View Full Version : Whose Lane Is It?

02-23-2009, 06:37 PM
I'm writing a paper on civil military relations in non-combat environments - with particular attention to the western Sahel. It seems to me that the Trans-Sahel Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) is too heavily militarized and, thus, insufficiently civilian in nature. In theory, TSCTP is the proverbial three-legged stool with DoD, State and USAID each owning a leg. In reality, DoD is pulling the lion's share of the work.

I propose that this imbalance is due, in part, to inadequate staffing and funding for State and USAID; in part to finding and authorities granted DoD by congress (e.g.: 1206, 1210, etc.); and in part to cultural and structural differences among the three agencies/departments.

If I'm correct, DoD is, through no fault of its own, well into State and USAID lanes to both its credit and consequence. It takes considerably more to train and field a U.S. SOF operator than a USAID or State FSO. Further, using service members to enact public diplomacy or development policy blurs the lines between the three Ds. And, finally, diplomacy and development are professions just as is the conduct of military operations. We shouldn't use SOF to conduct development any more than we should use USAID to capture and kill terrorists.

Is this something that should be fixed? If so what's the best fix; if not, why not?

I'd appreciate comments on this idea as well as any relating to the use of U.S. SOF in embassies in non-combat roles.


02-23-2009, 07:33 PM
So my first question is, what is your criteria or framework testing your hypothesis that "the Trans-Sahel Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) is too heavily militarized and, thus, insufficiently civilian in nature."

Your thinking begs a number of questions:
What is the proper balance?
What criteria should determine that balance?
How is this program resourced currently?

The bigger issues you hit later are common themes from DoD, going back to the SecDef's speech at Kansas State in November 2007. I would not say that DoD ended up in this space through 'no fault of its own' but there was a lot of white space for them to move into.

As far as a paper goes, you might want to evaluate how TSCTP might be otherwise/ideally resourced, in light of AFRICOM/evolving DoD/State/AID priorities and strategies (DoD Quadrennial Roles and Missions Review, the US Govt Counterinsurgency Guide, etc.).

Old Eagle
02-23-2009, 08:32 PM
You’ve hit on several key points here. As I have counseled elsewhere on this forum, the key to a good paper is properly defining the exact scope of your paper. There is ample source material from gov’t sources, think tanks and academia to support your overall thesis, that there is a deficit of civilian capacity to do a lot of the missions you allude to. Your value added is probably looking at a specific case or geographically limited area and drilling down to a level not previously examined.

The question your thesis begs, IMHO, is why did Congress put those authorities you allude to in the NDAA? And why should we be forced to couch the nation assistance missions you mention in “counter-terrorism” terms?

Also, pls do us a flavor and introduce yourself on the introduction thread. (I would normally put one of those hot buttons here, but I have no clue how to do that.)

02-23-2009, 08:47 PM
Old Eagle is like many on SWJ, we like to know who we are arguing or indeed helping; within OPSEC and personal reservations. The introduction thread is:

So go on introduce yourself!


02-23-2009, 10:06 PM
Thank you all. Forgive the lack of introduction - I was unaware of the protocol and have remedied my gaffe. Mea Culpa.

Yes, you're right these and other questions are open in the short introduction to my paper above. I'm looking into these, too; particulary what the proper mix would be (80/20 civilian/military comes to mind) and why congress gave the authorities to DoD in the first place (because DoD had the capacity and no one else did may be the correct answer). So, thanks and keep the comments coming.

What would be particularly helpful would be commentary on the efficacy of using military forces in non-combat roles (under TSCTP) simultaneously with troops in their combat role (under OEF Trans-Sahel). It seem to me that if State and USAID could/would field their share of forces -they are as short personnel in the Sahel as they are in Iraq - that the lines between Defense, Diplomacy and Development would remain cleaner and our target audiences for the TSCTP could be more easily convinced that not all U.S. policy is enacted with the bayonet.

Ken White
02-23-2009, 10:30 PM
Though the specificity of the Sahel is to an extent...

Scroll down and scan the various threads at this LINK (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/forumdisplay.php?f=48).

John T. Fishel
02-24-2009, 12:09 PM
is the fact that we often start with a conclusion or assumption that is not made explicit. This, IMO, is true in your case. You have concluded that the balance is too militarized. But the underlying question is whether that is true. To resolve the dilemma, state it as a hypthesis and seek data that will prove your hypothesis false - if you can't falsify it, then it stands. A starting point would be the stated purpose, goals, and objectives of the organization and then asking what skills are required to achieve them. the follow-up question is where in the USG those skills are found - are they found in the appropriate places according to the missions of the USG orgs.

