Joint operations will give way to the challenges of greater cooperation between the military and civilian organizations outside the Department of Defense—such as in Somalia, where this Marine stood guard during a Red Cross mission.
Fifteen years ago, the Goldwater-Nichols Act transformed the way the U.S. military organized for war. Bringing together individual services into a joint warfighting organization was meant as a force multiplier necessary to meet modern threats. The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 made clear that fighting joint was but an intermediate step that has become obsolete almost overnight. A far more complicated modern threat forces cooperation to extend well beyond the Department of Defense (DoD). The war on terror will involve civilian agencies, international organizations, and a new scale of extramilitary cooperation beyond existing expectations or plans. The ability of military and civilian institutions to work together effectively will have a profound impact on whether the United States can implement its military and political policies in the future.
The defense against new threats must extend beyond traditional security doctrine and institutions. Putting ordnance on target becomes a diminishing factor in mission success. Terrorist organizations have proved they possess more dimensions in terms of capabilities and intentions than expected. We face the evolution of stateless war by organized, widespread enemies that are hard to target.
Combatant commanders already have been charged with cooperating with civilian organizations. Joint Pub 3-08, Interagency Control during Joint Operations, defines doctrine for cooperation with nonmilitary organizations and clearly states, "Success in operations will depend, to a large extent, on the ability to blend and engage all elements of national power effectively." Those elements extend well beyond DoD. As heretical as it might seem, the line between civilian and military roles in fighting security threats has blurred to the point of being indistinguishable. Once thought of as vital only to postconflict phases and specific operation-other-than-war (OOTW) missions, cooperation with civilian organizations now must extend beyond the postconflict phase of operations. Ongoing operations and preconflict planning, intelligence gathering, and coordination must all integrate civilian and international assets.
In some missions, such as counternarcotic operations, interagency coordination long has been standard. The Joint Interagency Task Force, which brings together military and law enforcement agencies, has been in use for more than a decade. That limited cooperation has been expanding quickly and extensively across a range of military operations. In October 2001, all four major combatant commanders asked for the permanent assignment of officers from the FBI and Treasury Department to their joint staffs.1 That coordination must extend beyond the staff level and permeate routine interaction at all organizational levels.
Cooperation, however, must go beyond civilian law enforcement agencies. Few homeland security programs will have traditional hierarchical organizations and lines of authority. The Department of Homeland Security and Secretary Tom Ridge grapple with these issues. An initial count of 41 major U.S. agencies are involved with national security and almost all have an active role in homeland defense.2 To make the situation more complex, most U.S. agencies have multiple international counterparts that will be full partners or major stakeholders in homeland defense. The United Nations (UN) and other international organizations, each with their own priorities and missions, add another dimension. Traditional two-dimensional organization charts can barely capture the complex interactions the new Department of Homeland Security must manage.
Until recently, the expansion of OOTW missions and nonconflict phases of military operations spurred the development of interagency doctrine. In 1997, President Bill Clinton signed Presidential Decision Directive (PDD)-56, Managing Complex Contingency Operations, directing the Pentagon, State Department, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other agencies to create a cohesive program for educating and training personnel for peacekeeping missions. This directive extended what had become a normal part of operations in Haiti, Bosnia, Somalia, northern Iraq, and Rwanda. Each of those missions had key roles for non-DoD and even foreign organizations, which themselves became force multipliers for the on-scene commanders. In some theaters, the mature existing infrastructure provided by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) outstrips what U.S. forces can provide. In the 1994 Haiti operations, for example, more than 400 local and nongovernmental organizations were involved with U.S. forces on an ad hoc basis.3
As a result of greater coordination, civilian and military roles are being reversed. During Operation Enduring Freedom, civilian employees of the CIA operated an armed version of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, while the military versions of the same platform were unarmed.4 The first reported combat fatality in Afghanistan was a CIA agent supporting prisoner debriefings. Even the UN and NGOs, once thought to have at least limited immunity in conflict areas, have been targets of terrorists, taking casualties on the ground in Iraq. These organizations now share in the risks that come from their involvement in unstable areas and zones of conflict. In a world where preconflict intelligence and ongoing low-intensity operations are the norm, civilian agencies will be primary players at all stages and levels of operation.
