Peacetime Engagement: Devising the Army's Role
MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY DEPT OF HISTORY
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There is certainly work to be done in refining the concept of peacetime engagement as our national security policy. At this juncture the concept appears in several security-related documents but remains ill-defined. Meanwhile an increasing number of terms associated with peacetime engagement -- such as nation-building, forward presence operations, and the continuum of military operations, to name but a few -- have found their way into the military lexicon. A National Security Decision Directive would be a useful mechanism to codify the policy of peacetime engagement. Such a directive would not only eliminate much of the current misunderstanding surrounding the term and make clear that peacetime engagement contains both national and strategic implications, but it would also provide a strategic framework to serve as the basis for more effective interagency coordination. As an institution, the Army has much to offer in promoting peacetime engagement as a national security policy. The Army is the most capable service to carry out most peacetime engagement activities. Active and reserve forces are ideally suited for performing nation assistance, technical training, and security assistance. Engineers, military police, civic affairs, disaster relief, and transportation units, to say nothing of special operations forces, possess unique capabilities to help a host country strengthen its own infrastructure and address the conditions that lead to instability and violence. By focusing on peacetime operations, the Army can contribute to the alleviation of the conditions that have traditionally led to the employment of combat forces in conflict. Additionally, the Army can accomplish these missions without increases in numbers and materiel and without sacrificing its preparation for wartime missions.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unconventional Warfare