To succeed, we must update, balance, and integrate all of the tools of American power and work with our allies and partners to do the same.
-- President Barack Obama, National Security Strategy
A review of strategic guidance, development protocol, and military doctrine illustrates that stakeholders, from the military to academics, acknowledge the importance of economic development in conflict resolution and sustained stability. Furthermore, policy makers, development experts, academics, and the military itself all acknowledge that the military has a role in conflict related development. However, there is considerable disagreement as to the specific role of the military in this development. So much attention has focused on defining the military’s role in conflict related economic development that a nascent field of development theory has emerged around it, dubbed “expeditionary economics.” Expeditionary economics is the military’s application of economic principles and tools in support of security objectives.
Opinions on the military’s role in economic development range from simply handing out humanitarian aid to nurturing entrepreneurship through quasi-venture capitalism. Although the U.S. Army Stability Operations manual references “economics” over 200 times, current doctrine provides little definitive guidance as to the military’s role in expeditionary economics. Because of this void in specific doctrine, both the military and development community lack a clear understanding of the military’s role in expeditionary economics. The lack of a clear definition leads to confusion, redundancies, a lack of unity of effort, and other inefficiencies.
The purpose of this article is to improve unity of effort and understanding within, and between, the military and other stakeholders in expeditionary economics. This study will provide improved unity of effort and understanding by defining the military’s role in conflict related development. Defining this role will also contribute to mission success and more effective conflict related development.
In pursuit of this quest questions drawing upon relevant strategic guidance (Presidential Directives, NSS, NDS, QDR, QDDR, NMS, and overarching joint DoD doctrine); current USAID conflict related development protocol; relevant academic theory; recent U.S. military development efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq; relevant historical military development efforts; and proposals by development experts (USAID, NGOs, IOs, and other relevant experts) are employed. Questions evaluate whether or not a given proposed role for the military aligns with (1) strategic guidance, (2) development protocol and best practices, (3) academic principles and theory, and (4) military expediency. In turn, these questions are applied to five conflict related economic development-focused current practices, proposed practices, or historical practices.
Is the proposal aligned with strategic guidance?
Strategic guidance from the President through the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense indicate three imperatives for conflict-related development. These imperatives are: USAID is the lead agency, any approach must be a synergistic whole of government approach, and the military is primarily responsible for winning the nation’s wars, and therefore must be prepared to complete stability related tasks when other agencies are not. Thus, for the role of the military in conflict related development to align with strategic guidance, it must: (1) identify USAID as the lead agency for development, (2) be a whole of government approach, appropriately utilizing all available USG ways and means, and (3) support the military conducting appropriate development when civilian agencies are unable.
Is the proposal aligned with conflict related development protocol?
Conflict related development protocol outlines a spectrum of phased development priorities. These phases balance the tension between short-term security and long-term sustainability. Regardless of the model, the initial security and stability-focused phases tend to involve security, humanitarian aid, and basic socio-economic stability. Later phases involve economic development, institutional capacity, and self-sustainability. The later phases are typically more nuanced and complicated. If the military is primarily involved in the stability and security aspects of development, a logical consequence is that the military focus on the initial phases of conflict related development (security, humanitarian aid, and stability). Additionally, a primary tenant of development protocol is the necessity of working with and through local institutions, to foster sustainability and improved governance. In order to nest with development protocol, military development efforts must nest with larger development programs. Therefore, for a proposed role for the military in conflict related development to nest with conflict related development protocol, (1) the military must focus on the initial phases of conflict related development and (2) the proposed role should work with and through local institutions to the greatest extent possible.
Is the proposal aligned with relevant academic theory?
A review of academic theory provides good insight into the theory driving development protocol. Military efforts in economic development should align with, and not violate any widely accepted principles of economics. The review conducted for this article indicates that economic convergence theory is the most applicable, widely accepted academic theory for understanding the economic challenges associated with developing nations. Thus, military development efforts should address, or at a minimum, not exacerbate any of the conditions identified as leading to the failure of a developing nation to “converge” or “catch-up.” (Weak or no macroeconomic institutions failure to enforce the rule of law: property rights, contract enforcement, corruption); wars and revolutions; poor public health and education; low rates of saving and investment; closed markets; inflexible workforce; and a lack of macroeconomic stability.) Identifying specific economic principles for the military to align with is not feasible due to the wide spectrum of proposed roles for the military. For example, in some roles the military would work to develop macroeconomic institutions, in other roles, development professionals would develop these institutions. However, for a proposal to align with relevant academic theory the proposal must be consistent with widely accepted economic theory and principles, and should not significantly contribute to any of the conditions that impede economic convergence.
Is the proposal aligned with military expediency?
As the military is responsible for winning the nation’s wars, and this article explores development in a context of conflict, military considerations are particularly material in developing a role for the military in conflict related development. A review of military doctrine, best practice, and historical examples reveals some important military considerations. Any proposed military operation must achieve unity of command or risk a lack of coordination, working at cross-purposes, general inefficiency, and mission failure. As David Kilcullen explains in The Accidental Guerilla, the key to counterinsurgency operations is “effective integration of all measures within a unified, full-spectrum strategy.” He continues to identify a lack of unity of command as one of the three primary causes for COIN operations failure in Afghanistan (the other two being a lack of local knowledge and “unreliable or ineffective local allies”). Kilcullen is just one of many experts who believe effective integration and unity of effort are instrumental to stability operations. Recent experience shows that civilian development agencies lack the capability to conduct development activities in unsecure areas; therefore, any development proposal must have some method by which to address development in these areas. Recent experience has also shown that due to their relatively small size, civilian development agencies lack the capacity to command, control, and conduct fully integrated development during large-scale military operations, such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq. Therefore, any proposed development role for the military must be appropriately scalable (allow for large-scale development in a conflict environment). In summary, for a proposed role for the military in conflict related development to align with military expediency it must, (1) provide unity of command, (2) allow for development in non-permissive environments, and (3) be adequately scalable to nest within a large-scale military campaign. Table 1 summarizes the four primary evaluation criteria, and their supporting questions.
