05 November 2008

The 2008 Ceci Award

Penny for the Guy?

It's that time of year again; Guy Fawkes day is here, and with it comes the presentation of the annual Ceci award for the year's most significant contribution to clear thinking about identity, privacy, security, and risk.

Modern Britons often say that Guy Fawkes was "the only man ever to enter Parliament with honorable intentions"; this year's award goes to the US Army, which, with the publication of US Army Field Manual FM 3-07, has demonstrated that it's about to become the only army ever to enter conflict with honorable intentions. Here I don't mean that other armies aren't honorable; I do mean that for the first time the US Army has as an explicit goal not only "victory" but also the transformation of conflict zones into stable, peaceful states under the rule of law. FM 3-07's remarkable opening quote, from Colonel Sir William F. Butler, holds up the example of General Charles George Gordon's British Army as a force more ready to create than to destroy:

It is needless to say that Charles Gordon held a totally different view of the soldier’s proper sphere of action, and with him the building part of the soldier’s profession was far more important than the breaking part…. The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards.
In this spirit, FM 3-07 introduces the notion of "conflict transformation", which it defines as follows:
Conflict transformation focuses on converting the dynamics of conflict into processes for constructive, positive change. Conflict transformation is the process of reducing the means and motivations for violent conflict while developing more viable, peaceful alternatives for the competitive pursuit of political and socioeconomic aspirations. It aims to set the host nation on a sustainable positive trajectory where transformational processes can directly address the dynamics causing civil strife or violent conflict. It seeks to resolve the root causes of conflict and instability while building the capacity of local institutions to forge and sustain effective governance, economic development, and the rule of law.
Contrast this with the goals of our current enemy, as recited by Abu Dujan al Afghani after the Madrid train bombings:
"You love life and we love death, which gives an example of what the Prophet Muhammad said. If you don't stop your injustices, more and more blood will flow and these attacks will seem very small compared to what can occur in what you call terrorism.
Those who aim only to destroy can never defeat those who aim to create; the contrast is too stark and the choice too obvious. Winning a war against extremist terrorists should be a sure thing, and it is in the long run - but only if we offer an alternative that's not based on pure destruction. Shock and Awe failed this test; FM 3-07 passes it. Look at the focus on legitimacy:
Legitimacy is central to building trust and confidence among the people. Legitimacy is a multifaceted principle that impacts every aspect of stability operations from every conceivable perspective. Within national strategy, legitimacy is a central principle for intervention: both the legitimacy of the host nation government and the legitimacy of the mission...

The credible manner in which intervening forces conduct themselves and their operations builds legitimacy as the operation progresses. Highly professional forces are well disciplined, trained, and culturally aware. They carry with them an innate perception of legitimacy that is further strengthened by consistent performance conforming to the standards of national and international law. For military forces, a clearly defined commander’s intent and mission statement are critical to establishing the initial focus that drives the long-term legitimacy of the mission.

An army thoroughly trained in this doctrine would not have suffered the disgrace of Abu Ghraib, and its officers and men would not have countenanced waterboarding.

We are safe when we are just as well as strong. If we must use the Army, we should use it not only in a just cause but also in a just fashion. FM 3-07 provides a foundation for doing that.

Congratulations to Gen. William Caldwell, LTC Steven Leonard, and the US Army Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate on the publication of FM 3-07. As always, acceptance comments are not expected but would be most welcome.


Blogger LTC Steve Leonard said...

In all honesty, we are humbled by recongition such as this. Our intent from the outset was to bring together a very wide community of practice to address what we saw as one of the most pressing operational requirements of the next generation: the vast ungoverned spaces of the world that ultimately serve as breeding grounds for terrorism, ethnic strife, genocide, and human suffering. These are the regions of the world that pose the greatest threat to our national security in the 21st century, a threat that transcends traditional approaches.
While we certainly appreciate your kind words and recognition, we also hope that our work will help to stir a broader debate on these issues in the weeks ahead as we prepare for new leadership in the White House. These are issues that affect us all as American citizens, and as members of a global community of human beings.

November 25, 2008 8:27 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home