Conduit or Cul-de-Sac? Information Flow in Civil-Military Operations
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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Information sharing, closer cooperation--how often do we hear these terms in connection with the relationships between the Armed Forces and foreign militaries, international agencies, and nongovernmental organizations We debate their implications during exercises and at conferences. But is this development reaching the field How can commanders ensure that junior officers and noncommissioned officers foster relations with their counterparts How can communications be improved to relieve the increasingly crowded joint and combined humanitarian peace operations process and aid in mission accomplishment Even well trained combat units will not be ready for the change in perceptions, attitudes, operating tempo, and activities required in civil-military operations CMOs and military operations other than war MOOTW without additional training. Warfighting skills do not transfer directly to peace operations, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance, or many other CMOMOOTW missions. Much of this problem is institutional. The military tends to regard these missions as aberrations that will not endure. Moreover, they simply do not like to perform them. Thus experiences and lessons learned often are not properly captured. The British have a similar problem they refer to lessons identified, that is, lessons only to be forgotten and reidentified later. There are many recorded instances of soldiers having to reinvent the wheel because they could not find appropriate documentation. The problem is exacerbated by the normal rotation of personnel whereby we lose institutional knowledge and skills. This article recounts problems faced by battalion through brigade-sized units operating in a multinational arena in support of CMOs.
- Military Intelligence
- Unconventional Warfare