entire Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God, often to the exclusion of reason and common sense.  For these biblical fundamentalists, if it wasn’t in the Bible, then it wasn’t true or morally right.  Prior to the War Between the States, most clergy in the North as well as the South held this view and were reluctant to condemn slavery as immoral since it was often mentioned in the Bible but never condemned.70

During the War, Confederate generals like “Stonewall” Jackson were more likely than Northern generals to believe the war was ordained by God (Northern General William Sherman famously attributed the war to Satan by saying “War is Hell”), but religion was a sustaining force on both sides of the conflict.  Following the War, there was a shift from a focus on the Bible to more popular forms of evangelicalism.  The Methodist and Baptist churches were among the most competitive denominations in seeking new members.  Bishop Matthew Simpson, who was close to President Abraham Lincoln and conducted his funeral, was typical of those who sought to make the Methodist church the most popular church in America.  By the end of the century he had achieved his goal, albeit at the expense of a massive bureaucracy and numerous defections of those disenchanted with the emphasis on popularity at the expense of traditional Christian doctrine and holiness. 71

From the latter half of the 19th century until the present, diversity more than any one trend has characterized the Christian religion.  In the early 20th century when liberal theologians were using scholarly criticism to question the Bible as the inerrant word of God and to discover the historical Jesus, Biblical fundamentalists were reaching their zenith with the publication of the Schofield Bible and their defense of the inerrant truth of the Bible against the heresy of science at the 1925 Scopes trial—it was a contest between the literal truth of the creation story in the Bible versus the theory of evolution.

The middle of the 20th century saw a new trend that shifted emphasis from the Bible to Jesus as the sacred focal point of the Christian faith.  The so-called Jesus movement began in the 1960s with young people who rejected traditional religion and societal norms in favor of more “hip” forms of faith and social action, including communes.  The movement matured into nondenominational churches in the 1980s, many of which have become megachurches and displaced mainline denominations as the most popular institutional form of Christianity today.  These modern evangelicals have both liberal and fundamentalist variations, with styles of preaching and worship that are more charismatic, informal and emotional than traditional denominations, and which put little emphasis on doctrine, rules and rituals.72

A recent poll by The Pew Forum has revealed another recent trend prevalent in US religions.  A majority of people who identify themselves as Christians and Muslims in the US now believe that salvation is possible for those of other faiths.73  This is a major shift in the traditional exclusivist belief systems of Christianity and Islam, both of which claim to be the one true faith; and because religious exclusivity has been the underlying cause of the hostility of Christians and Muslims toward each other and toward those of other faiths, this trend toward religious tolerance and inclusivity represents real hope for the future. 

It is but a small step from believing orthodox religious doctrine that God condemns those of other beliefs to personally condemning those of other beliefs.  We see it in the news every day.  The trend noted by the Pew Forum reflects how an inclusivist culture can reshape exclusivist religions, and there are indications that even in less tolerant cultures like Saudi Arabia a more moderate Islam can now be promoted.  These trends are hopeful, especially with President Obama’s pledge: “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.”74           

Not all trends in culture and religion are so hopeful.  In the Middle East and Africa radical Islamist fundamentalism seems as popular as ever,75 and since 9/11 in the US Christian fundamentalists have exploited a pervasive fear of Muslim terrorism to widen the gap between Christians and Muslims.  Unfortunately, there has been little activism by Christian religious leaders to defuse religious polarization and promote better interfaith relations.

Whether the terrorism of radical Islam leads to greater conflict depends to a large degree on whether more moderate Muslims are able to undermine the appeal of radical Muslim zealots to young people in what is a continuing reformation of Islam.  It is important that Jewish, Christian and Hindu leaders assist moderate Muslims in their reform efforts through better interfaith relations.  If Muslim moderates are isolated by radical Muslims and hostile believers in other faiths, prospects for peace are bleak.  

Religion, War and the Rule of Law

            Many wars have been fought over conflicting perceptions of good and evil which are defined by prevailing religions; and contrary to recent predictions, religion is not dying—not even in the West.  To be sure religions are changing, but they remain alive and well, and are unfortunately as belligerent as ever.  A shining city on a hill, the axis of evil, the evil empire and the great Satan are but a few examples of contemporary political labels derived from religion used to define regimes as good or evil.  And once wars begin for whatever cause, religions have encouraged combatants (including the US) to demonize their enemies.  Religions remain the main cause of the world’s violence, but they must also be considered part of the solution for there to be any lasting peace. 76   

Aside from defining good and evil, religions are also the source of those moral standards from which laws are derived.  This has made the rule of law historically the handmaiden of religion and war.  The Shari’a code of Islam is a contemporary example: it makes no provision for democracy, human rights, or a secular rule of law which are at the foundation of Western jurisprudence.  Shari’a has also been interpreted to mandate Jihad and condone suicide bombing as a form of martyrdom.

The Western Judeo-Christian tradition of law goes back to the ancient Hebrew law of war (circa 1400 BCE) which is found in chapter 20 of the Book of Deuteronomy.  It acknowledged pillage, plunder and the enslavement of foes as legitimate acts of war and provided no protection for civilians in the Holy Land.  One’s faith or ethnic identity was the only meaningful distinction made between friend and foe.  The notorious ban mandated ethnic cleansing in the Holy Land, and Joshua, the successor to Moses, was a holy warrior who executed that terrible rule of law with alacrity at Jericho.  The ban has remained a holy precedent for unholy war and ethnic cleansing, one employed in the Christian Crusades and more recently by the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosovic in the Balkans—not to mention Islamic sectarian violence in the Middle East.77

More than a millennia after Joshua, his Hebrew namesake, Jesus of Nazareth, appeared in the Holy Land and brought a new standard of legitimacy to the Hebrew people.  Jesus preached a message of reconciliation and peace even as he acknowledged the depravity of humankind and the ugly inevitability of war.  He prophesied, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom” until the end of the age.78

The ideals of democracy, human rights and the rule of law that now characterize Western standards of legitimacy are an amalgam of the altruistic moral teachings of Jesus and the lofty secular ideals of the Enlightenment.  They are reflected in those national values found at the heart of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.79  But these lofty ideals have an uneasy relationship with the militant exceptionalism of US foreign policy which often takes on the form of a crusade for the forces of good over evil. 

The seventh century brought Muhammad to the Arabian desert.  He was a holy warrior like Joshua, and after he subdued opposing tribes he left the Arab world a new religion and a holy book, the Qur’an, which has since been cited by Muslim proponents of both war and peace.80  The Shari’a code, mentioned earlier, is derived from the Qur’an and provides the legal and moral standards of legitimacy for Muslims.  It bears a remarkable resemblance to Mosaic law set forth in the Hebrew Bible, reflecting the common Semitic heritage of Jews and Muslims.   

The Just War Tradition, mentioned earlier, was initiated by St. Augustine during the fall of the Roman Empire, and evolved through the centuries to provide a Christian rationale for war.81  But church leaders often chose holy war over just war in their violent quest for worldly power.  The most egregious example was in 1095 when Pope Urban II initiated the first Crusade to liberate Jerusalem, which had been captured by Muslims 300 years earlier.  The Crusaders liberated Jerusalem in 1099, but it was retaken by the Muslim leader Saladin in 1187.82 

In Europe the Crusades fueled warfare for another 300 years.  It would produce a code of chivalry among holy warriors but no justice for the civilian victims of war, who continued to suffer rape and pillage as legitimate spoils of war.83  Even after the Protestant Reformation, religion continued to provide the primary rationale for war, until the Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War in 1648.  Then with the Enlightenment and the emergence of international law to govern relations between sovereign nation-states, religion declined as a rationale for war—at least for a time.84

Cromwell’s English revolution in the 17th century and the American and French revolutions at the end of the 18th century marked the victory of popular sovereignty over the divine right of kings.  But it was not until the outset of the US War Between the States that civilians were given legal protection against the ravages of war.  It came with the Lieber Code of 1860, but its protections were ignored by Union General W. T. Sherman as his bummers burned and pillaged their way through Georgia and South Carolina in a brutal demonstration of total war and collective responsibility.  Sherman’s wrath was felt in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1865 when he destroyed the city by fire.85    

            In the later days of World War II, the US once again resorted to total war and collective responsibility.  In his 2007 documentary film, The War, Ken Burns exploded the myth that World War II was “the good war” with revelations of US forces killing prisoners of war on the ground and bombing civilian targets from the air with the firebombing of Dresden and Tokyo and nuclear holocausts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.86  It was a total war in which might made right for the Allies.  In the war crime trials that followed there were no prosecutions of anyone on the winning side.

            In the aftermath of 9/11, religion has once again gained center stage in world conflict.  Atavistic Islamists have declared holy war, or Jihad, on Israel and the dominant religions of the West: Christianity and Judaism.  The strategic objective of these Jihadists is a new caliphate, their targets are the hearts and minds of the masses, and their tactics are terrorism and a politics of fear and hatred designed to polarize people of faith.  Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are the best known of those terrorist organizations now pursuing this unholy war; and Hamas and Hezbollah have already parleyed their terrorism into political power in Gaza and Lebanon.

            The resurgence of religion as a motivating factor in contemporary conflict has been recognized by US policy makers and incorporated in US strategy and operational art.87  Religion has become part of the human terrain in COIN, where the mission objective is achieved in the hearts and minds of the local populace, not on the battlefield.  In the global war on terror, the real battle is within Islam—between Muslim moderates and extremist Islamists.  Christians and Jews can assist in this battle by working to improve interfaith relations and avoid the religious polarization sought by the Islamists; and indications are that they will be aided by the moderating forces of globalization.  This is evidence of how culture shapes religion just as religion shapes culture—in this case modern secular culture moderates religious extremism as it shapes the public support so essential to legitimacy. 88

Back to the Future: God, Gold and Manifest Destiny

History reveals how religion and culture have shaped standards of legitimacy and influenced its many wars.  In the Western world concepts of legitimacy were shaped by a Judeo-Christian religious ethic that was reconciled with the secular libertarian values of the Enlightenment; and that amalgam of religious and secular values was then modified by the utilitarian principles of capitalism, which have remained a driving force behind the modernization of Western culture. 

Religion remains a relevant factor in Western values, but for most modernists the bottom line of capitalism in this world trumps whatever happens in the next.  For capitalists, the golden rule is that whoever has the gold makes the rules, and the golden gospel of prosperity is preached in some of America’s most popular churches.  It is a gospel that bears little resemblance to the one taught by Jesus Christ, yet it reflects American culture and its standards of legitimacy.

By way of contrast, in much of the developing world capitalism is seen as an instrument of Satan.  In Islamic cultures God reigns supreme over the rule of law and subverts individual freedom through an unyielding Shari’a Code.

The Islamic faith predominates in the Middle East, and much of Africa and Asia where the values of the Enlightenment and capitalism have not yet penetrated.  Concepts of democracy, human rights and the rule of law have little real meaning in these regions where concepts of legitimacy are based on tribal traditions that have been incorporated into the unyielding discipline of a fundamentalist Muslim faith—one that makes no distinction between religion and politics or between law and morality.  The result is a cultural environment that stifles the individual freedom and ambition needed to foster modernism.

