Declaring Victory: Planning Exit Strategies for Peace Operations

KEVIN C. M. BENSON and CHRISTOPHER B. THRASH

© 1996 Kevin C. M. Benson and Christopher B. Thrash

From Parameters, Autumn 1996, pp. 69-80. .


Sergeant Oddball, the madcap tanker from the movie "Kelley's Heroes," liked to say that his tank moved faster in reverse than forward so he could get out of trouble faster than he got into it. Sergeant Oddball had a plan. Post-Cold War operations, particularly peace operations, require planners to consider how an operation might end almost as soon as they are informed of their participation in it.[1] Commanders and their staffs understand that ending our support and bringing home the force and its equipment are integral to all their planning from the outset of each peace operation.[2]

Responsibility for ending support of a peace operation may be one of the more challenging features of the post-Cold War environment. It has certainly proven to be one of the most controversial, as our involvement in Somalia demonstrated. The enormous scale of human misery associated with recent complex humanitarian relief operations--often the result of civil conflict--complicates decisions about ending our support for them. However, unless decisions are made, sometimes a priori, about the limits of our involvement in those operations, we could find ourselves once again unable to recognize the desired endstate when we reach it.

Exit strategies can be based on the passage of time, the occurrence of events or, most often, a combination of the two. The initial decision to stay a year in the former Yugoslavia is an example of a time-determined exit. Events in humanitarian relief operations, such as the resettlement of a certain number of Kurds, or unanticipated incidents, such as the 3-4 October 1993 firefight in Mogadishu, can also mark the beginning of the end of US support for specific operations.

The purpose of this article is to explain how one staff developed an exit strategy that combined time- and event-driven indicators for ending the US forces' participation in the United Nations Mission in Haiti. We examine the policies and principles behind the planning process and the importance of cooperation from all partners in the humanitarian relief community on scene. This article examines three primary themes associated with creating exit strategies. First, few activities demonstrate as clearly as exit planning the axiom that all three levels of conflict--strategic, operational, and tactical--tend to be compressed during peace operations. Second, field- and company-grade officers should be prepared to function "two levels higher" during such operations, thinking and operating at the operational and strategic levels. Finally, by creatively applying the familiar (US forces doctrine for deliberate decisionmaking) to the unfamiliar (peace operations), staffs can understand and plan for the challenges of the peace operations environment. Details of the process itself illustrate the principles that underlie these themes.

Overview of the Intervention in Haiti, 1994-1996

War and peace operations are alike in at least one respect: both are extensions of policy. In the case of Haiti there was a congruence of American policy and United Nations Security Council resolutions. The American policy on Haiti was in accord with the traditional concepts of American national interest: securing our territory against hostile attack, maintaining domestic tranquillity and stability, promoting our prosperity, and advancing our values. These tenets are also outlined in the 1995 National Security Strategy.[3] Of these the latter two--promoting prosperity and advancing values--were the guiding national interests in this operation. The practical, pragmatic objective was relief of the conditions causing Haitians to flee their island and come ashore in Florida, overwhelming the social welfare system there. The advancement of our values entailed the removal, by justified means, of an illegal regime which had overthrown a democratically elected government. Intervention also served our security and prosperity by maintaining order in the Western Hemisphere, just as it had in 1915 when the Marines intervened in Haiti.[4]

The application of military means as an extension of policy was guided by Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD 25), which directed that US involvement in peacekeeping operations be "limited, selective, and . . . effective."[5] The National Security Strategy and PDD 25 formed the strategic basis of the campaign plan for all operations in Haiti.

The United Nations took notice of Haiti when a military coup forced President Aristide to leave in 1991. UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 940 called on member states to use "all means necessary" to restore the legitimately elected government to power. The Organization of American States (OAS) and the "four friends" of Haiti--the United States, Canada, Venezuela, and France--all used diplomatic means to persuade the illegal regime to leave. When the United States imposed an embargo on the island, as authorized by the United Nations Security Council, the naval enforcement was carried out by warships from the United States, France, Canada, Venezuela, and Great Britain. The embargo remained in place until September 1994, when the US-led Multi-National Force landed on the island to restore Aristide and his government to power.

