Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 33

Thread: Obstacles to a Whole of Government Approach: DoD versus State AOR's

  1. #1
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,127

    Default Obstacles to a Whole of Government Approach: DoD versus State AOR's

    Posted in another forum today. Interesting laydown of how State and DoD organize and view the world. Interestingly, some major hotspots are divided between COCOMs in DoD's laydown (Israel/Arabs, India/Pakistan). I think in general State's boundaries make more sense.

    Is there any wonder why our government approach to foreign/mil policy is disjointed?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  2. #2
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,444

    Default

    I don't see the difference as a problem. I think it is actually a good thing.

  3. #3
    Council Member reed11b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Olympia WA
    Posts
    531

    Default

    The organization I work for has intentional differences in our geographic regions to keep us from being absorbed by our larger counterparts w/i the VHA. This does work to a degree but also has some challenges when the borders do not make sense with regional connections (i.e. WA and OR belong to different regions even though there is a great deal of cross-traffic and shared identity). The specific DOD divide that drew my attention was that Pakistan and India are in different COMs. I have to wonder if that creates a barrier in coming up with a concise and effective roadmap for dealing with these two countries.
    Reed
    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

  4. #4
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    3,195

    Default

    You could also make the same divide comment about Mexico and the rest of Latin America. I do find State's more logical, but that may just be me.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  5. #5
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Cavguy, an oft mentioned

    and correct observation. In general, the US National Security Council institutions ought to divide the world into the same regions. While there may be exceptions (Northcom and Southcom are a possibility) they should be rare and for very good reasons. Not putting Mexico in and AOR (until the creation of Northcom) because the Mexicans wouldn't like it is not a very good reason IMO.

    But I think the problem is not the regional differences so much as the fact that international relations are bilateral for the most part. The Assistant SECSTATE for WHA is not over the Ambassador to Chile who, BTW, reports to the President, not the SECSTATE (I know I exaggerate a bit for effect ) Best way to look at Bureau of WHA (or whatever) is "in support of" the Ambassadors to the countries of the region. In some senses, the GCCs are also operating in support of those same ambassadors. For that reason, it would probably be useful to rationalize the regional structures of the NSC institutions. At least, that way, one could have easier coordination of the supporting institutions with the supported Ambassador.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  6. #6
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Wonderland
    Posts
    1,284

    Default

    Personally, lumping N. Africa in with AFRICOM makes no sense to me, and lumping India into the rest of Asia makes less than no sense.

  7. #7
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    DeRidder LA
    Posts
    3,949

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post
    Personally, lumping N. Africa in with AFRICOM makes no sense to me, and lumping India into the rest of Asia makes less than no sense.
    Well as an Africanist and a Middle East guy I would disagree. Egypt is perhaps the sole exception in that most of Egypt's international efforts are regionallty focused on the Middle East as we define it. But even Egypt spends a great deal of effort looking south toward Sudan.

    The remainder from Libya west to Morocco spend their greatest efforts dealing with issues that are Africa-centric. Exceptions do emerge as no division is clear cut; Muammar Qadaffi's pan-Arab posturing offer a great example. At the same time, he did play the African regional gadfly in Sudan and Chad.

    In contrast I would say that you are on the mark on India--State, like DoD, treats it as a sub-region even though the boundaries show it as Asia.

    Best

    Tom

  8. #8
    Council Member wm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    On the Lunatic Fringe
    Posts
    1,237

    Default

    Has anyone given any thought to relooking at how the Allies divided up the world for operational command and control during WWII? It seemed to work pretty effectively for that global conflict.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. Sydney J. Harris

  9. #9
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Tom points to

    the logical difficulties of any reorganization of how we divide the world in terms of departmental/agency responsibilities. Ultimately, they are all arbitrary.

    Organization - or reorganization - will not, of itself, solve problems, for a couple of reasons. First, and foremost, it must be executed by flawed human beings. Second, organization can only make executing policy, strategy, operations, and tactics easier or harder. People still have to execute - which brings us back to "who's on first?" Raionalization among USG agencies would, I think, make execution easier to coordinate because it would, at least, get the people who have to execute talking about the same countries and, more often, the same people.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  10. #10
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    3,195

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Has anyone given any thought to relooking at how the Allies divided up the world for operational command and control during WWII? It seemed to work pretty effectively for that global conflict.
    This had more to do with immediate priorities and available resources than anything else, and even then its effectiveness was undermined by a number of turf squabbles and the like. It also relied on ignoring certain areas to at least some degree while focusing on one or two major areas. And even then there were problems. Look at how the turf squabbles between MacArthur and Nimitz shaped the Pacific Campaign, for example, or the CBI's issues.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  11. #11
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Estonia
    Posts
    3,817

    Default Who Has All The Best Toys.... Wins

    This whole shebang can be summarized by the Haves (CINCs) and Have-Nots (State).