Most Muslim countries are theocracies rather than democracies, but Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia are evidence that once Muslims get a taste of the forbidden fruits of capitalism they tend to favor democracy over theocracy.  With a taste of freedom and affluence authoritarian religious values give way to more permissive secular values that allow capitalism to flourish and provide the powers and pleasures that come with modernity.  Saudi Arabia and Iran remain notable exceptions to the rule as theocratic sponsors of competing fundamentalist Muslim sects: Saudi Arabia, a US ally but not a democracy, sponsors Wahhabi Sunnis (al Qaeda has Wahhabi roots); and Iran, with a decidedly theocratic form of democracy, sponsors Shia militant groups like Hezbollah.

Most Western democracies are more secular than religious, but America is the exception; and it mixes its religious zeal with politics, even as it proclaims a separation of church and state.  The Puritan work ethic reflects how American religion has assimilated the secular values of individual freedom and capitalism.  While Western cultures reflect the priorities of individual freedom and economic development over authoritative religious rules, the reverse is true in many Eastern cultures.  It is this conflicting priority—one between god and gold—that underlies conflicting standards of legitimacy in the West and East.

This is not to glorify Godless cultures or demean religious ones in the name of progress; it is only to illustrate the contrasting frames of reference for legitimacy in the West and East.  These differences must be reconciled for the ideals of democracy, human rights and the rule of law to be accepted in theocratic Muslim cultures.  Such a reconciliation is especially relevant to US success or failure in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The ideals of democracy, human rights and the rule of law have often been promoted by the US with a religious fervor—even as crusades against evil empires.  Walter Russell Mead has argued that America is the heir to a British legacy of empire built on the mastery of capitalism and sea power (not to mention British colonialism), with US hegemony guided by the invisible hand of manifest destiny.89   This theory may well be undermined by the spreading economic crisis that originated in the US.  If it is as deep and lengthy as many have predicted, it may well signal the end of US hegemony and capitalism as a universal ideal, much as the dissolution of the USSR in 1989 discredited Russia and the communism it sponsored.

Reza Aslan provides a contrasting view of history and manifest destiny to that of Mead.  He argues that the hostility of Muslims in the Middle East, Asia and Africa to Britain and its presumptive heir, America, is based on the evolution of the Muslim faith coupled with the exploitation of British colonialism.  According to Aslan, the US invasion and occupation of Iraq opened old wounds of colonial rule for Muslims.90     

Vali Nasr gives a more nuanced view of a Muslim world in which there are deep and violent divisions between Sunnis and Shias (most Muslims are Sunnis, but in Iraq and Iran the majority are Shia).  He describes an Islamic Reformation initiated by a Shia revival that seems analogous to the Protestant Reformation, which produced sectarian conflict in Christian cultures that extended into the 21st century.  Despite the prospect for continued Islamic sectarian conflict, Nasr is optimistic that the Shia revival in Iraq and Iran will move Islam toward both moderation and modernation.91

Sunni and Shia sectarian conflict confirms that there is not a monolithic Islamic threat to the Western world, despite the claims of militant Islamists.  Islamic terrorist groups like al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas are engaged in a holy civil war, and unless Western powers intrude and are perceived to be a common enemy, their sectarian conflict will keep them too preoccupied with their differences to promote a pan-Islamic caliphate.

The US should not be surprised at the hostility encountered when it tries to force-feed Western political values into Muslim cultures.  Public perceptions of what is right are shaped by religion and secular traditions such as tribalism, and are slow to change.  Cultural values opposed to modernization will ultimately yield to the inexorable forces of globalization, however, if Western powers do not pervert the process.  Even authoritarian theocratic rulers cannot hide the benefits of political and economic freedom from their people in a world now on the internet.

Progress and culture shape religion, just as religion shapes culture.  And just as Galileo’s discoveries could not be suppressed by the Church, neither can the benefits of democracy, human rights and the rule of law be suppressed by Muslim theocrats.  The inevitable evolution to modernism can be seen in polls of Muslims living in the US compared with those Muslims living in the Middle East and Asia.  There is little of the militant religious extremism among Muslims in the US that is so prevalent in the Middle East, and more acceptance by US Muslims of the political and economic freedom required for national progress and modernization, and for the democracy, human rights and the rule of law that makes such progress possible.92

The relationship between religion and progress will always be problematic, even in the US.  Progress and the liberating forces of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and capitalism have not diminished the power of religion in the US, although they have reshaped it.  God and gold have made a tentative peace.  Today moderate Jews, Christians and Muslims are seeking common ground, promoting the libertarian values that underlie Western concepts of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, while rejecting excesses of greed and ambition that are so prevalent in progressive cultures.93

The US and its Western allies must be careful, however, not to use their military power in misguided efforts for regime change that unite Islamists against the West and the forces of modernization.  Lessons learned in legitimacy indicate that if there is an invisible hand guiding the forces of history and determining the manifest destiny of the world, it is not the heavy hand of overwhelming military force, but instead the inexorable and transforming power of progress that leaves the end of history very much in doubt.

Morality and Legitimacy: Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reasons       

The reliance upon military force to achieve strategic political objectives can create its own kind of morality.  Carl Von Clausewitz once famously described war as an extension of politics by other means, and he emphasized a militant morality that emphasized victory with overwhelming military force.  For Clausewitz public support in the area of operations was not a determining factor.94 

Victory remains the supreme virtue in conventional war, but in COIN there is no identifiable enemy to defeat and strategic objectives are more political than military.  The battle for legitimacy is ultimately one for public support.  It is a contest between the supported government and insurgents for the moral authority to govern.  Might does not make right in COIN; might must be right.  But conflicting concepts of what is right in a world of cultural plurality creates moral ambiguity that can undermine the legitimacy of US military operations.

Religion is most often the source of what is right, but secular traditions also shape standards of legitimacy.  In the Western world the Just War Tradition and the libertarian values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law determine what is right and proper.  In Islamic cultures the standards of legitimacy are often based on religious laws which incorporate ethnic and tribal traditions that brutalize women and children.  The result is an oppressive and unyielding rule of law used by Islamists to stifle individual freedom, oppress religious opponents and legitimize violence against unbelievers.   

The challenge for American policy-makers in such hostile cultural environments is to develop strategies that balance the practical realism of realpolitik with the moral idealism of Just War, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and ensure that such strategies do not unduly conflict with local standards of legitimacy.  That is a daunting challenge for policy-makers and often requires that the ideals of democracy and human rights be deferred until supported governments can provide security for their people against Islamist insurgents.  This has been the case in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

One international ethicist, Mark Amstutz, has argued for a universal standard of legitimacy based on Western ethical standards and rejected cultural plurality as an ethical norm, even as legal and moral diversity remains an uncomfortable reality in US foreign policy.  Amstutz has even proposed that his idealistic ethical standards should prevail when in conflict with the law, and used this rationale to justify the US invasion of Iraq.95

The law is the foundation of legitimacy and must take precedence over moral and ethical standards if the rule of law is to have real meaning.  Promoting the supremacy of international law is a daunting challenge in a world of cultural plurality, but it is essential to the goal of providing equal justice under the law.  Promoting the rule of law begins with the conduct of US forces, and it is axiomatic that egregious violations of law undermine their legitimacy.  That has already happened in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

A report of the Senate Armed Services Committee concluded that the highly publicized abuses of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib were not the isolated incidents of “a few bad apples” acting on their own, but the result of policies developed at the highest levels of US government.  The report cited evidence “…that the first and second identifiable causes of US combat deaths in Iraq—as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat—are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.”  The report went on to identify and condemn senior civilian and military officials who approved and administered the illegitimate interrogation policies.96

The humane treatment of detainees is principle of international law that must be honored if the US expects to promote human rights and the rule of law in the battle for legitimacy.  But in addition to US violations, there are other obstacles to promoting human rights overseas.  One is disagreement over what constitutes universal human rights, and another is the concept of sovereignty—a principle of international law that has traditionally prohibited the intervention of one nation in the affairs of another.  Disagreement over the definition of human rights remains, but the principle of non-intervention may be changing with new theories that allow humanitarian intervention if a nation fails to protect the human rights of its own people.97

There is little reason to expect those cultural values and standards that conflict with human rights in the Middle East and Africa to change any time soon, but for any military intervention for regime change to be considered successful by the US public it must produce a government that not only provides security for its people, but one that also promotes democracy and human rights as integral parts of the rule of law.

The US commitment to Iraq is winding down with a status of forces agreement that requires the withdrawal of all US forces by the end of 2011; but hard choices remain as to Afghanistan—whether to expend more US blood and billions of dollars to support a government that does not share US core values and which lacks legitimacy with its own people.98

While America cannot impose its cultural, religious and political values on the people of Iraq or Afghanistan, it can and should promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law in COIN whenever possible.  Unfortunately, even if elections can be held and law and order established in these nations, it does not appear that human rights and the rule of law will follow anytime soon—especially in Afghanistan, where a culture of political corruption and the oppression of women has so far frustrated reform efforts.99  

Looking Ahead: Iraq and Afghanistan

With the drawdown of forces in Iraq and the buildup of forces in Afghanistan, the US should reconsider its strategic objectives and reconstitute and redeploy its forces to better match missions with capabilities in the region.100  Since the US strategic objective in COIN is to assist a supported government defend its legitimacy, if and when a government loses the legitimacy needed to govern effectively there is no justification for continued US COIN operations.  That is the lesson of Vietnam, and it has become an issue in Afghanistan where the legitimacy of the Karzai government is in doubt.    

There is an irony here.  In Iraq, the legitimacy of the al-Maliki government was initially contaminated by a US invasion that was widely seen as an illegitimate exercise of power, but the US surge strategy allowed the al-Maliki government an opportunity to consolidate its power and enhance its legitimacy.101   In Afghanistan, the Karzai government initially benefited from a US invasion widely seen as a legitimate exercise of power; but NATO operations are now unable to stop the rising tide of the Taliban, and the Karzai government is widely seen as corrupt, with its power eroded by powerful tribal warlords and their militias.  There is evidence that the Karzai government as well as the Taliban are profiting from the opium trade, and turmoil in Pakistani politics has given the Taliban and al Qaeda sanctuaries just across the border.  Given the loss of legitimacy of the Karzai government and the growing strength of the Taliban, there is reason to question whether COIN remains a suitable US/NATO strategy in Afghanistan.102   

Similar issues of legitimacy prevail throughout the region.103  Wherever the US is engaged in the battle for legitimacy, the rule of law should be the primary strategic objective and civil affairs the primary means to that end.  That requires a mix of both soft and hard US power for the extended, ambiguous and often unpopular operations of COIN, but it is problematic whether the US public will support such irregular operations.  That public support will require a cultural change in America’s national will as well as in the political and military institutions that implement it.   

Finally, even if the US is successful in helping establish capable and legitimate governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, that will not eliminate the threat of terrorism to the US.  That threat remains, and it is not one that can be fought and defeated by US military forces overseas.  Since 9/11 civilian law enforcement and intelligence agencies rather than military forces have countered the terrorist threat of radical Islam outside Afghanistan and Iraq.104  To win the global war on terror, the US must focus on cooperative efforts with law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world, and when it chooses to use its military power in hostile cultural environments, it must temper its exceptionalism with a healthy dose of realism; at the same time the US must never sacrifice its ideals of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

New Strategies, Roles and Missions and the Capabilities to Implement Them

            In his inaugural address, President Barack H. Obama as the new US Commander-in-Chief, acknowledged that “Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.”  Later he added: “We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waiver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.” 