UNSCR 940, as extended and modified by UNSCRs 975 and 1007, provided the basis for military operations in Haiti under the authority of the United Nations. The intent of these resolutions was to establish and maintain a stable, secure environment on the island so the elected government could regain control, create an electoral process to reestablish its legislature, and ultimately elect a new president.

Operations in Haiti

On 16 September 1994 US Atlantic Command directed Joint Task Force (JTF) 180, led by the US XVIII Airborne Corps and composed of elements of the Corps, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Atlantic Fleet, and Air Combat Command, to begin operations to restore the legitimate government of Haiti. This JTF conducted a successful permissive entry operation on 19 September 1994 and provided overwatch for the subsequent return of President Aristide on 15 October.

In January 1995 JTF 190, the regional Multi-National Force (MNF), assumed control of operations in Haiti.[6] On 31 March 1995, in compliance with the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 940, the MNF relinquished responsibility for maintaining "a secure and stable environment" to the UN Mission in Haiti.[7] The US contingent of the UN Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) was US Forces-Haiti (USFORHAITI), composed of a US Army brigade-level headquarters staff and attached units and individuals. The USFORHAITI staff, augmented by personnel from US Atlantic Command (USACOM), was fully capable of planning and conducting all aspects of joint operations.[8]

USFORHAITI had two primary roles during the final phase of Operation Uphold Democracy. First, USFORHAITI was responsible for maintaining the secure environment established by JTF 180 and the MNF in the US area of operations in Haiti, called Zone V, until its own departure on 29 February 1996. The staff of the US joint task force (at that point JTF Dragoon), which also functioned as the staff for USFORHAITI, exercised operational control of all UN forces in that zone. Second, through that joint staff USFORHAITI also exercised administrative control of all other US forces in Haiti.[9]

A major staff task was to retain the political and military initiative in its area of operations by careful, continuous planning for successive phases of USFORHAITI's mission. The joint staff created a planning cell to anticipate requirements and to examine and evaluate branches and sequels of known and expected events. This cell developed the exit strategy for USFORHAITI, passing the results to the UN staff to serve as a point of departure for its own planning. As alluded to earlier, the cell based its work on applying familiar US forces doctrine to the unfamiliar--peace operations. The good news is that the processes outlined in FM 101-5, Staff Organization and Operations,[10] and ST 101-5, Command and Staff Decision Process,[11] worked very well. The remainder of this article describes the planning for the exit from Haiti by a joint staff that consisted of an Army regimental staff and augmentees from the other services.

Mission Statement and Commander's Intent

To get started on an exit strategy, we had to define what we meant by the term, both in general and as it applied to our particular situation. Our research through doctrinal publications failed to reveal a definition of "exit strategy," so we developed our own. We defined our exit strategy as "the planned transition to the host nation(s) of all functions performed on its (their) behalf by peace operations forces."[12] This definition specifically excluded force protection operations and other measures taken by USFORHAITI solely for its own benefit, as well as the withdrawal of US forces once the mission had ended.

While FM 100-23, Peace Operations, mentions "transition to end state" as a planning consideration, our careful review of doctrine produced no information on how to develop an exit strategy for a specific operation.[13] The reference in FM 100-23 implies transition among military forces during an operation, or between military forces and outside civil agencies, such as the UN. Neither condition applied to our role in Haiti. Our transition was to be from an international force to the government of Haiti, after which nearly all of the intervention forces were to be withdrawn.

The cell used the UNSCR described above to derive the intent of the Security Council in authorizing the intervention. That work provided the basis for an exit strategy for USFORHAITI that called for "the planned transition to the government of Haiti of all functions performed on its behalf by the US JTF." Thereafter, the cell proposed statements of mission and intent to carry out the exit strategy.[14] What follows are the statements of mission and intent finally approved for planning at the level of the UN Mission in Haiti and its subordinate US military contingent, USFORHAITI. These are the working mission and intent we proposed for UNMIH, which were subsequently approved.[15]

