Thursday, December 15, 2005

Significant changes in DoD Policy

I mentioned this new DoD policy in an earlierpost.Now, this article in yesterday's (I meant to post this yesterday) Washington Times is taking note of the significence. It really isn't a surprise as the article points out:
The new policy, signed Nov. 28 by acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, is an indirect acknowledgment that the Pentagon badly bungled the planning for Iraq after it ousted Saddam Hussein in April 2003.
I was actually involved somewhat in the post-hostility (then called Phase IV) planning for Iraq. There were a hundreds of variables that we didn't know how to metric. For example, many of us argued that there would be no 'displaced civilian' problem... that is, refugees wandering around the country trying to flee the combat. We lost. Instead, we commited almost all of our Civil Affairs forces at the beginning of the war (when we knew that we would have to use them continuously thereafter). I'll tell you that there was definitely a feeling that we were 'rushing' through the planning process. My take on it at the time was that 'rushing' in such a bureaucracy is not necessarily a bad thing. Oh well, it's done.

The article goes on to say that:
A secret study conducted for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, obtained and disclosed in September 2003 by The Washington Times, found that military planners spent relatively little time on postwar planning in Iraq and did not properly carry out the interagency process with the White House, State Department and other government agencies.
Well, I would agree that we didn't spend nearly enough time on postwar planning, but I have to say that a whole lot of extremely bright people gave it their best shot. Unfortunately, many of the very best weren't given the weight that their wisdom demanded... I include myself in this group :) The real problem that I have with this is that I don't know ANYBODY who can define the "interagency process." The only real successes that we have had has been due to personal relationships. For example, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense was a Marine and can talk that language. No problems with communication there... but State? CIA? FDA? They don't even use the same "Missed Your Call" stickies, let alone terminology. Give me a break. There is no interagency process and the Coalition Provisional Authority was broken because of it. The vast majority of successes claimed by the CPA were, you guessed it, the result of the U.S. military.

The other problem that I have with this clip is that it implies that the White House wasn't completely aware of the planning. There were DAILY VTCs between General Franks and the WH staff. What else could SOCOM or CENTCOM have done? We simply just didn't hit the nail squarely on the head. Huge cudos need to go out to our armed forces for picking up the slack and making all this work!

Anyway, back to the massive change. The main thrust here comes from the new Directive that states:
Stability operations are a core U.S. military mission that the Department of Defense shall be prepared to conduct and support. They shall be given priority comparable to combat operations and be explicitly addressed and integrated across all DoD activities including doctrine, organizations, training, education, exercises, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities, and planning.
Times they are a'changin'. TRADOC, et al. are going to transform significantly once again. I wonder what we will look like at the end of this thing...