Thursday, June 11, 2009

Military vs. Political Victory....

Military vs. Political Victory....

Network-centric Warfare: Dominating entire societies Worldwide through ubiquitous surveillance.

“The first, the supreme, the most
far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and the commander
have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they
are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into,
something that is alien to its nature.”

The global security arena may be characterized as a game of chess.
In it, protagonists move pieces silently and subtly all over the game
board. Under the players’ studied direction, each piece represents
a different type of devastating power, and may simultaneously
conduct its lethal attacks from differing directions. Similarly, each
piece shows no mercy against its foe, and is prepared to sacrifice itself
to allow another piece the opportunity to destroy a more important
adversary―or checkmate the king. Likewise, every player in the
global security arena from proverbial pawns to bishops to the queen
must attack the adversary and simultaneously cope defensively with
several potentially grave types of threats.

In the real game of global politics, and at a lower level on the
likelihood ladder of warfare as a whole, conventional military attack
retains certain credibility. Nevertheless, this challenge is frequently
complicated by threats and menaces at a higher level of likelihood
emanating from rogue states, nonstate and transnational terrorists,
insurgents, illegal drug traffickers, organized criminals, warlords,
militant fundamentalists, ethnic cleansers, and 1,000 other “snakes”
with a cause―and the will to conduct asymmetrical warfare to
achieve their own political objectives.102 Logic would, thus, dictate
that military organization, training, and equipment must adopt two
parallel tracks: the first aimed at direct conventional interstate war,
and the second aimed at unconventional nonstate and intrastate
political war. But, as in the game of chess, General Sir Frank Kitson,
United Kingdom, (Retired), argues that these tracks should not be
considered as independent forms of contemporary conflict. They are
parts within the concept of total war.103


In connection with the idea of total war, or warfare as a whole, the
military role goes beyond traditional warfighting to unconventional
conflict and to consolidating success by providing security and
support to partners, other government and international agencies,
and nongovernmental organizations in the aftermath. Under
these conditions, security forces provide the capabilities needed
to consolidate battlefield success and turn it into strategic political
victory. Thus, as shown in the Italian case, strategic victory requires
not only the defeat of an enemy military or insurgent force, but also
the protection of the state’s socio-political foundations to ensure a
durable and prosperous peace.

In the contemporary global security environment, international
organizations and willing national powers are increasingly called
on to respond to conflicts generated by all kinds of instabilities and
destabilizers. Furthermore, the international community increasingly
is expected to provide the leverage to ensure that legitimate governance
is given to responsible, incorrupt, and competent leadership that
can and will address the political, economic, and social root causes
that underlie a given traditional or unconventional conflict. This
legitimate governance concept has serious implications in terms of
failing and failed states. As demonstrated in the Italian, Peruvian,
and Argentine cases, the conscious positive or negative choices
that a government makes about how to conduct national security
and stability efforts will define the future of the state―through the
processes of national reform, regeneration, and protection of citizens’
well-being and by extension, global security. Thus, the capability to
attain strategic political victory―rather than just military victory―is
much more important now and for the future than it has been in the


In sum, instability, violence, and the use of terrorist tactics and
strategies in political wars are pervasive in the world today. It is
important, then, for the United States and the West―as primary
recipients of most of the benefits of global stability and economic
integration―to do their utmost to protect and enhance the global order.
And that must be done before even more territory, infrastructure,
and stability are quietly and slowly destroyed, and more thousands
of innocents die.


The study of the fundamental nature of conflict has always been
the cornerstone for understanding conventional war.105 It is no less
relevant to nontraditional conflict. In the past, some wars tended to
be unrealistically viewed as generally amenable to military attrition
solutions―the Vietnam War and the two relatively recent Iraq Wars
being good examples. In the 21st century, the complex realities of
contemporary wars must be understood as holistic processes that rely
on various civilian and military agencies and contingents working
together in an integrated fashion, to achieve common, workable, and
reasonable political-strategic ends.

Given today’s realities, failure to prepare adequately for present
and future political-insurgency war contingencies is unconscionable.
Experience clearly demonstrates that the tradition of simply training
and equipping troops has proven to be an inadequate tacticaloperational
reaction to the types of problems that pertain to modern
political war. At a minimum, three strategic-level imperatives are
needed to begin to deal effectively with contemporary global conflict
situations: (1) civil-military and military-to-military dialogue
regarding viable security and stability; (2) fundamental education
and understanding requirements; and the (3) strategic application of

U.S. military power.
Dialogue on Security and Stability.