Greater Civilian Interaction
The changing nature of the threat posed to U.S. national security has forced the use of nontraditional assets. International and stateless terrorist organizations increasingly attack nonmilitary targets. Mission success now depends on more than dominance on the battlefield. In fact, the ever-increasing dominance of the U.S. military in combat operations has forced our enemies to search for weaknesses outside of traditional battlefields.
A fine line already exists between military and civilian sources of intelligence. Reports that Osama bin Laden used international financial networks in planning terrorist strikes open many questions.5 Initial reports indicated that abnormal investments had been made in ways that would appreciate quickly in the event of threats to airline industries or associated insurance companies. Was there an operational warning that could have been taken from abnormal activity in certain financial markets? If so, what interfaces could be put in place to exploit that information? New methods of warning will have to come from observations of financial markets and money movements and unusual patterns of immigration or other business transactions. These activities cannot be monitored by the military.
As loathe as the military is to undertake peacekeeping and nation-building exercises, these have become de facto roles for U.S. forces around the world. In postconflict operations, the military services themselves cannot provide all the expertise necessary for ultimate mission success. One of the most difficult cooperation tasks will be with those agencies that are both outside the military and without any national affiliation. The UN, affiliated NGOs, and even more independent private volunteer organizations showed up on the scene in recent conflicts and will be there in the future. These institutions each has its own unique organization, priorities, and allegiances, sometimes at odds with each other, and often at odds with U.S. policies and intentions. They cannot be ignored or marginalized by on-scene commanders because they have a unique ability to affect lives and bring crucial resources to bear. An inability or unwillingness to leverage these resources can only promote mission failure.
New Navy Roles
Integrating civilian and military institutions involves more than redrawing lines of communication on an organizational chart. Dealing in a more complex organizational environment will require more flexible thinking at all levels of the chain of command, from strategic agility at the top to tactical flexibility by all commanders.6 All services will need to be geared toward adaptive force packaging that releases planners from preset ideas of how to mix assets from different services and organizations. Novel repackaging of forces include the deployment of Army aviation units on board the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) during Haitian operations in 1994. This deployment might have seemed revolutionary, but it is not far different from the deployment of Jimmy Doolittle's Army Air Corps B-25 bombers on board the USS Hornet (CV-8) in 1942. Some old ideas might come back to become the core of future military planning.
Each service must question its relevance to this new world. The Navy will be forced to adapt, as it has in the past. The main difference will be the speed at which evolution takes place. The starting points will be the adaptive use of existing resources in multiservice functions. Army aviation and Special Forces deployed on Navy aircraft carriers are small steps. The luxury of diverting an active carrier for these duties, such as the use of the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63) during Operation Enduring Freedom, might not always be available in the future. That does not mean, however, that the Navy cannot support a solution. Twenty years ago, the Navy's Arapaho program investigated the use of portable and modular aviation equipment on merchant shipping to convert vessels into auxiliary air-capable platforms. A new generation of aviation-enhanced merchant shipping equipped for combined Special Forces missions might be an ideal match for emerging requirements. Such a ship theoretically could have a civilian master, a unionized crew, a foreign civilian agent when in port, an onboard Navy support detachment, air controllers supplied by the Air Force, a mission to support deployed Army aviation units, and an associated commercial logistics progam ashore to support it.
Some threats can be neutralized only with significant interagency coordination. Preventing terrorists from using shipping containers and international trade as a delivery mechanism for weapons of mass destruction probably is the most significant. In October 2001, an al Qaeda terrorist was found in an Italian port living quite comfortably inside a container bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia.7 A merchant ship delivery platform is one of the most reliable transportation systems a terrorist could employ. Of the millions of containers shipped to North America each year, few are screened for security threats.8 The Navy will have to find a way to manage the threat posed by containers, relying on the complete cooperation of other institutions, from the Coast Guard to shipping companies and port authorities. Foreign law enforcement agencies and foreign port authorities are the real front line in the defense against containerborne threats.
Managing Interagency Cooperation
One of the most difficult management challenges will be to restrain yet encourage competition between military services. Operating jointly pushed services to overcome traditional rivalries and competition to work together. At the same time, distinct benefits have resulted from natural service rivalries and competition. In the 1950s, the fear of becoming irrelevant in a nuclear age drove the Navy to develop the strategic missile submarine and a core leg of the triad. While often criticized as duplication of effort, rival programs sometimes work toward similar goals with greater speed and success than if a single coordinated program is created from the beginning.9 Jointness never progressed so far as to remove the innate service cultures that drove this competition in the past. In the future, when military services compete against civilian agencies for resources, those interservice boundaries might be reduced further.
