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Full Spectrum Operations: A Running Start

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Research paper

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Major combat operations MCO exacerbate conditions for instability. The good will and gratitude expected after liberating a population will not last unless U.S. forces take steps to relieve the people of those destabilizing conditions. These include, in addition to lack of security, loss of power, inadequate potable water, poor waste management, food shortages, and job loss. In the aftermath of MCO in both Iraq and Afghanistan, opportunities were missed to prevent or reverse these destabilizing conditions at a critical time, resulting in great cost to our nation. For success in full-spectrum operations -- simultaneous offense, defense, and stability -- U.S. combat forces require enhanced strategic reach and endurance and the ability to immediately begin stability operations to address the populations needs. In the transition from offensive-focused to stability-focused operations, a critical window of opportunity exists. High threat and risk prevent other than combat units from operating effectively. Brigade combat teams BCT are among the few forces capable of operating during this critical, high-threat period. These units must be trained and equipped to take proactive, mitigating action to address the populations ailments. Much like a combat lifesavers quick assessment and action at the injury of a fellow Soldier, U.S. combat units must be able to stabilize the population. Their actions must prop open a window of opportunity that will enable the introduction of more robust reconstruction and stability capabilities. If the window of opportunity closes, a population, like an injured Soldier, may take a turn for the worse. This paper examines common situations BCTs are facing and will likely face in future environments and suggests equipping and training adjustments to support full-spectrum operations. The paper focuses on two problems faced during the critical transition window lack of potable water and inadequate waste management.

Subject Categories:

  • Non-electrical Energy Conversion
  • Electric Power Production and Distribution
  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control
  • Water Pollution and Control

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