Table 1: Summary of Evaluation Questions
Source: Created by author.
The following is the analysis of the five conflict related economic development-focused practices, the “current model”(Afghanistan), the “USAID proposal,” the “NGO and IGO proposal,” the “Schramm proposal,” and the “CORDS/DWEC model” (historical practice).
Evaluation of the “Current Model” (based on Afghanistan)
Current Model alignment with strategic guidance
In order for a proposal to align with strategic guidance, it must identify USAID as the lead USG agency for development, be a whole of government approach, and support the military conducting appropriate development when civilian agencies are unable. The current model does identify USAID as the lead agency for development, is a whole of government approach, and does allow the military to conduct appropriate development when civilian agencies are unable. Therefore, the current model aligns with strategic guidance.
All current USG policy and doctrine identifies USAID as the lead development agency in the USG. USAID currently implements the majority of economic assistance in Afghanistan. In FY 2010, USAID funded $3.04B of development assistance versus $317M for all of DoD. However, including all military assistance (Peacekeeping Operations, Military Assistance Program Grants, International Military Education and Training, Foreign Military Financing Program, Transfer from Excess Stock, and the Afghanistan Security Support Fund) DoD disbursed significantly more assistance to Afghanistan than USAID in FY2009, approximately $6B versus $1.6B. Regardless, when speaking strictly of development funding, USG policy, and doctrine, USAID is the lead agency for development in Afghanistan. This assertion judges relative participation in economic development by the amount of development funding disbursed.
Nine USG agencies were conducting some form of development in Afghanistan in FY2009. USAID conducts the vast majority of this development (57 percent), followed by DoD (29 percent), and the State Department (13 percent). These three agencies conduct 99 percent of the USG development in Afghanistan in total. However, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, the Trade and Development Agency, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Energy all conduct development in Afghanistan. The relatively low contribution of agencies and departments outside of the three primary agents of development suggests that other agencies could potentially contribute more in their respective areas of expertise. However, that nine different federal agencies and departments are conducting development in Afghanistan represents significantly broad participation across the spectrum of the USG to conclude that current development efforts in Afghanistan are a whole of government approach.
Currently, the military conducts development unilaterally, or with limited assistance, when USAID does not have the access or capacity to assist. The military can, and has, conducted unilateral development with civil affairs teams, PRTs, and with tactical units. While the military prefers that civilian development experts augment military units conducting development, when this augmentation has been unavailable, the military conducts development without civilian assistance. For example, due to a near-total absence of USG civilian development capacity, the 101st Airborne Division conducted a very significant development effort in northern Iraq immediately following the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Between May and October of 2003, these efforts included approximately $28 million of reconstruction funds disbursed for 3,600 projects. Projects included repairing and refurbishing hospitals, schools, police stations, transportation infrastructure, the electricity grid, and many other projects, including a small-business loan program. Civil affairs teams in Africa have also conducted limited development efforts independent of civilian development organizations. These efforts include building or repairing schools, transportation infrastructure, wells, and other public facilities. These are just some of many examples of unilateral U.S. military development efforts in the absence of civilian development capacity. Therefore, the current model does support the military conducting appropriate development when civilian agencies are unable.
Current Model alignment with development protocol
In the current model, the military does not focus solely on security, humanitarian aid, and stability, nor does the military always work with and through local institutions. Therefore, the current model does not align with development protocol.
Currently the military dabbles in many areas of development generally considered outside of the initial phases of conflict related development. The military is clearly engaged in development oriented towards long-term development objectives rather than short-term security, humanitarian, or stability objectives. Comparing military CERP expenditures with the spectrum of post-conflict development priorities reveals that a significant portion of military development efforts are dedicated to long-term development initiatives, despite the presence of significant civilian development capacity. For example, in Afghanistan the military dedicates significant funds towards sanitation, education, and agricultural development, all of which are generally considered long-term development initiatives. These efforts illustrate that military’s current development efforts do not focus primarily on security, humanitarian aid, and stability.
As identified in the “Winning Hearts and Minds?” series of studies by the Feinstein International Center, there are many examples of the military conducting development efforts with little to no coordination or buy-in from the local population or governance structure. Other critical reviews of military and USAID development in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa corroborate this observation. In many development instances, the military does not work with and through local institutions.
Current Model alignment with relevant academic theory
A review of military development efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan reveal many actions inconsistent with relevant economic theory. These actions include: a failure to set the right incentives (“rewarding” unsecure areas with development projects, while “punishing” secure areas with little development); a failure to work with local institutions (conducting development projects with no local ownership or participation); and a failure to properly target development projects (projects which are unwanted and unused by the host nation or are unsustainable). Additionally, by not adequately monitoring projects and spending, some military development efforts foster corruption. These inconsistencies support the conclusion that current military development efforts do not fully align with academic economic growth theories and principles.
Current Model alignment with military expediency
The current model does not provide unity of command, but does allow for non-permissive environments, and is appropriately scalable. Therefore, the current model does not fully align with military expediency.
The current method of conflict related development has shown a significant lack of unity of effort as documented by numerous Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reports to Congress. There are a multitude of examples of working at cross-purposes and other inefficiencies from a lack of unity of effort, most likely resulting from the parallel command structure between U.S. military and civilian development efforts. David Kilcullen, among others, identifies a lack of unity of command as one of three principal causes of COIN operations failure in Afghanistan. He also cites a lack of unity of effort and command as a source of initial failure in Iraq. As observed in both Vietnam and Malaya, this lack of unity of effort most likely springs from a lack of unity of command, or the lack of a single responsible commander or civilian leader.
As discussed previously, under the current method, when USAID or the State Department lacks the capacity to conduct development within a larger military campaign, DoD conducts development unilaterally, or with limited assistance. Civil affairs teams, PRTs, or tactical units can conduct development in non-permissive, unsecure environments. Therefore, in unsecure environments, the current model does allow the military to conduct appropriate development.
