Vietnam and CORDS: Interagency Lessons for Iraq
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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Counterinsurgency COIN doctrine emphasizes the importance of unity of effort among all agencies involved in a COIN fight. That doctrine stresses that unity of effort is best achieved by consolidating all efforts under a single chain of command or leader. When multiple agencies pursue differing agendas, unity of effort suffers. Interagency coordination and synchronization issues at the highest levels of the U.S. Government continue to affect the war in Iraq. The Department of Defense DoD and the Department of State DoS have overlapping responsibilities for Iraq. The President has issued various National Security Directives regarding Stability and Reconstruction Operations SRO in Iraq and which department is responsible for what, but the issue is far from being resolved. Provincial Reconstruction Teams PRTs are the tool this monograph will use to use to explore the issues hampering the interagency process in Iraq. The mission of PRTs in Iraq is to act as a U.S.-led, civil-military effort to help Iraqs provincial and local governments govern effectively and deliver essential services. The U.S. Government faced a similar problem during the Vietnam War. As the Vietnam War grew in scope and scale, the U.S. Government faced the challenge of coordinating the efforts of all of the agencies involved in the war. After a number of unsuccessful attempts by several Presidents, President Johnson established the Civil Operations and Rural Development Support CORDS program. CORDS consolidated all efforts, civilian and military, conventional and COIN, under a single chain of command and a single leader. CORDS is generally regarded as a successful program in spite of the Vietnam Wars final outcome. The lessons learned in the development of CORDS can be applied to the current situation in Iraq. The author recommends that the U.S. Government adopt a CORDS-like approach to Iraq and consolidate SRO under the DoD rather than the DoS to achieve true unity of effort.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unconventional Warfare