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Chapter 9

Stability Operations

To defend and protect US national interests, our national military objectives are to Promote Peace and Stability and, when necessary, to Defeat Adversaries. US Armed Forces advance national security by applying military power as directed to help Shape the international environment and Respond to the full spectrum of crises, while we also Prepare Nowfor an uncertain future.
The National Military Strategy



Engagement and Response
     Peacetime Military Engagement
Characteristics of Stability Operations
Types of Stability Operations
     Peace Operations
     Foreign Internal Defense
     Security Assistance
     Humanitarian and Civic Assistance
     Support to Insurgencies
     Support to Counterdrug Operations
     Combatting Terrorism
     Noncombatant Evacuation Operations
     Arms Control
     Show of Force
Considerations for Stability Operations

9-1.     Combatant commanders employ Army forces in stability operations outside the US and US territories to promote and protect US national interests. Army forces are trained, equipped, and organized to control land, populations, and situations for extended periods. The depth and breadth of Army force capabilities provide combatant commanders important, flexible options to meet theater operational requirements.

9-2.     Stability operations promote and protect US national interests by influencing the threat, political, and information dimensions of the operational environment. They include developmental, cooperative activities during peacetime and coercive actions in response to crisis. Army forces accomplish stability goals through engagement and response. The military activities that support stability operations are diverse, continuous, and often long-term. Their purpose is to promote and sustain regional and global stability.

9-3.     Although Army forces focus on warfighting, their history and current commitments include many stability operations. Even during major theater wars, Army forces conduct stability operations. These occur during combat operations and throughout the postconflict period. The US strategy of promoting regional stability by encouraging security and prosperity means Army forces will be engaged in stability operations for the foreseeable future.


9-4.      Engagement occurs in the context of the combatant commander's theater strategy (see Figure 9-1). Combatant commanders continually employ military forces to complement and reinforce other instruments of national power. Theater engagement plans (TEPs) provide frameworks within which combatant commands engage regional partners in cooperative military activities and development. Ideally, TEP activities remedy the causes of crisis before a situation deteriorates and requires coercive US military intervention.

Figure 9-1.  The Army Role in Theater Engagement

Figure 9-1. The Army Role in Theater Engagement


9-5.      Combatant commanders shape their areas of responsibility through peacetime military engagement (PME). Peacetime military engagement encompasses all military activities that involve other nations and are intended to shape the security environment in peacetime. It includes programs and exercises that the US military conducts with other nations to shape the international environment, improve mutual understanding with other countries, and improve interoperability with treaty partners or potential coalition partners. Peacetime military engagement activities are designed to support a combatant commander's objectives as articulated in the theater engagement plan. Combatant commanders synchronize their TEPs with country plans (prepared by US ambassadors) and internal defense and development strategies that support theater objectives. Army forces contribute to all three, usually as partners with host nation forces and in coordination with civil agencies.

9-6.     Many countries do not invest in air and sea forces. However, almost all countries have armies or land-based paramilitary or police forces. Therefore, Army forces are ideally suited for PME with host nation land forces. Army forces are equally suited for contacting and positively influencing host nation civilian populations. The objectives of PME are to—

  • Open communications.

  • Increase interoperability.

  • Foster regional military professionalism.

  • Demonstrate by example the role of the military in a democracy.

Reciprocal military-to-military contact is the primary method of executing PME. Examples include multinational training exercises, joint contact team programs, individual training exchanges, medical and engineer projects and exercises, and staff information exchanges. The reciprocity concept means all sides—US forces, host nation forces, and international partners—benefit.

9-7.     Although developmental in nature, PME activities promote regional stability. They are conducted (planned, prepared, executed, and assessed) like other stability operations. However, PME uses only cooperative actions to accomplish combatant commander objectives. Successful PME activities preclude US forces from having to conduct coercive stability operations.


9-8.     When crises develop and the National Command Authorities (NCA) direct, combatant commanders respond. If the crisis revolves around external threats to a regional partner, combatant commanders employ Army forces to deter aggression and signal US commitment. Deploying Army forces to train in Kuwait is an example of this sort of response. If the crisis is caused by an internal conflict that threatens regional stability, US forces may intervene to restore or guarantee stability. Operation Restore Democracy, the 1994 intervention in Haiti, is an example. In other cases, regional stability requires Army force presence to guarantee postconflict agreements. Ongoing operations in the Sinai and Bosnia exemplify this sort of stability operation. Stability operations that respond to crises are smaller-scale contingencies and may include both developmental and coercive actions. Developmental actions enhance a host government's willingness and ability to care for its people. Coercive actions apply carefully prescribed force or the threat of force to change the security environment.

