An Introduction to Theater Strategy and Regional Security
Authored by Lieutenant Colonel Clarence J. Bouchat (USAF, Ret.).
Theater strategy and theater security cooperation are two of the most important tools available in attaining national security. They offer an effective means for geographic Combatant Commanders to engage other countries, deter aggression, or resolve crises. However, there is little current, concise, and comprehensive guidance on how they are planned and implemented. This paper explains what theater strategy is, its basis, how it is formulated, and how it is executed with emphasis on theater security cooperation. The author illustrates the role in national affairs of theater strategy and security cooperation through examples from a case study leading up to and during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan.
This overview of theater strategy and theater security cooperation is a primer on one of the most important tools the U.S. military uses to engage other countries, deter unwanted actions, and defend U.S. and friendly nation interests. To be effective, theater strategy and theater security cooperation must be derived from and consistently linked to national and multinational strategic guidance and policy, and formulated to meet the requirements found in each region. To attain the combatant commander’s strategic security goals, proper support for joint operation plans through organizational structure, force projection, sustainment, readiness training, and force development input is essential. Theater security cooperation directly supports national goals at the regional level, and enhances military operations by obviating the need for military action, or by preparing the environment better for U.S. military intervention, should it be necessary. Theater strategy is an important part of realizing national strategy around the world, and theater security cooperation is not only one of the most powerful tools in attaining the goals of theater strategy, but, through its ability to obviate the need for combat, a cost effective tool as well.
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