Under the current method, when USAID or the State Department is unable to conduct development within a larger military campaign, DoD conducts development unilaterally, or with limited assistance. However, these DoD development efforts come out of the existing force structure. The personnel conducting military development efforts are typically temporarily reassigned from other missions and specialties. In many cases, these personnel are inadequately trained for economic development. Regardless, although the current solution has significant opportunity cost (pulling these personnel from their primary mission and specialty), and sets the conditions for sub-optimal development, it is nonetheless scalable.
In summary, the Current Model for the military’s role in economic development aligns with strategic guidance, but is not fully aligned with development protocol, academic theory, or military expediency.
Evaluation of the “USAID Proposal” (Military as an enabling agent of USAID)
USAID Proposal alignment with strategic guidance
The USAID proposal does identify itself as the lead agency for development, is a whole of government approach, and does allow the military to conduct appropriate development when civilian agencies are unable. Therefore, the USAID proposal aligns with strategic guidance.
In all of its protocol and official publications, USAID identifies itself as the lead agency for USG development efforts. This aligns USAID policy with Presidential policy as directed in the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development.
USAID does practice whole of government development. In addition to funding numerous NGO, IGO, and private development initiatives, USAID frequently funds development efforts implemented by other USG departments and agencies. In 2009, USAID funded development projects in Afghanistan implemented by the Department of Agriculture, by the Department of State, by the Department of Defense, and by extensive civilian contracting partners. Through its funding and implementation, USAID has demonstrated a whole of government approach.
While the USAID proposal restricts the development tasks the military “should” perform to those strictly related to “sources of instability,” the proposal does allow the military to conduct development when necessary. Sources of instability are “issues locals identify which undermine government support, increase support for insurgents, and/or disrupts the normal functions of society.” Therefore, the USAID proposal does allow the military to conduct appropriate development when civilian agencies are unable.
USAID Proposal alignment with development protocol
The proposal should require working with, and through, local institutions, whenever possible. In the USAID proposal, the military does focus solely on security, humanitarian aid, and stability, and the proposal espouses working with and through local institutions. Therefore, the USAID proposal aligns with development protocol.
USAID’s proposed role for the military in conflict-related development focuses the military on security and stability related development. More specifically USAID proposes that military efforts in development focus on sources of instability. By definition, a focus on sources of instability involves addressing security and stability. Therefore, by definition, the USAID proposal focuses the military on security and stability, of which humanitarian aid is implicit.
USAID identifies working through local institutions as a development imperative and USAID protocol specifies the requirement to work through local institutions. However, in execution there is significant evidence of extensive and systemic bypassing of local and host nation institutions via international contractors. Thus, in this respect, USAID does not fully adhere to its own development protocol. The reason provided for this is usually that there are inadequate partners available in the host nation to execute all of the necessary development projects. Additionally, as previously discussed, due to meager staffing, USAID must outsource the majority of their efforts in Afghanistan. Presumably, if adequately staffed, USAID would more extensively pursue development through local institutions; practically, USAID executes a significant portion of its development through international contractors.
USAID Proposal alignment with relevant academic theory
Idiosyncratically, USAID may not align with academic theory in execution, but USAID development protocol (doctrine) fully aligns with widely accepted academic theory. Of note, some experts and academics argue that USAID assistance (providing free or heavily subsidized goods and services) creates dependency and retards economic development in the host nation. However, USAID protocol specifically states that development shifts away from these types of assistance once it has met immediate humanitarian needs. Similar to the question of USAID working with and through local institutions, there is a disconnection between protocol and execution with respect to USAID’s alignment with academic theory and principles. However, this analysis assumes that USAID does in fact endeavor to follow its protocol and transition expeditiously from dependency creating assistance to more sustainable development methods.
USAID Proposal alignment with military expediency
The USAID proposal does not provide unity of command, is not appropriately scalable, but does allow for non-permissive environments. Therefore, the USAID proposal does not fully align with military expediency.
Currently, USAID generally works to coordinate with and advise the military on development matters. The level of coordination actually achieved is varied. The command structure is parallel. This structure provides no formal, systemic unity of command. Without a formal command structure to force coordination and unity of effort, achieving effective unity of effort is personality driven and elusive, as shown throughout this article. Thus, the USAID proposal does not provide unity of command.
In the DSF framework, USAID identifies that the military “should” conduct security and stability related development, while constraining those efforts to addressing sources of instability. Again, by definition, a focus on sources of instability is a focus on security and stability. Therefore, the USAID proposal does support the military conducting some form of limited development when civilian agencies are unable.
USAID proposes that they conduct the majority of substantive development. Given USAID’s meager personnel, approximately one USAID professional for every 840 uniformed DoD personnel or 2,000 to 1.68 million, USAID lacks the capacity to adequately nest within a larger COIN campaign or conduct large-scale development efforts without sub-contracting extensively. More simply put, USAID does not currently have enough people, planning capability, or command structure to conduct nested, large-scale, interagency operations with the military. Certainly, USAID lacks the staffing and organizational capacity to lead large-scale interagency operations. For these reasons, the USAID proposal is not appropriately scalable.
In summary, the USAID proposal for the military’s role in economic development aligns with strategic guidance, development protocol, and academic theory, but is not fully aligned with military expediency. The USAID proposal does not align with military expediency due to a lack of unity of command and scalability.
Evaluation of the “NGO and IGO Proposal”
NGO and IGO Proposal alignment with strategic guidance
The NGO and IGO proposal does identify USAID as the lead agency for development and is a whole of government approach, but does not allow the military to conduct appropriate development when civilian agencies are unable. Therefore, the NGO and IGO proposal does not align fully with strategic guidance.
NGOs and IGOs tend to view development as a global humanitarian imperative and not the sole domain of any one organization. For this reason, this question may not be appropriate. However, based on research, NGO and IGOs would generally prefer USAID serve as the lead development agency versus the military. This is because NGOs and IGOs tend to object to the “securitization” of development. NGOs and IGOs commonly view the securitization of development as a corruption of the inherent humanitarian nature of development. Therefore, NGOs and IGOs do prefer USAID as the lead USG agency for development.