Rapid Response and Preclusion

9-9.     A critical component of successful stability operations is the ability to rapidly respond in the early stages of an imminent or ongoing crisis. Prompt deployment of sufficient forces in the initial phase of a crisis can preclude the need to deploy larger forces later. Effective intervention can also deny adversaries time to set conditions in their favor or accomplish destabilizing objectives. Deploying a credible force rapidly is the initial step in precluding or blocking aggression. However, deployment alone will not guarantee success. Achieving successful preclusion involves convincing the adversary that the deployed force is able to conduct decisive offensive and defensive operations.

Presence and Deterrence

9-10.     Sustained Army force presence promotes a secure environment in which diplomatic and economic programs designed to reduce the causes of instability can flourish. Presence can take the form of forward basing, forward deploying, or pre-positioning assets. Army forces can establish and maintain a credible presence as long as the NCA direct. Army force presence, as part of a TEP, often keeps unstable situations from escalating into war.

9-11.     Army forces are the cornerstone of theater deterrence. The sustained presence of strong, capable ground forces is the most visible sign of US commitment—to allies and adversaries alike. However, if deterrence fails, committed forces must be agile enough to transition to combat operations. Ideally, deterrent forces should be able to conduct decisive operations immediately. However, if committed forces lack the combat power to conduct decisive operations, they conduct shaping operations while additional forces deploy.

Ongoing Deterrence—Forward Presence in Korea

The demilitarized zone that separates the Republic of Korea from North Korea remains the most densely armed space in the world. As part of a joint and multinational team, Army forces maintain stability through forward presence. To deter aggression, Republic of Korea and US forces prepare to fight and defeat any North Korean attack. Army forces include a numbered army headquarters with active and reserve component representatives, an infantry division, two aviation brigades, a Patriot air defense artillery battalion, and combat support and combat service support units. Annually, during exercise Ulchi Focus Lens, ROK and US forces use enhanced simulation methods to rehearse the theater defense campaign plan. Commanders and staffs have the opportunity to practice integrating forward-based forces with reinforcing units. Through forward presence, Army forces in Korea represent US intentions to deter war.


9-12.     Army forces conduct stability operations in a dynamic environment. Stability operations are normally nonlinear and often conducted in noncontiguous areas of operations (AOs). They are often time- and manpower-intensive. Commanders analyze each mission and adapt the operational framework, elements of operational design, and factors of METT-TC to fit the situation. They often use logical lines of operation to visualize an operation and describe it in terms of decisive, shaping, and sustaining operations. However, determining the military actions necessary to achieve the desired political end state can be more challenging than in situations requiring offensive and defensive operations; achieving the end state may be just as difficult.

9-13.     During all operations, commanders constantly assess the situation in terms of the application and interrelation of the factors of METT-TC. However, stability operations often require commanders to apply METT-TC differently than they would when conducting offensive and defensive operations. The "enemy," for example, may be a set of ambiguous threats and potential adversaries. Even the mission may change as the situation becomes less or more stable. A mission can be as simple as conducting a briefing to host nation forces in a military-to military-exchange or as difficult as conducting combat operations to accomplish a peace enforcement mission. Stability may be threatened for a number of reasons, and an enemy may be difficult to define or isolate. Depending upon the progress of the operation, the complexity of the mission may change quickly.

9-14.     Different factors may be important when analyzing the terrain and the troops and support available in stability operations. What constitutes key terrain may be based more on political and social considerations than physical features of the landscape. The troops assigned or available to a commander could include nontraditional assets, such as host nation police units, contracted interpreters and laborers, or multinational forces. The level of integration and cohesion of a force composed of diverse assets is a key consideration for mission success.

9-15.     Time considerations normally are substantially different in stability operations. The goals of a stability operation may not be achievable in the short term. Success often requires perseverance, a long-term commitment to solving the real problem. The achievement of these goals may take years. Conversely, daily operations may require rapid responses to changing conditions based on unanticipated localized conflict among competing groups. Civil considerations are especially critical in stability operations. The civil population, host nation government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and international organizations can greatly affect achieving stability.

