by Ryan R. McCallum
In recent years, the topic of interagency collaboration between “operational” military units, such as special operations forces (SOF), and “civilian” organizations, such as the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development, has become a popular talking point among academics and government officials. The author of this paper addresses remarks made by Congressmen Geoffrey C. Davis and John F. Tierney in an article that appeared in a 2012 edition of the InterAgency Journal. In their article, the Congressmen suggested that the interagency process is a “hamstrung and broken” system.
In this paper, the author argues that there is a need for an evolution in interagency training and education to efficiently and effectively enable collaborative teams to achieve strategic objectives in complex humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR) operations overseas. The paper looks at the issue on the strategic, operational, and tactical levels, identifying considerations military and civilian leaders must address before engaging in HA/DR operations overseas, examining prior issues with the execution of HA/DR operations in Somalia and Haiti, and identifying considerations military and civilian operators must address to ensure effective tactical-level planning.
The paper includes a literature review that examines recent literature published by academic and governmental scholars, three case studies on HA/DR operations in Somalia (1992-1993 and 2006-2007) and Haiti (1994-1995), and makes recommendations for an evolution in the interagency process.
Download the full text of IAP No.11W, November 2013 (right click to save)