Mission: Under the operational control of the United Nations Mission in Haiti, UN forces maintain a secure and stable environment and conduct a peaceful transition of responsibility to the government of Haiti no later than 29 February 1996, in accordance with UNSCRs 940, 975, and 1007.
Intent: The purpose of this mission is to maintain a secure and stable environment which allows the government of Haiti to maintain functional governance, gradually transferring responsibility for the secure and stable environment to the government of Haiti. The end state is defined as the secure and stable environment that allows social and economic development, free elections, and peaceful transition of responsibility to the government of Haiti.[16]

The joint staff then developed the following transition and exit guidance for the commander, USFORHAITI, by combining USACOM guidance to USFORHAITI with the derived mission and intent for the UN force:

Mission: JTF Dragoon [the US Army's 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment plus attached units and individuals] transfers responsibility for the maintenance of a secure and stable environment in Haiti to the government of Haiti no later than 29 February 1996, in order to fulfill UNSCRs 940/975/1007.
Intent: The purpose of the operation is to divest Zone V of all operations in support of the government of Haiti. We will accomplish this purpose through progressively transferring all support operations to the government of Haiti, setting time limits on continued support to encourage timely transfers. Maintain only enough presence to detect an impending loss of security or stability in sufficient time to counteract it. At the end of the operation the government of Haiti assumes all responsibility for maintaining the secure and stable environment. Zone V forces are postured to facilitate and cover the withdrawal of UN forces and protect key installations.

Operations based on the approved exit strategy were intended to help the democratic government of Haiti fulfill its responsibilities for sustaining the stable environment established and maintained by the intervention force. The exit strategy also took into consideration the conduct of free and fair elections and the planned end of the UN mandate on 29 February 1996.

Detailed Planning and Wargaming

With approved statements of mission and intent, the staff could begin to develop and analyze courses of action. Analysis of specified and implied tasks demonstrated that of all the functions performed by JTF Dragoon, patrolling the streets of Zone V was the only essential US military function that lacked a logical and clearly defined termination point. Hence we concentrated our efforts on devising courses of action for the reduction of patrols, which contained an element of risk not only for the force at the tactical and operational levels, but also at the strategic level. Disturbances following the reduction of US presence in Zone V could have disrupted the final transfer of responsibility from the UN to the government of Haiti and embarrassed the US government.

Common features for all courses of action were based on the following four significant events that would occur prior to the scheduled date of transfer of responsibility to the government of Haiti.

Maximum US force presence was required for the inauguration, while minimum presence consistent with force protection was the order for Carnival.

The two most obvious courses of action were rejected as infeasible: a purely time-driven strategy, with patrol reductions tied to the calendar, and an event-driven strategy, with patrol reductions based on the restoration to full capability of the government of Haiti. The former offered no flexibility for gradual transition; the latter rested on the untenable assumption that the government of Haiti would be considered "fully capable," according to whatever measures of effectiveness might be used, by 29 February 1996. Instead, three hybrids of time and event-driven activities were chosen for analysis.

We modified the "battlefield framework" with which we were familiar to present the courses of action for analysis. Thus the day-to-day maintenance of security and stability in Port-au-Prince became what we know as the "close battle." We determined the rear and security "battles" to be our ongoing force protection operations, including those that were psychological in nature. Our reserve consisted of the Quick Reaction Force (maintained by JTF Dragoon for the UN commander) and any unallocated forces. Finally, our concept treated the "deep battle" as functionally equivalent to long-term efforts to restore the faith of the Haitian people in their government. Adaptation of standard doctrinal concepts led us to present the courses of action in narrative form.

Course of Action 1 proposed a time-over-event methodology, in which reductions in the number of US military patrols throughout the city of Port-au-Prince and Zone V would occur at set times following specified events. Key events were the precinct-by-precinct fielding of elements of the new Haitian National Police force (HNP), the presidential election, and the inauguration of the new president. The events specified were the sequential assignment of members of the HNP to their precincts within Zone V. Accompanying reductions in US patrol activity did not depend on evaluations of the effectiveness of HNP operations.

