Seizing the Initiative by Establishing the Rule of Law During Combat Operations
ARMY COMBINED ARMS CENTER FORT LEAVENWORTH KS MILITARY REVIEW
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IF YOU BREAK IT YOU OWN IT, Colin Powell told President George W. Bush as the president considered the invasion of Iraq.1 Powell s statement should resonate in the minds of operational planners as they prepare contingency plans for future U.S. military operations. In any future military operation, U.S. commanders will be expected to plan for stability operations and integrate non-DOD agencies into military contingency plans. As part of that responsibility, the U.S. government is accountable to the rule of law. Preparation of forces for rule of law operations is critical for success of the strategic end state the failure to consider and plan for those factors may have strategic consequences that can undermine national objectives. FM 3-07, Stability Operations, defines the rule of law as A principle under which all persons, institutions, and entities, public and private, including the state itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated, and that are consistent with international human rights principles.2 Rule of law in a war-torn nation is a critical, paramount requirement in achieving stability operation objectives to maintain or reestablish a safe and secure environment provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief and allowing for essential service to be restored.3 Military commanders must plan, train, and resource an adequate number of military personnel to implement order, protect property, and maintain security to prevent lawlessness. Lawfulness is the foundation of stability. Operational planners must anticipate U.S. military forces will likely encounter a failed, broken, destroyed, or simply nonexistent justice apparatus i.e., policing courts and corrections institutions. The situation will likely require immediate attention to protect the indigenous people of the area, their property, and their economic livelihood.
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