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From Deploying Individuals to Deploying Departments

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Journal article

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Past and current administrations have called for whole-of-government efforts designed to bring all instruments of power to bear on issues of national security. This approach includes a greatly expanded role for domestic departments and agencies. Once considered stationary, domestic agency employees are now being asked to become expeditionary in order to deploy to a wide range of operations from postconflict recovery to domestic disaster relief. This article notes that while these past and current initiatives improve whole-of-government approaches to contingency operations, they focus on preparing the forward-deploying elements. Although critically important, a forward element is only a fraction of the overall requirements of a successful support concept. True whole-of-government efforts can only be fully realized if equal emphasis is placed on preparing and mobilizing entire departments in the rear as well as the relatively few individuals sent forward. Complete departments as well as deploying individuals must accept that both represent parts of the whole. This article also suggests that beyond the 3Ds of defense, diplomacy, and development, there is a 4th D that is, the entirety of the U.S. Governments domestic departments and agencies that should adopt an approach to the future by preparing itself to respond to any contingency with standard processes that can by easily tweaked but not reinvented for each mission situation. For example, optimizing one group only for reconstruction and stabilization and another for domestic contingencies services the U.S. Government badly by prescribing different processes for different mission profiles when basic planning and operating steps can apply equally to any situation.

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  • Government and Political Science

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