9-16.     Stability operations are inherently complex and place great demands on small units. Small unit leaders are required to develop interpersonal skills— such as cultural awareness, negotiating techniques, and critical language phrases— while maintaining warfighting skills. They must also remain calm and exercise good judgment under considerable pressure. Soldiers and units at every level must be flexible and adaptive. Often, stability operations require leaders with the mental and physical agility to shift from noncombat to combat operations and back again.

9-17.     Stability operations help restore law and order in unstable areas outside of the US and its territories. However, the mere presence of Army forces does not guarantee stability. Offensive and defensive operations may be necessary to defeat enemies that oppose a stability operation. The ability of Army forces to stabilize a crisis is directly related to their perceived ability to attack and defend as necessary.


Types of Stability Operations

  • Peace operations
  • Foreign internal defense
  • Security assistance
  • Humanitarian and civic assistance
  • Support to insurgencies
  • Support to counterdrug operations
  • Combatting terrorism
  • Noncombatant evacuation operations
  • Arms control
  • Show of force

9-18.     Army forces may conduct stability operations before hostilities, in crises, during hostilities, and after hostilities. Before hostilities, stability operations focus on deterring or preempting conflict. In a crisis, they may resolve a potential conflict or prevent escalation. During hostilities, they can help keep armed conflict from spreading and assist and encourage partners. Following hostilities, stability operations can provide a secure environment that allows civil authorities to reassume control. Army forces conduct 10 types of stability operations.


9-19.     Peace operations (PO) encompass peacekeeping operations (PKO) and peace enforcement (PEO) operations conducted to support diplomatic efforts to establish and maintain peace (see JP 3-07.3; FM 3-07.3). Army forces conduct PO to support strategic and policy objectives and their implementing diplomatic activities. Although the US reserves the right to conduct PO unilaterally, it will normally participate in PO under the sponsorship of the United Nations (UN) or another multinational organization.

9-20.     As in other operations, commanders and staffs should continually assess the operation and prepare contingency plans. In PO, planning for possible or likely transitions is especially important. Examples include transitioning from a US unilateral operation or multinational coalition to a UN-led coalition, from combat to noncombat operations, and from military to civilian control. Optimally, Army forces should not transition from one PO role to another unless there is a change of mandate or a political decision with appropriate adjustments to force structure, rules of engagement (ROE), and other aspects of the mission.

Peacekeeping Operations

9-21.     PKO are undertaken with the consent of all major parties to a dispute They are designed to monitor and facilitate implementation of cease fire, truce, or other such agreements, and to support diplomatic efforts to reach long-term political settlements (see JP 3-07.3; FM 3-07; FM 3-07.3). The ongoing multinational force observer operation in the Sinai Peninsula is an example of a successful PKO. PKO usually involve observing, monitoring, or supervising and assisting parties to a dispute. To achieve objectives, Army forces conducting PKO rely on the legitimacy acknowledged by all major belligerents and international or regional organizations. They use or threaten force only in self-defense or as a last resort. Information superiority is extremely important during PKO. Information superiority supports force protection, situational understanding, and subordinate PKO-related efforts.

Stability Mission at Brcko

On 28 August 1997, US soldiers demonstrated considerable restraint during riots at Brcko, Bosnia. Early that day, forces loyal to Bosnian President Biljana Plavsic attempted to take control of local police stations and media centers. In the process, they clashed with supporters of suspected war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Soldiers from Task Force (TF) Eagle, part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Stabilization Force, arrived on the scene to preempt violence and protect UN civilian agencies and international police. While Karadzic's supporters looted the UN police station, other rioters assaulted International Police Task Force (IPTF) members and damaged 100 UN vehicles. The soldiers quickly moved through the agitated crowd to protect IPTF officers and UN property. The pro-Karadzic crowd surrounded the soldiers, threatening to kill them for allegedly taking sides with President Plavsic. Rioters attacked US soldiers with Molotov cocktails, nail-studded boards, rocks, and bricks. They broke the nose of one soldier and stabbed another in the arm. Army leaders ordered their soldiers not to fire on the frenzied crowd. Instead, Stabilization Force helicopters dropped tear gas to disperse the rioters. US forces then secured the wounded soldiers and police officers. The well-trained soldiers and leaders of TF Eagle exhibited disciplined, appropriate restraint under politically charged circumstances.