NGOs and IGOs tend to view development as a humanitarian imperative. NGOs and IGOs prefer as many resources as possible, as long as it does not interfere with their operations. In order to gather as many resources and as much expertise as possible, NGOs and IGOs tend to support a whole of government approach.
NGOs and IGOs generally prefer the military restrict development activity to providing security, providing humanitarian aid in extremis, and partnering with the host nation security sector, to improve professionalism. Therefore, NGOs and IGOs generally prefer that the military not conduct development, and prefer that civilian development organizations supervise and conduct all development. For this reason, the NGO and IGO proposal does not support the military conducting significant development. Of course, those NGOs and IGOs receiving USG or U.S. military funding are more amenable to U.S. military development efforts, but as the U.S. does not fund all NGOs and IGOs, this support does not apply uniformly.
NGO and IGO Proposal alignment with development protocol
In the NGO and IGO proposal, the military does focus solely on security, humanitarian aid, and stability, and the proposal espouses working with and through local institutions. Therefore, the NGO and IGO proposal aligns with development protocol.
NGOs and IGOs tend to propose more restrictions on the military’s role in economic development. As mentioned above, NGOs and IGOs generally prefer the military restrict development activity to providing security, providing humanitarian aid in extremis, and partnering with the host nation security sector, to improve professionalism. Therefore, these organizations absolutely focus military development efforts at the security and humanitarian end of the development spectrum, perhaps excessively so.
In considering whether NGOs and IGOs work with and through local institutions, NGOs and IGOs are so varied in their approach that a “yes” or “no” judgment for this question is by necessity a generalization. However, in general, these organizations espouse working with and through local institutions as a best practice for development.
NGO and IGO Proposal alignment with relevant academic theory
The NGO and IGO universe is so broad and varied in approach that this question has no practical, justifiable answer. Many NGOs pursue independent mandates that may or may not align with academic economic considerations. For example, an NGO may pursue a specific religious or moral objective with no consideration for economic development, per se. Other NGOs, particularly those who receive extensive government funding, are essentially proxies for government development agencies. For example, in 2010, UNDP funding was over 65 percent earmarked. Earmarked funding obligates UNDP to commit a substantial portion of their funds according to donor preference, regardless of academic theory. As with the myriad of differing raisons d’être for the various NGOs and IGOs, there is an equally broad degree of adherence to academic theory.
NGO and IGO Proposal alignment with military expediency
The NGO and IGO proposal does not provide unity of command, does not allow for non-permissive environments, and is not appropriately scalable. Therefore, the NGO and IGO proposal does not align with military expediency.
In general, NGOs and IGOs reject any attempts to control their efforts. The objectives of these organizations are so wide-ranging that they prefer to work with minimal restriction or central control, particularly military control. With exception, there tends to be an element of distrust between NGOs and the military. Therefore, many NGOs and IGOs deliberately conduct their activities outside of military control or direction, frustrating efforts to achieve unity of command. Distancing themselves from military forces also allows NGOs and IGOs to maintain the appearance of neutrality. Of course, this would not apply to NGOs and IGOs that receive significant funding from the USG or the U.S. military. For example, considering that the U.S. was the second largest UNDP donor, supplying over 16 percent of UNDP funding, one would expect that UNDP development efforts align well with U.S. interests. Clearly, there is a strong incentive to cooperate with a primary donor, but a great proportion of IGOs and NGOs do not receive funding from the USG and therefore have less incentive to cooperate.
With no significant, organic security capability, NGOs and IGOs are generally unable to operate effectively in very unsecure environments. A recent example of this is the limited access these organizations have been able to maintain in Somalia. In very unsecure environments, most NGOs, particularly western NGOs, are unable to operate effectively. For this reason, the NGO and IGO proposal does not allow for development in significantly unsecure environments.
NGO and IGO funding is dependent on donor nations and private sources of funding. Therefore, funding, and not necessarily “needs,” drive the level of development these organizations conduct. Subsequently, NGOs and IGOs cannot scale up operations without a corresponding increase in donor funding. Therefore, NGO and IGO operations are not significantly scalable independent of increased funding.
In summary, the NGO and IGO proposal for the military’s role in economic development aligns generally with development protocol, but does not align fully with strategic guidance, academic theory, or military expediency. At least in part, this stems from the occasionally disparate interests of these organizations and U.S. national security interests.
Evaluation of the “Schramm Proposal”
Schramm Proposal alignment with strategic guidance
The Schramm proposal does not identify USAID as the lead agency for development; however, it is a whole of government approach, and does allow the military to conduct appropriate development when civilian agencies are unable. Therefore, the Schramm proposal does not align fully with strategic guidance.
Although Schramm proposes that the military not supplant existing government development agencies, he nevertheless envisions that the military “play. . .a leading role in bringing economic growth to devastated countries.” This proposed role contravenes USAID’s mandate as the lead USG agency for development as outlined in both Presidential and State Department policy.
Schramm proposes that the military augment the ongoing efforts of the various USG agencies and departments currently conducting development. While he feels that current development efforts lack effective coordination, he proposes that these various agencies continue to conduct their development activities, albeit supplemented by the military and with improved practices. Therefore, his proposal is a whole of government approach.
Schramm’s proposal has the military conducting quasi-venture capitalism. If the military were conducting this sort of relatively complex development, then certainly the military would have a relatively free hand to conduct other types of development in this proposal and would be able to conduct development when civilian agencies were unable.
Schramm Proposal alignment with development protocol
The proposal should require working with, and through, local institutions, whenever possible. In the Schramm proposal, the military does not focus solely on security, humanitarian aid, and stability, but the proposal does espouse working with and through local institutions. Therefore, the Schramm proposal does not align with development protocol. Due to his perception of traditional development as ineffective, Schramm would most likely view this lack of alignment with the status quo as a positive characteristic.
Schramm’s proposal is that the military should seek to foster entrepreneurial capitalism, which he admits beguiles formulaic approaches, and rather requires nuanced understanding and execution. In his proposal, the military would not focus exclusively on security, humanitarian aid, and stability. The military’s role expands to include fostering entrepreneurial capitalism at the lowest levels of economic activity. The military typically lacks training, staffing, and experience in fostering entrepreneurial capitalism. The opportunity costs of acquiring this capability would be difficult to quantify, not to mention the feasibility given the current characteristics of the military force.
