SOLLIMS Sampler Volume 10, Issue 1 - Page 6

LESSONS Transitional Public Security – Operations Just Cause and Promote Liberty [Panama] (Lesson #2683) Observation: The U.S. military played a key role in restoring civil security & public order and supporting detention operations (i.e., “transitional public security”) during Operation Just Cause (20 December 1989 to 11 January 1990) and the concurrent Operation Promote Liberty (which had the same start date, but continued on through September 1994) – successfully accomplished in spite of shortfalls in “whole of government” planning. Discussion: Along with Operation Just Cause – which was launched to protect American lives and facilities, bring Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to justice, neutralize the Panamanian Defense Force (PDF), and restore Panamanian democracy – the United States also conducted Operation Promote Liberty (OPL) … the follow-on stabilization operation that was originally planned under Operations Order (OPORD) Blind Logic. OPL’s purpose was to “secure Panama in the wake of chaos and looting in some cities and support efforts to restore services and reconstitute the PDF in a new, democratically controlled security sector” (Jayamaha et al, pp. 13-14). OPL had been solely planned by the military. The core of the stabilization mission in OPL was the restoration of law and order in Panama and then building new civilian law enforcement capabilities. The USG ultimately utilized at least five departments and agencies to accomplish this mission. Key among them were: the Depart- ment of Defense (DoD), the Department of State (DoS), and agencies of the DoJ including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), and the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP). However, the original planning of Blind Logic not only lacked civilian (DoS and DoJ) involvement, it also lacked cohesion between military commands (SOUTHCOM and XVIII Airborne Corps): SOUTHCOM J5 and XVIII Airborne Corps planners discussed the implications of OPORD Blind Logic … and reached some tentative agreements, which SOUTHCOM believed would inform the planning efforts back at Fort Bragg. The XVIII Airborne Corps headquarters, however, did not regard these agreements as formal taskings and continued to focus almost exclusively on [the] combat mission. Unfortunately, the realization of this disconnect between the two planning shops did not come until much later, on the eve of Operation Just Cause. In the meantime, [SOUTHCOM’s] CA planners working on OPORD Blind Logic incorrectly believed the XVIII Airborne Corps fully grasped and was acting on the fact that, if it became the warfighting headquarters, “the law and order mission and emergency service restoration mission would belong to the JTF” manned by the XVIII Airborne Corps’ commanding general and his staff. (Yates, pp. 48-49) Fortunately, Operation Just Cause (OJC) was highly successful, with its mission accom- plished and objectives attained in a matter of just 22 days. The first few days, however, did see a breakdown of civil security/order in Panama City and Colón: Table of Contents | Quick Look | Contact PKSOI Page 5 of 36