Peace Enforcement Operations

9-22.     PEO apply military force, or threaten its use-normally pursuant to international authorization-to compel compliance with resolutions or sanctions designed to maintain or restore peace and order. Unlike PKO, PEO do not require the consent of all parties. PEO maintain or restore peace and support diplomatic efforts to reach a long-term political settlement. Operation Restore Hope in Somalia during 1992-93 was a peace enforcement operation. Army forces assigned a peace enforcement mission must be able to apply sufficient combat power for self-defense and to forcibly accomplish assigned tasks. Units must also be prepared to transition to PKO. PEO normally include one or more of six subordinate operations:

  • Forcible separation of belligerents.

  • Establishment and supervision of protected areas.

  • Sanction and exclusion zone enforcement.

  • Movement denial and guarantee.

  • Restoration and maintenance of order.

  • Protection of humanitarian assistance.

Operations in Support of Diplomatic Efforts

9-23.     Army forces support diplomatic efforts to establish peace and order before, during, and after conflicts. These operations include preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, and peace building (see JP 3-07.3). For example, Army forces support preventive diplomacy by conducting preventive deployments or shows of force as part of efforts to deter conflict. Support to peacemaking operations often includes military-to-military contacts, exercises, peacetime deployments, and security assistance. Army forces support to peace building involves the same activities as longer-term foreign internal defense (FID) operations. Military support of diplomatic activities improves the chances for success by lending credibility to diplomatic actions and demonstrating the resolve to achieve viable political settlements.


9-24.     FID is participation by civilian and military agencies of one government in programs taken by another government to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency (see JP 3-07.1; FM 3-07). It involves all elements of national power and can occur across the range of military operations. FID is a primary program that supports friendly nations operating against or threatened by hostile elements. It promotes stability by helping a host nation establish and preserve institutions and facilities responsive to its people's needs. Army forces participating in FID normally advise and assist host nation forces conducting operations. FID is also a specified and significant mission for selected Army special operations forces (ARSOF) (see FM 3-05). However, FID requires joint planning, preparation, and execution to ensure the efforts of all service and functional components are mutually supportive and focused. The categories of FID operations are—

  • Indirect support.

  • Direct support (not involving combat operations).

  • Combat operations to support host nation efforts.

Indirect Support

9-25.     Indirect support emphasizes host nation self-sufficiency and builds strong national infrastructures through economic and military capabilities. Examples include security assistance programs, multinational exercises, and exchange programs. Indirect support reinforces host government legitimacy and primacy in addressing internal problems (see JP 3-07.1).

Direct Support (Not Involving Combat Operations)

9-26.     Direct support (not involving combat operations) uses US forces to provide direct assistance to the host nation civilian populace or military. Direct support includes civil-military operations (CMO), intelligence and communications sharing, and logistics. Direct support does not usually involve transferring arms and equipment, or training local military forces (see JP 3-07.1).

Combat Operations

9-27.     Combat operations include offensive and defensive operations conducted by US forces to support a host nation fight against insurgents or terrorists. Normally, using US forces in combat operations is a temporary measure. FID operations are closely scrutinized by a variety of audiences, to include the American public, international organizations, and the host nation populace. Hostile propaganda will attempt to exploit the presence of foreign troops to discredit the host government and the US. Poorly executed, direct involvement by the US military can damage the legitimacy and credibility of the host government and host nation security forces. Eventually host nation forces must stabilize the situation and provide security for the populace.

9-28.     Most FID activities focus on helping a host nation prevent an active insurgency from developing. If an insurgency already exists or preventive measures fail, FID focuses on eliminating, marginalizing, or reassimilating insurgent elements. The US provides military support to counterinsurgency efforts, recognizing that military power alone cannot achieve lasting success. US military power cannot, and will not, ensure the survival of regimes that fail to meet their people's basic needs. Military programs and US actions promote a secure environment in which to implement programs that eliminate causes of insurgencies and encourage insurgents to rejoin civil society. As with other FID actions, support to a counterinsurgency balances security with economic development to enhance or reestablish stability.

9-29.     Army forces conduct support to counterinsurgencies within the context of the US ambassador's country plan and the host nation's internal defense and development strategy. The goal is to integrate all resources—civilian and military, public and private—so that host nation combat operations and development efforts complement each other. The intended result is measurable improvement in the economic, social, and political well-being of those supported. Army forces can also assist in development programs by helping governmental and private agencies provide essential supplies and services.

