How to Fail at Post-Hostilities Planning at the Operational Level
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Combatant commander leadership is THE critical factor in ensuring robust, operational planning is done for post-hostilities Phase IV. This can be seen by looking at the Phase IV failures in both Panama and Iraq. Both these Phase IV planning failures followed successful combat operations in Phase III, but the combatant commanders failed to ensure as much effort was put into Phase IV planning as Phase III. In fact, they failed to ensure there was any real plan at all. They failed to focus their staffs and produce an executable plan due to their decisions to separate the combat planners from the post-hostilities planners and OPSEC concerns that killed effective coordination between Phase III and IV. In addition, replacement of the commander of SOUTHCOM just months before Operation JUST CAUSE and the commander of CENTCOM in the months immediately following the conclusion of Phase III in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM exacerbated an already difficult and complex planning environment. Neither commander prepared an adequate plan for Phase IV and the results speak for themselves.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics