Adverse Effects of the Change of the Military's Core Mission in Afghanistan and Iraq
Air Command and Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States
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As combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq continue, military forces are being tasked with an increasing number of non-combat missions. Missions traditionally associated with Phase IV operations and beyond, such as peacekeeping, stability, security, and nation-building are being combined with Phase III combat operations. A lack of clear delineation exists between these phases. There are no agreed upon doctrinal definitions of Phase IV operations or clarity of mission responsibilities for the military during this phase. Doctrine is hastily being changed in an attempt to incorporate these new missions into the core mission statements of combat units, and Title 10 responsibilities of the services. DoD guidance for the militarys role in these missions does not match joint doctrine, which does not match service doctrine. DoD has tasked the military services to determine requirements for Phase IV operations, but does not clearly define their role and does not provide guidance or recommendations for force size. As a result, services are focusing the acquisition of equipment to support increased non-combat taskings, without fully understanding which tasks they are responsible for executing. These changes, which are most evident in the Army and Air Force, are a significant distraction from the militarys primary mission, and are degrading the combat readiness of the military. It is evident that inadequate thought and planning was exercised prior to combat operations beginning in Afghanistan and Iraq, specifically, for Phase IV operations. There has been insufficient development of non-military organizations to take the lead in Phase IV operations. As a result, the military has taken over missions that should be accomplished by regional or international institutions, NGOs, or civilian resources.