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Thread: Strengthen Civilian Forces, Too

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Strengthen Civilian Forces, Too

    18 February Washington Times commentary - Strengthen Civilian Forces, Too by Richard Lugar.

    American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are foremost in our thoughts and prayers, but the U.S. military has been quietly fighting the war against terror in scores of other foreign countries. Since September 11, 2001, the number of military personnel and Defense Department activities in non-combat countries has soared.

    Finding, capturing and eliminating terrorists and their support networks are only part of the military's new mission. They have won new authority outside the traditional foreign aid framework to provide military training to foreign countries. Increasingly, the military is taking on roles once reserved for civilian agencies, such as building schools and clinics, drilling wells and conducting public information campaigns.

    A strong military response is necessary for the war against terrorism. When our foreign friends use our training and intelligence to round up global terrorists on their soil, it is clearly a mutual success. But over-reliance on the military also carries risks...

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    He may just be trying to take a dfferent tack in generating interest in this problem. I agree with him, but he almost paints a picture that its the green suiters who covet the jobs he is describing. I wonder if increasing the OGAs budgets would provide for professionals willing to deploy to war zones in the numbers we require - The folks at State and USAID don't "enlist" and don't suffer UCMJ if they miss movement do they? I am by no means a fan of PMCs - but I'll say this about them, if you create a need they will fill it. If you tell Blackwater or one of the others that you want skilled techies and are willing to pay top dollar, you'll get what you pay for (and probably not much else outside the contract). The $$$ provides the incentive (and it will be pricey, and you will not necessarily get the representation of DoS interests through contracting either)- what provides the incentive for an enlarged DoS? Its not so much a matter of budgets I think - I think its a matter of willingness to deploy. If we are going to resource this from GS and FS types, then we need to do several things before we start taking money away from the folks (military) who are willing to do it in a harsh environment because we have no choice:

    1) When a guy or gal signs up for FS - they sign up for a commitment that may take them to bad places based on the needs of the country - you quit and you face criminal charges - we take oaths in the military and the people who send us places are well aware of it.

    2) Provide them the required training as part of their indoctrination training - they don't need their own schools, they could foot the bill and the cadre could come from the military (how important is it to us to have them do it?)

    3) Regular exchanges with the military: a TF or BCT gets ready to go, and their FS team goes through the deployment process with them. It would be pricey.

    These example recommendations are not meant to be prescriptive, but descriptive. You need a unified force to approach these complex problems in an expeditionary environment to fin holistic solutions. If you put to high test dogs inthe room without defined relationships - you will the type of friction that is counter productive. Sometimes it may be a military lead, sometimes a DoS lead.

    I guess my point is they seem to need to do some soul searching and maybe some organizational restructuring if we are going to ask them to be expeditionary.
    Last edited by Rob Thornton; 02-18-2007 at 03:28 PM.

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    Time for a reality check on the civilian side of the government:

    Australia has more people in their diplomatic corps than we do. USAID has only 2,000 people, and only really 1,000 are available for deployment overseas world-wide. That means every country they have a project in they have people. USAID, as an organization, is shifting to what Rob described, but they just don't have the people. There is no movement right now to increase. The remainder of the state department has a personnel shortage as well. A lot of military people have written and opined about what state should do and how to do it. These articles are often researched, and make a lot of sense. The problem is that state ain't going to do it anytime soon. The state guys currently throw just enough action to keep the articles and thoughts appearing valid, but internally they are having many fights over how to do it.

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    Default Strengthening civilian capabilities

    For what it's worth, there is movement on this.

    At the end of March (07) the Deputies approved the creation of an "interagency management structure" (IMS) for S&R missions; a civilian response system capable of supporting 3 concurrent missions (1 small like Haiti, 1 medium like Kosovo, and 1 large like Afghanistan). $50M has been allocated for a civilian cadre of 500 people to be recruited, trained, equipped, and organized for deployment in a year.

    We'll see, of course; there's a lot of daylight between words and actions. Right now the $50M is contingent on enabling legislation; S.613 (Lugar, Biden, Warner, Hagel) and H.R.1084 (Farr, Saxon). If/when that passes, the funds should flow and things should start happening very quickly.

    More to follow if there's interest...

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    Council Member sgmgrumpy's Avatar
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    Jimbo,

    Do those numbers reflect the amount of contracted USAID positions?

    I always see USAID has pre-solicitations for positions world wide on a daily basis in FBO.

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    SGMGrumpy,

    Those figures do not include contract workers. AID has been successfully using contract workers over the years in standard developmental models. The problem that has creeped up in Iraq that is definately COIN centeric is the ability of the contracted folks to enable the IO themes and messages. When I was working at State, on of the DoS guys told me a war story about working in Karbala as a POLAD. At a meeting with local leaders the the USAID rep told the locals that he was not representative of the U.S. Government (the guy was a contartctor). This really caused a problem for the military and DoS guys tying to work with the locals. I hope this helps and wasn't too extraneous. I am goign to try and figure out how to warm up my house because it is cold here in Leavenworth.

