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Before, During, and After: Can Defense and State Communicate?

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Research paper

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Todays Long War requires, even demands, that all elements of Americas national power be focused on victory. The Department of Defense DoD is the lead for the military element and the Department of State DoS is the lead for the diplomatic element, but can these two agencies communicate and synchronize their pieces of the complex victory formula Only through a closely coordinated and synchronized war effort that relies on the National Security Strategy NSS as the fundamental planning document will victory be possible. This joint effort will require a fundamental change in the interagency process, including a substantial reprogramming of budgets and staffs. Indeed, recent Secretary of Defense SECDEF speeches and testimony assert that civilian personnel are now full partners in the Long War and must step up and fulfill their role. History reveals that the interagency challenge is not new. This SRP discusses interagency cooperation in Germany after World War II and during the Vietnam War. Next, it shows that interagency efforts during the past two presidential terms were inadequate in terms of strategy, coordination, personnel, and funding. Although both presidents recognized the complexity of the interagency, they attempted to address the issues by means of Presidential Directives. The SRP then argues that emerging processes have great potential. For example, recent changes to the National Security Council NSC, the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization SCRS, and the Interagency Management System IMS all show potential for building unity of effort and unity of command in the Long War. The SRP concludes with recommendations for changes to the National Security Strategy NSS, interagency doctrine, and interagency training that will synergize the interagency process.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare

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