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Interagency Operations Essay

1667 words - 7 pages


In response to the September 11th attacks, the United States launched the Global War on Terrorism, invading both Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite these wars and the necessity for post-conflict stability operations, military leadership, including the Secretary of Defense, had neither desired nor trained its personnel to effectively conduct stability operations, which require effective interagency collaboration. Failing to effectively leverage interagency capabilities during the early phases of the 2003 Iraq War at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels prolonged the achievement of the U.S. military’s objective—transferring power to the Iraqis.
Though the U.S. military ...view middle of the document...

However, the quick handover of power to Iraq did not work and the U.S. military had no back-up strategy.
One project which could have potentially provided crucial insight for how to transition power back to the Iraqis was shut down by Rumsfeld. Titled the Future of Iraq Project, Rumsfeld successfully pushed to shut it down because he had no control over it. When the program was transferred to the DOD, Rumsfeld went as far as excluding former team members from joining the new team because they were not “pentagon people.” Tensions both within and outside the DOD had already established a negative tone with respect to interagency cooperation. Within the military, General Franks and secretary Rumsfeld were in strong disagreement about the number of troops necessary for the invasion of Iraq. Outside the military, Secretary Rumsfeld faced resistance from the CIA and the State department in the immediacy of invading Iraq—the CIA initially resisted linking Saddam with Al Qaeda and Weapons of Mass Destruction (though this would change under heavy pressure) and the State Department had differing views on strategy and treatment of POWs. Despite facing resistance from both within and from outside the DOD, Rumsfeld succeeded in establishing the Defense Department as the lead agency in charge of post-war Iraq. Thus, the military was ill prepared for post-conflict operations not only because it failed to anticipate major post-combat operations, but also because no strong interagency relationships existed. The effects of these soured relationships would be visible in the early period of Iraqi reconstruction.

There was limited interagency planning and minimal training for post-conflict, or phase IV, operations in Iraq. While some might argue that the Joint Interagency Coordinating Group (JIACG) was an effective interagency institution in Iraq, the JIACG was never structured or resourced to handle large-scale conflicts and their aftermaths as would be the case in Iraq. Though the military had published a phase IV operational order and even associated lack of interagency coordination with prolonged conflict, effective implementation of its concepts would prove difficult for three reasons.
First, the roles and responsibilities between the initial operational forces, organized as Combined Joint Task Force-7 (CJTF-7), and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) were not clear. While the CPA and the CJTF-7 were both technically DOD entities (though the CPA was comprised largely of civilians), they each viewed each other with some frustration. Some military members called the CPA “Can’t Provide Anything” —reflecting the fact that the CPA was largely undermanned and had difficulty in rapidly achieving its objectives, especially outside of Baghdad. Second, failure to understand cultural and procedural differences between the CPA and the CJTF-7 inhibited smooth coordination. While CJTF-7 tended to operate with written guidance for nearly...

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