At the highest levels, a beginning point from which to work
toward viable security and stability would be to:
• Help advance a nation’s or region’s understanding of the
conventional and unconventional security concerns and
threats facing it,
• Develop permanent civil-military mechanisms for addressing
these concerns and threats,
• Obtain consensus on common principles and concepts of
security and stability to address real threats stemming from
general concerns, and


• Foster expanded political-military dialogue and cooperation
in an atmosphere of mutual respect for sovereignty and
understanding diverse points of view.
Education and Understanding.
At base, however, education and understanding are key to
success in dealing with political war. Thus, the political issue in
conflict dominates threat and response at two related levels: (1)
leader development and (2) development of strategic clarity.
Leader Development. The ambiguous multidimensional politicalpsychological
nature of contemporary political conflict situations
forces the redefinition of long-used terms. In this connection, civilian
and military leaders at all levels must learn that:

• The enemy is not necessarily a recognizable military entity or
an industrial capability to make traditional war. The enemy is
also the individual political actor that plans and implements
illegal violence, and exploits the causes of violence for his
own self-determined purposes. In these terms, another very
real enemy is recognized now to exist in the form of poverty,
disease, and other nonhuman destabilizers that must be dealt
with early and aggressively.

• Power is no longer confined to combat firepower directed at
a uniformed enemy military formation or industrial complex.
Power is multilevel, consisting of coordinated political,
psychological, moral, informational, economic, social, military,
and police activity that can be brought to bear discretely on
the causes as well as the perpetrators of illegal violence.

• Victory or success is not an unconditional surrender marked
by a formally signed document terminating a conflict. In the
absence of an easily identifiable human foe to attack and
destroy, there is no specific territory to take and hold, no single
credible government or political actor with which to deal, no
guarantee that any agreement between or among contending
authorities will be honored, and no specific rules to guide
leadership in a given civil-military engagement process.


Victory, perhaps with an international impetus, is now
more and more defined as the achievement of a sustainable
peace. Those who would declare victory and go home before
achieving the foundations for a sustainable peace must be
prepared to return and deal with the problem again―and

• Conflict is not a military-to-military war of attrition.
Conflict now involves entire populations. It involves a large
number of national civilian and military agencies, external
national civilian organizations, international organizations,
nongovernmental organizational and subnational indigenous
actors, all dealing one way or another with myriad threats
to global, regional, and national security, peace, and wellbeing.
Thus, conflict is not only multidimensional, but also

• Finally, at this level, contemporary conflict situations are not
limited―they are total. Conflict is not a kind of appendage―a
lesser or limited thing―to the development or disruption of
collective or individual well-being. As long as nonhuman
destabilizers such as poverty and disease exist that can
lead to the destruction of a people, a society, and/or a
government―there is conflict. These are the root causes that
human destabilizers exploit to implement their programs to
take down violently a government, destroy a society, or cause
great harm to a society.

Educational Solutions for Strategic Clarity. At a minimum, there
are seven educational and cultural imperatives to modify traditional
war and ethno-centric mindsets, and to develop the leader
judgment needed to deal more effectively with complex, politically
dominated, multidimensional, multiorganizational, multinational,
and multicultural contingencies:

• Strategic civilian and military leaders at all levels must
learn the fundamental nature of subversion and insurgency,
with particular reference to the way in which military and
nonmilitary and lethal and nonlethal force can be employed

to achieve political ends; and the way in which political
considerations affect the use of force. Additionally, leaders
need to understand the strategic and political-psychological
implications of operational and tactical actions.
• Strategic leaders must understand that the number of
battlefield victories or the number of enemies arrested or
killed has meaning only to extent that such actions contribute
directly to the legitimate strengthening of the state.
• Civilian and military personnel must be able to operate
effectively and collegially in coalitions or multinational
contingents. They must also acquire the ability to deal
collegially with civilian populations and local and global
media. As a consequence, efforts that enhance interagency as
well as international cultural awareness―such as civilian and
military exchange programs, language training programs,
and combined (multinational) exercises―must be revitalized
and expanded.

