Academic journal article Prism : a Journal of the Center for Complex Operations

The Civilian Uplift and Unified Action: Organizing for Stability Operations in Regional Command-East

Academic journal article Prism : a Journal of the Center for Complex Operations

The Civilian Uplift and Unified Action: Organizing for Stability Operations in Regional Command-East

Article excerpt

For Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF)-82, assigned to Regional Command-East (RC-E) from June 2009 to June 2010, rotation 10 of Operation Enduring Freedom was a time of major transition for military operations in Afghanistan. Several changes were made in the way that U.S. forces approached engagement with the civilians and Afghan military forces during that timeframe. Among those changes were the expansion of the presence of U.S. Government civilian agencies in the country and the requirement to integrate representatives from those agencies with military organizations throughout the area of operations. This "civilian uplift" represented the largest deployment of U.S. agencies to a combat zone since the Vietnam War.1

The CJTF-82/RC-E headquarters was organized around the headquarters, tactical operations centers, and the special troops battalion of the 82d Airborne Division from Fort Bragg. These units consist solely of U.S. Army Active Component Soldiers. In June 2009, upon deployment and designation as a CJTF, the units were reorganized under a joint manning document that added positions for U.S. Army Reserve Component Soldiers, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, civilian personnel, and contractors. A limited number of government representatives were assigned to the CJTF headquarters and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), but not enough to meet mission requirements.

The civilian uplift began on September 1, 2009, with the arrival of eight representatives of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) at the Joint Operations Center at Bagram Airfield. By April 2010, the civilian platform grew to nearly 175 personnel primarily from the Department of State (including the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization [S/CRS]), USAID (including the Office of Transition Initiatives), and Department of Agriculture. While some remained at the CJTF headquarters at Bagram Airfield, the majority were pushed down to subordinate units throughout the area of operations.

This article provides a look at the evolution of the stability operations section during the CJTF-82 deployment from June 2009 to June 2010 and how RC-E organized itself to integrate civilians into operations. It draws heavily from the author's notes and input from civilian and military staff members to the unpublished stability operations after action report in May 2010.

Making Room for Stability Operations

The CJTF-82/RC-E campaign concept focused on four key lines of operation (LOOs): information, security, governance, and development. Each LOO was headed by a colonel; the Deputy Commanding General (DCG) for Operations oversaw the information and security LOOs, while the DCG for Support oversaw the governance and development LOOs. With the expansion of U.S. and coalition government civilian participation and the creation of "civilian platforms" at the regional commands, the U.S. Embassy converted the political advisor position to senior civilian representative (SCR) of the Ambassador in July 2009.

The CJTF-82/RC-E commander had been wrestling with how to "operationalize" governance and development since before the unit's deployment to Afghanistan. During July and August of 2009, the governance and development LOO staffs provided a weekly drill-down briefing of a different district in the area of operations to the commander and primary staff. Realizing this was not enough to focus the governance and development efforts, the staff attempted to integrate discussion of stability policy and objectives into the biweekly Joint Network Targeting Board briefing, but this proved untenable in that it tended to disrupt the focus on security operations in a time-constrained session. By mid-October, with the civilian staff arriving in greater numbers and organizing and integrating itself at several organizational levels, the commander designated a separate battle rhythm event in the week opposite the biweekly briefing, which became known as the Interagency Stability Operations Review Board. …

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