Schramm’s proposal does not specifically state that the military should work with and through local institutions; however, he references this approach as an effective vehicle for creating capacity and growth. Thus, Schramm’s proposal does espouse working with and through local institutions.
Schramm Proposal alignment with relevant academic theory
Schramm’s proposal transcends development related academic theory, really directing a new way forward, namely bottom-up development driven by investment in the private sector at the lowest level. From Adam Smith to Milton Friedman, there is academic literature and precedent to support Schramm’s fundamental assertion that free (private) markets are the most efficient mechanism for economic growth. Of course, some development must occur at the national level, such as the development of macroeconomic institutions. Schramm allows for this macroeconomic national-level development and does not propose a singular development effort, with only microeconomic development at the lowest level. While Schramm’s proposal does outline a new direction, it is consistent with academic theory.
Schramm Proposal alignment with military expediency
The Schramm proposal does provide unity of command, is appropriately scalable, but does not allow for non-permissive environments. Therefore, the Schramm proposal does not fully align with military expediency.
While Schramm does not address the nuances of command structure in his article, one could interpret his article as espousing military primacy in light of the perceived failure of the development community to deliver results. Schramm states that the military is uniquely positioned and suited to control development in a conflict environment.
Schramm’s vision to promote development through private sector investment is not feasible in materially unsecure environments due to the extremely deleterious effect of severe violence on economic activity. While Schramm argues that investment at the lowest level of economic activity will bring stability, there is inadequate data to support the conclusion that entrepreneurship will be able to function effectively in severely unsecure circumstances. All data examined for this article indicates that severe violence precludes significant private sector economic activity. For example, the World Bank World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development 2011 provides a compelling set of data and analysis supporting this assertion. In other words, investment in the private sector will be ineffective in severely unsecure circumstances. Rather than investing in severely unsecure environments, military units must focus first on establishing security. Importantly, Schramm also acknowledges the need to refine the timing of military development efforts when conditions are unsecure.
As countless venture capital companies have evidenced, private sector investment is essentially unconstrained given adequate funding. While scaling up investment is subject to diminishing returns as funding increases, certainly, military units could scale up investment as desired, given adequate funding.
In summary, the Schramm Proposal for the military’s role in economic development aligns with academic theory, but not strategic guidance, development protocol, or military expediency. Dr. Schramm’s recommendations transcend traditional development models and propose development largely driven by the host nation private sector, via entrepreneurship. Schramm believes conventional development has failed and that the military is uniquely positioned to revitalize development using an entrepreneurial, free market-driven, bottom-up approach. However, it seems illogical that if USAID cannot get development “right,” the military should become a primary tool for development. The problem is improving USAID effectiveness, not developing tangential capability in the military. The principles of specialization and division of labor predict that specializing development in USAID should yield more expertise than building a redundant capability in the military.
Evaluation of the “CORDS and DWEC Models”
CORDS and DWEC Model alignment with strategic guidance
The CORDS and DWEC models do identify USAID as the lead agency for development, are a whole of government approach, and do allow the military to conduct appropriate development when civilian agencies are unable. Therefore, the CORDS and DWEC models align with strategic guidance.
In both CORDS and DWEC, a single responsible commander directed all COIN efforts, including development. While civilian agencies fell under the command of the military in both CORDS and DWEC, these civilian agencies conducted the vast majority of development. Civilian agencies were simply required to align and nest development within the larger COIN campaign. The commander provided the overall direction and coordination (the “what” and the “why”), while the civilian agencies executed the development itself (the “how”). In both of these models, while the military had overall control of government efforts in the country, civilian development experts were free to conduct development within established priorities.
CORDS and DWEC incorporated all government agencies into their respective organizations via interagency boards, chaired by a single responsible individual. These agencies were responsible for their respective fields; the military focused on security, development agencies on development, etc. This structure was echeloned from the national, to the regional, and to the local (village) level. By using all available government agencies, both CORDS and DWEC evidenced a whole of government approach.
While CORDS and DWEC rely on civilian expertise to advise the various COIN lines of effort, military personnel filled the voids in civilian staffing. In CORDS, incorporating the military into pacification resulted in a significant increase in development, in terms of both funding and projects conducted. Admittedly, these metrics do not necessarily indicate efficient development, but certainly more development occurred. In both CORDS and DWEC, military authorities observed that development conducted with and through the local government increased perceived legitimacy.
CORDS and DWEC Model alignment with development protocol
The proposal should require working with, and through local institutions, whenever possible. In the CORDS and DWEC models, the military does focus solely on security, humanitarian aid, and stability, and the proposal espouses working with and through local institutions. Therefore, the CORDS and DWEC models align with development protocol.
In both CORDS and DWEC, the military focuses primarily on security and stability, leaving the more nuanced efforts in development to civilian development agencies. In CORDS, USAID personnel worked to conduct development at the village level, while the military focused on security and FID.
Both CORDS and DWEC worked with and through local leaders and institutions. CORDS supported and mirrored a parallel South Vietnamese command structure. In DWEC, British officers and officials served as administrators, gradually transferring control to the Malayan government as security allowed. By working with and through local institutions, these programs reinforced government credibility, built government capacity, and reduced corruption.
CORDS and DWEC Model alignment with relevant academic theory
Available information indicates that adherence to academic theory was somewhat idiosyncratic, varying from province to province depending on the situation, expertise, and priorities of that particular organization. In very unsecure environments, the focus was more on improving security rather than economic development, while secure environments focused more on development. However, nothing in the CORDS or DWEC model violates development related academic principle or theory.
CORDS and DWEC Model alignment with military expediency
The CORDS and DWEC models do provide unity of command, do allow for non-permissive environments, and are appropriately scalable. Therefore, the CORDS and DWEC models align with military expediency.
