IAP 2 (Nov 2010)- Principles, Mechanisms, and Practicalities for Interagency Operations

IAP 2 (Nov 2010)- Principles, Mechanisms, and Practicalities for Interagency Operations

by Nicholas H. Riegg

The military’s relatively new “full spectrum” approach to warfare emphasizes that military and other U.S. interagency partners must address the full gamut of needs of nations defeated in war or ravaged by natural or manmade catastrophes. U.S. interagency partners discuss which organizations are going to focus on what needs but give little attention to defining the attributes of well-functioning political, economic, informational, and cultural institutions. Military manuals and civilian agency policies say little about what types of political institutions or processes can achieve sustainable peace, justice, and progress; what types of institutions or processes should ordinarily be avoided; or what economic mechanisms can efficiently and acceptably meet economic ends. There is very little in standing policy that defines what sorts of operational or tactical measures agencies and officers on the ground should take to assure U.S. national strategic objectives are met. The purpose of this paper is to stimulate a dialogue on effective operational and tactical interagency policies.

In this paper the term “interagency” refers strictly to the various departments, agencies, and other instrumentalities of the executive branch of the U.S. government. While an agency may, and often does, interact with or utilize the talent and resources of nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations, international organizations, state and local governments, or coalition partners and allies, this paper only addresses issues concerning the executive agencies themselves.

In addition, this paper will look at interagency cooperation and coordination as it relates to national security issues in post-conflict or complex stabilization and security contingencies. Little will be said about remote possibilities of conventional warfare and defense against large nation states, possibly such as Russia, China, or even India. Rather attention will be on the sorts of problems we have seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti and that we are likely to see in what Thomas Barnett calls the “gap countries” and which Robert Kaplan refers to in his article “The Coming Anarchy.” When referring to countries that have suffered a war or have sunk into a dysfunctional state, this paper may use, in a rather loose sense, the term “nation- rescuing.”

Download the full text of IAP No. 2, November 2010.  (Right click to save.)

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