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Innovation and War: Military Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. James Russell Department of National Security Affairs Naval Postgraduate School June 2010. Outline. Project Background Iraq, Afghanistan Focus on empirically built cases of units as they conduct operations. .

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innovation and war military operations in afghanistan and iraq

Innovation and War:Military Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq

James Russell

Department of National Security Affairs

Naval Postgraduate School

June 2010

outline
Outline
  • Project Background
    • Iraq, Afghanistan
  • Focus on empirically built cases of units as they conduct operations.
up front punch line
Up Front Punch line
  • Analysis of US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan show organizations that can quickly adapt, change, and innovate while closed with the enemy.
  • Nonsense to suggest that insurgents are somehow more creative, flexible, and adaptive.
  • I’m not arguing that this wins the war!
basis for this statement
Iraq cases of empirically built cases of 9 Army and Marine Corps battalions in 05-07.

Chronicle field-level adaptive and innovative processes.

Basis for This Statement?
findings from iraq research
Findings from Iraq Research
  • Organizations developed new, indigenous organizational capacities.
    • Dialectical process that cannot be described solely as top-down, or bottom up – though execution process is generated organically.
    • Innovation is the end product of a series of linked processes that builds organizational capacities that deliver outputs that didn’t exist before the unit arrived.
  • New capacities required modification to organizational structures.
    • S-2 shops, non-kinetic effects working groups, JIATFs.
    • New small unit tactics to disrupt insurgent ops.
  • Units gradually built new SOPs to operationalize new capacities.
    • Census Operations.
    • COP construction.
    • CMO and IO integration into lethal/non-lethal targeting.
other iraq inferences
Other Iraq Inferences
  • Role of doctrine miscast by security studies theorists:
    • Capstone operational doctrine is foundation to innovation; lack of specific COIN doctrine not important in these cases.
  • Informal doctrine important tool.
  • Organizational hierarchy operates differently in war than in peace – no surprise, but…
    • Ad-hoc org structures; flattened organizational hierarchy; authority driven down the chain of command; informal relationships a great source of organizational productivity; embrace of systems-based based perspectives to understand second and third order effects of actions as a guide to decision-making.
innovation and adaptation in war the case of 4 25 in p2k
Innovation and Adaptation in War: The Case of 4/25 in P2K

Zerok COP

FOB Munoz

FOB Orgun-E

Jaji Maidan

FOB Tillman

Sabari

Musa Khel

Bak

Qalandar

FOB Boris

FB Lilley

Matun

Nadir Shah Khot

FOB Curry

Tere Zayi

Dowmandah

Mandozayi

Gorbuz

Tani

Spera

4

#

4 25 adaptation the good
4/25 Adaptation – the Good
  • 4/25 Board of Directors – A Campaign Plan!
    • AID, Agriculture, State, BDE Commander
    • Attempt to involve other USG elements in the stabilization/COIN effort
  • Immense array of additional organizational/TF support – the alphabet soup approach
    • Human Terrain, PRT, Law Enforcement Program, ADTs, JIEDDO, SOF, Intell orgs of every stripe to help in targeting, detainee ops., all built through ad-hoc, JIATF-type organizations.
  • This is one model for how to organize diverse organizational components conduct stability operations in modern era.
  • Military remains provider and enabler….
slide9

TF Yukon Leadership

Yukon Board of Directors

DoS

USAID

USDA

DoD

Gary Domian

COL Howard

Louis Coronado

James Story

Team Paktika

Team Khowst

Team Paktya

  • DoS
  • Sarah Groen
  • USAID
  • Teresa Miller
  • USDA
  • Feridoon Mehdizadegan
  • BSO
  • LTC Stephen Smith
  • PRT
  • CDR John Pestovic
  • ADT
  • COL Brian Copes
  • DoS
  • Genevieve Libonati
  • USAID
  • John Koogler
  • USDA
  • Vacant
  • BSO
  • LTC Rob Campbell
  • PRT
  • LtCol Carlos Halcomb
  • ADT
  • COL Jim Moore
  • DoS
  • Trevor Boyd
  • USAID
  • Daniel Weggeland
  • USDA
  • Carolin Clarin
  • BSO
  • LTC Clint Baker
  • LTC Pete Minalga
  • PRT
  • CDR Tim Cauthen
the case of 3 509 in epaktika
The Case of 3-509 in EPaktika

Zerok COP

FOB Munoz

  • Significant initiative at BN levels to structure their own operations.
  • Organizing for the fight.
  • Driving responsibility down the chain of command – IO, survey data collection.
  • Tactical organizational complexity that mirrors command level.

FOB Orgun-E

FOB Tillman

FOB Boris

FB Lilley

FOB Curry

Districts 9

Sq KM 6204

-About the size of the big island of Hawaii

Population ~300,000

125 KM of Border with Pakistan

PAKMIL Checkpoints 51

initiative spotlight 1 501 sub governor budget pilot program
Initiative Spotlight: 1-501 Sub-Governor Budget Pilot Program
  • Targets the legitimacy gap at the District
  • Provides Government with a simple means to improve the community
  • Record keeping, dispute resolution, and consultative processes codified in documents
  • Employs the local community and fosters a sense of ownership
preliminary conclusions from iraq and afghanistan research
Preliminary Conclusions from Iraq and Afghanistan Research
  • Process of battlefield innovation is complex mix of top-down, bottom up process: dialectic in nature.
  • Afghan: top down guidance and doctrine shape approach, but significant variation on unit basis, just like Iraq.
  • Iraq parallels: units get it, upper- mid- and lower levels all get it. Educated, experienced work force.
    • Organizations extremely flexible to build new output capacity.
  • Organizational learning happens but is idiosyncratic; doctrine does not smooth this process.