Course of Action 2 proposed an event-over-time methodology, in which reductions in US military patrols would occur after the fielding of the HNP in the various sectors of the city. In this option, however, the reduction in US patrols would be linked to an evaluation of the effectiveness of the HNP, prepared by the civilian police element of the UN mission (CIVPOL). Zone V and USFORHAITI would maintain close relations with CIVPOL in the accomplishment of this and related aspects of the mission.

Course of Action 3 was labeled the "Quick Out"; the methodology used was time-over-event. The significant differences between Course of Action 1 and Course of Action 3 were that in the latter, reductions in US patrol activity would take place simultaneously throughout Port-au-Prince and would not be related to HNP introduction in specific sectors. Additionally, the discrete number of events requiring coordination in this course of action would be minimized. This course of action provided the force commander an option to conduct a more rapid withdrawal from the zone than would be feasible under the other two. Commanders of UNMIH and Zone V military forces approved these three courses of action for further development and wargaming.

Two key decisions were required before analysis could begin: we had to define our evaluation criteria[17] and select a method of wargaming. The definition of, indeed the search for, evaluation criteria consumed a great deal of time. Army doctrine on the issue is relatively sparse. Developing and carrying out an exit strategy, particularly during a peace operation, obviously involves more than military considerations. The force commander, Major General Joseph W. Kinzer, had made it clear that his priorities were force protection, safety, and mission accomplishment. He also routinely challenged each operational plan in terms of its feasibility, acceptability, and supportability. The planning cell decided to apply the force commander's challenges to the three courses of action.

The planning cell agreed that successful mission accomplishment required the commander and staff to maintain awareness of the military, political, and threat situations. We were relatively comfortable about the military and threat criteria we developed; these more or less standard procedures required us to identify, develop, and prioritize intelligence requirements and essential elements of friendly information. The need to identify and seek "political information requirements," however, severely taxed all those working in the cell. None of us had the experience to create requirements for political information to support this part of our planning and decisionmaking processes.[18] Although the final evaluation criteria were sound, we could have developed them more quickly and efficiently had we had information on how to define, request, recognize, and respond to relevant political information, not merely as we developed the plans to support the exit strategy, but throughout the operation.

Decisionmaking calls for the use of wargaming to compare courses of action and then to refine the selected course of action. Wargaming in this sense refers to the attempt to visualize an operation from start to finish, given known and possible characteristics of friendly and opposing forces throughout the operational area. Its purpose is to help the planner foresee the actions, reactions, and counteractions that might occur during the operation. The wargaming step develops the decision matrix to be used when selecting a course of action and during execution of the exit strategy; it also helps to identify potential branches to the plan.

The planning cell used a hybrid of the box technique to analyze the three courses of action.[19] The key assumption throughout the analysis was that UNMIH military forces were adequate to deal with expected situations in the zone and throughout the country. This assumption allowed us to concentrate on the four significant events that were known or expected during the time remaining until the planned departure on 29 February 1996. As noted previously, these events ranged from the handover of control of Zone V through the election period--the week preceding the election for ballot distribution, election day, and the following week for ballot collection and counting--to the fielding in Port-au-Prince of the final graduates of the national police training program.

The war game for each course of action was conducted using the action-reaction-counteraction technique.[20<P255BJ0> This familiar sequence enabled the planning cell to explore all issues raised during discussions and to capture the associated insights. One example from the many available will demonstrate the detail involved in the wargaming process.

Fielding of the HNP in the last precinct of Port-au-Prince had already been identified as a critical juncture. By this event on the timeline, most US forces would have been refocused on fixed-site security, with just enough patrols on the street to maintain essential situational awareness. Potential hostile actors were believed capable of taking advantage of opportunities afforded by the reduction in US and UN patrols and the inexperience of the newly installed HNP to increase criminal activities. All participants agreed that this possible outcome presented an acceptable risk, one that would remain well within the response capabilities of the HNP and CIVPOL. The Quick Reaction Force maintained by USFORHAITI would be held in reserve to respond to any developments that could threaten either the UN military force or the secure and stable environment in the country.

Once each wargame was complete, we evaluated the course of action against the criteria we had established during mission analysis, and recorded the results on a decision matrix. Specific insights discovered during the wargame process were recorded for use during the transition. These were subsequently translated into an operations matrix for use during the withdrawal of US forces.