    Back when I first performed an MTT in Sub-Sahara (Pre Goldwater-Nichols military reform act), State had most of the toys and controlled mucho cash. Our minuscule and hopeless mission would be dictated by the Ambassador (who had yet to serve a minute in the US Military).

    Following the circa '86 reform act... Whoa Nellie! Among many other advantages, this act provided the CINCs with sweeping authority over any other weenie operating in their theater.

    The CINCs then were affectionately known as America's Warlords

    It's all about toys these days except for perhaps the Northern Command covering (ahem) the Homeland and scarfing up Mexico and Canada.

    A little perspective is in order:
    SECSTATE is the one and only US diplomat with an airplane (His minions must fly commercial or ask for space-available on military transports ).

    Wait for it !

    In contrast, each CINC has his own aircraft (and helicopters for short flights). In-flight refueling? No Problem. Most CINCs travel with a platoon of officers and senior NCOs.

    So, why all the differences between State and DOD? Haven't the foggiest idea, but, do almost know why DOD pounds a different drum

    About every two years DOD gets to reorganize the CINC (doms) and shuffle the countries based on current relations. Such reshuffling took place with the Baltic States under EUCOM sending a clear signal to President Putin and even more evident when the review board gave Islamic States and Central Asia to CENTCOM.
    Last edited by Stan; 12-30-2008 at 03:55 PM.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

  12. #12
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,444

    Default

    When I would ride the subway in DC, in uniform, I was a magnet for random schmoes who, based upon their 3 years of service as an enlisted man 2 or 3 decades earlier, fancied themselves sufficiently versed in national security strategy to give me their opinions and a) thought that I would actually care and b) seemed to think that I was in a position to make changes that they recommended. If I were to critique the specific borders chosen by DoD or State, I would feel like I am turning into "that guy." But on the general issue of whether two organizations should stovepipe their organizations or create overlap, I think overlap makes more sense. If you get DoD and State with the same AORs, then you increase the tendency for them to view things in terms of their AORs with less regard to the big picture. More troubling, you increase the tendency for them to think alike. When they overlap, you can create a climate in which State is telling DoD, "your Afghan-Pakistani border games are complicating our India-Pakistan initiatives" while DoD tells State, "your India-Pakistan initiative is very quaint, but we've got a war to deal with here on the Afghan-Pakistani border and it is intricately linked to our conflicts elsewhere in CENTCOM."

    At risk of becoming that guy on the subway, I think it makes a whole lot of sense for State and DoD to have different AORs in the India-Pakistan region, first off, for the reasons stated above (stovepiping versus overlap to spur different thinking and bigger picture perspectives). Second, barring some event of world historical significance, we're not going to be conducting major combat operations in India. We are already conducting routine air strikes in Pakistan, I would not be surprised if we routinely conduct special operations in Pakistan, and this is directly related to activities occuring elsewhere in CENTCOM. On the other hand, the diplomacy issues on the subcontinent have much more to do with Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan and much less to do with Iran or the Arab world.

    Full disclosure: my degree is in biology and I never served at an echelon above battalion (but now I'm gloating!).

  13. #13
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Hey Schmedlap

    I did serve most of my career in various echelons above reality and, while I disagree with your conclusion, you make a very good, logical case not to rationalize regions. As I suggested above, (read between the lines) any effort at organization/reorganization has its advantages and pitfalls. IMO the advantages of "rationalization of regions" outweigh the pitfalls but in the long run, it won't make too much difference.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  14. #14
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Fort Leavenworth, KS
    Posts
    1,512

    Default

    The thread that just started up on the loss of another Pakistan Valley as a possible result of redistribution of forces to the Pak/Indian border also highlights the challenges between GCC boundaries.

    Best, Rob

  15. #15
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    24

    Default it's much more than State vs DOD

    As someone who has had to interact up and down the chain as well as across the interagency, it's much more complicated than DOD vs State in determining which country is in which planning and coordinating function. To my memory, the Joint Staff, OSD, DIA, CIA and State all have different names for their country desk collections, i.e. Central Asia/South Asia, or Near East Asia, or something else. At first, it was confounding because if you had to coordinate something, you had to figure out which office to call.

    I see both sides of the coin, by allowing flexibility, differing agencies can task organize as they see fit, I mean US AID or State has valid reasons why they are organized just as within the DOD. I also see the reasoning for whole of government "let's all row the same direction" methodology. This would have to be a push down from the NSC or National Security Advisor to change.
    Cheers
    Otto

  16. #16
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    1,444

    Default

    I'm also reminded of my experiences in OIF III when we had a company AOR that bisected the city from east to west. One company had the north, the other company had the south. Our AOR boundaries were not published on the internet, but the insurgents were able to quickly figure out where the boundary between us was and figure out that it was a great place to operate because when something went down on the boundary, we had to coordinate between companies to ensure there was no fratricide or other unforunateness. In response to this, we would occasionally shift the boundaries north and south to mix it up a bit. Once the MOI Commandos in our city became a more capable force, we tried to focus their attention on the boundaries between us. It seemed easier to have a third force overlapping our AORs and to keep tabs on them.

