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Lessons Learned from Operation AL FAJR: the Liberation of Fallujah
CIVIL AFFAIRS GROUP (4TH) WASHINGTON DC
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Conflict termination and transition to post-hostilities operations has always been the most challenging aspect of modern conflict for the United States. Our pre-eminent military can be depended upon to secure victory against any foe yet, we often face significant problems in the immediate post-conflict period. Operation AL FAJR in Fallujah, Iraq provides several insightful lessons from which we can improve future warfighting success. Among these are the employment of information operations, the full integration of civil affairs forces, and interoperability between forces of the United States and other coalition partners. Most of the critical lessons from the liberation of Fallujah from terrorists in Iraq pertain to innovative command and control techniques. This paper is based upon a case study of actual plans and lessons taken during execution by actual participants in Iraq during operation Iraqi Freedom. First Marine Expeditionary Force I MEF was able to formulate plans and employ forces in such a way as to significantly improve the transition from hostilities to post-hostilities operations. With a powerful, deliberate information wedge to split the terrorist forces from the population and deep penetration strikes, integrating convention forces with civil affairs teams, the I MEF was able to dominate the initial battle and maintain leverage through transition to the Iraqi governments resettlement of the city during phase IV of the operation. The battle not only validated the Marine Three Block War construct but also showed effective integration of coalition forces and multinational command and control.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE