In an effort to rope the other three threads together (Fundamentals of SFA, Plan, Train and Organize for SFA, SFA as an Individual Capability) I thought it’d be useful to start a thread on SFA as part of a campaign design where the objectives require a level of sustainable indigenous security capability and capacity in support of broader policy objectives.

I wanted to use an excerpt from Ralph Peter’s interview with GEN Petraeus because it gets to the issue of SFA as a developmental activity, and raises some significant issues with respect to campaign objectives and developmental timelines. I believe this idea supports the use of “design” in laying out the SFA LOE (Line of Effort), or LLOO (Logical Line of Effort) in Joint speak.

New York Post -May 19, 2009, Pg. 23 titled “Worried Warrior - Gen. Petraeus on US strategy”, by Ralph Peters
Post: As the commander of the US Central Command, you're the big-picture "strategy guy." Could you give readers a clear statement of our mission in Afghanistan?
Petraeus: The mission is to ensure that Afghanistan does not again become a sanctuary for al Qaeda and other transnational extremists. That's what it had become before the operations conducted in the wake of 9/11. Al Qaeda wants to carry out further attacks on the US and our allies, and we need to deny them safe havens in which they can plan and train for such attacks.
Post: Can we get there from here?
Petraeus: We can, but it won't be easy. To accomplish our mission, we and our coalition and Afghan partners need to reverse the decline in security; develop Afghan forces that can shoulder the burden of security in their country over time; help establish governance that wins local support -- which means incorporating some traditional structures, and support the improvement of basic services for the Afghan people. This will be hard, but the mission's critical. As we used to say about Iraq: Hard is not hopeless.
While the objective of denying sanctuary to transnational extremists as a broad end lends itself to flexibility with respect to ways and means, Ralph Peter’s follow up question provides GEN Petraeus the opportunity to issue what sounds like CDR’s guidance on both ways and means – this is not new, but is illustrative for this thread.

I first had the opportunity to begin experimenting with design for SFA last year after I was exposed to it in UQ 2008 – it was then referred to as the Operational Design Process, which had been derived from Systemic Operational Design. We had a brief thread on it here. Later in 2008 I was given an opportunity to experiment with it again when JCISFA supported OSD PA&E SAC on the IW study and a Building Security Capacity excursion. While we were unable to do a full blown design due to resource constraints (to include my having a better knowledge of design), we were able to do a functional design that focused on determining requirements in light of conditions and objectives, and designing an operational approach.

Even with a reduced design process, the operational approach and requirements to enable that approach indicated a significant investment by the USG to achieve the policy objective, further it indicated that as conditions changed, and objectives were modified, so to the required capabilities would have to change.

Later we looked at other case studies and applied the design methodology to other experiments and have made similar results. To achieve policy ends in the types of scenarios where there is an obvious security vacuum of significant scale, where we have an interest to see it through, and where the enabling campaign objective is contingent on the ability of the foreign security force partner to generate, employ and sustain sufficient capability and capacity, requires a timeline that extends beyond the shelf life of any one president and probably multiple congresses. This could be in response to what has become an intolerable set of conditions for one or more parties just short of conflict or it could post conflict (not necessarily post U.S. conflict). I did not include the types of shaping activities which might mitigate or preclude conflict for two reasons; 1) there has not been allot of effort looking into that on the main stream experimentation side (we could do better here); 2) If things are A-OK and going our way, then scale is usually not the issue, and what passes for normal is usually good enough. This does not address the issue that often we miss or ignore when conditions change and require more or less effort, and then find ourselves facing the best of some bad choices.

If by using design we were able to identify what the requirements were for a given foreign security force that would support the overarching policy objective we could then walk the operational stepping stones backwards using the fundamentals of SFA. The SFA assessment methodology can be used to determine where the organizational gaps are in the FSF formations. The Operational Environment Assessment can be used to consider how the conditions affect the development and requirements of the FSF. The Institutional Assessment can be used to consider what DOTMLPF-P actions are required to make the FSF capable of generating, employing and sustaining itself. The operational framework can now be established because you have an understanding of what the FSF must be capable and have the capacity to do to support the policy end, and you have an understanding of where you believe them to be in terms of their development.

The SFA developmental tasks of Organize, Train, Equip, Rebuild and Advise can then be aligned and adjusted to accomplish those intermediate FSF developmental objectives in support of the end. This is important because as the conditions and the objectives take shape the requirements will follow, and the requirements tell us what capabilities must be generated. This allows us to consider the demand signal in light of the needs of the operational requirements, and allows us to adapt our force generation processes in a proactive manner vs. a reactive one (provided the force employer is conducting continuous assessments and communicating that implications back to force generator).