Changing Nature of Warfare Term Paper

Pages: 15 (4784 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military


For this purpose, regular policing is far preferable to the use of military force. In a society in which innocent civilians can be arrested, incarcerated or summarily executed, rule of law and popular support for government will not exist. Just the opposite, "the more measures to impose order involve terrorizing the population, the more the position of the opponent as their defender is enhanced" (Smith 388). A minimal use of force that will achieve the objective is the most desirable strategy, along with a military force that is restrained by the rule of law in its conduct toward civilians. In these types of conflicts the "morality of the use of force cannot be overemphasized" (Smith 391). Success in counterinsurgency warfare also requires asking the serious political, social and economic questions that were not asked before intervention in places like Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Among these are questions about the nature of the enemy, what their political goals are, whether the leaders of displaced regimes should be removed, whose legal system will be in force, who will administer the state apparatus, whether enough information about the desired outcome even exists, what type and degree of military force best fits the given situation, for how long, and whether it should be direct or indirect force (Smith 392).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Changing Nature of Warfare According Assignment

Counterinsurgency wars are fought at the level of companies, platoons and squads rather than brigades and divisions. Even then, "the military will not be the sole or probably even the lead player," and if political, military and economic objectives are not well-coordinated the entire operation will fail (Smith 396). In industrial warfare, dealing with the civilian population is a purely secondary task compared to victory over the enemy on the battlefield, but in warfare against guerillas and insurgents the opposite must be the case. Civilian Affairs is not "considered career enhancing" in traditional military organizations, but it has to become the most important part of the mission in counterinsurgency warfare (Smith 396). Militaries trained in industrial-interstate warfare simply do not perform these types of tasks very well, and they have a shortage of officers who can deal effectively with civilians, the local populations, non-military agencies and NGOs. They are "structured vertically" with little information sharing and coordination across organizational lines, and often lack the intelligence capabilities to "learn about the enemy and the people and to find out what separates the one from the other" (Smith 399). These are not wars of attrition, but of intelligence and precision in the use of force. Dealing with the media is another key aspect of counterinsurgency operations, and "establishing the context of the event and getting the story correct from the start is…important" (Smith 400). If Western militaries are unable to do this effectively the enemy most certainly will, which is why military organizations always require their own "narrators" with commanding officers acting as the "producers" (Smith 403).

General David Petraeus agreed that the United States was totally unprepared to wage counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare in Iraq in 2003. It had no effective COIN doctrine and lacked officers with the correct language, intelligence and civil affairs experience to deal with guerilla and unconventional conflicts. Indeed, "in 2003 most Army officers knew more about the U.S. Civil War than they did about counterinsurgency" (Petraeus and Amos xv). Petraeus was an unusual officer by American standards, having a PhD in international relations from Princeton, and serving as governor of Mosul, Iraq, where he concentrated on political and economic development. He worked with Gen. James Mattis of the Marine Corps to develop a new counterinsurgency manual (Field Manual 3-24), which become so popular that even the Taliban and Al Qaeda quickly obtained copies of it from the Internet. This is why Petraeus was finally put in charge of the COIN phase of the Iraq War, then the entire War on Terror, and finally the war in Afghanistan.

He fully agrees with Gen. Rupert Smith that the main goal of COIN is not actual war fighting or winning battles but in winning over the entire population, that will then provide useful intelligence against the insurgents. His favorite motto is "Intelligence Drives Operations," which include economic, social and political development, improving host country (HN) police and security forces, and good governance, all of which must be coordinated simultaneously of the operation will fail (Petraeus and Amos xviii). Nor should the U.S. And its allies continue nation building forever, but prepare the HN forces to take over security duties as rapidly as possible. COIN must have a comprehensive strategy "employing all instruments of national political power" for the purpose of gaining "popular support while protecting the population" (Petreaus and Amos 53). NGOs, civilian governmental agencies and the United Nations all have a vital role to play in the development and civil society aspects of COIN, which are more important by far than military operations. Moreover, if the HN government is unable to win popular trust, support and loyalty, the strategy cannot succeed, which is one factor that made the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan very difficult to win. As Smith noted, excessive use of force is to be avoided at all costs in COIN operations, lest it alienate the civilian population. Military forces will have to carry out the tasks of social and economic development if civilians are not available, but "effective implementation of these programs is more important than who performs the tasks" (Petraeus and Amos 55). Important COIN tasks include providing for crime control, basic economic needs, food, water, electricity, health care and support for cultural, religious and educational institutions.

Ideally, formal memoranda of agreement or understanding will lay out the division of labor between military and civilian agencies, and unity of command and effort is vital. Many relationships on the ground will have to be worked out informally, on a handshake basis, but both military and civilian actors must have a "common understanding of purpose" (Petraeus and Amos 58). NGOs and private organizations will not necessarily be under direct military control, and probably should not be, while military commanders should also ensure that local HN authorities and leaders receive credit for successful programs. In the Army and Marine Corps, civil affairs officers, engineers, medical units, and language and intelligence units all have key roles in COIN warfare, as will security assistance for police and military forces in the HN. In ground fighting, the main going will not be to defeat the enemy, but prevent insurgent "efforts to establish base areas and consolidate their forces" (Petraeus and Amos 61). American government departments such as Agriculture, Energy, CIA, FBI, and Transportation will also be involved in COIN operations as well. NGOs will generally be in a country before COIN operations begin and remain there after the insurgency ends, and military commanders should be aware that most of them "maintain strict independence from governments and belligerents and do not want to be seen associating with military forces" (Petreaus and Amos 64). Among the most important of these will be the Red Cross, World Vision, Save the Children, CARE and Doctors without Borders, all of which provide useful social and economic development services even if they are not part of COIN operations. On the other hard, UN agencies like the World Food Program, World Health Organization, High Commissioner for Refugees and Department of Peacekeeping Operations will often be part of COIN, as will corporations and contractors funded by the U.S. government. All of these come under the unity of command and effort principle unless they are strictly independent private and nonprofit organizations (Petraeus and Amos 65).

COIN strategists prefer that civilian agencies perform civilian tasks wherever possible, and that local authorities be established to fulfill these rather than foreigners or outsiders. Numbers of available civilian personnel may be very limited, however, and they may also be reluctant to deploy on highly violent and conflicted zones. In these areas, military officers will have to be prepared to take on all these civilian tasks if no one else is available, but transition to civilian control always remains the preferred option under COIN doctrine. Petreaus repeatedly emphasizes that coordination of all civilian and military efforts is essential, starting with the National Security Council (NSC) which serves as the "principal means for coordinating policy among various interagency organizations" (Petraeus and Amos 70). Within the Department of Defense, joint interagency coordination groups (JIACGs) are charged with assisting COIN commanders with coordination of all civilian and military efforts. At the HN level, the country team headed by the ambassador is in charge of all non-military activities, while at the local levels, military forces "often represent the country team in decentralized and diffuse operational environments" (Petraeus and Amos 71). All countries where COIN operations are taking place should also have a Civil-Military Operations Center (CMOC) under the control of the military commander, which will be used for transmitting his "guidance to other agencies, exchanging information… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Changing Nature of Warfare."  April 24, 2011.  Accessed August 2, 2021.