Proxy Forces, the Future of the Land Component in Coalition Operations?
Monograph, Jun 2012-May 2013
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This monograph examines the utility of Proxy Forces as a viable alternative to deploying a land component as part of a wider coalition campaign. Since the attacks of 911 the three major campaigns in which western nations have engaged have all had a proxy warfare component to them. Following stability operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with continued economic austerity, Western democracies may well be reluctant to commit ground forces to future crises. An assessment of current doctrinal guidance and the historical context of proxy force operations will provide the reader with the necessary tools with which to evaluate two contemporary studies. These studies, Afghanistan 20012002 and Libya 2011 will provide analysis for contemporary proxy force operations from which to make an assessment of proxy force utility. This monograph will conclude with a number of observations for future action. This includes that the utility and employment of proxy forces is not well understood outside Special Operations Forces SOF community. However in order to best utilize proxy force, capabilities doctrine needs to provide direction for mainstream, joint, and component planners. Working with proxy forces can bring significant risk, particularly in the strategic arena. Measures can however be put in place to mitigate these risks. These can include a whole of government approach to engaging not only with the proxy force but also political and civil leaderships within the organization. Despite mitigation however, proxy operations carry considerable risk, particularly during conflict termination. While this will invariably be the case, political expediency or rapidly evolving crisis may make proxy force operations the only viable option with which to pursue coalition goals.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics