Military Review English Edition March-April 2016 - Page 63

CIVIL-MILITARY ENGAGEMENT Insurgents, transnational terrorists, criminal organizations, nation states, and their proxies exploit gaps in policy developed for the more predictable world of yesterday. The direct approach alone ultimately only buys time and space for the indirect approach and broader governmental elements to take effect. Less well known but decisive in importance, the indirect approach is the element that can counter the systemic components of the threat. —Adm. William H. McRaven, Posture Statement to Congress 2013 Ineffective governance create areas that terrorists and insurgents can exploit. CA [civil affairs] forces address these threats by serving as the vanguard of DOD’s support to U.S. government efforts to assist partner governments. —Quadrennial Defense Review Report I nsurgent organizations, similar to the Islamic State (IS), arguably present the United States with its most serious challenge today. The aggressive tactics and ambitious objectives of IS threaten both U.S. foreign policy and global security. After more than ten years of involvement in Iraq by the United States and its allies, how did this threat grow so rapidly? Perhaps oversimplified, but accurate nonetheless, IS grew as a result of ineffective, negligent, and sectarian governance in Syria and Iraq.1 Generally speaking, a government’s inability to demonstrate legitimate governance enables the development of nonstate terrorist and criminal organizations. The challenge to U.S. security is magnified because these organizations are able to project power transnationally and lack political accountability.2 Those organizations exploit vulnerabilities that local governments are unable to mitigate. As the vulnerabilities persist, the population begins to shift its support toward organizations capable of addressing their needs, thus weakening the legitimacy of the government. Ineffective governance is not always synonymous with a lack of security forces; rather, it may result from an increase in governance infrastructure that is not state sponsored. For example, the government in Sri Lanka has a robust presence throughout its territory, but it lacks historical legitimacy in much of the country because of sectarian differences. As a result, the nonstate Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam developed an informal infrastructure that was arguably more legitimate in the eyes of much of the populace and competed with the established government.3 That phenomenon is demonstrated globally and is one of the key contributors in the creation of undergoverned territories. Those threats are so significant to U.S. security, the MILITARY REVIEW  March-April 2016 U.S. Army Operating Concept (AOC) lists transnational terrorist and criminal organizations as key harbingers of future conflict.4 The AOC calls for regionally engaged Army forces to establish a global landpower network, shape security environments, and proactively prevent conflict.5 Given this view of the future operating environment, this article introduces the U.S. Special Operations Command Civil-Military Engagement (CME) Program and recommends that the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) adopt the CME program to increase both the effectiveness of the regionally aligned forces and address the threats found in undergoverned areas. The CME program can use humanitarian assistance to gain access into ungoverned areas, while potentially providing presence and situational awareness. It can also enhance the unity of effort among Department of State (DOS) and Department of Defense (DOD) activities in support of unified land operations. However, the greatest value of the CME program is its ability to spearhead local governance into targeted, undergoverned regions of interest to the commander, addressing the governance conditions that allow threats to thrive. This article will first review studies and strategic guidance describing military operations in undergoverned areas. Then it will provide an overview of the CME program and its objectives. Finally, this article presents historical examples of CME missions in Pakistan and Sri Lanka that will demonstrate the value provided to special operations forces (SOF) commanders. Those examples, combined with strategic guidance, demonstrate that the CME program has been critical in the accomplishment of Theater Special Operations Command (TSOC) objectives and should 61