Academic journal article Military Review

Winning the Peace: The Requirement for Full-Spectrum Operations

Academic journal article Military Review

Winning the Peace: The Requirement for Full-Spectrum Operations

Article excerpt

You [military professionals] must know something about strategy and tactics and logistics, but also economics and politics and diplomacy and history. You must know everything you can know about military power, and you must also understand the limits of military power. You must understand that few of the important problems of our time have, in the final analysis, been finally solved by military power alone.--John F. Kennedy (1)

FOR THE LAST 3 decades serving as an Army officer, the traditional military training model prepared me to win our Nation's wars on the plains of Europe, or the deserts of the Middle East. I envisioned large, sweeping formations; coordinating and synchronizing the battlefield functions to create that "point of penetration;" and rapidly exploiting the initiative of that penetration to achieve a decisive maneuver against the armies that threatened the sovereignty of my country. But in Baghdad, that envisioned 3-decade-old concept of reality was replaced by a far greater sense of purpose and cause. Synchronization and coordination of the battlespace was not to win the war, but to win the peace. Penetration did not occur merely through synchronization of the battlefield functions, but that and more: local infrastructure improvement; training of security forces, understanding and educating the fundamentals of democracy; creating long-lasting jobs that would carry beyond short-term infrastructure improvement; and, an information operations (IO) campaign that supported the cultural realities of the area of operations.

The proverbial "point of penetration" for the 1st Cavalry Division and the coalition occurred on 30 January 2005. Millions of eligible Iraqi citizens, from across the sectarian divides, triumphed over a fractured insurgency and terrorist threat in a show of defiance never before seen across the Middle East. The purple index finger, proudly displayed, became a symbol of defiance and hope. The Iraqi people proved to the world their willingness to try democracy in whatever unique form evolves.

Task Force Baghdad's campaign to "win the peace" in Iraq has forced us, as an instrument of national power, to change the very nature of what it means to fight. (2) Although trained in the controlled application of combat power, we quickly became fluent in the controlled application of national power. We witnessed in Baghdad that it was no longer adequate as a military force to accept classic military modes of thought. Our own mentality of a phased approach to operations boxed our potential into neat piles the insurgent and terrorist initially exploited.

We found that if we concentrated solely on establishing a large security force and targeted counterinsurgent combat operations--and only after that was accomplished, worked toward establishing a sustainable infrastructure supported by a strong government developing a free-market system--we would have waited too long. The outcome of a sequential plan allowed insurgent leaders to gain a competitive advantage through solidifying the psychological and structural support of the populace.

Further, those who viewed the attainment of security solely as a function of military action alone were mistaken. A gun on every street corner, although visually appealing, provides only a short-term solution and does not equate to long-term security grounded in a democratic process. Our observation was born not from idealism, but because it creates the essence of true security, protecting not only our soldiers, but Iraq, the region, and, consequently, our homeland.

On 3 August 2004, following a tenuous ceasefire agreement between Task Force Baghdad and the forces of Muqtada Al Sadr in Shi'a-dominated Sadr City, over 18,000 city residents went to work for the first time earning sustaining wages by rebuilding the decrepit infrastructure that characterized the 6- by 8-kilometer overpopulated area located on the northeast corner of Baghdad. …

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