To Islamist terrorists who represent the power of hate and the patience to wait in the battle for legitimacy, President Obama pledged to confront and defeat them with the power of US ideals—those of human rights and the rule of law—and the patience to see them through: “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.  Our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.  Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expediency’s sake.”105 

Just how those lofty ideals are translated into strategies, roles and missions, and the military capabilities to carry them out is yet to be seen, but Robert M. Gates, the US Secretary of Defense, has already given a preview of how that will happen with a balanced strategy in three general areas: “[1] between trying to prevail in current conflicts and preparing for other contingencies, [2] between institutionalizing capabilities such as counterinsurgency and foreign military assistance and maintaining the United States’ existing conventional and technological edge against other military forces, and  [3] between retaining those cultural traits that have made the US armed forces successful and shedding those that hamper their ability to do what needs to be done.”

Secretary Gates went on to explain the need for unconventional thinking in future military strategies: “What is dubbed as the war on terror, is, in grim reality, a prolonged, worldwide irregular campaign—a struggle between the forces of violent extremism and those of moderation.  Direct military forces will continue to play a role in the long-term effort against terrorists and other extremists.  But over the long term, the US cannot kill or capture its way to victory.  Where possible, what the military calls kinetic operations should be subordinated to measures aimed at promoting better governance, economic programs that spur development, and efforts to address the grievances among the discontented, from whom terrorists recruit.  It will take the patient accumulation of quiet successes over a long time to discredit and defeat extremist movements and their ideologies.”

Secretary Gates observed: “To truly achieve victory as Clausewitz defined it—to attain a political objective—the US needs a military whose ability to kick down the door is matched by its ability to clean up the mess and even rebuild the house afterward.”  He went on to note that Special operations have received increased funding and support in recent years and that counterinsurgency and Army operations manuals now provide doctrine for irregular operations alongside more conventional military doctrine; “And various initiatives are under way that will better integrate and coordinate US military efforts with civilian agencies as well as engage the expertise of the civilian sector, including nongovernmental organizations and academia.”

Expanding on the third point of his balanced strategy, Secretary Gates addressed the need to change the bureaucratic culture of the Pentagon to support unconventional military capabilities, roles and missions: “One of the enduring issues the military struggles with is whether personnel and promotion systems designed to reward the command of American troops will be able to reflect the importance of advising, training, and equipping foreign troops—something still not considered a career-enhancing path for the best and brightest officers.  Another is whether formations and units organized, trained and equipped to destroy enemies can be adapted well enough and fast enough to dissuade or co-opt them—or, more significant, to build the capacity of local security forces to do the dissuading and destroying.”

Finally, the Secretary of Defense left no doubt where he stood on these contentious issues: “As secretary of defense I have repeatedly made the argument in favor of institutionalizing counterinsurgency skills and the ability to conduct stability and support operations.  …Apart from the Special Forces community and some dissident colonels, however, for decades there has been no strong, deeply rooted constituency inside the Pentagon or elsewhere for institutionalizing the capabilities to wage asymmetric or irregular warfare—and to quickly meet the ever-changing needs of forces engaged in these conflicts.”106

Colonel H. R. McMaster is one of those dissident colonels mentioned by Secretary Gates who understands and has promoted the need for those unique military capabilities, roles and missions required to win the battle for legitimacy in future conflicts.  Colonel McMaster cited painful lessons learned in legitimacy from Vietnam to support a focus on the human element and a flexible capability in military operations rather than technological superiority and overwhelming force in those ambiguous and unforgiving conflict environments like Iraq and Afghanistan where the US must be prepared to defend its national security interests.

COL McMaster has argued the points made by Secretary Gates against proponents of the so-called Revolution in Military Affairs who favor future strategies and capabilities based on technological superiority and overwhelming military force, or shock and awe, to achieve US strategic objectives.  He cited the failure of such strategies in both Vietnam and Iraq for having “slighted the human and psychological dimensions of war,” and observed that no easy solution presents itself in Afghanistan and Iraq, just as in Vietnam where success required “…defeating enemy insurgent and conventional forces, countering enemy political initiatives, and helping the South Vietnamese government and military develop the effectiveness and legitimacy necessary to secure the population, address people’s basic needs, and turn people against the Communists.”

After comparing Secretary of Defense McNamara and his “whiz kids” with Secretary Rumsfeld and his neocon equivalents—who managed to duplicate the strategic errors of their predecessors—COL McMaster condemned US policies and strategies that “…invited Americans to indulge in the conceit that decisive victory would henceforth be achieved by small numbers of US forces backed with superior technology,” which is an underlying assumption of the strategic priorities of the Revolution of Military Affairs.

After describing the unconventional nature of COIN and how it defies the kind of calibration required to effectively utilize conventional military responses, COL McMaster has advocated more flexible strategies and military capabilities: “Enemy countermeasures such as dispersion, concealment, deception and intermingling with the civilian population limit the reach of surveillance and precision strike capabilities.  Other factors, such as cultural, tribal and political identities enhance complexity and influence the course of events.  Emphasis in planning and directing operations, therefore, ought to be on effectiveness rather than efficiency.”107

It seems clear that the US Commander-in-Chief and his Secretary of Defense support strategies that require a capability to conduct COIN and stability operations, and that there is support for such flexible strategies in the officer corps.  That begs the question: How does the US provide the needed capabilities and define the roles and missions needed to win the battle for legitimacy in COIN and stability operations?  There are three areas in which changes should be made:

1. Integrated interagency structures and operational units including Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of State (DOS) personnel and other critical civilians should be provided for the roles and missions in COIN and stability operations.

The primacy of political objectives in COIN and stability operations make unity of effort essential to mission success.  While PRTs have functioned reasonably well as interagency operational units in COIN and stability operations, there have been failures that can only be remedied by more effective integration of mission essential personnel from both DOD and DOS, and their conflicting policies and practices.

There has always been a vast gulf between the limits of diplomacy and military operations, and that gulf is evident in the clash of DOS and DOD operational cultures.  Bridges must be built to overcome the bureaucratic inertia and operational friction that impede unity of effort in COIN and stability operations.  Secretary of Defense Gates has acknowledged this issue, and it is assumed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will do the same, even as President Obama has indicated a shift of emphasis from DOD to DOS.

Achieving true unity of effort between DOD and DOS personnel will require hybrid organizational structures that effectively integrate interagency personnel, operational policies, practices and procedures and provide clear lines of authority and accountability.  Given the inevitable culture clash, military officers and those in the diplomatic corps should share cross-training and operational assignments to gain a better understanding of the culture differences between their two bureaucracies.108   

2. Civil Affairs doctrine, units and force structures should be modified to provide an interagency capability for the roles and missions of COIN and stability operations.

Civil Affairs assets represent the most suitable capability in either DOD or DOS to conduct the interagency activities and operations of COIN and stability operations, but operational doctrine and force structures must be modified to achieve that purpose.    Most civil affairs units are in the United States Army Reserve (USAR) and are assigned to the United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC) at Ft. Bragg, NC, which is under the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in Tampa, FL.  Civil affairs is a special operations activity under the Goldwater-Nichols Act, so that all civil affairs personnel, activities and operations can be incorporated into USSOCOM, including those from DOS, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Civilian Response Corps (CRC).

CRC is a civilian capability with a rule of law mission in stabilization and reconstruction activities overseas.  It includes civilian judges, lawyers and policemen who should be organizationally integrated with civil affairs in order to achieve unity of effort in COIN and stability operations.  So far CRC remains a separate DOS capability, compounding the interagency friction already noted with PRTs.  A hybrid civil affairs capability in USSOOM that includes CRC could remedy the problem.109 

Another way to improve the civil affairs capability would be to utilize existing civilian expertise in government services found in the Army National Guard (ARNG).  Each state ARNG has the mission to provide essential services in natural and man-made disasters and has a state area command (STARC) that includes capabilities that parallel those functional specialties in civil affairs.  The STARC could double as a civil affairs capability, but currently there are no civil affairs units in the ARNG.110

            3. There should be a new paradigm of military leadership in the battle for legitimacy: the diplomat-warrior.

The need for a unique model of leadership for civil-military operations such as COIN and stability operations should be self-evident.  The traditional model of the combat leader and his command style of leadership so well suited for combat is ill-suited for the civil-military and interagency priorities of COIN and stability operations.

The diplomat-warrior is a leader who understands the importance of diplomacy, negotiation and the power of persuasion in the battle for legitimacy; and the training and career path of this leader should run through both DOD and DOS.  This applies to all special operations personnel with civil-military and interagency missions.  As noted by Secretary Gates, providing a career path for the diplomat-warrior will require a major change in the bureaucratic culture of DOD, but it is a change that must occur if the US is to have the capability to promote the rule of law in the battle for legitimacy.111       

            Proposals have been made for new bureaucratic structures to provide the capabilities for the roles and missions in COIN and stability operations, but new layers of bureaucracy are not needed.  The US already has the capabilities and structures needed to provide diplomat-warriors to train foreign forces, promote the rule of law and conduct the interagency operations needed in the battle for legitimacy.  What has been lacking is leadership within DOD and DOS to challenge traditional bureaucratic inertia and culture and reshape existing capabilities for new roles and missions.  The recommendations of Secretary Gates to transform the world’s largest bureaucracy could make that happen.112      

Conclusion

The military is the ultimate extension of a nation’s foreign policy, and the US must have a capability to conduct military operations other than war such as stability operations and COIN in order to protect its national security interests.  COIN is a battle for legitimacy rather than for military victory, and unlike conventional combat operations political objectives take precedence over military objectives.  Public support for an embattled government is more important to mission success in COIN than overwhelming combat power.  The battle for legitimacy cannot be won by military power, and excessive military force can be counterproductive when it causes collateral damage. 

US interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq precipitated extended COIN operations that have yet to be resolved, but two results are certain: Iran has become the major power in the Middle East and a serious threat to US security interests, and Osama bin Laden remains at large with other al Qaeda and Taliban forces in sanctuaries in neighboring Pakistan, a country either unable or unwilling to purge itself of Islamists.

In Iraq the surge strategy made the best of a bad situation, but corruption and unresolved sectarian and ethnic conflict make the future uncertain.  In Afghanistan the Karzai government has lost its initial legitimacy due to corruption and ineffectiveness.  In both countries there remains pervasive hostility to the US based on endemic religious and cultural differences.  There is good reason to question whether US strategic interests in the region have been well served by military strategies and operations to date. 

Religion has once again infected the politics of the Middle East, and with an atavistic vengeance.  Radical Islam feeds the intractable violence, and it is not only a threat in the Middle East, but also throughout Africa and Asia.  Islamist terrorists have effectively utilized asymmetric strategies to counter superior force.  They represent the power of hate and the patience to wait.

For the US to counter the threat of Islamist violence and promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law in hostile cultural environments like Afghanistan and Iraq, its policy makers and military leaders must better understand the central role of legitimacy in contemporary conflict, and how religion and culture produce conflicting standards of legitimacy and fragmented political structures.  They must also understand the strategic relationship between the rule of law and civil affairs in the battle for legitimacy, and the need for public support in both the US and the area of operations to achieve the political objectives of COIN.