The staff recommended adoption of Course of Action 1. Execution of this course of action was seen as inherently simple and not dependent on the evaluation by CIVPOL of the effectiveness of the HNP. Significant reductions in the size and frequency of US patrols, carried out progressively during December 1995 and January 1996, were integrated with psychological operations campaigns designed to show the Haitians that the streets were being guarded satisfactorily by their own police. The force accepted the risk of a loss of reliable information from its own patrols and the corresponding decay of situational awareness: conditions on the streets and the intentions of some potential bad actors. Levels of activity during the transition period were baselined against the number of patrols on the streets as of 3 September 1995.

The proposed level of activity was maintained until the fielding of the HNP by precinct within greater Port-au-Prince. The concept of the operation directed reduction of US patrols throughout Port-au-Prince through reductions in activity in specific police precincts. US patrol activities in low- and high-crime areas of the city--identified by statistical analysis and defined by the operations matrix--were therefore reduced in a time-phased, step function sequence. Until the end of the withdrawal, our roving patrols were able to maintain familiarity with the situation and a "feel for the streets"; they remained sufficiently robust to accommodate a rapid transition to full capacity should the need arise. Thus the success of the exit strategy depended on the phasing out of US patrols in each precinct in conjunction with an increase in patrolling by the HNP, without any degradation of the security and stability introduced during the previous year.

Conclusions

Some of the implications of the Haiti experience may be obvious, while others will require more analysis to be useful. All are important to future US support of peace operations and humanitarian assistance programs. The most apparent conclusion is that our doctrinal decisionmaking process served us well in Haiti. By adapting doctrine to fit the situation we were able to apply it as effectively getting into and out of Haiti as we expect it to serve us in the wartime scenarios for which it was designed.

Our experience in Haiti with applying the familiar to the unfamiliar--and to the unprecedented--produced several challenges. The first is that service training and education systems should remain abreast of developments in missions such as the one in Haiti. The staff of USFORHAITI did most of its work without the benefit of certified strategists or even many graduates of the various command and staff colleges. It frequently confronted issues of the type that are seldom encountered during "typical" battalion and brigade operations. Officer and noncommissioned officer career courses and the staff colleges should develop and present case studies and examples of the application of well-developed service doctrine to tasks and conditions that "never made it into the book." Major General Kinzer noted that we have the correct tools; we must develop the mental agility to adapt them to the mission at hand.[21]

The second challenge is the void we perceived in guidance related to developing political situational awareness, which we identified as a requirement for carrying out the exit strategy. We uncovered this need during the development and analysis of courses of action for the departure of USFORHAITI, and remained uncomfortable with our inability to develop it to the degree we did for the more conventional friendly and adversary forces. Part of the difficulty was due to our unfamiliarity generally with operations at the political-military interface. It was also attributable to the limited experience with this type of operation on the part of members of the joint staff--the staff of the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment, augmented by personnel from the other services. This placed a great burden on the commander, as he alone had such experience.

The final challenge for all the services, and for others traditionally associated with peace operations, is to explore the issue of the measures of success--or measures of effectiveness, as they are sometimes called--associated with peace operations. This is an extraordinarily complex problem, one that we have had to confront frequently since the end of the Cold War. Our forces in Somalia were faced with the same kinds of issues we faced in Haiti: how to develop quantifiable, plausible, and reliable means for assessing progress toward the objectives in a peace operation.[22] In Haiti, this meant evaluating and integrating such diverse indicators as the mood of the streets, the conflicting reports of local officials, and formal intelligence reports to determine the condition of the UN-mandated secure and stable environment. We had the distinct impression that we were developing both the concept and the specific evaluation measures as we proceeded.[23]

Measures of effectiveness have been related in other accounts of peace operations to the end state of an operation and to unanticipated requirements, sometimes without resources, that can alter the original mission, producing the often-cited, seldom explained condition known as mission creep. Of the three points addressed in this conclusion, this one needs the close attention of the best minds in all the services. The root of mission creep is the intersection of imprecise political guidance with the military's traditional "can do" attitude. The military officer, moreover, cannot stand inaction, especially when he or she sees a potential risk for the force. In the absence of action by other interagency players, we act. We observed this phenomena in Haiti.

