The comined operations approach to imposing our will

The Adventures of Chester explores how combined operations beyond the kinetic battle space are used to effect policies.

One of the hallmarks of maneuver warfare as it has been conceived in the Marine Corps is the use of combined arms. "Combined arms" refers to the use of various weapons systems in concert, such that each reinforces the weaknesses of the other. The doctrinal definition is this:

Combined arms is the full integration of arms in such a way that to counteract one, the enemy must become more vulnerable to another. We pose the enemy not just with a problem, but with a dilemma -- a no-win situation. [from Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1, Warfighting]
There's no reason to think that this doctrine couldn't be articulated at the national level as well. Rather than confining it to the realm of military strategy and the use of force, why not include all the elements of national power -- diplomatic, economic, informational, military, etc -- and force them to work in concert toward a common goal? This may be an ideal, but it is one at which the US does not perform so well. The primary reason is the way our foreign policy bureaucracy operates: there is little in the way of the kind of unity of command necessary for an individual decision-maker to muster all elements to work in concert.

He goes on to quote a proponent of brinksmanship with Iran. The problem with brinksmanship in that case is the lack of will in this country to do anythingeffective against Iran, much rest the rest of the world as is seen in the UN where the French, Russians and Chinese resist any conseqauence for Iranian intransigence.

What is interesting about his formulation of using all national assets in the attenpt to impose policy is how close it is to the stated strategy of the Bush administration in fighting the war on terror. The place where the US has been the least effective is in the media battle space where al Qaeda has been very effective at using a compliant media to get its propaganda out, Hezballah and Iran have also taken advantage of a compliant media in their recent conrontation with Israel as well as the US.

The media has also attempted to thwart the use of other aspects of national power in the case of cutting off of terrorist financing and the intercepts of enemy communications into the US. This active assitance to the enemy in the name of some perceived privacy agenda have made it more difficult to effect the strategy of using all assets in the war with the Islamic religious bigots.


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