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    RAND, 18 Mar 08: Stabilization and Reconstruction Staffing: Developing U.S. Civilian Personnel Capabilities
    ....This monograph presents the results of research on the U.S. civilian personnel and staffing programs for SSTR missions undertaken in other countries under U.S. leadership or with the participation of the United States. The study uses the Office of Personnel Management’s Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework to assess the personnel requirements for such missions and presents recommendations that the U.S. government should undertake to deal with the types of problems that the United States has encountered in post-2003 Iraq. The research draws on the rapidly growing body of literature dealing with SSTR missions, interviews with U.S. and British civilian personnel deployed to Iraq, and the authors’ own experiences in Iraq as U.S. civilians involved with the Coalition Provisional Authority....
    Complete 131 page report at the link.

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    Default My Experiences With Civilian Agencies And Lessons Learned

    I regards to civilian support for military operations, stability operations and emergency responses I have some experience which has lead me to the conclusion that it just won’t work. In order to get any meaningful support from the civilian agencies (or even civilian employees of Depart of Defense and Department of Homeland Security) would require incurring expenses far out distancing the eventual benefits.

    Let me provide examples from my own experience:

    a. During the Haitian Boat Refugee crisis many years ago, I worked for the
    Department of the Navy. A request went out for volunteers to go to Mississippi to help the CB’s set up a refugee camp for the Haitians. I volunteered but was not taken. This hurt my feelings until one of my office’s supervisors pointed out to me that the people all being sent were the least productive and least competent people in the office.

    Lesson: Departments will not send their “A Team”, because they want then home working in their work. They will send the “Z Team” to get rid of them for a while.

    b. During the First Gulf War I was the only person in my office to volunteer to go to either Saudi Arabia or Bahrain to assist the Navy’s efforts. Then I was told that the decision h ad been made that it was too dangerous. Eventually, they did send civilians over to do contracts with the locals. However, they only sent female civilians to deal with local businessmen in a Muslim country. A LCDR from my office had to be sent to Saudi Arabia to be the “face” of the office with the locals.

    Lesson: Civilian agencies follow their procedure with little regard for local customs. Also, planning is not something that a great deal of effort is put into.

    c. When the campaigns started in Afghanistan and Iraq, I considered going overseas to help out with the reconstruction efforts. I found a website run by the Army called “Support Our Friends in Iraq and Afghanistan”. I contacted the people through the website to see if I went overseas for a year to help out, what my rights would be. I was told that the only reinstatement rights I would have would be up to the individual agencies policy. In other words I could come home to unemployment.

    Lesson: People who take place stability operations or reconstruction are on their own. They will not receive much support from either the agency that they come from, or the agency that they help.

    c. When Katrina hit New Orleans I responded to a call for volunteers to help out. I am a Contracting Officer and September is the end of the Fiscal Year when certain funds have to be obligated or lost. I was told by my management that assisting New Orleans and that region was not a priority for my region in San Francisco. I was eventually allowed to go after the end of the Fiscal Year.

    Lesson: Agencies are very parochial. What does not effect then directly they have very little concern about. One of the high priority procurements that they kept me at my home office for was – to get a clown to entertain at a kiddy party for “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day”. New Orleans and tens of thousands of Americans citizens took a back set to that.

    d. Once I got to New Orleans there was no leadership, no support, and the Region that was affected by the Hurricane treated all of the volunteers like slaves. Hardly anyone did more then one assignment of two weeks (and many left before that on their own accord). The food was so bad that some people started going around to Red Cross Shelters and the Salvation Army to get food handouts. I never once saw or heard from the Incident Commander or anyone else above first line supervisor. Everyday they had a staff meeting for management that last 6 – 7 hours.

    Lesson: Most civilian agencies (with some exceptions) do not know how to provide logistical support in the field. Most managers for the Federal Government have no idea what direct personal leadership or motivation (while we were starving in trailers they stayed at a hotel and ate at restaurants). Federal employees who are deployed are deployed for brief periods (two weeks in the case of Katrina). For a number of reasons Federal civilian agencies have almost no standards – appearance, conduct, education or enforcing the length of a deployment. Most Federal Agencies have a culture that discourages cooperating with other offices in the same agency, other agencies in the Federal Government, and other levels of government (State, City, and County).

    As a final note, when I got back to my home office a women who I work with walked up to be and said – “You have to pay for talking a two week vacation”. About a year later my agency had a ceremony where people who had deployed for Hurricane Katrina were given a medallion. I threw mine away.

    My experiences have led me to believe that to get adequate support for stability operations or for emergency response – you will need to create a new agency specifically for that. Something along the lines of a “National Police”. An organization that has standards and discipline similar to the military and has specific responsibility for these actions (so they can not decide that they have higher priorities). Thank you

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