Goldwater-Nichols codified the importance of operating joint by mandating joint tours. One of the initial challenges to more interagency coordination will be getting vastly different bureaucracies to understand each other, let alone work cooperatively. Should we force officers into interagency tours with civilian organizations? Are there enough clearly defined billets for military officers to serve with civilian agencies, and will a tour in an interagency billet become a prerequisite for advancement to higher ranks? Will a future generation of officers complain about such artificial engineering of their career paths, just as the generation before them complained about being forced into joint tours?
Do military planners need to be expert in what are now civilian responsibilities, such as feeding mass quantities of international migrants or providing shelter for an internally displaced population? Some argue that civilian agencies perform these missions with far greater skill. But if those missions are to be completed in coordination with specific U.S. goals, then those skills will need to be acquired by U.S. forces. Without training, it is unlikely that U.S. personnel will be able to interact effectively with some of these international and foreign organizations.
Network-centric warfare has emerged as a cornerstone of creating an integrated battlespace. We must realize, however, that network-centric operation is not just a revolution in data streams, but will redefine how command relationships function in future operations. With a myriad of civilian agencies involved, it will be hard to develop or impose the same type of hierarchical command structure for which militaries strive. Few civilian organizations will accept hierarchical direction from a military commander, and many do not have such control internal to their own organizations. Network centric is the only way that most interagency operations can work.
Understanding, managing, and exploiting the resources that interagency cooperation will bring together will require a network organization structure. Multiple paths through an organization will exist and there will not be a traditional organization chart with clear lines of authority. A multinode information network could provide the framework for not just the data itself but also for the operational structure of interagency cooperation.
We must not make the mistake of preparing for the last war. In many ways, Operation Enduring Freedom was an anomaly. Initial punditry before the conflict included the thought that precision air weapons have made land-based bombers the primary weapon of future wars. An enemy whose main ground transportation was a Toyota pickup, the existence of a functional local ally in the Northern Alliance, and a population amenable to regime change were all advantageous to a swift victory.
The Navy will continue to be relevant in an evolving security debate. Future wars will still require the projection of vital sealift, and sea-based intelligence and communications support. It is unlikely, however, that the defense debate will return to the simplistic scenarios that defined much of the Cold War. Ongoing sustained operations integrated with multiple agencies and institutions around the world will be the new paradigm for national security missions. The highest levels of leadership already recognize this new world. Army General Henry Shelton, then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said:
Some of the elements of terrorism are best defeated by some of our law enforcement agencies, the Central Intelligence Agency, economic tools can come into play. You have to put it all together. As a military individual, I am very happy with what I see as the interagency approach to the campaign against terrorism. And that'll make it considerably more effective than just trying to use one tool that's in the kit bag.10
1 E. Schmitt, "4 Commanders Say They Want Civilian Agents," New York Times, 20 November 2001.
2 National Security Policy Directive 1, 13 February 2001.
3 L. Witzig, M. Davidson, D. Hayes, and J. Landon, Humanitarian and Peace Operations: NGOs and the Military in the lnteragency Process (Washington, DC: NDU Press, 1996).
4 J. Miller and E. Schmitt, "A Nation Challenged: The Battle; Ugly Duckling Turns Out to be Formidable In the Air," Washington Post, 22 November 2001.
5 W. Drodziak, "Stock Trades Probed for Tie to Bin Laden; Investigation Focuses on Sales of Shares of Airlines and Insurers before Attacks," Washington Post, 17 September 2002.
6 Gen. James Jones, USMC, "Vision for the Marine Corps," ALMAR 042/00, 16 November 2000.
7 R. Owen and D. McGrory, "Business-Class Suspect Caught in Container," Times of London, 25 October 2001.
8 "Special Report: Container Trade," The Economist, 6 April 2002, pp. 59-62.
9 A fuller overview of the benefits of interservice competition are in H. Sapolski, "Interservice Competition: The Solution, Not the Problem," Joint Forces Quarterly, Spring 1997.
10 As quoted in J. Garainonc, "All Agencies Join Effort against Terror," American Forces Press Service, 28 September 2001.
Ensign Briem, a naval reservist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was commissioned as a Naval Reserve limited-duty officer in November 2003. He is mobilized and serving with Military Sealift Command Central in Bahrain.