9-30.     Support to counterinsurgencies helps host governments deal with two principal groups: the insurgents and the people. Army forces help host governments protect the people from insurgent violence and separate them from insurgent control. These actions require persuasion, prosecution, and destruction to attack insurgent leadership and organization. The goal is to deny insurgent organizations sources of personnel, materiel, funds, and intelligence. The fundamental cause of insurgent activities is widespread dissatisfaction with standing ethnic, religious, political, social, or economic conditions by some sizable portion of the population. For US military power to be effective in supporting a counterinsurgency, the host government must address or revise its policies toward the disaffected portions of the population. There are few immediate, decisive results in military operations against insurgent forces. When results occur, they are short lived unless the host government acts just as decisively to address the problems that underlie the insurgency.

9-31.     Army forces help the host government police, paramilitary, and military forces perform counterinsurgency, area security, or local security operations. They provide advice and assistance in finding, dispersing, capturing, and destroying insurgent forces. Army forces emphasize training national, state, and local forces to perform essential defense functions. Their aim is to provide a secure environment in which development programs can take effect, while respecting the rights and dignity of the people.


9-32.     Security assistance refers to a group of programs that support US national policies and objectives by providing defense articles, military training, and other defense-related services to foreign nations by grant, loan, credit, or cash sales. Examples of US security assistance programs are Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Financing, International Military Education and Training, the Economic Support Fund, and Arms Export Control Act-licensed commercial sales. Army forces support security assistance efforts through military training teams, maintenance support personnel and training, and related activities such as humanitarian demining operations.

Foreign Internal Defense in El Salvador

From 1979 until the early 1990s, the US recognized Central America as a region of primary security interest. US representatives sought to create lasting democratic change by assisting Latin American countries to revamp domestic policies, processes, and institutions through diplomatic, economic, and military influence. The Reagan administration used diplomacy and economic aid to promote democratic elections, initiate social and economic reforms, and end human rights abuses. A US military group assisted the El Salvadoran army by establishing a facility for basic and advanced military training. The advisors, primarily ARSOF, also served with El Salvadoran units to support small unit training and logistics. The advisors helped the El Salvadoran military become more professional and better organized while advising in the conduct of pacification and counterguerrilla operations against the communist-backed Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. Army forces supported US interests by creating a crack counterinsurgency force that fought the guerillas to a standstill and established the groundwork for a negotiated settlement.


9-33.     Humanitarian and civic assistance (HCA) programs consist of assistance provided in conjunction with military operations and exercises. By law (Title 10 US Code, section 401), HCA are authorized by the secretary of state and planned and appropriated in the Army budget. HCA must enhance the security interests of both the US and host nation and increase the operational readiness of the units and soldiers performing the mission. In contrast to humanitarian and disaster relief conducted under foreign humanitarian assistance operations, HCA are planned activities with specific budget limitations. HCA are limited to the following categories:

  • Medical, dental, and veterinary care for rural areas of a country.

  • Construction of rudimentary surface transportation systems.

  • Well drilling and construction of basic sanitation facilities.

  • Rudimentary construction and repair of public facilities.

  • Specified activities related to mine detection and clearance, including education, training, and technical assistance.


9-34.     On NCA order, Army forces support insurgencies that oppose regimes that threaten US interests or regional stability. While any Army force can be tasked to support an insurgency, ARSOF usually receive these missions. ARSOF training, organization, and regional focus make them well suited for these operations. Army forces supporting insurgencies may provide logistic and training support but normally do not conduct combat operations.


Support to Counterdrug Operations

  • Detection and monitoring
  • Host nation support
  • Command, control, communications, and computers
  • Intelligence, planning, combat service support, training and manpower support
  • Research, development, and acquisition
  • Reconnaissance

9-35.     In 1986, the president issued National Security Decision Directive 221 declaring drug trafficking a threat to national security. It is also a threat to the stability of many friendly nations. The Army participates in counterdrug operations under provisions of the national drug control strategy. Army forces may be employed in various operations to support other agencies responsible for detecting, disrupting, interdicting, and destroying illicit drugs and the infrastructure (personnel, materiel, and distribution systems) of illicit drug trafficking entities (see JP 3-07.4).

