Academic journal article Military Review

Control Roaming Dogs: Governance Operations in FUTURE CONFLICT

Academic journal article Military Review

Control Roaming Dogs: Governance Operations in FUTURE CONFLICT

Article excerpt

While the security threats of the 20th century arose from powerful states that embarked on aggressive courses, the key dimensions of the 21st century-globalization and the potential proliferation of weapons of mass destruction-mean great dangers may arise in and emanate from relatively weak states and ungoverned areas. The United States and its allies and partners must remain vigilant to those states that lack the capacity to govern activity within their borders.

-U.S. National Security Strategy1

GOVERNANCE OPERATIONS are integral to all military campaigns where establishing a local government over an ungoverned or disrupted political space is required to secure an intended strategic end state. Despite the inseparable role of governance throughout war's history, the United States has been reluctant to embrace a military role for establishing civil government. Aversion is rooted in concerns about military involvement in a fundamentally political activity, which seems to threaten the principle of civilian control, and the military's unwillingness to divert attention from its combat arms. As a result, governance operations have been treated as tangential postconflict missions, leaving field commanders ill-prepared for governance tasks and delaying consolidation of a conflict's political aims.2

Reluctance must give way to reality. Governance operations are integral to most phases of war, and their relevance to future conflict is increased by the interplay of globalization, transnational threats, and failing states. Military commanders will continue to serve as provincial governors and city mayors in conflict zones. To meet the evolving security challenge of ungoverned space, a more developed concept of operations for governance is needed to improve the ability of military forces to deliver basic public services while simultaneously developing an indigenous capacity for good, democratic governance.

Governance operations are the activities of military commanders to provide basic public services while developing an effective, participatory local public management capacity to consolidate operational objectives. Governance operations at the local level set the conditions for national-level projects and the ultimate transition to civil authority. Specifically, governance involves a unique set of public management tasks and competencies that do not wholly reside within the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD); however, they must be conducted in austere, insecure, uncertain environments that demand military forces. Therefore, governance operations require blending expanded interagency capabilities through integrated civil-military planning, supported by improved social intelligence.

Back to the Future

Throughout the history of warfare, militaries have assumed the powers of a sovereign governing authority. The United States is no exception. The Army first established a military government in Mexico from 1847 to 1848. It gained further experience during the reconstruction of the Confederate States after the Civil War and in the Philippines and Cuba after the Spanish-American War of 1898. But these experiences were not institutionalized, and the Army was not ready to govern in the German Rhineland during World War I. According to a seminal 1920 report by Colonel Irwin L. Hunt, Officer in Charge of Civil Affairs for the Third Army, "The American army of occupation lacked both the training and organization to guide the destinies of the nearly one million civilians whom the fortunes of war had placed under its temporary sovereignty."3 Not until 1940 did the Army formalize its doctrine on military government.4

During the interwar period, the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) assumed the governance mantle as part of small wars in Latin America, including Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic.5 The hard-learned lessons of the so-called Banana Wars made their way into the highly regarded, but rarely read, 1940 Small Wars Manual. …

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