Tuesday, March 3, 2009

2009 Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review, Depertment of Defense

2009 Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review, Depertment of Defense, Jan 2009. It is available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Jan2009/QRMFinalReport_v26Jan.pdf If you like these kinds of posts, try subscribing to our rss feeds @ the link below: http://cgsc.leavenworth.army.mil/CARL/rss/generate_rss.asp


Lee Marsh said...

I would like to comment on the recently released Quadrennial Roles and Missions (QRM) Review Report dated January 2009. Specifically I would like to focus on Section V, “The Road Ahead: Interagency Opportunities,” which I find fascinating as a growing future role for the U.S. Military. With the development of the Department of State’s Office of Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) and the Civilian Response Corps (CRC), it is becoming clear that our country is taking more seriously the interagency model in reconstruction missions. However, I also feel that there are some realities (or challenges) in the actual implementation of any interagency operations. Some of these realities are inferred in the QRM, but not explicitly discussed and I want to offer my opinion on one of these realities.

First, I would recommend that anyone interested in this topic visit the S/CRS website. The address is http://www.crs.state.gov. This website provides good sources for learning more about the S/CRS and the CRC.

As for my concern about the reality of military interaction with the S/CRS, I think it is important to understand that the QRM specifically states that “military forces have performed these missions for more than a century and likely will continue to do so in the future.” (QRM p. 34) I think my secret hope and that of others from my military generation is that the development of the S/CRS and the CRC would relieve of us this reconstruction burden. I believe the reality is that what it actually does is put a framework for success behind the fifth core competency of “Military Support to Stabilization Security, Transition, and Reconstruction Operations.” (QRM p. 5)

Based on this reality as I see it, I have two concerns. First, I think what the evolution of the fifth core competency also does is create another competing interest for resources and training. While it could be argued that this particular competency does not require any special resourcing or training, I think it could also be reasonably argued that in a military in need of modernization there are competing interests for resources and skill sets to be able to accomplish the missions across the “Spectrum of Conflict” as evidenced by the “Tennessee Chart” in FM 3.0 Operations. (FM 3.0 p. 2-5) While I cannot offer a solution to this dilemma, I do believe at some point there will be a level of assumed risk for a portion of the “Tennessee Chart.”

Second, I do believe that it is necessary that we as professional military officers have a clear understanding of the demands of reconstruction operations. While the S/CRS and CRC are a great step forward, these organizations are small in comparison to the U.S. military. For example, the CRC’s active component will have 250 personnel, the standby component 2000 personnel and the reserve component an additional 2000 personnel. (From: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=109&STORY=/www/story/07-16-2008/0004850611&EDATE=) Therefore, it is my opinion that the manpower to accomplish reconstruction operations will continue to come from the U.S. military. Without a clear understanding of reconstruction operations we cannot as military officers ensure that the manpower we provide is being used effectively. And without this understanding of reconstruction operations, we are not providing a good professional partnership to our interagency partners.

Christopher Farley said...

I concur with Lee Marsh's comments. The military has historically operated in resource constrained environments and has had to assume risk in some areas of their assigned missions. In the 1980s, we attained a great level of competence in achieving combined effects on the battlefield. Our military forces convincingly demonstrated this during Desert Storm and OIF I.
Now we are fighting a war which requires skills that in years past we "assumed risk." Our current training priority is quite clear....we train for the war we are fighting. However, starting this summer, Army units with sufficient dwell time will train on Major Combat Operations in addition to their next Deployed Mission Essential Task List (DMETL). As operations in Iraq and Afghanistan diminish, and they will, the question facing the Army will be, "what do we focus training on?"
When the Army published FM 3-0, one of the big concerns in Congress was, "How much is this going to cost?" (to train the Army for full spectrum operations). In a resource constrained environment, I do not believe the Army will achieve the same level of competence across the spectrum as it once did in combined arms operations. With this in mind, I see the Army having three choices:
1. Train the general purpose forces (GPF) to be "good" across the spectrum of conflict.
2. Train the GPF to be highly competent in one area of the spectrum (based off of assessed threat) and assume risk in other areas.
3. Train portions of the GPF to be highly competent in areas of the spectrum (HBCTs for MCO and IBCTs for irregular warfare/COIN etc).
Getting back to Lee Marsh's comments, it is refreshing to see the State Department get involved in SSTR, but as pointed out, their iniatives are small in scope at the moment. As in times past, the military will need to step in during post conflict operations and fill this void until a "whole of government" approach is implemented. We must continue to capture lessons learned from current operations and apply them at our training centers.
Whatever the future training focus of the Army, the training centers will be key. I believe the training centers can either expose a BCT to FSO scenario or a more narrow focused aspect of the spectrum depending on the training focus of the Army. In the future, all services must exercise caution in determining the mission areas they will assume risk in.


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