Integrated Operations: Executive Summary

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Few of our readers know that Joint Force Quarterly is delivered to every general and flag officer within the Department of Defense, as well as to senior leaders throughout the executive branch of the U.S. Government. For decisionmakers, executive summaries are an essential daily element of time management in the face of heavy responsibilities and tight schedules. JFQ is mindful that national security professionals at every level face competing demands for their attention. The purpose of this executive summary is not to reduce the Forum's content to a few summarizing bullets, but rather to address the So what? question behind the editors' assessment that these submissions are truly worth readers' time.

Like Generals Shelton and Myers before him, General Pace has placed great emphasis on the importance of U.S. military leaders integrating their plans and operations "with a wide variety of actors" in an effort to achieve national objectives in a more holistic fashion. Whether this involves military organizations from more than one country combined with one or more U.S. or foreign governmental agencies, private volunteer organizations, international nongovernmental organizations, and private or public local agencies is not as important as the intent: to maximize efficiency and legitimacy in achieving national security objectives. While this has been done in an ad hoc fashion for years, the potential value added is so great that, like "jointness," this concept is in need of formal approaches, starting with institutional adaptation.

Our first Forum article, "Planning Lessons from Afghanistan and Iraq," focuses on the contemporary security threat and the way in which leaders plan and orchestrate diplomatic and military instruments of power to meet this threat. Hailing back to the Clausewitzian admonition to understand the nature of the war in question, Joseph Collins focuses on the critical importance of interagency partnership in planning for, and subsequently addressing, the fractured environments produced by blunt military power contests. Dr. Collins argues that involving the interagency community in the military aspects of the planning process is essential to achieving security objectives in the postconflict (or postcrisis) return to normalcy. He concludes with eight practical recommendations to improve mid-range planning.

The second Forum article, "Combating Terrorism: A Socio-Economic Strategy," addresses the economic instrument of national power in the war on terror and the relationship between economic prosperity, stability, and terror. Miemie Winn Byrd posits that the traditional argument that "market-based solutions cannot lead to poverty reduction and economic development" is no longer plausible and that collaborating with nontraditional partners is a necessary component of a successful counterterrorism strategy. Major Byrd criticizes inflexible planning and other traditional military organizational problems as enemies of innovation in the economic arena. Regional combatant commanders must anticipate a future in which more businesses find competitive arenas in underdeveloped nations and seek to cultivate their partnership in defeating terror.

Our third Forum feature, "Integrating Partner Nations into Coalition Operations," outlines the techniques, mechanisms, and integrated operations successes used by the U.S. regional combatant command with the fewest resources to perform its mission: U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). This dearth of assets and a perceived absence of strategic threat have inspired great interagency and partner nation coordination to bring, as General Pace noted in his message earlier, a greater array of resources and expertise to bear on the increasing transnational threat. …