Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Todd Greentree’s seven principles for the next time we get mixed up in a small war

Todd Greentree, who served as director of the RC-South initiatives group in Kandahar during 2010-2011, offers these recommendations in an article in the Journal of Strategic Studies: (1) Prepare above all to assist a government through political action and economic development while helping it protect its population from security threats, without taking the job over. ...

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dayton Mitchell/Released
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dayton Mitchell/Released
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dayton Mitchell/Released

Todd Greentree, who served as director of the RC-South initiatives group in Kandahar during 2010-2011, offers these recommendations in an article in the Journal of Strategic Studies:

(1) Prepare above all to assist a government through political action and economic development while helping it protect its population from security threats, without taking the job over.

(2) Commit early and decisively, but for the long-term, with clear political and military aims; trying to combat an industrial strength insurgency is much harder, takes longer, and is likely to be unsustainable.

Todd Greentree, who served as director of the RC-South initiatives group in Kandahar during 2010-2011, offers these recommendations in an article in the Journal of Strategic Studies:

(1) Prepare above all to assist a government through political action and economic development while helping it protect its population from security threats, without taking the job over.

(2) Commit early and decisively, but for the long-term, with clear political and military aims; trying to combat an industrial strength insurgency is much harder, takes longer, and is likely to be unsustainable.

(3) Create organizational arrangements tailored to the specific situation and scale of threat, and are capable of adapting rapidly.

(4) Establish clear lines of authority sufficient to achieve unity of effort, while maximizing unity of command the closer the situation is to war.

(5) Integrate civilian and military efforts at all levels.

(6) In pursuing campaign plans and programs maintain focus on political purpose.

(7) Educate a cadre of civilian and military officials from multiple organizations and elaborate a shared civil-military doctrine.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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