You know better than I how small the FS is and that it has been underfunded by Congress for a long time. You also know that USAID has gone from a robust USG org to one that merely supervises contractors. Here, I make an assumption - explicit - that there are things that are properly the role of government and should never be contracted. (We've addressed this issue ad nauseum on a number of threads.:eek:) You, of course, are free to take a different position on that assumption as long as you make it explicit. That it can only be an assumption is because it rests on a value choice. This is, however, not something ,I think, that controls your research which would be stronger, IMO, if you address the primary issue as suggested in the first paragraph.



Old Eagle
02-24-2009, 03:01 PM
on where we might go from here.

02-24-2009, 03:44 PM
I think this report could be of assistance.

What this report does not spell out specifically is USAID released a RFP to implement civilian development programming in support of TSCTP in December of 2007. AED won the contract in Feb of 2008 to implement in participating TSCTP countries.

What is also missing is the extent to which the USAID and SOCEUR efforts are not coordinated at all. SOCEUR CMSCE Support elements do not meet with the USAID TSCTP AED program folks in the participating countries nor does the SOCEUR CMO MTT program coordinate with the USAID TSCTP AED program. The only level of "coordination" is the occassional exchange of "reports". I work within the SOCEUR CMO MTT effort and have been pushing for this kind of cooperation (and will continue to) but not alot of headway to date.


Combating Terrorism: Actions Needed to Enhance Implementation of Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership
GAO-08-860 July 31, 2008
Highlights Page (PDF) Full Report (PDF, 51 pages) Accessible Text Recommendations (HTML)

In fiscal year 2005, the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) was established to eliminate terrorist safe havens in northwest Africa by strengthening countries' counterterrorism capabilities and inhibiting the spread of extremist ideology. Funds obligated for TSCTP in fiscal years 2005 through 2007 and committed for fiscal year 2008 by the Department of State (State), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense (DOD) have amounted to about $353 million for activities in nine partner countries. In this report, GAO examines (1) the distribution of funds for TSCTP and the types of activities supported and (2) the program's implementation, including the extent to which it is guided by a comprehensive, integrated strategy. GAO has reported previously on the need for a strategy that includes priorities and milestones that can help agencies collaborate in combating terrorism. GAO analyzed TSCTP-related documents and conducted work in Mali, Morocco, and Mauritania.

In fiscal years 2005 through 2007, State, USAID, and DOD distributed about 74 percent of their obligations for TSCTP to Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger; about 3 percent to Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia; and about 8 percent to Nigeria and Senegal. The remaining 15 percent was distributed through regional assistance, such as military exercises in multiple partner countries. The agencies expected to distribute about half of total funds committed for TSCTP for fiscal year 2008 to Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger and the remainder among the other countries. State, USAID, and DOD have supported a wide range of diplomacy, development assistance, and military activities aimed at strengthening partner countries' counterterrorism capacity and inhibiting the spread of extremist ideology. For example, State--the lead agency for TSCTP--has hosted educational programs intended to marginalize violent extremists; USAID supported efforts to improve education and health; and DOD has provided counterterrorism training in marksmanship and border patrol to the militaries of partner countries. Several factors have hampered the key agencies' implementation of TSCTP activities, in some cases limiting their ability to collaborate in working to combat terrorism. First, the agencies lack a comprehensive, integrated strategy for their TSCTP activities, and the documents used in planning the activities do not prioritize proposed activities or identify milestones needed to measure progress or make improvements. Second, disagreements about whether State should have authority over DOD personnel temporarily assigned to conduct TSCTP activities in partner countries have led to DOD's suspending some activities, for example, in Niger. Third, fluctuation in State's and USAID's distribution of funds for TSCTP resulted in suspension of a peace-building program in Mali. Fourth, although the agencies measure activities' outputs, such as the number of foreign military personnel trained, they do not measure their activities' outcomes in combating terrorism--for instance, any decrease in extremism in the targeted countries.

Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Implemented" or "Not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Phone: Charles M. Johnson Jr
Government Accountability Office: International Affairs and Trade
(202) 512-7331

Recommendations for Executive Action

Recommendation: To enhance U.S. agencies' ability to collaborate in strengthening country and regional counterterrorism capabilities and inhibiting the spread of extremist ideology in northwest Africa, the Secretary of State should work through the Director of Foreign Assistance, who serves concurrently as USAID Administrator, to develop a comprehensive strategy for the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership in conjunction with the Secretaries of Defense and the Treasury, the U.S. Attorney General, and the heads of any other partner agencies. The strategy should include clear goals, objectives, and milestones, including output and outcome indicators, and identify resources needed to achieve the program's goals.

Agency Affected: Department of State

Status: In process

Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Recommendation: The Secretaries of State and Defense should develop and issue joint guidance with regard to DOD personnel temporarily assigned to conduct TSCTP activities in the partner countries.

Agency Affected: Department of Defense

Status: In process

Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Agency Affected: Department of State

Status: In process

Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.