ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
On December 1, 2009, President Barack Obama declared that the United States would deploy additional combat power to Afghanistan to reverse the momentum gained by the Taliban and associated insurgent networks. Despite nearly eight years of war at that point, deliberate campaign assessment had only begun in 2008. Assessments exist to help commanders better understand the nature of the current campaign and how it changes over time. With an immature assessment process at the beginning of the surge, ISAF was forced to rapidly adapt and improve. Several changes to the assessment process during the surge included the creation of the ISAF Joint Command Information Dominance Center and Afghan Assessment Group. These organizations slowly increased transparency, credibility, and relevance at the strategic level. Despite improvements at the strategic level, however, advances were not as significant at the tactical level. Ultimately the improved centralized assessment process used by ISAF at the close of the surge was more effective at helping the COMISAF better understand the operating environment. Though the system still depended on quantitative data and failed to push assessments down to tactical units, it provided GEN Allen a more robust picture than GEN McChrystal received two years prior.