View Full Version : Time Right for USPEACECOM?

10-07-2006, 12:44 PM
From the Thomas P.M. Barnett Web Log - Jim Ellsworth's USPEACECOM Proposal (http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/003801.html).

LAND WARFARE PAPERS: SysAdmin: Toward Barnett's Stabilization and Reconstruction Force, by James B. Ellsworth, The Association of the United States Army/The Institute of Land Warfare, No. 57, September 2006, 13 pages.

Some excerpts:

Foreward by Gordon R. Sullivan, General, United States Army Retired, President

While current operations have brought new emphasis to Stability, Security, Transition and Reconstruction (SSTR) operations, missions focused on these operations in their own right have likely received less attention than they did before the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland--overpowered by immediate lessons and imperatives from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Yet as Thomas P.M. Barnett makes clear in his books The Pentagon's New Map and Blueprint for Action, power projection for humanitarian purposes is a potent extension of a time-honored military principle into the realm of grand strategy. To be effective, however, the forces engaged in these missions cannot merely be assembled ad hoc from units designed, equipped and trained for major combat.

This paper explores these issues, concluding that a force structure approach to this challenge is called for and--drawing on the example of USSOCOM--recommending creation of an independent joint command for SSTR.

In Jim's intro, he makes the case that SSTR ops have actually received less overall attention post-9/11 precisely because there's been such a huge uptick in postwar ops in Afghanistan and Iraq. That may seem counter-intuitive, but you have to realize that Jim's exploring SSTR writ large, to include all the usual crisis response and humanitarian disaster relief ops that always go on--year after year and in both war and peace--despite the current high-profile ops in southwest Asia...

... Jim goes through a lot of historical evidence and studies from the post-Cold War era, where naturally Somalia and the Balkans loom large.

Jim then explores a number of force structure options, including the usual matricing of existing capabilities for rapid packaging (which he believes will accomplish little), my DoEE proposal (which he sees as too big an immediate leap), and then two intermediate concepts: the Joint Task Force model (a standing command with forces that can be obtained from other commands) and an independent joint command model (a USPEACECOM based on USSOCOM's model).

The latter two ideas are very similar, with the JTF being Jim's "cautious" approach and the PEACECOM being the "aggressive" one.

Me? I would expect a JTF before a PEACECOM and a PEACECOM before a DOEE, and I would see that evolution naturally unfolding over years--and much pain from failure mixed with rising confidence from initial-cut successes.

Jim then finishes with arguments about the reserve/active duty mixes of a PEACECOM.

The concluding para:

For a force that largely remains structured for great-power war, Barnett's challenge may appear daunting. But three years after the "shock and awe" of the major combat phase gave way to post-hostilities chaos in Iraq, and to an insurgency fueled by the difficulties that conventional U.S. forces had in dealing with that chaos, this seems a small price (and a wise investment) for the present--to say nothing of the future.

Here's the weirdest thing about the USPEACECOM proposal: people might assume it would be a massive waste of resources because you'd be stockpiling resources and people that wouldn't be used frequently enough, thus drawing resources from the Leviathan force. In truth, the exact opposite is virtually guaranteed (save for the war-with-China dreams of some), as it will be USPEACECOM that's operating round the clock while it's the traditionally-arrayed forces of the regional commands that will spend the bulk of their optempo doing exercises and standing ready....

Much more at the link... (http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/003801.html)