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Defining Command, Leadership, and Management Success Factors within Stability Operations

Authored by Major Dave Fielder. | June 2011

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This monograph addresses the topic of Command-Leadership-Management (CLM) success attributes in Stability Operations and is intended to reach a wide audience of actors, including military and civilian deliverers of effect at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of operations. It was developed from a dissertation and updated while the author was deployed in Iraq at a time of transition from Combat Operations (Operation IRAQI FREEDOM) to fully declared Stability Operations (Operation NEW DAWN).

It begins with some definitions of Stability Operations used to provide a framework upon which to base the study. The whole arena of Stability Operations suffers from disparate and wide-ranging definitions, doctrines, and methods of delivery; thus a baseline is provided. Concepts of State, based on the Westphalian Principle, are provided by Lord Paddy Ashdown, who has a wide degree of experience as both a military officer (Royal Marine), a politician (Leader of the United Kingdom [UK] Liberal Democratic Party), and also as the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)/European Union Special Representative (EUSR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Ashdown also provides a very usable framework of Success Criteria based on his experiences. A recent monograph from Nicholas Armstrong and Jacqueline Chura-Beaver is also cited to show some excellent work on the components, types, and approaches to “Transition in Stability Operations.”

Next follows a key discussion about getting things done, using a conceptual framework of CLM based on a methodology from Grint. Grint talks about problem solving and his concepts of critical, wicked, and tame problems are aligned directly to CLM styles of getting things done. The paper concludes with definitions of the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of operations and how they may be useful to add depth beyond a 2-dimensional view of CLM. Some attributes of these levels are discussed in outline and are used throughout further discussions and analysis.

An analysis is provided of some organizations that are involved in stability operations (UK, the United States, and the United Nations[UN]) and also entities that conduct stability operations (European Union [EU], North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO], and the International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC]). The UK framework is identified as having both Ministry of Defence (MoD) and stabilization unit organizations that deliver stability effect. The UK doctrine is based on a comprehensive approach, and the problems of severe budgetary pressures are also discussed.

The U.S. approach to stability operations has changed significantly in the past 20 years, with the greatest changes occurring as a result of interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Significant doctrinal improvements have occured. Stability operations are now being built upon unity of effort; a comprehensive, collaborative, and cooperative approach; and a shared vision of a common goal, which takes the UK model a step further. The UN discourse looks at its history and reasons for conducting stability operations and also how it attempts to do this. Operational concepts are identified, and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis is conducted. The entities of the EU, NATO, and the ICRC all receive a similar treatment identifying their mandates and methods and having SWOT applied. The NATO discussions are continued in the Balkans and Afghanistan case studies since they are examples of this particular entity in action.

Three case studies from the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan are provided to identify how CLM has been delivered. The Balkans is an example of how stability operations have progressed with closure and success being a strong theme. Iraq is a case study that looks at an initial combat operation that did not plan for an inevitable stability requirement, but which demanded it. The subsequent longer-term involvement and surge requirement outline how the United States and its coalition allies finally addressed the questions that were posed before the invasion. The transition to stability operations theme is covered. With a final end state yet to be seen, Afghanistan has a similar longevity to Iraq, with Afghanistan now being the longest war for the United States. There are still heavy demands on the creation of security space before the process of transition and stability can truly commence. Throughout, all of these examples of CLM are expanded upon, identifying both success and failure, some of them being significant in terms of public strategic problems.

It is recognized that the sample size in the questionnaire is not large; however, the richness of the sources outweigh the paucity of data (“never mind the size, feel the quality”). The development of the analysis of the raw data is conducted independently across the Command-Critical, Leadership-Wicked and Management-Tame concepts. The final identification of success attributes is seen as a two-dimensional set of criteria. However, thinking during the analysis suggests that these attributes need to be considered across strategic, operational, and tactical levels. A model for future research has been provided to identify a potential three-dimensional model, and a set of pilot questions has been created. These concepts and potential future research area are still embryonic; there is a recommendation that this be pursued.

A number of annexes that contain the raw data and the questionnaire used in the main body are also part of this analysis, recognizing that this level of detail may be of interest to only a small portion of readers. These are available at pksoi.army.mil.