• Strategic leaders must learn how to cooperatively and
collegially plan and implement an operation employing a
full complex of diverse organizations―internal agencies,
international organizations, nongovernmental organizations,
and coalition/partnership civil-military organizations.
• Strategic leaders must learn that an intelligence capability
several steps beyond the usual is required for small politicalinsurgency
wars. This capability involves active utilization of
intelligence operations as a dominant element of both strategy
and tactics. Thus, commanders and leaders at all levels must
be responsible for collecting and exploiting timely intelligence.
The lowest military echelon where adequate intelligence assets
generally have been concentrated is at the division or brigade
level. Yet, military operations in most contemporary conflicts
are normally conducted by battalion and smaller units.
• Strategic civilian and military leaders must understand that
nonstate political actors in any kind of intrastate conflict
are likely to have at their disposal an awesome array of
conventional and unconventional weaponry. Political wars

have and will continue to place military forces and civilian
support contingents into harm’s way. Thus, leadership must
be prepared to deal effectively and decisively with that kind
of threat.

• Finally, leadership at all levels must understand that
generating a more complete unity of effort and concomitant
strategic clarity is imperative in contemporary political war.
Strategic leaders must establish the appropriate politicalorganizational
mechanisms to achieve effective national
and coalitional unity of effort. They must ensure that the
application of the various national and international civilian
and military instruments of power contributes directly to the
achievement of a mutually agreed―or mandated―end-state.
The Strategic Application of U.S. Military Power. At the outset, it
should be noted that the ultimate responsibility for stability and
security lies with governments directly involved in political war.
Yet, the United States and other Western countries as interested
outside actors, have indispensable experience, resources, and
political influence that can adapt military efficacy to a given strategic
threat. This task, with those outlined above, extends to professional
multilateral civil-military education and leader development:
Primary Recommendations. At the least, a carefully designed
and relatively modest assistance program could increase vastly
the speed at which civil-military institutions professionalize and
modernize themselves. A short list of the most important areas for
improvement would include:
• Development of strategy,
• Development of end-state planning capabilities,
• Training and doctrine for joint and combined operations,
• Improvement in the collection, fusion, evaluation, and
dissemination of usable and timely intelligence,
• Development of quick-reaction capabilities, and
• Improvement in transport capability and lift.

Some More Advanced Recommendations. A short list of
additional areas for improvement would include:
• Help define and implement nontraditional national
interests centering on national “well-being” and effective
sovereignty (control of territory and the body politic),
• Help implement the application of all the instruments
of national and international power―including the full
integration of legitimate civilian partners―as a part of a
synergistic security/stability process,
• Help teach and apply the notion of indirect engagement
versus direct involvement,
• Help teach and apply the notion of multiple centers of
gravity, and how to defend one’s own centers of gravity
as well as attack those of an opponent,
• Help teach and apply the power of information and public
diplomacy and an understanding of the penalties that
are paid when these instruments of power are not used,
channeled, or harnessed,
• Help indigenous leadership understand that governmental
inaction can be as much of a threat to stability and security
as any other destabilizer, and
• Ensure that direct and indirect military aid to a given
government makes a specific contribution to its strategic
objectives of promoting democracy, human rights,
economic development, social justice, personal and
collective security, and creating an environment for
sustainable peace.

A Cautionary Concluding Note.

The above outline of fundamental strategic recommendations
takes us back to where we began. This list of recommendations
provides the basis for the understanding and judgment that civilian
and military leaders must have to be clear on what the situation
is and what it is not. The hard evidence over time underscores the
wisdom of Clausewitz’s dictum, “The first, the supreme, the most
far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and the commander
have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they
are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into,
something that is alien to its nature.”106
These recommendations take us beyond doing “something” for
something’s sake. They take us beyond developing budgets, force
structure, and equipment packages for a given crisis situation.
They take us beyond asking, “What are we going to do?” “Who is
going to command and control the effort?” “How is it to be done?”

These imperatives take us to the development of a mutually agreedupon
strategic vision (that is, the political end-game). In turn, these
imperatives take us to the cooperative, holistic, and long-term
planning and implementation of the strategic ends, ways and means
that directly support the achievement of the political end-game.107
There is very little glamour, only a few sound bites, and not
many career enhancement possibilities inherent in much of the work
outlined above, but it does have great potential for directing progress
toward democracy, stability, and sustainable peace......