9-36.     Army forces always conduct counterdrug operations in support of other US government agencies. These include the Coast Guard, Customs Service, Department of State, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Border Patrol. When conducted inside the US and its territories, they are domestic support operations. When conducted outside the US and its territories, counterdrug operations are considered stability operations. Army forces do not engage in direct action during counterdrug operations. Units that support counterdrug operations comply with US and foreign legal limitations concerning the acquisition of information on civilians and the conduct of law enforcement activities.


Terrorist Tactics

  • Arson
  • Hijacking
  • Maiming
  • Seizure
  • Assassination
  • Raids and ambushes

  • Sabotage
  • Hoaxes
  • Bombing
  • Kidnapping
  • Hostage taking
  • Use of WMD

9-37.     Terrorism is the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear. It is intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies. Terrorists usually pursue political, religious, or ideological goals. Enemies who cannot compete with Army forces conventionally often turn to terrorist tactics. Terrorist attacks often create a disproportionate effect on even the most capable conventional forces. Terrorist tactics from arson to employing weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Army forces routinely conduct operations to deter or defeat these attacks. Offensively oriented operations are categorized as counterterrorism; defensively oriented operations are antiterrorism.


9-38.     Counterterrorism is offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, and respond to terrorism. Army forces participate in the full array of counterterrorism actions, including strikes and raids against terrorist organizations and facilities outside the US and its territories. Counterterrorism is a specified mission for selected special operations forces that operate under direct control of the NCA or under a combatant command arrangement. Commanders who employ conventional forces against organized terrorist forces operating inside their AO are conducting conventional offensive operations, not counterterrorism operations.


9-39.     Antiterrorism is defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist attacks, to include limited response and containment by local military forces. Antiterrorism is a consideration for all forces during all types of military operations. Acts of terrorism against US forces may have a strategic impact (see JP 3-07.2; FM 3-07.2). Commanders take the security measures necessary to accomplish the mission and protect the force against terrorism. Soldiers are often most vulnerable during off-duty periods and in recreational locations. Soldiers and families that reside outside protected installations are ideal targets for terrorists. Commanders make every reasonable effort to minimize the vulnerability of their force to murder and hostage taking. Typical antiterrorism actions include—

  • Coordinating with local law enforcement.

  • Positioning and hardening of facilities.

  • Taking physical security actions designed to prevent unauthorized access or approach to facilities.

  • Taking crime prevention and physical security actions that prevent theft of weapons, munitions, identification cards, and other materials.

  • Establishing policies regarding travel, size of convoys, breaking of routines, host nation interaction, and off-duty restrictions.

  • Providing for protection from WMD.


9-40.     Noncombatant evacuation operations (NEOs) relocate threatened civilian noncombatants from locations in a foreign nation to secure areas (see JP 3-07.5). Normally, these operations involve US citizens whose lives are in danger either from the threat of hostilities or from a natural disaster. They may also include host nation citizens and third country nationals. Army forces, normally as part of a joint task force, conduct NEOs to assist and support the Department of State. Removing noncombatant Americans and others from the threat of being killed or taken hostage provides humanitarian service. Relocating these potential targets expands options available to diplomatic and military authorities.

9-41.     NEOs take place in permissive, uncertain, or hostile environments. Ambassadors may initiate a NEO in a permissive environment in anticipation of a crisis. Direct military involvement in these evacuations is usually not required. NEOs supported by the military are normally initiated when the local situation has deteriorated, and the security of the evacuees is uncertain or the environment is hostile. These types of NEOs are usually conducted with minimal warning. Often American lives are in immediate danger.

9-42.     NEOs can be conducted as a prelude to combat actions, as part of deterrent actions, or as part of a PO. Most often, evacuation force commanders have little influence over the local situation. They may not have the authority to use military measures to preempt hostile actions, yet must be prepared to protect the evacuees and defend the force. The imminent threat may come from hostile forces, general lawlessness, dangerous environmental conditions, or a combination of all three. Correctly appraising the threat and the political-military environment in which forces operate is key to NEO planning.


Conventional Arms Control Operations—Task Force Eagle in Bosnia

During implementation and sustainment force operations in Bosnia, Army forces belonging to Task Force Eagle and operating under the authority of the Dayton Accords performed arms control operations. Soldiers monitored and inspected numerous weapons storage sites throughout the Task Force Eagle AO to ensure compliance with Annex 1A and its stipulations that the parties withdraw weapons and forces to cantonments and barracks areas.