As CORDS and DWEC consolidated all COIN lines of effort under a single commander, unity of command was excellent. This unity of command is unique among all of the various models and proposals evaluated. In both models, a single responsible commander controlled all lines of efforts and associated agencies. Unity of command is essential to effective development and stability operations.
Both CORDS and DWEC operated successfully in non-permissive environments. President Johnson implemented CORDS at the height of the Vietnam War, as the British implemented the DWEC model at the height of the Malaya Emergency. In both cases, retrospective analysis views both of the respective models as successful in improving security, stability, and governance.
Counterinsurgents applied the CORDS and DWEC models at a national level across large populations and large numbers of provinces and villages. These models were echeloned to allow adding new villages as necessary. Both CORDS and DWEC were scalable.
In summary, the CORDS and DWEC Model for the military’s role in economic development is aligned with all of the evaluation criteria. It is the only model or proposal that meets all of the criteria for the military’s role in conflict related development.
Table 2: Summarizes the Analysis
Source: Created by author.
The analysis indicates that of the five proposals, only one aligns with all of the evaluation criteria, the CORDS and DWEC model. Of CORDS and DWEC, DWEC offers improved unity of command by consolidating all civil and military authority in a single commander. While CORDS consolidated all pacification efforts under General Westmoreland, many civilian agency efforts remained outside of his control. Thus, while CORDS and DWEC are very similar, the DWEC model provides somewhat improved unity of command. Because counterinsurgents developed CORDS and DWEC for specific circumstances, using these models to determine a role for the military in conflict related development requires extrapolating the models into a guiding policy framework. Determining the military’s role in conflict related development will improve unity of effort and understanding in, and between, the military and other stakeholders in expeditionary economics. Defining this role will also contribute to mission success and more effective conflict related development.
The CORDS and DWEC models meet all of the evaluation criteria and are thus the best, known models for the military’s role in conflict related development. While CORDS and DWEC are very similar, of the two, DWEC offers improved unity of command by consolidating all civil and military authority in a single position. Unity of command focuses action and avoids uncoordinated, inefficient, and contravening efforts. Unity of command is one of the principal causes of failure in conflict related development and in stability operations in general. CORDS and DWEC align with the economic principles of division of labor and specialization, in that agencies focus on their respective areas of expertise. In this model, interagency committees, chaired by a single responsible individual and echeloned from the national down to the local level, administer all COIN efforts: social, political, economic, police, and military. Each agency focuses on its respective area of expertise: the military focuses on security and overall campaign coordination, development agencies focus on development, etc. Should agencies lack the capacity to fill positions, other agencies can substitute on the committee, albeit with presumably less expertise.
A major implication of these findings is that during major military operations, such as Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the overall military commander ultimately controls all civilian agencies’ efforts in the area of operations, including development. This control provides unity of command, which enables unity of effort. This implication is significant due to the lack of familiarity, rivalry, and distrust that sometimes infects interagency efforts. Thus, it is important to establish clear policy guidelines that positively identify when military or civilian leadership will exercise control in an area of operations. Additionally, because the USG would consolidate authority in a single commander, another major implication is that it is essential to select the appropriately skilled military commander to control these efforts and orchestrate the whole of government in action. Therefore, the two major implications of these findings are the necessity of unity of command in stability operations and the importance of selecting the appropriately qualified strategic leader.
Unity of Command in Stability Operations
Military strategists from Jomini to JFC Fuller have identified the importance of unity of command, that “operations attain unity of effort under one responsible commander.” Currently, the USG attempts to achieve unity of effort abroad without unity of command. This is an effort to achieve coordination and synchronization without a single responsible leader. The precedent uncovered in this article, Malaya, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, illustrates that this is simply not feasible. As noted in Army doctrine, “Cooperation may produce coordination, but giving a single commander the required authority is the most effective way to achieve unity of effort.” Without unity of command, unity of effort is fleeting, illusive, and at best achievable in the relatively uncommon instances when the personalities and objectives of senior leaders coincide, such as those of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker in the 2007 Iraq “Surge.” With few exceptions, the current parallel interagency command structure has largely resulted in inefficiencies, a lack of coordination, and a lack of synchronization. Anchoring the command and control of our strategic operations on the idiosyncratic chance of individual personality and objective coincidence is not intelligent policy.
Appointing a military commander over civilian USG personnel and vice versa is likely to be a controversial notion. However, this is not unprecedented as evidenced by CORDS, DWEC, and other stability operations. What is also not unprecedented is the general lack of coordination and efficacy that results from a lack of unity of command, as generated by the current parallel command structure. Military command of civilian supporting efforts does not imply micromanagement; rather the focus is on achieving coordination and synchronization, directed towards the strategic end state, under a single responsible individual. When leading interagency efforts, military commanders must ensure they allow civilian experts to operate within the mission command framework. The mission command framework is a collaborative planning process wherein subordinates are guided by intent, and the “who, what, when, where, and why,” but are able to use their expertise and initiative to determine the “how” and to advise their superiors of necessary refinements. As in the CORDS and DWEC models, while the military would have overall control of government efforts in the area of operations, civilian development experts would be free to conduct development within established priorities. Civilian USG personnel operating in the area of operations would only fall under military command during predominantly military operations, such as Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Outside of significant, large-scale military operations, the ambassador, or designated representative, would coordinate all military efforts in a host nation, including development. This article does not propose any change in the civilian National Command Authority, the President remains the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, and the Secretary of Defense directs the DoD on the President’s behalf.
Determining when civilian or military operations have control of all USG efforts in an area of operations may be problematic. Fortunately, the DoD operational phasing framework provides a useful framework. Within the phased operational framework, this article proposes civilian USG leadership have overall control in phase 0, phase I, and phase V, while military leadership have command in phase II, phase III, and phase IV. This allocation corresponds to the relative preponderance of effort of the civilian or military elements of national power. In phases 0, I, and V, civilian agencies conduct the majority of USG efforts, while the military conducts the preponderance of USG efforts in phases II, III, and IV. Figure 1 depicts these phases and civilian or military control of USG efforts in the area of operations.
