Security Cooperation in Support of Theater Strategy

By Hartmayer, Michael; Hansen, John | Military Review, January/February 2013 | Go to article overview

Security Cooperation in Support of Theater Strategy

Hartmayer, Michael, Hansen, John, Military Review

Our ability to sustain . . . alliances, and to build coalitions of support toward common objectives, depends in part on the capabilities of America's Armed Forces. Similarly, the relationships our Armed Forces have developed with foreign militaries are a critical component of our global engagement and support our collective security.

- National Security Strategy, May 20101

THE EXECUTION OF SECURITY COOPERATION in the service component commands around the globe is an evolving process that occurs in many forms and utilizes a myriad of methods. Requests for assistance for security forces also come in many forms. They may be country or country-team-nominated; they may be at the request of an international organization (e.g., UN, NATO) or subregional organization (e.g., European Union, African Union); they may be directed by Office of the Secretary of Defense, service headquarters, or geographic combatant commands; or they could be requested by a sister service component. However, the huge number of events, the variety of outside actors with separate agendas, and the difficulty in linking these actions and activities to strategy create a challenging environment in which to execute a coherent plan. The problem for the strategist is to synergize or fashion these efforts and players through a process that supports the commander's' goals and objectives.

Key Components of Security Cooperation

The purpose of this article is to identify and link the key components of security cooperation and strategy development processes for those outside the small group of practitioners who wrestle with them normally. Critical steps in building and maintaining a viable theater level strategy are listed below:

* Set the theater security cooperation strategy.

* Align, develop, and prioritize security cooperation activities within the theater.

* Use the security cooperation planning process.

All are critical steps to build and maintain a viable theater-level strategy.The challenge at the component level is planning with and synchronizing a large number of activities and agencies. When coordinating with his parent service or higher headquarters, the strategist often finds a "map with a thousand pins" approach to security cooperation. Briefings often include multiple screenshots of the Theater Security Cooperation Management Information System or similar databases on which maps of countries or regions suddenly become filled with thousands of map pins depicting the entire spectrum of U.S. military activity from conference attendance to major exercises. This gives the impression of a robust and creative Theater Security Cooperation program, when in reality the activities may be of little substance and require minimal coordination. Even if a command's stafffully understands security cooperation strategy and planning and also executes it well, it can become an ad hoc or purposeless drill if the staffignores or loses its expertise. The process needs codifying in doctrine and standard operating procedure publications to make it deliberate, much the way the Army has ingrained the military decision making process into generations of officers. The benefit of a successful Theater Security Cooperation strategy or Phase 0 concept plan ultimately is conflict avoidance, so we must resource Theater Security Cooperation.

To set the stage for understanding security cooperation in the context of theater strategy, it is important to be familiar with the historical context. The geographic combatant commands have had authority and responsibility for theater engagement planning since 1948 under the Unified Command Plan.2 The geographic combatant commands' appreciation of security cooperation necessarily starts with an understanding of the National Defense Strategy. The strategic environment portrayed in the National Defense Strategy identifies a spectrum of challenges, including violent transnational extremist networks, hostile states armed with weapons of mass destruction, rising regional powers, natural and pandemic disasters, and a growing competition for resources. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Security Cooperation in Support of Theater Strategy


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.