9-43.     Army forces normally conduct arms control operations to support arms control treaties and enforcement agencies. Army forces can assist in locating, seizing, and destroying WMD after hostilities, as occurred after Operation Desert Storm. Other actions include escorting deliveries of weapons and material (such as enriched uranium) to preclude loss or unauthorized use, inspecting and monitoring production and storage facilities, and training foreign forces to secure weapons and facilities.

9-44.     Army forces may conduct arms control to prevent escalation of a conflict and reduce instability. This can include mandated disarming of belligerents as part of a PO. Collecting, storing, and destroying conventional munitions and weapons systems can deter belligerents from resuming hostilities. Some Army force capabilities, including engineering and explosive ordinance disposal, are well suited to these operations.


A show of force is an operation designed to demonstrate US resolve, which involves increased visibility of US deployed forces in an attempt to defuse a specific situation, that if allowed to continue, may be detrimental to US interests or national objectives.

9-45.     The US conducts shows of force for three reasons: to bolster and reassure allies, deter potential aggressors, and gain or increase influence. These shows of force are designated as flexible deterrent options. Shows of force are designed to demonstrate a credible and specific threat to an aggressor or potential aggressor. The presence of powerful and capable forces signals to potential aggressors the political will to use force. Combatant commanders may establish force deployment options in contingency plans.

9-46.     For Army forces, show of force operations usually involve the deployment or buildup of forces, an increase in readiness and activity of designated forces, or a demonstration of operational capabilities by forces already in the region. An effective show of force must be demonstrably mission capable and sustainable. Although actual combat is not desired, shows of force can rapidly and unexpectedly escalate. Units assigned show of force missions assume that combat is probable and prepare accordingly. All actions ordinarily associated with the projection of a force to conduct combat operations pertain to show of force deployments.


Considerations for Stability Operations

  • Leverage interagency, joint, and multinational cooperation
  • Enhance the capabilities and legitimacy of the host nation
  • Understand the potential for unintended consequences of individual and small unit actions
  • Display the capability to use force in a nonthreatening manner
  • Act decisively to prevent escalation
  • Apply force selectively and discriminately

9-47.     Conducting stability operations is identical to conducting offensive, defensive, and support operations. While each stability operation is different, the visualize-describe-direct process, military decision making process, and troop leading procedures apply. The following considerations supplement those processes and help commanders develop tailored concepts and schemes for stability operations.


9-48.     Unity of effort requires constant coordination with all involved agencies. Stability operations require commanders to adapt to situations where lines of authority and areas of responsibility are unclear. This is important because the military is often the supporting rather than the supported agency. Commanders coordinate and integrate civilian and military activities. Likewise, commanders make their military objectives and operational schemes clear to other agencies. Coordination makes unity of effort and effective integration work in environments where unity of command is not possible. It also lends coherence to the activities of the elements involved.

9-49.     Operational and tactical headquarters plan their operations to complement those of governmental and private agencies. Coordinating centers such as civil-military operations centers (CMOCs) accomplish this task. CMOCs include representatives from as many agencies as required. Effective civil-military coordination and cooperation is necessary to mass the effects of all assets, agencies, and forces to accomplish national and multinational objectives. Effective CMO reduce the use of US resources through coordination with host and third nation governmental organizations, NGOs, and international organizations operating in the AO (see JP 3-57; FM 3-57).


9-50.     Army forces consciously endeavor to enhance host nation credibility and legitimacy. They demonstrate the proper respect for host nation government, police, and military forces. Host nation military and police forces are integrated into all aspects of every operation. The civil population will closely watch actions by Army forces. Disrespect toward host nation officials or lack of confidence in host nation capabilities by US forces will discredit the host nation and damage the stability effort.

9-51.     Commanders must not allow stability issue solutions to become a US responsibility. Within their capabilities, the host nation must take the lead, in both developmental and security activities. When host nation capabilities are inadequate, Army forces enhance them through training, advice, and assistance. Commanders, within the restrictions of international law and US policy, make maximum use of host nation forces and personnel. In any successful stability operation, the host nation—not the US forces supporting it— must ultimately prevail.