Figure 1: Proposed Military or Civilian Control by Phase
Source: Created by author, adapted from The United States Department of Defense, JP 5-0, Joint Operation Planning (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, August 2011), III-39.
In phase 0, the “shape” phase, civilians command military efforts in a given foreign nation, including development. In phase 0, civilian leadership would coordinate and ultimately control military efforts, including development, nesting these efforts within the USG’s overall strategy for the host nation. Again, in phase I, the “deter” phase, civilians command military efforts in a given foreign nation. Importantly, if deterrence is successful, military operations skip phases II and III and progress to phase IV or phase V, as intermediate phases are no longer necessary.
In phase II, the “seize initiative” phase, overall control transitions to military command of civilian USG efforts in the area of operations, including development. In phase II, military leadership would coordinate and ultimately control all civilian USG efforts in the area of operations. The military coordinates and synchronizes these efforts, nesting all efforts within the area of operation’s overall military strategy. In phase III, the “dominate” phase, the military command of all civilian USG efforts in the area of operations continues. Military command of civilian USG efforts continues, in phase IV, the “stabilize” phase. This phase ends with a transition to civilian control.
In phase V, the “enable civil authority” phase, overall control of USG efforts transitions back to civilian command of military efforts in a given foreign nation, including development. This phase returns authority and responsibility to civilian leadership, and signals the end of major military involvement. In phase V, civilian leadership coordinates and ultimately controls military efforts, nesting these efforts within the USG’s overall strategy for the host nation.
To provide a vision of how this would work in execution, in Africa current military development efforts would ultimately fall under civilian control, nesting within the State Department’s larger engagement strategy; while in Afghanistan, civilian development efforts would ultimately fall under military control, nesting within the military’s larger stability operations campaign. Academic and professional studies characterize military development efforts in Africa as largely uncoordinated with other USG, IGO, and NGO development efforts. Military efforts in Africa occur in either phase 0, the “shape” phase (continent-wide, with exception), in phase I, the “deter” phase (Horn of Africa), or in phase V, the “enable civil authority” phase (Libya). Under this proposal, all military development in Africa would ultimately fall under the control of each nation’s respective U.S. ambassador, or his or her designated representative. The military would provide their desired ends, ways, and means concerning development to the appropriate USG civilian authority, which would then refine these to nest within the larger State Department strategy for that particular nation or region. This structure would compel military development in Africa to coordinate with other USG agencies, providing the missing coordination. The converse would be true in Afghanistan, in phase IV, the “stabilize” phase. In phase IV, civilian USG development organizations would refine their development ends, ways, and means to nest within the larger military stability campaign. Thus, in both instances this structure would attain unity of command, albeit under different USG departments.
Importance of the Strategic Leader
Considering the potential for interagency friction and the tremendous complexity of orchestrating a whole of government approach, the overall commander is critical and requires careful selection, military or civilian. In a military context, the overall commander must not only be fully qualified to command militarily, but must also function competently as a statesman, navigating the complexities of U.S. politics. These qualifications are not new, or unprecedented. In his seminal work, On War, Clausewitz described the qualities of the “commander in chief,” or “a general who leads the army as a whole or commands in a theater of operations.”
But history and posterity reserve the name of ‘genius’ for those who have excelled in the highest positions --as commanders-in-chief-- since here the demands for intellectual and moral powers are vastly greater. To bring a war, or one of its campaigns, to a successful close requires a thorough grasp of national policy. On that level strategy and policy coalesce: the commander-in-chief is simultaneously a statesman.
Clausewitz continues to explain that, the overall military commander “must be familiar with the higher affairs of state and its innate policies; he must know current issues, questions under consideration, the leading personalities, and be able to form sound judgments.” While the U.S. military has an excellent record of producing competent military commanders, it has a more checkered record of producing competent statesmen. Many military commanders seem to have difficulty making the transition from exclusively military operations to strategic-level interagency operations requiring significant political management.
The list of senior military commanders who excelled on the tactical battlefield, but failed on the political battlefield is long and distinguished. While an exhaustive list is outside the scope of this article, a recent example of a major military commander failing in the political arena is Lieutenant General (retired) Ricardo Sanchez, the former Multinational Force Iraq (MNF-I) commanding general. In an interview with Charlie Rose following his ill-fated command in Iraq, LTG Sanchez explained that his greatest lesson learned was that, “The most difficult challenges for a military leader will lie in the politics of war, and that war is ultimately an extension of politics.” He continues to say that he had not fully understood this consideration when assuming command of MNF-I. Certainly, the ill-advised political decisions made during his tenure corroborate his lack of understanding and skill as a statesman. That the importance of politics is unclear in the mind of a major military commander in war is troubling. The political nature of war, as identified by Clausewitz, is fundamental and axiomatic to military strategy, “war is not merely an act of policy, but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means.” While LTG Sanchez enjoyed an excellent military career and was no doubt tactically competent, he was clearly not the appropriate selection for commanding the enormous, JIIM operations in Iraq. LTG Sanchez is not alone. Other recent senior military commanders have struggled similarly with the political nature of interagency strategic command. For example, Eliot Cohen reached a similar conclusion regarding military leaders in the Vietnam conflict in 1984. General McChrystal, tremendously successful in military operations, also struggled with this transition.
Certainly, struggling to orchestrate strategic-level interagency efforts is not a difficulty unique to the military; likewise, civilian leaders have struggled similarly with the same responsibility, such as Ambassador Paul L. Bremer, LTG Sanchez’s counterpart in Iraq. Although there are differing opinions on Bremer’s tenure as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, or chief U.S. executive authority in Iraq, most reviews typically categorize it as disastrous. In fact, fellow Republican and former Speaker of House, Newt Gingrich, said of Bremer’s leadership in Iraq, “Bremer is the largest single disaster in American foreign policy in modern times.”
