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Canada and Afghanistan: A Classic Case of ‘Mission Creep’

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  1. Canada and Afghanistan:A Classic Case of ‘Mission Creep’ Political Science Seminar 18 March 2010 Ken Hansen ken.hansen@dal.ca, 494-6610, A&A Rm. 343A “The CFPS Mission is to provide the Canadian public, policy makers, and academic communities with informed, empirically grounded, comprehensive and balanced analysis of policy alternatives.”

  2. Disclaimer ! The views expressed in this lecture are not to be taken as a statement of policy by the Department of National Defence or the Canadian Forces. The views of the speaker are offered only for the purpose of promoting an academic discussion of the issues.

  3. AIM To conduct a strategic-level examination of Canada in Afghanistan using a theoretical framework.

  4. OUTLINE • Introduction (boring, but important, definitions) • Victory in War – (Martel’s Framework) • Afghanistan • Canada in Afghanistan • Martel’s Framework applied • Conclusions

  5. MISSION CREEP • The expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes. • Implies a certain disapproval of newly adopted goals by the user. • Considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs. Source: James Hessian, “Three Decades of Mission Creep,” Navy League of the United States.http://www.navyleague.org/seapower/three_decades_of_mission_creep.htm

  6. MISSION CREEP • The expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals (sic), often after initial successes. • Implies a certain disapproval of newly adopted goals (sic) by the user. • Considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success [or failure] breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs. Source: James Hessian, “Three Decades of Mission Creep,” Seapower, Navy League of the United States.http://www.navyleague.org/seapower/three_decades_of_mission_creep.htm

  7. OPERATIONAL ART “The skilful employment of forces to attain strategic [goals] and/or operational [aims] through the design, organization, integration and conduct of strategies, campaigns, major operations and [tactical activities] .” Source: Combined and Joint Staff Officer’s Handbook.

  8. National PolicyGrand Strategy - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Military Strategy - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - CampaignsJoint & Combined Ops - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Joint Task Forces - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Tactical Actions Strategic Operational Tactical Figure 1-1 — The Levels of Warfare

  9. STRATEGY “The art and science of developing and using political, economic, psychological, and military forces as necessary during peace and war, to afford the maximum support to policies, in order to increase the probabilities and favourable consequences of victory [success] and to lessen the chances of defeat [failure].” Source: Leadmark - Glossary

  10. CAMPAIGN “A sequence of planned, resourced and executed military operations designed to achieve strategic [goals] and operational [aims] within a given time and area.” Source: Combined and Joint Officer Handbook.

  11. DESCRIPTIVE TERMINOLOGY FOR LEVELS OF NATIONAL ACTIVITY Source: Hansen – POLI 3591 “Contemporary Issues in Maritime Security”

  12. Level of Conflict Tactical Grand Strategic Military Political Economic Ideological Change in Status Quo Limited Comprehensive Policy Institutional Constitutional Regime Change Mobilization Effort None Extensive Existing Forces Reserve Callout New Capabilities Societal Effort Post-conflict Obligations Minor Protracted Damage Mitigation Economic Aid Reconstruction Nation Building Pre-theoretical Concepts for Strategic Success Adapted from: William C. Martel, Victory in War: Foundations of Modern Military Policy(Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 95.

  13. Afghanistan – Factors (Human) Population: 28.3 M Median Age: 17 years Urbanization: 24 percent (10 major cities contain <10% of population) Literacy: 28% (Grade 8 equivalent) Ethnicity: Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4% Religion: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19% Languages: Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashto (official) 35% (50% Dari as second language; 10% Pashto as second language) GDP: $13.2B GDP per Capita: $800 GDP by Sector: agriculture: 31%; industry: 26%; services: 43% Employment by Sector: agriculture: 78.6%; industry: 5.7%; services: 15.7% Unemployment: 35% Poverty: 36% Global Rank: 182nd Source: CIA World Factbook

  14. Afghanistan – Factors (Human) Population: 28.3 M Median Age: 17 years Urbanization: 24 percent (10 major cities contain <10% of population) Literacy: 28% (Grade 8 equivalent) Ethnicity: Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4% Religion: Sunni Muslim 80%, Shia Muslim 19% Languages: Afghan Persian or Dari (official) 50%, Pashto (official) 35% (50% Dari as second language; 10% Pashto as second language) GDP: $13.2B GDP per Capita: $800 GDP by Sector: agriculture: 31%; industry: 26%; services: 43% Employment by Sector: agriculture: 78.6%; industry: 5.7%; services: 15.7% Unemployment: 35% Poverty: 36% Global Rank: 182nd Young Rural Illiterate Dominant Unproductive Divided Agrarian Unemployed Poor Source: CIA World Factbook

  15. Ethnic Groups Tajik (27 – 38%) Pashtun (36 – 42%) Persian ‘Dari’ (50%) Pashto (35%) Linguistic Groups

  16. Pashtun Distribution Afghanistan: 13.4M Pakistan: 28.0M Border, 2640-km long, was established in 1893 by the Durand Line Agreement between Henry Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary representing the Government of British Colonial Government in India, and Abdur Rahman Khan, the Afghan Amir. Khan refused to sign the translated copy. No border agreement exists between Kabul and Islamabad.

  17. Pashtun Tribes

  18. Original Political Direction • PM Martin’s 4 demands to Gen. Hillier: 1 – In and out in 2-3 years; 2 – Peacekeeping & Reconstruction only; 3 – Another contingent avail for Sudan; and 4 – Additional capacity required for Haiti. 3 & 4 cannot be constrained by Afghanistan, or no approval. Source: Martin Interview, 07 Feb 07, cited in Stein and Lang, The Unexpected War, 191.