With a looming economic crisis overshadowing its military commitments, the US is at a crossroads that resonates with echoes from Vietnam.  If the US chooses to continue stability operations and COIN in hostile cultural environments, it must make significant adjustments to its military strategies based on lessons learned in legitimacy.  The US must reshape its military capabilities into new roles and missions and develop a new paradigm of leadership in order to win the battle for legitimacy—or be prepared to accept painful consequences that have been writ large in history.                                                

END NOTES

1. General David Petraeus is one of the authors of Counterinsurgency, FM 3-24 and MCWP 3-33.5, December 2006, Headquarters, Department of the Army (hereinafter cited as FM 3-24 or Counterinsurgency), and he made it clear that the operational doctrine in that manual governed operations in Iraq.  Legitimacy is described as the main objective in COIN in the first of the historic principles for COIN set forth in paras 1-113 through 1-136, and there is special emphasis on the rule of law in chapter 7 and Appendix D, and on civil affairs in chapter 2 on Unity of Effort: Integrating Civilian and Military Activities (the broad concept of civil affairs is synonymous with unity of effort).  COIN is similar to Foreign Internal Defense (FID), and both are categorized as irregular warfare which is defined as “A violent struggle among state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant populations.” (see Glossary, Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review Report, Department of Defense, January 2009; see also FM 3-0, Operations, Headquarters, Department of the Army, February 2008, chapter 2)  On the distinction between COIN and FID, which seems a distinction without a difference, see Hasler, Defining War, Special Warfare, Mar/Apr 2007, p 23; also Mulbury, ARSOF, General Purpose Forces and FID, Special Operations, Jan/Feb 2008. 

2. The concept of military legitimacy and its relationship to public support is defined and explained in Barnes, Military Legitimacy: Might and Right in the New Millennium, Frank Cass, 1996, in chapters 2 and 3 (hereinafter cited as Military Legitimacy); see also Barnes, Military Legitimacy in OOTW: Civilians as Mission Priorities, Special Warfare, Fall 1999 (hereinafter cited as Military Legitimacy in OOTW), and FM 3-24 at paras 1.3, 1.4 (p 1-1), 1-7 (p 1-2), 1.40 (p 1-8), 1.43 (p 1-9), 1-108 (p 1-120), 1-112-119 (pp 1-21,22), and box at p 7-9.  See also FM 3-0 at pp 3-12 thru 3-14, Appendix A, p 4 (A-4).

3. For the role of culture and religious values in shaping concepts of legitimacy, see Military Legitimacy at pp 53-58 and Military Legitimacy in OOTW; generally see FM 3-24 at paras 1-75-83 (pp 1-14,15), 1-84 (p 1-16), 1-124,125 (pp 1-22,23); on Iraq, see Craig Trebilcock, The Modern Seven Pillars of Iraq, Army, Feb. 2007, p 25; as to Afghanistan, see Edward Croot, Digging Deeper, Special Warfare, Mar-Apr 2007, p 26.

4. On the need for public support for military legitimacy and the role of the media in shaping it, see Barnes, Military Legitimacy in OOTW: Civilians as Mission Priorities, Special Warfare, Fall 1999, pp 35-37; also Military Legitimacy, pp 58-60.  The cultural pluralism that creates the double standard of legitimacy is discussed later (see note 95, infra).

5. On the need to restrain the use of lethal force and apply the principles of discrimination and proportionality to minimize collateral damage, see FM 3-24, paras 1-141-143 (p 1-25), 148-154 (pp 1-126-127) and 7-30-37 (pp 7-6,7).  

6. This expansive meaning is described by David Scott Gordon in his paper, Promoting the Rule of Law in Stability Operations: Myths, Methods and the Military, 2007, see www.citadel.edu/smll; see also Kevin Govern, “Reichstaat” Aspirations Versus Accomplishments: Rethinking the Rule of Law Efforts in Iraq, paper presented to the Barnes Symposium at the University of South Carolina Law School, February 2007 (see at www.citadel.edu/smll).  Tonya Jankunis has argued that the UN definition of the rule of law be adopted by all US agencies.  It is a broad “substantive” definition that includes human rights and the implication of democracy (participation in decision-making).  See Jankunis, Military Strategists Are From Mars, Rule of Law Theorists Are From Venus: Why Imposition of the Rule of Law Requires a Goldwater-Nichols Modeled Interagency Reform, Military Law Review, Fall, 2008, pp 16, 53.  For the rule of law as defined in FM 3-24, see note 8, infra.

7. Operational law is a term of art used by military lawyers to describe the laws applicable to military operations, and compliance with the law is the first requirement of legitimacy.  The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, VA publishes an Operational Law Handbook annually.  As to the relationship between the law and legitimacy in COIN, see Barnes, Military Legitimacy in OOTW: Civilians as Mission Priorities, Special Warfare, Fall 1999, pp 33-34, and Military Legitmacy at p 57.

8. FM 3-24 (Counterinsurgency) states: “Establishing the rule of law is a key goal and end state in COIN… Some key aspects of the rule of law include: 1. A government that derives its powers from the governed… 2. Sustainable security institutions… [and]        3. Fundamental human rights…” (see Appendix D, para D-38; the rule of law is also considered an essential element of legitimacy in para 1-119 and of security in para 1-131) Elsewhere the range of meanings for the rule of law are from an expansive meaning that is synonymous with US strategic political objectives (see note 6, supra) to more narrow meanings such as that proposed by Dan Stigall in The Rule of Law: A Primer and A Proposal, Military Law Review, Fall 2006, p 92.  In keeping with FM 3-24, Vasitios Tasikas has advocated a strategic paradigm emphasizing the importance of the rule of law to mission success in Afghanistan, with military lawyers playing a central role.  See Tasikas, Developing the Rule of Law in Afghanistan: the Need for a New Strategic Paradigm, The Army Lawyer, July 2007, pp 45 et seq.; see also note 6, supra.         

9. On civil affairs generally, see Military Legitimacy at pp 36-48, 70, 149-155; see also, Barnes, Civil Affairs: Diplomat-Warriors in Contemporary Conflict, Special Warfare, Winter 1991, p 4.  Civil affairs doctrine makes a distinction between civil-military operations and civil affairs operations (see FM 3-05.40, September 2006 at p 1-2), but in this context there is no meaningful distinction between the two.  Civil affairs is integral to the unity of effort between military and civilian agencies and activities in COIN (see FM 3-24 at pp 1-22, 2-5, 2-13.  Civil affairs activities and personnel are also an integral part of stability operations (see FM 3-0 at p 3-12); see also, Bruce Bingham, Daniel Rubini and Michael Cleary, U.S. Army Civil Affairs: The Army’s “Ounce of Prevention”, The Land Warfare Papers, No. 41, March 2003; also notes 11 and 39, infra.

10. See references in note 3, supra, on the need to respect local culture and religious norms; but also notes 15 and 16, infra, on the potential pitfalls of promoting security at the expense of the political reforms needed to protect fundamental human rights. 

11. See Military Legitimacy at p 39 and note 13; see also, Barnes, Civil Affairs: Diplomat-Warriors in Contemporary Conflict, Special Warfare, Winter 1991, at p 6 and note 12; also Military Legitimacy in OOTW at pp 40, 41, notes 36 and 37.  Current civil affairs doctrine states that “CA significantly helps ensure the legitimacy and credibility of the mission by advising on how best to meet the moral and legal obligations to the people affected military operations” and provides for a Rule of Law Section to help create security and stability for the civilian population by restoring and enhancing a system of justice (see FM 3-05.40, pp 1-1 and 2-8 thru 2-10).  See also note 39, infra.

12. See articles by Trebilcock and Croot cited in note 3, supra; on the conflict between providing security and legitimacy, see the article by Chamberlain cited in note 15, infra.

13. Michael Eisenstadt, Tribal Engagement Lessons Learned, Military Review, Sept-Oct 2007, pp 16, 25.

14. On the constabulary or police role of military forces in COIN, see FM 3-24 at paras 1-131 thru 1-133 and paras 7-26 thru 7-29.  Morris Janowitz pioneered the concept of the military in a constabulary role.  See Janowitz, The Future of the Military Profession, in Wakin, War, Morality and the Military Profession, Westview Press, 1987, at p 57.  On the danger of promoting an oppressive constabulary force, see note 15, infra.

15. On the interdependence of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, see Military Legitimacy at p 80.  IN COIN, legitimacy is not served by supporting an oppressive rule of law.  Robert Chamberlain has compared US COIN in El Salvador in the 1980s with Iraq to illustrate that US support of security forces that suppress political opposition only feeds an insurgency.  Robert M. Chamberlain, With Friends Like These: Grievance, Governance, and Capacity-Building in COIN, Parameters, Summer 2008, pp 79, 89, 90.  On human rights, sovereignty and the UN, see notes 16 and 97, infra.

16. Idem; see also Military Legitimacy, chapter 4.  In his inaugural address President Obama made it clear that human rights and the rule of law are US foreign policy objectives, so that no regime sponsored by the US that denies its people fundamental human rights can be considered a foreign policy success.  The priority of human rights to mission success (at least prior to 9/11) is discussed in Barnes, Human Rights and Legitimacy in the Foreign Training Mission, Special Warfare, Spring 2001, p 2.  US forces in foreign training missions are required to report any gross violation of human rights, and funding is prohibited to those countries that have a record of human rights violations (see pp 4-6).  See Military Legitimacy at p 139 and note 10.  The notorious violations of human rights at Abu Ghraib and continuing issues of detainee abuse at Guantanimo (see note 96, infra) indicate that human rights must be restored as a mission priority of US forces.  On human rights, sovereignty and the UN, see note 97, infra.

17. Harry G. Summers, Jr., On Strategy: The Vietnam War in Context, Strategic Studies Institute, The Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA, 1989, p 1.

18. Overwhelming military force can be turned against the US and the government it supports by asymmetric strategies of insurgents.  See FM 3-24, chapter 1, paras 1-112-123, 1-131-133, 1-141-143 and 1-148-157.  But that is only one of the asymmetrics of COIN; even democracy can be asymmetric, promoting rather than limiting terrorism, as it has in Gaza under the democratically elected Hamas government. (see generally, Cindy R. Jebb, P. H. Liotta and Ruth Margolies Beitler, The Fight for Legitimacy: Democracy vs. Terrorism, Praeger Security International, 2006, p 6 et seq. (hereinafter The Fight for Legitimacy; see also note 99, infra).  Measures to counter the asymmetric tactics of insurgents are discussed in Dungan, Fighting Lawfare at the Special Operations Task Force Level, Special Warfare, March 2008).

19. Nadia Shadlow has argued that General Petraeus and the large number of US forces under his command should remain in Iraq indefinitely on the assumption that they “…can forge close relationships with Iraqi soldiers and police demonstrating to the population a commitment to achieving enduring security.”  Shadlow, From the Jaws of Victory, New York Times, February 7, 2008.  The status of forces agreement between Iraq and the US will govern how many US forces remain in Iraq; all troops are to leave by the end of 2011.  As to the debate on how many more NATO forces should be deployed in Afghanistan, see notes 102 and 104, infra.      

