Transforming for Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations

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AUTHOR:
Hans Binnendijk and Stuart E. Johnson

SUMMARY:
Recent military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq were characterized by the rapid defeat of enemy military forces, by relatively small deployments of American forces, and by a very limited destruction of the critical civilian infrastructure. This success can be credited in large part to the ongoing transformation of the U.S. military evident in its effective use of information superiority, precision strike, and rapid maneuver on the battlefield.

The Armed Forces were not nearly as well prepared to respond promptly to the lawlessness, destruction of the civilian infrastructure, and attacks on coalition forces that followed hard on the defeat of the Iraqi military. This has set back plans to restore essential services and to pass the reigns to a representative Iraqi government. Moreover, the failure to establish security concurrently with the defeat of the Iraqi military may well have emboldened those who oppose the United States, United Kingdom and even United Nations presence.