In war we are expected to use violence to compel an opponent to do our will. Many peace operations, especially those involved with making or enforcing the peace, use the threat of violence to compel opposing forces to seek accommodation or to abide by an existing truce or peace treaty. In each case Clausewitz provides insight: war (and peace operations) are extensions of policy by other means. Our doctrine served us well in developing the entrance and exit strategies for US forces involved in Operation Uphold Democracy. Practitioners will continue to adapt successfully the precise concepts in the manuals to the new and the unfamiliar in peace operations, just as others have adapted doctrine in combat.[24]


NOTES

1. Susan Strednansky, Balancing the Trinity: The Fine Art of Conflict Termination (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air Univ. Press, 1996), p. 43.

2. The Army is phasing out use of the term "operations other than war." In this paper such operations are identified generically as peace operations.

3. William J. Clinton, A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement (Washington: The White House, 1995).

4. James H. McCrocklin, Garde d'Haiti 1915-1934: Twenty Years of Organization and Training by the United States Marine Corps (Annapolis, Md.: US Naval Institute, 1956).

5. US Department of State, The Clinton Administration's Policy on Reforming Multilateral Peace Operations, Presidential Decision Directive 25 (Washington: State Department Publication 10161, May 1994).

6. Although 30 nations contributed contingents to the Multi-National Force, its commander (MG Fisher) and the bulk of its strength were provided by the US 25th Infantry Division (Light), from Hawaii.

7. The commander of the military forces assembled to support the UN Mission in Haiti (UNMIH), Major General Joseph W. Kinzer, was the first American general officer to command a peace operation under UN auspices.

8. USACOM provided representatives of all services through the time honored military means of tasking its subordinate major commands for officers, NCOs, and troopers. Major General Kinzer wore two hats, one as the UN military commander and the other as the Commanding General, USFORHAITI. Thus the staff of the 2d ACR served as his US staff. The Regimental Commander of 2d ACR served as the US zone (Zone V) commander when Major General Kinzer called for Zone Commander meetings. Each zone was commanded by a different national contingent. The US contingent was initially provided by the 2d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division(Light). The 2d ACR became the second US contingent, relieving 2/25th ID to maintain a six-month rotation. The final brigade headquarters which provided the basis for USFORHAITI was 1st Brigade, 101st Air Assault Division.

9. The distinction between operational and administrative control reflects different responsibilities associated with those US forces assigned inside Zone V and those outside the zone. US forces assigned outside Zone V provided direct support to other national contingents. USFORHAITI provided administrative and logistical support to US forces committed to that support mission.

10. US Army, Field Manual 101-5, Staff Organization and Operations, 1984. This manual is currently under revision.

11. US Army Command and General Staff College Student Text (ST) 101-5, Command and Staff Decision Process, 20 February 1995. Until the revised FM 101-5 is approved, this is the current standard reference on staff procedures. We actually used the previous version: ST 100-9, The Tactical Decisionmaking Process, 1 July 1993.

12. During the writing of this paper the authors rediscovered a superb USMC manual on peace operations, Small Wars Manual (Washington: USMC, GPO, 1940; rpt. Manhattan, Kans.: Sunflower Univ. Press, 1989?). Published in 1940 and obviously based on the withdrawal from Haiti in 1934, the manual gives excellent advice on the handover of functions to a host government. Our definition was very close to the Marine Corps definition of 1940. Access to this manual would have facilitated our own planning process some 60 years later.

13. US Army, Field Manual 100-23, Peace Operations (Washington: Department of the Army, 30 December 1994). Joint Pub 3-07, Joint Doctrine for Military Operations Other Than War, 16 June 1995, p. IV-12f, also covers termination of operations without discussing exit strategy as we have defined it here.