20. See note 1, supra.

21. See Military Legitimacy at pages 37-48 and 60-71.

22. Ibid at p 61.

23. Idem.

24. See FM 3-24 at pp 1-20 through 1-24.

25. Ibid at pp 1-20 through 1-28.  The historic principles of COIN listed in FM 3-24 omit the restricted use of force and restraint under LIC and OOTW, and adaptability under LIC; but these principles and precedents are found later under contemporary imperatives of COIN where they are listed as use the appropriate level of force and learn and adapt.  The similarity of the modern principles of COIN with those of Low Intensity Conflict in the 1980s can be seen in a 1988 article by the author: The Politics of Low Intensity Conflict, Military Review, February 1988, p 1.  FM 3-0, Operations, supplements the nine traditional principles of war with three principles of joint operations: perseverance, legitimacy and restraint. (see FM 3-0, Appendix A)    

26. For a list and description of the LIC imperatives and principles of OOTW, see Military Legitimacy at pp 60-71; for the principles of COIN see FM 3-24 at pp 1-20 through 1-28.  For current doctrine on the full spectrum of operations, see note 1, supra.  Daniel Roper has affirmed the primacy of legitimacy in COIN, and suggested that for strategic clarity the global war on terror should be called a global hiarabahist insurgency.  See Roper, Global Counterinsurgency: Strategic Clarity for the Long War, Parameters, Autumn 2008, pp 93, 98, 99.

27. A concise theory of Just War with a listing of the six principles of jus ad bellum and the principles of jus in bello (discrimination and proportionality) can be found in Mark Amstutz , International Ethics, Rowman & Littlefield, 2008, at pp 113-116; a more comprehensive look at Just War and its application to Iraq is provided by Richard DiMeglio in The Evolution of the Just War Tradition: Defining Jus Post Bellum, Military Law Review, Winter 2005, p 116.  The importance of the principles of discrimination and proportionality are emphasized in FM 3-24 at pp 7-6 and 7-7.  See also Military Legitimacy at pp 8, 54, 55, 66-68, 85-90.  The Israeli offensive into Gaza generated heated debate on whether Israeli actions were disproportionate or a proportionate response to the asymmetric tactics of Hamas. See Steven Erlanger, Weighing Crimes and Ethics in Urban Warfare, The New York Times, January 17, 2009. 

28. A Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is a treaty that governs the status of US forces in a foreign country, and the al-Maliki government has used negotiations with the US over the Iraq SOFA to push for a “time horizon” for the withdrawal of US troops. See William J. Fallon, Surge Protector, NYTimes, July 20, 2008.  On the US-Iraq SOFA, see Kevin Govern, Sharing a SOFA With Iraq: Towards a Status of Forces Agreement, Op-Ed in Jurist Forum, University of Pittsburgh Law School, July 2, 2008.  On the terms of the SOFA approved by Iraq, see Sudarsan Raghavan, Security Accord Approved in Iraq, The Washington Post, November 28, 2008.        

29. Commentators and scholars have argued whether the US invasion of Iraq met the requirements of international law set forth in Articles 2(4) and 51 of the UN Charter, which limit armed intervention to self-defense or collective self-defense, unless authorized under chapter VII of the UN Charter, and whether the invasion met the moral requirements of the Just War Tradition (see David K. Linnan, Redefining Legitimacy: Legal Issues, chapter 13, Enemy Combatants, Terrorism and Armed Conflict Law, edited by David K. Linnan, Praeger Security International, 2008; also Mark Amstutz , International Ethics, ibid).  Most agree that preemptive self-defense and regime change do not satisfy the legal and moral requirements for the invasion.  John Judis has argued that George W. Bush ignored the lessons of history (and legitimacy), beginning with the US occupation of the Philippines in the early 20th century, and that the US invasion of Iraq has undermined long-standing US efforts to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law.  See Judis, The Folly of Empire: What George Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, Scribner, 2004.  Most national polls taken since the beginning of 2007 indicate that the majority of Americans do not support the US war in Iraq and want the US out as soon as possible.  See Lowndes F. Stephens, The Press, the Presidency, and Public Opinion Since 9/11: Shaping US Foreign Policy and Military Strategy, Enemy Combatants, Terrorism, and Armed Conflict Law: A Guide to the Issues, edited by David K. Linnan, Praeger Security International, 2008, at p 7.

30. For a description of the leadership qualities needed in COIN and ways to produce leaders with them, see Brian Polley, Leadership Education and Training for the Interagency, The Interagency and Counterinsurgency Warfare: Stability, Security, Transition and Reconstruction, edited by Joseph R. Cerami and Jay W. Boggs, Strategic Studies Institute, December 2007, at p. 425.  See also Military Legitimacy at pp 105-117; and Barnes, Civil Affairs: Diplomat-Warriors in Contemporary Conflict, Special Warfare, Winter 1991, p 4.

31. Idem; see also reference to reversal of military priorities in Parodoxes of Counterinsurgency Operations in Counterinsurgency at paras 1-148-161 and Table 1-1, reference to diplomat-warriors at para 2-36 (p 2-8), and leadership requirements in chapter 7.

32. Current doctrine in FM 3-24 (December 2006) is little changed from the doctrine for LIC and OOTW that preceded it.  See note 25, supra.  The emphasis on civil affairs is found in chapter 2, Unity of Effort.    

33. See the discussion of the conflicting principles of restraint and security, two of the six principles of OOTW that apply to COIN.  The other four principles are legitimacy, objective, unity of effort and perseverance as discussed in Military Legitimacy at pp 60-70, and 133-144.  See also FM 3-24 at paras 1-112 through 1-161 and Table 1-1 at pp 1-20 through 1-29, and FM 3-0 at Appendix A; see also Military Legitimacy in OOTW.

34. Numerous examples of collateral damage have resulting from the excessive, inappropriate or illegal use of force in both Iraq (e.g. Abu Ghraib, the incident at Haditha, the Blackwater incident, and numerous air strikes that killed women and children) and Afghanistan, where air strikes targeting al Qaeda have often killed women and children.      

35. See John A. Nagle, A Battalion’s Worth of Good Ideas, NY Times, April 2, 2008; also Peter Spiegel and Julian E. Barnes, Rethinking the U.S. Army, Los Angeles Times, October 10, 2007.  The United States Institute of Peace has promoted a Rule of Law Reserves in a Civilian Response Corps (CRC) and a federal Office for Rule of Law Operations, see Building Civilian Capacity for US Stability Operations: The Rule of Law Component, April 2004.  In 2008 Congress funded $55 million (PL 110-252) to deploy 600 members of the CRC as a US capability for reconstruction and stabilization (see Carlson & Dziedzic, Recruitment of Rule of Law Specialists for the Civilian Response Corps, United States Institute of Peace, January , 2009, cited at note 109, infra); a special panel of the US House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services issued its first report (Initial Perspectives) in January 2008 which included articles on CRC (pp 42-44), a Department of Nation-Building (pp 45-47), and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) that are currently in service under the State Department in both Afghanistan and Iraq (pp 68,69).  The DOD Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review Report (January 2009) emphasized the need for innovative interagency initiatives like civil affairs and CRC to address COIN and stability operations (see pp 5-13; 31-36); and the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has called for a robust interagency relationship between USAID, the Department of Defense and the Department of State in COIN (see Henrietta Holsman Fore, Aligning “Soft” Power with “Hard” Power, Parameters, Summer, 2008, p 14.  See also notes 60-62, 100, 106, 108, and 109, infra.

36. See Military Legitimacy at pp 36-48; see also FM 3-24 at para 2-18 (p 2-5) and Military Legitimacy and OOTW.  See Mark Grdovic, The Advisory Challenge, Special Warfare, Jan/Feb 2008;  John Mulbury describes the capabilities of the Army’s SOF and argues that its foreign internal defense (FID) mission is uniquely different from the COIN mission now being performed by conventional or general purpose forces, but it seems a distinction without a real difference.  See Mulbury, ARSOF General Purpose Forces and FID, Special Warfare, Jan/Feb 2008, p 17.  Ross Lightsey describes how Civil Affairs forces support general purpose forces in Civil Affairs Support to the Surge, Special Warfare, Mar/Apr 2008.         

37. See Ralph R. Young, Snapshots of Civil Affairs: A Historical Perspective and Views, unpublished paper presented at the 39th Annual Conference of the Civil Affairs Association at San Antonio Texas, June 1986, p 4.  Also Alexander M. Walczak, Conflict Termination–Transitioning From Warrior to Constable: A Primer, unpublished paper prepared as part of USAWC Military Studies Program, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 1992.  Walczak emphasizes the responsibility of commanders for the welfare of civilians in their areas, and their role as constables in establishing and maintaining law and order and providing essential services until CA forces arrive.  See also FM 3-0 at p 3-12 thru 3-14.

38. See Ted B. Borek, Legal Services During War, 120 Military Law Review, 1988, pp 35-40.

39. See note 11, supra.  See also U.S. Army Field Manual (FM) 41-10, Civil Affairs Operations, December, 1985, p 1-1; cited in Barnes, Legitimacy and the Lawyer in LIC: Civil Affairs Legal Support, The Army Lawyer, October 1988, p 5.

40. See Harry F. Walterhouse, A Time to Build , The R. L. Bryan Company, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, S.C., 1964, p 84.  For an account of the US intervention in the Philippines in the early 20th century, see John Judis, The Folly of Empire: What George Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, Scribner, 2004.            

41. Ibid at pp 84-90

.

42. Reference is made to William Lederer and Eugene Burdick’s The Ugly American, New York: W.W. North & Co., 1958.

43. Graham Greene’s classic, The Quiet American, Penguin Books, 1955, 1973, gives an insight into the early days of US involvement in South Vietnam.

44. William R. Berkman, Civil Affairs in Vietnam, unpublished paper written for U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA, December 1973; see also the highlighted box in FM 3-24 (CORDS and Accelerated Pacification of Vietnam) at p 2-12,13.

45. John T. Fischel and Edmund S. Cowan, Civil-Military Operations and the War for Moral Legitimacy in Latin America, Military Review, January 1988, p 40, 43.  The authors use the term civil-military operations, which has essentially the same meaning as civil affairs in this context.  For other examples of military civic action in Latin America and elsewhere, see Gabriel Marcella, The Latin American Military, Low Intensity Conflict, and Democracy, Winning the Peace: The Strategic Implications of Military Civic Action, edited by John W. DePauw and George A. Luz, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA, chapter 4.

46. The Grenada and Panama incursions reflected both a preference for overwhelming military force and impatience with extended combat operations, producing “quick and dirty” combat operations that not only satisfied public preferences but also the 60-day limit on combat operations, after which the War Powers Resolution allows Congress to become involved.  See Military Legitimacy at pp 65-66, 137-138; see also Counterinsurgency, Appendix D (Legal Considerations), p D-2.

47. See Delbert L. Spurlock, Grenada Provides Classic Case, The Officer, August 1984, p 17; see also, Barnes, Grenada Revisited: Civil Affairs Operates in Paradise, The Officer, July 1985, p 14.

48. Carnes Lord, Project Director, Civil Affairs: Perspectives and Prospects (draft, February 1993), Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University,  pp 7, 8.

49. See Civil Affairs in Just Cause, Special Warfare, Winter 1991, p 28.

50. See John R. Randt, Working in a Place Called Zacho: Stories from the Storm, Army Reserve Magazine, third issue of 1991, p 10.

51. See Civil Affairs: Perspectives and Prospects cited in note 62, supra, at pp p 9-12.

52. See Military Legitimacy at pp 19-20, 135-138.

53. See Civil Affairs Journal and Newsletter, Civil Affairs Association, Kensington, MD, January/February 1995, p 3. 

54. See Bill Maddox, Haiti Recovers, Army Reserve Magazine, Spring 1995, p 20.

55. See Mark Amstutz , International Ethics, Rowman & Littlefield, 2005, at pp 20-26 (case study of the 1999 NATO war against Serbia in which Amstutz questions the morality of NATO bombing campaign).