  19. Response to Direction • Gen. Hillier’s responses: 1 – Army could ‘regenerate’ in 2007 for Sudan and/or Haiti; 2 – A ‘3D mission’ that will entail “some risk”; 3 – Mission can be accomplished within funding provided (“too important to be watered down over money”); and 4 – Liberal modernization plans sufficient. “It can be done.” Source: Martin Interview, 07 Feb 07, cited in Stein and Lang, The Unexpected War, 191.

  20. Source: Cordesman, CSIS, 02 Dec 09

  21. Events Density No events Low Medium Significant High Kinetic Events 01 Jan 05 – 15 Dec 05 In COIN, catch up ball does not work Kinetic Events 01 Jan 07 – 15 Dec 07 Kinetic Events 01 Jan 09 – 15 Dec 09 Source: ISAF Briefing, MGen. Flynn, Dir. Intelligence, 22 Dec 09 UNCLASSIFIED

  22. IED Evolution in Afghanistan 2007 – 2009 Increasing use of Homemade Explosives (HME) (80 to 90 percent from Ammonium Nitrate) Casualties: (07 – 2293), (08 – 3308) Events: 7228 Casualties: 6037 (2009) 4169 (2008) 2718 (2007) 1922 (2006) 831 (2005) 326 (2004) Events: 81 (2003)* 2003 – 2006 Predominantly Military Ordnance Casualties: (04 – 16), (05 – 279), (06 – 1473) * No IED related casualty data available for 2003 Source: ISAF Briefing, MGen. Flynn, Dir. Intelligence, 22 Dec 09 UNCLASSIFIED

  23. Main Charge Size Trends IED Main Charge Weight May 2008 IED Main Charge Weight Dec 2009 76-100 lbs 100+ lbs 0-25 lbs 100+ lbs 51-75 lbs 76-100 lbs 0-25 lbs 26-50 lbs 51-75 lbs 26-50 lbs Source: ISAF Briefing, MGen. Flynn, Dir. Intelligence, 22 Dec 09 UNCLASSIFIED

  24. Time is Running Out Kinetic Events by Week and Type Source: ISAF Briefing, MGen. Flynn, Dir. Intelligence, 22 Dec 09 UNCLASSIFIED

  25. Time is Running Out Taliban Shadow Governors • Taliban influence expanding; contesting and controlling additional areas. • Kinetic events are up 300% since 2007 and an additional 60% since 2008. • The Taliban now has “Shadow Governors” in 33 of 34 provinces (as of DEC 09) Source: ISAF Briefing, MGen. Flynn, Dir. Intelligence, 22 Dec 09 UNCLASSIFIED

  26. Source: Combined Chiefs of Staff Briefing http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Components/Photo/_new/Afghanistan_Dynamic_Planning.pdf

  27. Change in Status Quo versus Level of Conflict A2 Ideological – Regime Change Comprehensive Change in Status Quo A1 Military – Policy Change Limited Tactical Grand Strategic Level of Conflict Adapted from: Martel, Victory in War, p. 294.

  28. Scale of Mobilization versus Level of Conflict A2 Ideological – New Capabilities Extensive Scale of Mobilization A1 Military – Existing Forces None Tactical Grand Strategic Level of Conflict Adapted from: Martel, Victory in War, p. 295.

  29. Post Conflict Obligations versus Level of Conflict A2 Ideological – Nation Building Protracted Post Conflict Obligations A1 Military – Damage Mitigation Minor Tactical Grand Strategic Level of Conflict Adapted from: Martel, Victory in War, p. 297.

  30. Deductions • Strategic Goals have changed three times:Al Queda > Taliban > Afghanistan nation building • Pashtun issues cannot be dealt with separatelybecause they must include Pakistan, which Pakistan will not tolerate because it will destabilize their country. • Pakistan cannot become unstable because of their nuclear arsenal.

  31. Implications • Changing Strategic Goals will create communications problems at home (for all NATO countries). • The centrality of Pashtun issues will (has) result(ed) in widening the theatre boundaries and area of operations. • Fears over Pakistan’s instability will concern India, China & other regional powers. • Escalation and expansion of the conflict is happening.

  32. Final Analysis • The outlook for the south of Afghanistan remains a back and forth fight to hold, clear, reclear, and reclear yet again. • A war of attrition will be (is the) result. • Timelines for this war will be decades long. • Economic indicators are not encouraging wrt Canada’s ability to sustain the effort.

  33. Hillier’s last comments • “NATO has yet to articulate a clear strategy for what it is doing in Afghanistan.” • “It failed to operate as one cohesive block in dealing with Pakistan.” • “Any major setback will see it (NATO) off to the cleaners.” Source: Hillier, A Soldier First, 477.

  34. Published Sources Cited • Finel, Bernard. “An Alternative to COIN,” Armed Forces Journal, February 2010. • Graveland, Bill. “Former Chief of Defence Staff worried about simmering problems in Pakistan,” Winnipeg Free Press, 25 March 2009. • Hillier, Rick. A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and The Politics of War, Harper-Collins, 2009. • Martel, William. Victory in War: Foundations of Modern Military Policy. Cambridge University Press, 2007. • McKay, J.R. The Scylla and Charybdis of Strategic Leadership, Canadian Defence Academy Press, 2008. • Mortenson, Greg. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, The Penguin Group, 2009. • Ram, Sunil. “Afghanistan, America, and the “Vietnam Syndrome.” Frontline Defence, Issue 1, 2010: 26-31. • Stein, Jancie Gross and Eugene Lang. The Unexpected War: Canada in Afghanistan, The Penguin Group, 2007. • Stewart, Rory. The Place in Between, Harcourt, 2006.