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Newsletter 10-46
June 2010

Introduction

The U.S. and many of its allies and partners have become increasingly involved in what is termed "complex operations," which is more defined as stabilization and reconstruction operations around the world. Interagency operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and several locations have exposed major shortfalls in both preparations for and implementation which can undermine prospects for success.

The U.S. has come to recognize that it must plan to respond to an atypical type of adversary from that of previous conflicts. Adversaries have a vote and do not inevitably use the same type of strategies and methods used in a conventional war. The attack of September 11, 2001 exemplifies that our adversaries have embraced an irregular fighting tactic.

Problems have existed on all levels of interagency coordination from the strategic level to the tactical level, but the strategic and operational levels must be immediately improved for success in future complex operations. Most civilian organizations do not maintain large staffs and are not equipped to conduct expeditionary operations. As a result, responses are often slow and ad hoc making it difficult to conduct military planning.

The U.S. government has undertaken a number of important initiatives building the capacities to respond to a complex operations scenario. A prime example is the creation of the Center for Complex Operations which was established to bring together interagency education, training, lessons learned programs, and academia to cultivate unity of effort in stability operations, counterinsurgency, and complex operations. Another example is the creation within the State Department of the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, whose mission is to coordinate and lead U.S. government efforts to plan, prepare, and conduct stabilization and reconstruction operations.

Some of these capabilities will be discussed in this newsletter. It is designed to inform and educate both civilian and Department of Defense agencies of the interagency partnerships that currently exist.



 

Last Reviewed: May 18, 2012

 
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