56. Idem.  The decentralized political system produced by the Dayton Peace Accord “…has entrenched rather than healed ethnic divisions” so that “the political situation is difficult, violent and unstable….”  See Dan Bilefsky, Fears of New Ethnic Conflict in Bosnia, The New York Times, December 14, 2008.  

57. Wayne A. Downing, Civil Affairs Wins the Peace, letter to the editor, Military Review, February 1994, pp 3, 64.  See also, FM 3-0, p 3-12 thru 3-14.

58. FM 3-24 (see note 1, supra) and Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 3000.05 (November 2005) which support the primacy of legitimacy, the rule of law and civil affairs in stability operations.  See Michael R. Gordon, New Weight in Army Manual on Stabilization, New York Times, February 8, 2008; see FM 3-0 at p 3-12 thru 3-15 and Appendix A.  In the Forward to the DOD Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review Report (January 2009), Secretary of Defense Robert Gates confirmed that “…military success does not equate to victory.”  See also notes 35 supra and 100 and 106, infra.    

59. See FM 3-24, n. 1, supra, at chapter 2 (Unity of Effort), para 2-1; also FM 3-12 thru 3-15.  See also references in note 58, supra.

60. For a description of a CMOC, see FM 3-24, ibid, at pp 2-11, 2-13 and 2-14; PRTs are described in FM 3-24 at p 2-12 and in The PRT Playbook: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL), http://call.army.mil, Sept 07, at p 1.  The relationship between PRTs and legitimacy is noted on pp 1, 2; see also, Nina Abbaszadeh, et al., Provincial Reconstruction Teams: Lessons and Recommendations, Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs, Princeton University, January, 2008, at pp 5, 7-13.  On PRTs and interagency cooperation in COIN, see Status of the Provincial Reconstruction Team Program Expansion in Iraq, Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, SIGR-07-014, July 25, 2007; PRT Handbook: Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, Center for Army Lessons Learned, September 2007.  For a survey of organizational possibilities and issues relating to an advisory corps that might bridge the gap between the Department of State and Department of Defense in nation-building, stability operations and COIN, see H. Allen Irish, “A Peace Corps With Guns”: Can the Military Be a Tool of Development?, The Interagency and Counterinsurgency Warfare: Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction Roles, December 2007, Strategic Studies Institute, edited by Joseph R. Cerami and Jay W. Boggs.           

61. See n. 44, supra.

62. On PRTs, see Provincial Reconstruction Teams: Lessons and Recommendations at  note 60, supra, at pp 15-18.  On the need for unity of effort, or a whole-of-government approach to COIN, see DOD Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review Report (January 2009) at pp 31-36 and the Colloquium Brief of Ralph Wipfli and Steven Metz, COIN of the Realm: US COIN Strategy, SSI Colloquium, Oct. 22, 2007.  One panel of the colloquium acknowledged that “When engaged in COIN, the US focuses on restoring or augmenting the capacity of a partner state.”  The panel then noted that “A COIN strategy that ignores subnational groups and seeks only to strengthen the national government may be doomed to failure.” (p 2)  The panel affirmed the need for a whole-of-government approach in COIN, and then noted that “There is no framework for a whole of government approach (although efforts are under way).” (p 3)  A second panel focused on balancing COIN with other needs: “COIN operations, in particular, demand capabilities which are in short supply including SOF, translators, cultural experts, military police and engineers.  These low-density high-demand capabilities still need to be expanded.”  The second panel agreed with the first panel on the need for “…an overarching strategy and operating principles for COIN.  It requires a whole-of-government approach which does not yet exist.”  The panel also noted, “History suggests that outsiders [e.g. US] are most effective at providing COIN support to local partners rather than controlling the operation themselves.  Local forces are better rooted in society, enjoy more legitimacy, and are more knowledgeable in local customs and geography.” (p 4)  See also, notes 35 and 60, supra, and notes 100 and 106, infra.               

63. The dynamic relationship between religion and American culture was first noted by Alexis de Tocqueville, who toured America in 1831.  The following are among his observations taken from Democracy in America, published by The Co-operative Publication Society in 1900: “Christianity, which has declared that all men are equal in the sight of God, will not refuse to acknowledge that all citizens are equal in the eye of the law.  But by a singular concourse of events, religion is entangled in those institutions which democracy assails, and it is not unfrequently [sic] brought to reject the equality it loves, and to curse that cause of liberty as a foe which it might hallow by its alliance.” Referring to “partisans of liberty” such as Thomas Jefferson who were critical of organized religion, de Tocqueville says: “…they must know that liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith; but they have seen religion in the ranks of their adversaries, and they inquire no further; some of them attack it openly, and the remainder are afraid to defend it.” (p 12)  De Tocqueville describes Christianity in America “a democratic and republican religion…an alliance which has never been dissolved.” (p 305)  Noting the many diverse Christian sects, de Tocqueville marveled that “…Christian morality is everywhere the same” and that the American clergy, “…are all in favor of civil freedom, but they do not support any particular political system.” (p 308)  He goes on to observe that “…while the law permits Americans to do what they please, religion prevents them from conceiving, and forbids them to commit, what is rash or unjust.” (p 310)  In American Gospel (Random House, 2006), Jon Meacham says “In Tocqueville’s analysis, religion in America nurtures the moral life, which in turn creates basically virtuous citizens who are able to maintain a republic that is itself basically virtuous” and Meacham then cites de Tocqueville advocating the virtues of separation of church and state. (pp 79, 80)  Seymour Lipset cites de Tocqueville extensively on the role of religion in shaping American cultural values and how they shaped America’s role in world affairs in American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword, Norton, 1996, at pp 17-19, 60-63, 80, 154, 276, 277, 280.  Since the time of de Tocqueville, the secular values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law have shaped all religions in Western cultures, including Islam in the US and Europe. (see notes 65 and 73, infra).   

64. Karen Armstrong has traced fundamentalist movements in Judaism, Christianity and Islam that were in response to modernism during the 19th and 20th centuries—to wit, discoveries in knowledge and technology that threatened traditional doctrines of orthodox religion.  Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism, Ballentine Books, New York, 2001.  

65. See Charles M. Blow, Heaven for the Godless?, New York Times, December 27, 2008, citing a Pew Forum Report of December 23, 2008: Many Americans Say Other Faiths Can Lead to Eternal Life, at http://pewforum.org/docs/.  See also notes 63, supra, and notes 73 and 92, infra

66. The distinguished group of 38 Islamic authorities and scholars is seeking to find common ground with Christians and Jews by inviting dialogue on the greatest commandments found in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles which call for love of God and love of neighbor.  Their open letter to Christians and Jews (September 2007) can be found at www.acommonword.com.  Alan Wolfe has argued that globalization has moderated religions in the West will do the same in radical Islamic cultures. (see note 73, infra)

67. Thomas Jefferson embraced the teachings of Jesus while rejecting organized Christian religion.  In a letter written by Jefferson to Henry Fry on June 17, 1804, Jefferson left no doubt as to his love for the teachings of Jesus and his contempt for the distortion and misuse made of those teachings by preachers and politicians: “I consider the doctrines of Jesus as delivered by himself to contain the outlines of the sublimest morality that has ever been taught; but I hold in the utmost profound detestation and execration the corruptions of it which have been invested by priestcraft and kingcraft, constituting a conspiracy of church and state against the civil and religious liberties of man.”  Thomas Jefferson, The Jefferson Bible (Clarkson H. Potter, Inc., New York, 1964), p 378.  Jon Meacham frequently cites Jefferson as a founding father of the American Gospel as it relates to American politics.  See Meacham, American Gospel: God, The Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation, Random House, New York, 2006, pp 3-10, 25-31, 34, 57, 60, 62, 73-75, 103-105.  Stephen Prothero describes Jefferson’s Jesus as the first icon of America’s Christian culture.  See Prothero, American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2003, pp 21-32.     

68. Harold Bloom, The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1992, pp 59-65.

69. See Robert W. Funk, et al., The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus, MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, 1993.  The book was dedicated to Galileo, Jefferson and David Frederich Strauss (1694-1768), with a reference to Jefferson at p. 2.  See also, Meacham and Prothero at note 67, supra.  

70. See Mark A. Noll, America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, at chapter 19, pp 386-401. 

71. See Frederick A Norwood, The Story of American Methodism, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1974, pp 242, 243, 258; see also, Mark Noll, America’s God, ibid at pp 165-169.

72. For a discussion of the Jesus movement and the rise of the megachurch, see Stephen Prothero, American Jesus, supra note 67, at chapter 4.

73. The more tolerant attitude of Christian and Muslim believers in the US to those of other faiths can be attributed to the influence of libertarian values in the US, which have moderated more radical and militant forms of Islam. (see Alan Cooperman, Survey: US Muslims Assimilated, Opposed to Extremism, Washington Post.com, May 23, 2007, based on a Pew Poll of American Muslims compared to Muslims elsewhere.  Alan Wolfe has argued that the so-called secular American culture is actually religious, with a commitment to secular law which trumps those Shari’a religious laws that conflict with democracy and human rights.  As a result Wolfe sees a moderation of radical Islam coming from Muslims living in the West.  See Alan Wolfe, And the Winner Is…, The Atlantic, March 2008, p 56).  See also note 92, infra

74. See Robert F. Worth, Preaching Moderate Islam and Becoming a TV Star for Youths, New York Times, January 3, 2009.                  

75. See Michael Slackman, Jordanian Students Rebel, Embracing Conservative Islam, New York Times, December 24, 2008.

76. See Military Legitimacy at pp 20-23; on US culture, religion and war, see Seymour Lipset, American Exceptionalism, cited at note 63, supra, at pp 63-67; also Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy, Viking, 2006, pp 250-262.   

77. On the ban and its progeny, see Military Legitimacy at pp 6-7, 92-94; for a case study on the NATO war against Serbia which included ethnic cleansing in the name of God, see Mark Amstutz , International Ethics, cited supra at note 27, at pp 20-26.

78. See Matthew 24:7.    

79. Thomas Jefferson drafted the language of the Declaration of Independence that included the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and later drafted the First Amendment to the US Constitution that provided for the freedoms of religion and expression.  Jefferson also understood the sensitive relationship between religion and politics, having praised the teachings of Jesus as a sublime moral code while criticizing the church.  See Military Legitimacy at pp 21-22, and note 67, supra.     

80. For a sympathetic account of the life of Muhammad in war and peace, see Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, Harper San Francisco, 1993, chapters 8 and 9.

81. See note 27, supra.

82. See Justo L. Gonzales, The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1, The Early Church and the Dawn of the Reformation, Harper San Francisco, 1984, chapter 30, The Offensive Against Islam, pp 292-300.

83. See Military Legitimacy at pp 7-9, citing Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror, Ballentine Books, NY, 1978.

84. The era of Cardinal Richelieu represented the zenith of religion and politics in the West (or nadir, depended on perspective), and as a proponent of realpolitik he clashed with Hugo Grotius, whose classic work, On the Law of War and Peace (1625) put him at odds with Richelieu and other power brokers of the day who wore a religious mantel.  Grotius laid the foundation for modern international law to replace “God’s will” as justification for national acts of aggression.  See Military Legitimacy, p 86.

85. The doctrine of collective responsibility denies civilians in enemy territory the protection of the Law of War.  See Military Legitimacy at pp 9-13, citing inter alia John G. Barrett, Sherman’s March Through the Carolinas, University of North Carolina Press, 1956.