14. Note that in order to conduct planning for the US contingent, it was necessary to derive a working mission and intent for the UN (our higher headquarters), even though they had not published their plan for a country-wide exit strategy at that time. See also Strednansky, p. 43. During the Haiti After Action Review, conducted at Carlisle Barracks from 28 April to 5 May 1996, the authors discovered that the United Nations planners, Majors Rucker Snead and Larry Pruitt, had indeed started development of an exit strategy. Their process was even more complex as they faced the daunting task of obtaining approval from the United Nations in New York. We did not mean to slight these superb officers; they simply were not able to share their work with USFORHAITI at the time we began our effort.

15. The fact that Major General Kinzer commanded both the US contingent and the UN force greatly facilitated this process.

16. UNSCR 940 provided the initial objectives for the UN Mission and expressed the will of the Security Council. The mandate of UNMIH had been extended twice. UNSCR 975, dated 30 January 1995, had established the exit date as 31 July 1995. UNSCR 1007, dated 31 July 1995, extended it again, this time to 29 February 1996.

17. Throughout this discussion, the term "evaluation criteria" refers to an evaluation of the relative merits of the three courses of action per se, and not to any assessment of the overall effectiveness of the exit strategy.

18. USFORHAITI did not have its own political advisor. Ambassador Swing, a superb professional diplomat, assisted us indirectly through talks with the JTF Dragoon commander and USFORHAITI Chief of Staff. In accord with our decisionmaking doctrine, as we developed these criteria we sent them to USACOM in the form of a warning order for review. USACOM approved our analysis criteria.

19. The "box technique" of wargaming is a microanalysis of critical areas or decisive points in an operation, such as a key engagement area or an avenue of approach into a flank. When using this technique the commander isolates each area in turn and focuses the analysis there. Other techniques focus on all events simultaneously within each phase of an operation (the "belt"), or follow each connected sequence of events from start to conclusion (the "avenue in depth"). We used the box technique in our wargaming, as the key events in our analysis were separated from one another in time and space.

20. The action-reaction-counteraction sequence uses the intelligence officer as the "enemy" or hostile actor and the operations officer as the friendly force actor. At each decisive point the friendly force actor describes his actions, the hostile actor then describes his reactions to the friendly actions, and finally the friendly force actor describes his counteractions. This disciplined technique encourages discussion and raises issues at each decisive point. The chronicle of the discussion becomes the foundation of the synchronization matrix for an operation and key issues raised become a start point for branch planning or selected "what if" scenarios.

21. Major General Kinzer stated this repeatedly during the After Action Review.

22. Strednansky, p. 25.

23. One of the authors (Thrash) developed from the outset a list of 13 specific indicators and warnings of the impending loss of the "secure and stable environment." These were subsequently adopted at all levels in the operation--from JTF Dragoon to USACOM--as the day-to-day measures of success. The inability to prove a negative, however, precluded their use in formulating an effective exit strategy.

24. The authors point out that they had the easier task. Colonel Jack Donovan and Lieutenant Colonel Bill Klimack, Commander and Executive Officer respectively of the 1st Brigade, 101st AASLT, had to execute the plan. Colonel Keith Huber, UN G3, also had to execute a difficult handover to UNMIH II. We are indebted to these great soldiers for their review of this work and their masterly adaptation of our plan into action. Major General Joseph Kinzer also provided us the benefit of his experience and wisdom both in crafting this article and during his command of the Haiti operation.


Lieutenant Colonel Kevin C. M. Benson is a planner on the staff of Third US Army. During his six months in Haiti, he served as the Chief of Staff, USFORHAITI. He has served in armor and cavalry units in the United States and Germany, and earlier served as Chief of Plans, XVIII Airborne Corps. He is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College and the School of Advanced Military Studies.

Captain Christopher B. Thrash is the S-3 Air/Plans Officer of the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment. During his six months in Haiti, he served as the J-3 Plans Chief, USFORHAITI. He has served in air cavalry units in Germany and the United States. As an air cavalry troop commander, Captain Thrash covered the withdrawal of US Army forces from Mogadishu, Somalia, in January-March 1994.


Reviewed 21 August 1996. Please send comments or corrections to usarmy.carlisle.awc.mbx.parameters@mail.mil.