Information and Information Communications Technology as an Enabler of Success in Stability and Reconstruction Operations

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AUTHOR:
Larry Wentz

SUMMARY:
Information and information communications technology (I/ICT) can significantly increase the likelihood of success in stability and reconstruction operations—if they are engaged as part of an overall strategy that coordinates the actions of outside intervenors and focuses on generating effective results for the host nation. Properly utilized, I/ICT can help create a knowledgeable intervention, organize complex activities, and integrate stability and reconstruction operations with the host nation, making the latter more effective.

Key to these results is a strategy that requires that (1) the U.S. Government must give high priority to such an approach and ensure that the effort is a joint civilian-military activity; (2) the military makes I/ICT part of the planning and execution of the stability operation; (3) preplanning and the establishment of I/ICT partnerships is undertaken with key regular participants in stability and reconstruction operations, such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank; (4) the focus of the intervention, including the use of I/ICT, is on the host nation, supporting host-nation governmental, societal, and economic development; and (5) key information technology capabilities are harnessed to support the strategy.

Implementing the strategy will include 1) development of an information business plan for the host nation so that I/ICT is effectively used to support stabilization and reconstruction; 2) agreements among intervenors on data-sharing and collaboration, including data-sharing on a differentiated basis, and 3) use of commercial IT tools and data provided on an unclassified basis. The thoughts discussed herein are based on research work done at the National Defense University Center for Technology and National Security Policy and in particular, an effort referred to as I-Power.