86. Ibid (Military Legitimacy) at pp 11-14.    

87. For a discussion of Islam and how it affects US foreign policy, see Madeleine Albright, The Mighty and the Almighty, Harper, 2007; for a discussion of the origins and evolution of religious fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam as a reaction to modernity, see Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, Ballentime Books, 2001; for a discussion of how radical Islam impacts US military strategies, see Raymond Bingham, Bridging the Religious Divide, Parameters, Autumn 2006, p 6; and for a discussion of the operational dimension of religion, see Timothy K. Bedsole, Religion: The Missing Dimension in Mission Planning, Special Warfare, Nov-Dec 2006, p 8.   .

88. See notes 66 and 73, supra.

89. The Encyclopedia Britannica (1968) defines manifest destiny as “a persistent and cherished tradition of US history which, in its broadest conception, declared that Americans are a chosen people, blessed with free institutions and ordained by God to create a model society in the wilderness.”  The term American Exceptionalism extends the ideals of manifest destiny to contemporary US domestic and foreign policy, as elaborated by Seymour Martin Lipset in American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword, Norton, 1995.  Walter Russell Mead discovers the roots of manifest destiny and predicts its future, postulating that America’s exceptionalism is an inheritance from England, which demonstrated the means to national power through a combination of capitalism and sea power.  He argues that America’s manifest destiny will be achieved through a capitalistic secular humanism that is the natural successor to Abrahamic faith, and which will lead inexorably to heaven on earth, or the end of history. See Mead, God and Gold: Britain, America and the Making of the Modern World, Knopf, 2007. 

90. Reza Aslan takes issue with Mead’s premise that colonialism was evidence of English superiority inherited by America (see Mead, ibid).  Aslan condemns the exploitations of English colonialism, asserting that the legacy of colonialism continues to contaminate Western interventions in Muslim countries like Iraq and Afghanistan .  He cites a dispatch from a British Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar in India to the Foreign Office in London reporting the summary execution (read massacre) of over 200 rebellious Indian Sepoys (Muslims) in 1857.  After a graphic description of the efficiency in which the British shot the unsuspecting “Mohammedans” and dumped their bodies into a well, the Commissioner waxed eloquent to his home office: “To those of you fond of reading signs, we would point to the solitary golden cross still gleaming aloft on the summit of the Christian church at Delhi, whole and untouched; though the ball on which it rests is riddled with shots deliberately fired by the mutinous infidels of the town.  The cross symbolically triumphant over a shattered globe!  How the wisdom and heroism of our English soldiers seem like mere dross before the manifest and wondrous interposition of Almighty God in the cause of Christianity!” See Aslan, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam, Random House, 2005, p 222.              

91. See Vali Nasr, The Shia Revival: How Conflicts Within Islam Will Shape the Future, Norton, 2007.

92. Alan Wolfe has used a poll on wealth and religiosity to demonstrate that where religions have become secularized by surrounding culture—that is, where religions have made peace with capitalism and secular laws that protect individual freedom and human rights—there is little religious extremism, although people remain religious.  That helps explain why Muslims in America are more moderate than those in the Middle East.  See note 73, supra.  A survey of Muslims by the Pew Research Center in May 2007 indicated that Muslims in the US are “highly assimilated, close to parity with other Americans in income and overwhelmingly opposed to Islamic extremism.” See Alan Cooperman, Survey: US Muslims Assimilated, Opposed to Extremism, washingtonpost.com, May 23, 2007.  See also note 65, supra.  

93. See note 88, supra.

94. Carl Von Clausewitz, On War, Edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, Princeton University Press, 1984.  For examples of Clausewitzean theory that relate to and often conflict with COIN, see Book One, chapter one: pp 75 (section 3: The Maximum Use of Force); p 77 (section 5: The Maximum Exertion of Strength); p 87 (section 24: War Is Merely the Continuation of Policy by Other Means; section 25: The Diverse Nature of War); p 89 (section 28: The Consequences for Theory); Book Three, chap 3, p 184 (Moral Factors); chap 7, p 193 (Perseverance); Book Eight,. chap 6, p 603 (The Effect of the Political Aim on the Military Objective); p 605 (War Is an Instrument of Policy). 

95. Mark Amstutz notes that cultural pluralism is “a fact of global society” and then goes on to ask: “If moral religious and political values differ from society to society, and if human rights conceptions will necessarily reflect the cultural environment in which they are defined and applied…whose culture is normative?”  Amstutz then asserts that “cultural relativism must remain a descriptive fact, not a normative proposition,” and asserts the supremacy of Western norms of democracy, human rights and the rule of law as international ethical standards.  See Amstutz, supra n. 27 at pp 92, 93, see also pp 14,15.  In arguing for the ethics of regime change to supercede the law and justify the US invasion of Iraq, Amstutz acknowledges that the unilateral use of force is normally contrary to international law.  “But while unilateral force on behalf of world order may be inconsistent with international law, such action may nevertheless be morally justified.  Indeed, when legal duties confront moral obligations, the cause of justice demands that its moral claims take precedence over structural or legal responsibilities.” (Amstutz, p 128).  Army military doctrine makes it clear that when legal and moral standards conflict, the law prevails (see FM 3-0, Appendix A, p A-4).  Likewise, FM 3-24 emphasizes compliance with the law in all COIN operations (see Appendix D to FM 3-24), and the 2007 Operational Law Handbook provides the Legal Basis for the Use of Force in chapter 1, refuting any ethical basis for an otherwise unlawful invasion.         

96. Executive Summary, Senate Armed Services Committee Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in US Custody, released December 11, 2008.  See Toby Warrick and Karen DeYoung, Report on Detainee Abuse Blames Top Bush Officials, Washington Post, December 12, 2008; for calls to prosecute, see The Torture Report, Washington Post, December 18, 2008.  At his confirmation hearing to be Attorney General, Eric H. Holder, Jr. said, “Waterboarding is torture,” and that “we will follow the evidence, the facts, the law and let that take us where it should.”  But he added, quoting Mr. Obama, “that we don’t want to criminalize policy differences” and finally pleaded for more time to study the matter. See Scott Shane, Remarks on Torture Could Lead to Legal Changes, New York Times, January 17, 2009.  FM 3-24 provides military doctrine on detention and interrogation (see FM 3-24, note 1, supra, at pp 7-7, 7-8).  See also note 16, supra.   

97. Conflicting views of universal human rights reflect fundamental cultural differences in the East and the West, with Western standards emphasizing individual liberty while Eastern standards emphasize socioeconomic rights (see Mark Amstutz, International Ethics, 3rd Edition, cited in note 27, supra, at pp 95-98).  The doctrine of sovereignty prohibits intervention absent action under the UN Charter (see generally Military Legitimacy at pp 86-91 and Amstutz at pp 98-102); but in 2006 the UN Security Council affirmed key principles of a report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty entitled The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) which provides that whenever there is genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing or crimes against humanity “the principle of non-intervention [sovereignty] yields to the international responsibility to protect.” (see Amstutz, p 102, note 45)  Unfortunately Libya, Cuba, Iran and Egypt have controlled the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council, frustrating UN promotion of human rights.  See Joel Brinkley, “Durban II”: Let the hate flow, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, The State, August 8, 2008.  Another rationale for intervention was suggested by Robert Kagan: If Pakistan does not eliminate al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorists who have found sanctuary in its Northwest provinces, those areas should be pacified and placed in international receivership.  See Robert Kagan, The Soveriegnty Dodge, Washington Post, December 2, 2008.  See also note 16, supra.

98. The business culture of the Middle East has long sanctioned corruption considered unethical and/or illegal in Western cultures, and reports of corruption and a US cover-up in Iraq has threatened the legitimacy of its government.  See Former State Department Officials Allege US Cover Up of Iraqi Government Corruption, FoxNews.com, May 12, 2008.  There are also continuing reports of tribal “honor” killings and the abuse of women in Iraq.  Sudarsan Raghavan, Iraqi Women, Fighting for a Voice, Washington Post, December 7, 2008.  In Afghanistan things are even worse; corruption and the abuse of women are even more pervasive in a tribal culture dependent on heroin production, and both the Taliban and the Karzai government are on the take.  This has resulted in many Afghans loosing confidence in the Karzai government.  Sarah Chayes, The Other Front, Washington Post, December 14, 2008.  Even the Secretary General of NATO has acknowledged that the basic problem in Afghanistan is not too much Taliban but too little good governance.  He said that we have paid enough in blood and treasure to demand that the Afghan government take more concrete and vigorous action to root out corruption and increase efficiency, even where it means difficult political choices.  Jaap de hoop Scheffer, Afghanistan: We Can Do Better, The Washington Post, January 18, 2009.  There have been reports of the Taliban attacking schools and female students, reminiscent of the Taliban’s ban on educating girls, “one of the group’s signature and most shameful repressions during the years it ran Afghanistan.”  A New York Times editorial has urged President Obama to “move quickly to come up with a sound military and development strategy for halting Afghanistan’s downward spiral.” See They Want Us to Be Stupid Things, New York Times, January 17, 2009.  Now that al Qaeda has found sanctuary in neighboring Pakistan, there is a real question whether the US should continue COIN operations that support a corrupt and ineffective regime that is not willing or able to enforce human rights in Afghanistan.  Joe Klein has characterized COIN in Afghanistan as “an aimless absurdity”, citing rampant corruption, narco-terrorism, and safe havens for al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan.  See Klein, The Aimless War: Why Are We in Afghanistan?, Time, December 22, 2008.  See also, notes 99 and 102, infra.                

99. On problems with human rights and the rule of law in Afghanistan, see notes 98, supra and 102, infra.  On problems with promoting democratic elections, President Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, have both acknowledged that “elections aren’t [the equivalent of] democracy,” which reflects the fact that democratic elections have increased the power of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.  See Elections Aren’t Democracy and Hiatt, The Power of the Ballot, both in The Washington Post, January 19, 2009.  On the difficulties of promoting democracy while fighting terrorism, see Cindy R. Jebb, P. H. Liotta, Thomas Sherlock, and Ruth Margolies Butler address the anomalies of combating terrorism and promoting democracy in The Fight for Legitimacy: Democracy vs. Terrorism cited supra, note 18.  “A core assumption of this study is that combating terrorism and promoting democracy are not mutually exclusive goals, even in unstable transitional polities, but can and must be pursued simultaneously.” (p1)  But “…For democratization to be successful the state must support the rule of law. [And]…The ultimate determinant of the struggle between nascent democracy and violent extremism is how successful either is in generating political legitimacy, or power transformed into authority.” (p 2)  It is noted that “…most studies have found that democracy actually encourages terrorism.“ (p 6, n 21)  And authorities are cited that “…democratization proposed by the Bush administration will actually prolong and deepen the disease of terrorism.” (p 9)  Weak states are risky candidates for democratization since they have “…a shallow civil society, divided elites, a poor economy, and a tenuous rule of law.” (p 10)  “By producing anarchic conditions [in a weak state], a derailed democratic transition may itself create a supportive environment for terrorist activities, thereby mocking Washington’s justification for advocating democracy.” (p 11)  This rationale raises serious doubts whether continued US/NATO COIN operations in Afghanistan can produce meaningful democracy, human rights and the rule of law through legitimate governance.         