9-52.     For many stability operations, success demands a long-term investment. Factors that lead to instability or insurgency compound over time. The host nation and its supporters cannot expect to quickly correct years of problems and their consequences. The affected segments of society must see that changes are lasting and underlying problems are being effectively addressed.


9-53.     Given the volatile and politically charged nature of most stability operations, individual and small unit actions can have consequences disproportionate to the level of command or amount of force involved. In some cases, tactical operations and individual actions can have strategic effects. Recognizing and avoiding potential problems requires trained, disciplined, and knowledgeable leaders and soldiers at every level. Every soldier must understand the operational and strategic context of the mission and the potential military, political, and legal consequences of their actions or inaction.

9-54.     Stability operations occur in the public view. This includes continuous observation by host nation, domestic, and international populations as well as the media. Knowing this, opponents of stability efforts will seize on relatively minor incidents to achieve strategic advantages. Potentially, a single act of indiscipline or rash application of force can undo months and years of disciplined effort. Likewise, actions that are destructive to the natural or cultural environment may introduce negative perceptions that must be overcome.


9-55.     Army forces conducting stability operations must be capable of limited combat operations for self-defense. A corollary to being prepared to conduct offensive and defensive operations is the need to display such preparedness in a nonthreatening manner. The intent is to demonstrate strength and resolve without provoking an unintended response. For example, the aim of a show of force is deterrence, not goading or bullying an adversary into an attack.

9-56.     Within mission constraints, units display preparedness by routinely conducting combat training. Training should challenge soldiers with situations involving weapons use, levels of force, and ROE. Consistent with operations security demands, commanders make known to all parties the breadth and depth of available resources. It is not prudent to inform potential adversaries of all available Army force capabilities. However, displaying offensive and defensive strength can deter some adversaries from direct confrontation.

Vietnam—A Case Study in US Military Involvement

Direct US involvement in Vietnam began in 1954, when the US military assistance advisory group there received French permission to assist in training South Vietnamese soldiers. Over time, US advisors gradually increased their training role. The Americans assumed fuller control over Vietnamese military affairs, transforming the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) into a US-style force. Vietnamese exercises ended with regimental and division maneuvers, training that removed soldiers from fighting the insurgency. In 1956 the French left Vietnam, and the US continued to emphasize conventional warfighting methods. Special Forces worked with the local populace while conventional US forces increased their influence over the ARVN with the creation of Military Assistance Command-Vietnam. In 1965, the war escalated and US forces assumed greater responsibility for military operations. The majority of South Vietnamese people came to rely on US forces for their protection, eroding their confidence in their own government to provide for their security. US forces intended to support the South Vietnamese, but by significantly increasing their role in defending Vietnam, they undermined Vietnamese government authority and ARVN credibility.


9-57.     The nature of stability operations may limit the ways and means available to accomplish military objectives. Operational restraints do not necessarily impede the effectiveness of an Army force. Army forces act with speed and determination. Adversaries may perceive hesitation as weakness. Being overcautious can also damage the confidence of the uncommitted populations in the stability effort. Army forces must pursue military objectives energetically and, when necessary, apply military power forcefully. This does not imply that soldiers act with belligerence. Rather, in cases where force is required, commanders ensure that it is applied rapidly and decisively in a manner calculated to end the crisis and deter future confrontations.


9-58.     An extension of the need to act decisively is the requirement to apply force selectively. Commanders ensure their units apply force in a manner consistent with and adequate to their objectives. They employ combat power appropriate to the mission within prescribed legal and policy limitations. Commanders consider requirements to prevent unnecessary suffering, distinguish between combatants and noncombatants, and minimize the loss of life and damage to property. These considerations constrain or dictate the level of force acceptable. Excessive or arbitrary use of force is never justified. It may lead to the need to apply ever increasing force to maintain the same degree of order as well as to the loss of sympathy and support of the local populace.

9-59.     Conversely, using inadequate force jeopardizes force credibility. Inadequate force emboldens potential adversaries and raises doubts in the minds of protected groups. Operational commanders issue ROE to guide tactical application of combat power. Ordinarily, the commander on the ground is best qualified to determine the required degree of force, consistent with the ROE.

9-60.     When available, nonlethal capabilities can provide additional tools to augment, but not replace, the traditional means of deadly force. Nonlethal means expand the number of options for confronting situations where deadly force is not warranted. However, each soldier must retain the capability to immediately apply deadly force for self-defense.


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