While some senior leaders have struggled, others have proven remarkably capable and successful. Recently, General Petraeus demonstrated remarkable skill in international politics, interagency politics, nation-building, and military operations. He is widely considered as the most successful general to emerge from the past decade of conflict, particularly with respect to coordinating the whole of government approaches in both Iraq and Afghanistan. While General Petraeus’ remarkable background may not be reasonable as criteria, the skills he possesses are illustrative. He possesses a deep understanding and experience base in military operations, political considerations, international relations, interagency operations, and relevant practical and academic theory. Interestingly, as cited above, Clausewitz identified these same talents almost 200 years ago. Certainly, in a large-scale, joint, interagency campaign with authority and responsibility consolidated under a single commander, the importance of careful strategic leader selection cannot be overstated.
It is remarkable that both the U.S. military and the British military developed very similar methods of coordinating the various government agencies involved in COIN operations in response to a lack of unity of effort and command. Even more remarkable is that counterinsurgents developed these models independently, and proved them effective, and yet neither the UK nor the U.S. appears to have attempted to apply these models in modern conflicts. The findings in this article indicate that either of these similar models would have served the U.S. well in both Iraq and Afghanistan. That the USG has made the same mistake repetitively, despite a clear precedent, is troubling.
Why both the UK and U.S. failed to adopt these models and continue to struggle with interagency coordination is unclear, but these shortcomings may stem from an organization’s collective, self-interest. The military has a history of inter-service rivalry and a failure to cooperate effectively without some sort of forcing mechanism. The Unified Command Plan and the Goldwater-Nichols Act have primarily provided joint (military) unity of command. These reforms significantly improved unity of command, and subsequently unity of effort and military effectiveness. Similar measures would facilitate inter-agency cooperation between the DoD and other USG agencies. Providing a clear-cut chain of command, as outlined in this article would certainly improve cooperation in conflict related development and other unified action operations.
About the Authors
Major Hugh W. A. Jones is currently a student at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Most recently, he served as an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy, instructing economics, finance, and professional military education. As an Infantry officer, he has served in a variety of leadership and staff positions in the United States, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. His MMAS thesis topic is "Expeditionary Economics: the Military's Role in Conflict Related Development."
Dr. David A. Anderson is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer. He is now a professor of Strategic Studies and Odom Chair of Joint, Interagency, and Multinational Operations at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he teaches strategic and operational studies, as well as economics. He is also an adjunct professor for Webster University, where he teaches various international relations courses including, International Political Economy and Globalization. He has published over fifty articles on military, economics, and international relations related topics.
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3. Carl J. Schramm, “Expeditionary Economics-Spurring Growth After Conflicts and Disasters,” Foreign Affairs 89, 3 (May-June 2010).
4. Mark Crow and Jeff Peterson, Expeditionary Economics-Toward a Doctrine For Enabling Stabilization and Growth, 3.
5. Mark Crow and Jeff Peterson, Expeditionary Economics-Toward a Doctrine For Enabling Stabilization and Growth; David Anderson and Jonathan Schaffner, “The Void in Tactical Level Economic Doctrine,” Small Wars Journal 7, 10 (August 2011).
6. David Kilcullen, The Accidental Guerrilla, 106.
7. Ibid., 107.
8. The United States Agency for International Development, Economic Assistance (Disbursements) by Funding Agency, Implementing Agency, and Sector.
9. Gregory Johnson, Vijaya Ramachandran, and Julie Walz, The Commander’s Emergency Response Program in Afghanistan & Refining US Military Capabilities in Stability and In-Conflict Development.
10. The United States Agency for International Development, Economic Assistance (Disbursements) by Funding Agency, Implementing Agency, and Sector.
13. Kirsten Lundberg, The Accidental Statesman: General Petraeus and the City of Mosul, Iraq (Case Study, Cambridge, MA: John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, March 2006).
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16. David Kilcullen, The Accidental Guerrilla, 107.
17. Ibid., 134-135.
18. Mark Bradbury and Michael Kleinman, Winning Hearts and Minds? Examining the Relationship Between Aid and Security in Kenya.
19. The United States Agency for International Development, USAID and the President’s Global Development Policy.
20. The United States Agency for International Development, Economic Assistance (Disbursements) by Funding Agency, Implementing Agency, and Sector.
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25. David Kilcullen, The Accidental Guerrilla, 26.
27. Dale Andrade and James H. Willbanks, CORDS/Phoenix. Counterinsurgency Lessons from Vietnam for the Future.
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30. United Nations Development Programme, UNDP in Action-Annual Report 2010/2011.
31. Mark Bradbury and Michael Kleinman, Winning Hearts and Minds? Examining the Relationship Between Aid and Security in Kenya.
32. United Nations Development Programme, UNDP in Action-Annual Report 2010/2011 (Annual Report, New York: UNDP, 2011).
33. Carl J. Schramm, Expeditionary Economics-Spurring Growth After Conflicts and Disasters, 93.
34. Ibid., 97.
35. Ibid., 98.
37. Dale Andrade and James H. Willbanks, CORDS/Phoenix. Counterinsurgency Lessons from Vietnam for the Future.
38. John Nagl, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam.
39. The United States Army, FM 1-02, Operational Terms and Graphics, 1-195.
40. The United States Army, FM 3-0 (change 1), Operations, A-3.
41. David Kilcullen, The Accidental Guerrilla, 114, 133-135.
42. The United States Army, FM 3-0 (change 1), Operations.
43. Mark Bradbury and Michael Kleinman, Winning Hearts and Minds? Examining the Relationship Between Aid and Security in Kenya.
44. Carl von Clausewitz, On War (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1976), 111.
45. Ibid., 111.
46. Ibid., 146.
47. Ricardo Sanchez, interview by Charlie Rose, A Conversation with Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez (16 May 2008).
48. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, 87.
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51. Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 252.
52. Kirsten Lundberg, The Accidental Statesman: General Petraeus and the City of Mosul, Iraq; David Cloud and Greg Jaffe, The Fourth Star; Paula Broadwell and Vernon Loeb, All In: the Education of General David Petraeus (New York: The Penguin Press, 2012).
53. David Cloud and Greg Jaffe, The Fourth Star; Paula Broadwell and Vernon Loeb, All In: the Education of General David Petraeus.
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