100. An unpublished Rand Study (November 2005) that faulted President Bush, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and CENTCOM Commander General Tommy Franks for deficiencies in planning the Iraq invasion and its aftermath was promptly buried in the Pentagon to avoid controversy.  The Study suggested “…a need to change the military’s mind-set which has long treated preparations to fight a major war as a top priority…and cast the mission of stabilizing war-torn nations as equal in importance to winning a conventional war.” (see Michael R. Gordon, Army Buried Study Faulting Iraq Planning, New York Times, February 11, 2008).  Accord, see Joseph L. Galloway, Inconvenient Truths Locked Away, The State, February 26, 2008.  The newest of the US unified commands, AFRICOM, will require new roles and missions to confront the continuing crises in Africa.  See Report of Panel on Roles and Missions, US House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services, January 2008, cited at note 35, supra, at pp 51,52,59,60.  The Pentagon recently elevated irregular warfare to an equal footing with traditional combat operations.  See Ann Scott Tyson, US to Raise “Irregular War” Capabilities, Washington Post, December 4, 2008.  The need for new roles and missions is at the heart of the DOD Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review Report (January 2009), and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has elaborated on this mix of irregular and conventional capabilities by incorporating them in a balanced strategy.  See Gates, A Balanced Strategy, cited in note 106, infra.  See also notes 35 and 62, supra.     

101. In his April 2008 Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq, General Petraeus emphasized the primacy of political objectives and the need for Iraqi public support to achieve them.  He reported that “…the military surge has achieved progress, but that progress is reversible,” and that the real threat to the al-Maliki government is not from al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) but from Iran, which is funding, training and arming Shiite Special Groups in Iraq.  Vali Nasr is more skeptical, seeing the US invasion and subsequent operations in Iraq as helping make the case for radical Islam and fueling the fires of sectarian conflict: “The reality that will shape the future of the Middle East is not the debates over democracy or globalization that the Iraq war was supposed to have jump-started but the conflicts between Shias and Sunnis that it precipitated.  In time we will come to see this as a central legacy of the war.” (p 250).  Nasr goes on to predict that a second explosion of Islamic extremism will come out of the Iraqi insurgency, whose force and tenacity will be entwined with the Shia-Sunni power balance across the Middle East, and which will seek to use sectarian conflicts to expand the scope of its jihad across the region.” (p 252)  See Nasr, The Shia Revival at note 91, supra.  While Nasr sent his book to press before the surge, US officials recognize the potential for renewed Sunni-Shia violence, and that future success depends upon the al-Maliki government bringing those Sunnis made US allies by the “Awakening” into the Shia dominated government.    On the issue of partition, see Mitchell M. Zais, Iraq: The Way Ahead, Military Review, January-February 2008, p 112

102. Ambassador Thomas Schweich drafted a narcotics eradication plan for Afghanistan in 2005 which was subsequently resisted by the Pentagon and rejected by the Karzai government.  Schweich explained: “Karzai was playing us like a fiddle: the US would spend billions of dollars on infrastructure improvement; the US and its allies would fight the Taliban; Karzai’s friends could get rich off the drug trade; he could blame the West for his problems; and in 2009 he would be elected to a new term.”  See Scweich, Is Afghanistan a Narco-State?, NYTimes, July 27, 2008.  The British Commander in Afghanistan, Brigadier Mark Carlton-Smith, said simply that the war against the Taliban cannot be won.  Reuters, British commander says war in Afghanistan cannot be won, Yahoo News, October 5, 2008.  A host of others have said as much: “Every aspect of sound counterinsurgency strategy revolves around bolstering the government’s legitimacy…” and there is “…growing despair among average Afghans that their government is fundamentally illegitimate.”  Nathaniel C. Fick and Vikram J. Singh, Winning the Battle, Losing the Faith, NY Times, October 5, 2008.  Adding to the erosion of legitimacy are civilian casualties caused by NATO air strikes.  See Nader Nadery and Haseeb Humayoon, Peace Under Friendly Fire, NY Times, October 5, 2008.  Rory Stewart claims we have accomplished our objectives in Afghanistan, and that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are more lethal threats to the US.  He says a sudden surge of troops and cash in Afghanistan would be unhelpful and unsustainable.  See Stewart, The “Good War” Isn’t Worth Fighting, NY Times, November 23, 2008.  Bartle Brease Bull has written that a “surge” in Afghanistan is not the best way to achieve US security objectives, citing General [Dan] McNeil’s estimate that three times as many troops as were sent to Iraq at the height of the surge would be needed.  “If Americans believe…that Afghanistan is the right war and a place appropriate for Iraq-style nation-building, then they must understand both the cost involved and the remote likelihood of success.”  Bull, The Wrong Force for the “Right” War, NYTimes, August 14, 2008.  Even Generals Petraeus and David D. McKiernan have acknowledged that Afghanistan is more of a challenge for COIN than Iraq.  See Michael Gordon, Afghan Strategy Poses Stiff Challenges for Obama, NY Times, December 2, 2008.  Ralph Peters has noted similarities between Afghanistan today and South Vietnam in 1965 when LBJ committed US Marines.  See Peters, Afghan-‘Nam Blues, New York Post, Jan. 27, 2009.  Like LBJ, Obama is “putting more emphasis on waging war than on development” and “working with provincial leaders as an alternative to the central government [of Karzai].”  Helene Cooper & Thom Shanker, Aides Say Obama’s Afghan Aims Elevate War, New York Times, Jan. 28, 2009.  In testimony before Congress Secretary Gates expressed his own doubts about increasing US forces in Afghanistan, “warning that he would be ‘deeply skeptical’ of any further US troop increases, saying that Afghan soldiers and policy must take the lead in part so that the Afghan public does not turn against US forces as it has against foreign troops throughout history.”  Noting that “civilian casualties resulting from US combat airstrikes have been particularly harmful to progress in Afghanistan and must be avoided, Gates stressed, “My worry is that the Afghans come to see us as part of their problem rather than part of their solution, and then we are lost.” Ann Scott Tyson, Gates Predicts “Slog” in Afghanistan, Washington Post, Jan. 28, 2009.  Given the above circumstances, it seems that the battle for legitimacy in Afghanistan may have been lost, and COIN rendered an obsolete strategy. See also notes 98 and 99, supra.                         

103. Thomas L. Friedman has summed up the US strategic dilemma in the Middle East: “The truth is that Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Pakistan are just different fronts in the same war.  For far too long, this region has been dominated by authoritarian politics, massive youth unemployment, outdated education systems, a religious establishment resisting reform and now a death cult that glorifies young people committing suicide, often against other Muslims.”  Friedman cites Ambassador Schweik’s assessment of Karzai (see note 102, supra), and questions Afghanistan as being the “good war.”  Friedman, Drilling in Afghanistan, NYTimes, July 30, 2008. 

104. A recent Rand research effort has affirmed that terrorist groups like al Qaeda are more effectively countered by police and intelligence agencies than by military forces:  “The evidence since 1968 indicates that terrorist groups rarely cease to exist as a result of winning or losing a military campaign.  Rather, most groups end because of operations carried out by local police or intelligence agencies or because they join the political process.  This suggests that the US should pursue a counterterrorism strategy against al Qaeda that emphasizes policing and intelligence gathering rather than a “war on terrorism” approach that relies heavily on military force.”  How Terrorist Groups End, Research Brief of the Rand Corporation, July 28, 2008.  

105. Inaugural address of President Barack H. Obama, January 20, 2009.  As it relates to Afghanistan, see note 102, supra.

106. Robert M. Gates, A Balanced Strategy: Reprogramming the Pentagon for a New Age, Foreign Affairs, January/February, 2009.  This article elaborates on the DOD Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review Report (January 2009).  See notes 35, 62 and 100, supra.

107. H. R. McMaster, The Human Element: When Gadgetry Becomes Strategy, World Affairs, Winter, 2009.

108. Unity of effort is a principle of COIN as it was a principle of LIC and OOTW in older Army doctrine (See chapter 2 of FM 3-24, cited at note 1, supra; see also notes 22, 23 and 24, supra).  On interagency initiatives for COIN and stability operations, see references in notes 35, 60-62, and 106, supra, and notes 109 and 112, infra.

109. A pre-publication draft on the future of civil affairs prepared by the Center for Strategic and International Studies recommends an expanded role for civil affairs that would “embed civil affairs expertise in key strategic organizations throughout the department [DOD] and across the US government.” and keep civil affairs units within USSOCOM; it also recommends that civil affairs personnel be competent in their functional specialties (for a suggestion on how to improve such competency, see note 110, infra)  On civil affairs generally and how it relates to unity of effort in COIN and stability operations, see notes 9, 11, 31, 32, 37, 39 and 60, supra.  For similar recommendations made before 9/11, see Military Legitimacy, cited at note 2, supra, at pp 165-170.  A preliminary report entitled Civilian Surge: Key to Complex Operations prepared for the National Defense University and edited by Hans Binnendijk and Patrick M. Cronin (December 2008) recommends the creation of a new civilian capability (the Civilian Response Corps, or CRC) managed by USAID to conduct stability and reconstruction operations in irregular warfare operations such as COIN.  The report, however, does not adequately address the issues of integration of military and civilian personnel and command and control (unity of effort) that have plagued interagency operations in COIN.  A United States Institute of Peace Briefing states that the if the CRC is fully developed as a cadre of rule of law specialists (police, judges, prosecutors, court personnel, corrections officials and other rule of law specialists) “it will provide policymakers with a foreign policy instrument that is just as vital to waging peace as a professional armed force is for waging war.”  See Scott Carlson and Michael Dziedzic, Recruitment of Rule of Law Specialists for the Civilian Response Corps, United States Institute of Peace, Jan. 09, p1; see also, notes 35 and 108, supra.       

110. The ARNG state mission is more compatible with civil affairs than with the combat units that currently dominate in the ARNG, and it would be easier to recruit personnel in the ARNG who have the functional specialties needed in civil affairs than in the USAR; and civil affairs personnel with identified functional specialties should be competent in them. (See note 109, supra)  A shift of civil affairs units from the USAR to the ARNG and of reserve combat units from the ARNG to the USAR would not only enhance the civil affairs capability but would also improve the training and deployment of reserve combat units since they would not have a state mission to complicate training and deployment with their active component counterparts.  See Military Legitimacy at pp 170, 171. 

111. See note 30, supra.

112. See notes 35 and 106, supra.  Major changes in the vast bureaucracies of DOD and DOS will likely be slow in coming and will require the concerted efforts of both the President and Congress.  Representative Ike Skelton (D-MO), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, applauded the DOD Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review Report (January 2009), saying it “represents an advance by organizing in one place a host of ideas about new or newly emphasized missions for the department” and “raises significant issues about the appropriate role of the department in these areas that will be heavily debated in the national security community in the coming years.”  But Skelton cautioned: “The report makes only a small contribution to the difficult task of challenging the allocation of treasured turf and changing deeply held cultures within the department, which will be required to actually fulfill such a far-reaching mission-set.”         

ABBREVIATIONS:

 

ARNG – Army National Guard

CA – civil affairs

CMOC – civil-military operations center

COIN – counterinsurgency operations

CRC – Civilian Response Corps

DOD – Department of Defense

DOS – Department of State

FID – Foreign internal defense

LIC – low-intensity conflict

NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization

OOTW – operations other than war

PRTs – provincial reconstruction teams

PSYOP – psychological operations

SF – Special Forces

SOF – Special Operations Forces

STARC – state area command (Army National Guard)

UN – United Nations

US – United States

USACAPOC – United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command

USAID – United States Agency for International Development

USAR – United States Army Reserve

USSOCOM – United States Special Operations Command

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