    I think a similar arrangement could be imagined on the India-Pakistan border. CENTCOM and PACOM suddenly need to coordinate their response. State seems well positioned to help coordinate. Likewise if something goes down on the Iran-Afghanistan border - two State organizations need to coordinate, but CENTCOM is well positioned to help. In light of Otto's comment, obviously this is a simplified analogy.

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Wherever the needs of the Army take me . . .
    Posts
    9

    Default One Map to the Rule them All . . .

    To me the biggest concern with having different boundaries has to do with much needed integration and coordination at the inter-agency level. No matter how the map is divided up, each region should have a:

    • Director of Regional Foreign Policy

    Who is supported by:
    1. Unified Combatant Commander (from DoD)
    2. Deputy Director of Regional Aid and Development (from USAID)
    3. Deputy Director of Regional Affairs (from State)


    Everybody looks at the same map, works with the same people, out of the same office. Major NGOs and regional powers are invited to send liasons to the Regional Commands. Maybe they don't get a seat at the briefing table all the time, but if the PACOM commander wants to coordinate Tsunami relief efforts with PLAN, they should be able to do that because they already have a working relationship.

  18. #18
    Council Member wm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    On the Lunatic Fringe
    Posts
    1,237

    Default Wheels outside wheels?

    Unless these new regions' boundaries correspond to one of the already existing set of regional boundaries, I submit it will result in the same "seams" problem, just pushed to a different, higher level. If the new seams correspond to some other organization's boundaries, then I do not see the value of creating another "chief" to manage that region. It might just be better to add new responsibilities for coordination/C2 to the person already in charge of the described region (or enforce exisiting responsibilites more stringently).

    The substructure described below is a matrixed organization of a most complex kind. How does one manage the priorities and reporting processes of these deputy directors. Since they will supervise regions that overlap more than one of the regions under the purview of a Director of Regional Foreign Policy (DRFP), I suspect they will have responsibilities to support more than one DRFP at a time. Who sets/deconflicts those priorities?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marauder Doc View Post
    To me the biggest concern with having different boundaries has to do with much needed integration and coordination at the inter-agency level. No matter how the map is divided up, each region should have a:

    • Director of Regional Foreign Policy

    Who is supported by:
    1. Unified Combatant Commander (from DoD)
    2. Deputy Director of Regional Aid and Development (from USAID)
    3. Deputy Director of Regional Affairs (from State)


    Everybody looks at the same map, works with the same people, out of the same office. Major NGOs and regional powers are invited to send liasons to the Regional Commands. Maybe they don't get a seat at the briefing table all the time, but if the PACOM commander wants to coordinate Tsunami relief efforts with PLAN, they should be able to do that because they already have a working relationship.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. Sydney J. Harris

  19. #19
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,706

    Default

    We found three things:

    1. Everyone breaks the world up differently, but all use 6 regions (state, DoD, National Geographic, etc), and they all have pros and cons.

    2. It doesn't really matter how you do it, but you have to in order to gain a regional understanding, but...

    3. You also have to ignore the boundaries that you just made, as you can not discuss or study any one region of the world without taking into account how it interacts with the other 5. hockey rules, you have lines but you get to go outside them as necessary.

    Key is to not get too wrapped up in the lines you just drew, as they don't mean anything to the people you just boxed in with them.


    As an asside, an idea that I am toying with is to take the existing MSCA processes and concepts and see if it makes sense to expand and divide it into "Domestic MSCA" and "Foreign MSCA." Believe that this could take us a long ways toward getting DoD back into the supporting role overseas. May also be a way to clean up new concepts like IW and old processess like Security Assistance under an accepted and practical mechanism that ensures that the GCC only sends his components into a country to engage upon a request from the country team. As ASD HD has lead for MSCA, would possibly be ASD SO/LIC for foreign, split between Stability Ops and Special Ops to lead for DoD on this, with the mirror image over at State doing same as primary over all lead. Real work happens at each individual embassy though

  20. #20
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Thumbs down Marauder Doc, see my first post

    As I said there, the issue is not so much regional boundaries (which, IMO, should be rationalized - see both previosus posts) but rather the bilateral nature of US foreign relations. The current structure is specifically designed to address that. Thus the "chain of command" in US foreign relations runs:

    President

    US Ambassador to Country X

    It also runs:

    President

    SECSTATE

    Regional & functional bureaus in suppport of Ambassadors

    And, it runs:

    President

    SECDEF

    GCCs (generally) in support of Ambassadors

    So, your regional organizational structure is based on, I think, the faulty premise that we do business - primarily - regionally. Any modification to the current structure must start from the position that US foreign relations are, and probaly will remain, primarily bilateral. Until that changes, all schemes for powerful regional organizations of US foreign relations will fail.

    Cheers

    JohnT

Similar Threads

  1. DoD vs. State Dept on Reviving Iraqi Industry
    By tequila in forum US Policy, Interest, and Endgame
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-27-2008, 09:28 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •