ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign
The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005
Setting the Stage
The Rise of the Iraqi Insurgency and the US Army's Response
Full Spectrum Operations and Counterinsurgency: The US Army’s Evolving Response to the Iraqi Insurgency
Much has been written on insurgencies and the best approaches to defeating them. As noted earlier in this chapter, much of this literature originated in the period of the Cold War and assumed that Communist ideas about revolutionary warfare and its methods would continue to be the driving force in insurgent warfare. For theorists writing during this period, an insurgency was ultimately a method of gaining political power and the proper response of the counterinsurgent was to defeat the insurgent in the arena of politics. Among the most prominent theorists were David Galula and Roger Trinquier, French Army officers who had fought insurgents in Algeria in the 1950s and 1960s. In their writings, both men stressed the need for broad counterinsurgency campaigns that engaged an insurgency in a comprehensive way. Trinquier contended, “The sine qua non of victory in [insurgent/counterinsurgent] warfare is the unconditional support of the people.”148 The task was to use a variety of political, economic, social, and military measures to increase the legitimacy of the counterinsurgent force’s cause in the eyes of the population while ensuring those same measures—especially combat operations—did not backfire and erode popular support. For this reason, Trinquier, Galula, and other counterinsurgency theorists stressed the need to create unity of effort in the campaign by closely coordinating all anti-insurgent operations and ensuring they are focused on the political end state.149
However, neither Galula nor Trinquier suggested ridding the counterinsurgency campaign of its military component. Indeed, both officers stressed the need to conduct focused combat operations aimed at disrupting and destroying the insurgent organization. For Galula, insurgent warfare was “20 percent military action and 80 percent political.”150 The army conducting counterinsurgent operations had to prosecute a multifaceted campaign in which the ability to gather intelligence, train indigenous security forces, conduct psychological operations, and guide political actions, such as the preparation of the population for elections, were more important than the ability to mount conventional military operations.
While relatively few American Soldiers in Iraq in 2003 were familiar with counterinsurgency warfare and its theorists, it did not take long before many of the basic concepts of counterinsurgency made their way into US Army planning and operations. This process was indirect and based on immediate requirements rather than experience or doctrine. After April 2003 when it became clear to many Soldiers that the Coalition forces were essentially the only organizations immediately available to conduct postconflict operations, US Army units simply transitioned to full spectrum operations without much in the way of detailed guidance or special resources. In the spring and early summer, most Soldiers assessed the situation in their AORs and designed responses they believed were critical to address the unique political, economic, and military challenges in those areas.
This response was immediate in many units. One of the best examples of this was the approach taken by the 101st ABN in northern Iraq. Once the division arrived in its AOR, which included Nineveh province and the city of Mosul, Major General Petraeus decided the unit could not wait for higher headquarters and other US agencies to present a detailed blueprint for the next phase of the operation. Petraeus argued that if the Soldiers of the division did not immediately get started with a broad program of what he called “nation-building,” they would begin to see a threat emerge:
The bottom line is we were going to have to do a lot and a big part of it, believe it or not, in the beginning, was just accepting or embracing the fact that we had to get on with [nation-building] because we are, in reality, going to do it—no one else is coming to do it. There may be very little help, if any, and so let’s just get on with it because it is a race against the clock.151
To begin their campaign, Petraeus and his commanders immediately began making contacts within the community, and those actions led to a series of important efforts:
We really launched into it in Mosul right away. We had some basic thoughts that guided us, among which were that we needed to get Iraqi partners as soon as we possibly could. We needed that partnership to include the spectrum of the society in our area of responsibility . . . we had to get workers back on the job. We had to then help them clean up, rebuild, and re-establish basic services for the Iraqi people. We had a keen desire to establish or achieve normalcy again.152
For the 101st ABN, combat operations against the perceived threat, which they defined as former regime elements, were just one part of a larger and simultaneous full spectrum campaign that would create security and build popular support for the Coalition, thus precluding the growth of the enemy.
The 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), which took responsibility for the Baghdad district of Sadr City in May 2003, began work to win support among the Shia population in that neighborhood in a similar fashion. Major George Sarabia, the executive officer of one of the regiment’s squadrons, described how his unit first sought to figure out what the people in Sadr City needed, stating, “One of the things that 2d Squadron, I think, did a very good job of was getting out and engaging the local population, trying to find out what’s going on and gaining situational awareness, and later on, situational understanding. Who are these people? What do they want?”153 He added that in May 2003, his unit, like the 101st ABN, sought to reestablish a peaceful environment. To do so, the 2d ACR implemented a variety of programs to provide jobs, essential services, and security: “What we wanted to do was return things to a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible. So that became our number one key task: to provide a safe and secure environment for the people of Sadr City. And we felt if we can do that, then all else follows.”154 To the west of Baghdad, in Al Anbar province, the commander of the 2d Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment (3d ACR) created a comprehensive approach in May 2003 to engage the primarily Sunni population of that region. The squadron’s plan had six keys to success: (1) Provide security, which included patrolling and focused combat missions against specific threats; (2) Restore rule of law, with Iraqi police, laws, and courts in place; (3); Enable the emergence of an Iraqi Government and administration; (4) Facilitate infrastructure recovery, including $1 million to repair the sewer system; (5) Support humanitarian relief and assistance; and, (6) Promote change in perception, which included winning support of local sheiks and clerics.155 In late April, 3d ACR Soldiers had pursued this type of multifaceted campaign in the city of Ramadi, and in May they planned to use this type of approach to win the support of the population in the cities of Fallujah and Habbaniyah.
While units occupied their AORs and began initial operations in the spring and early summer of 2003, higher echelons began the creation and publication of campaign plans that gave guidance and set objectives for what became the full spectrum campaign. Although no cogent insurgent network had yet coalesced, these higher-level staffs designed plans that, in retrospect, incorporated many of the key concepts of counterinsurgency warfare. Like the Soldiers in the 101st ABN and the 2d ACR, few of the planners understood the campaign as counterinsurgency. Instead, these officers viewed their mission as emphasizing offensive operations against known enemy targets while ensuring their combat missions were complemented by stability and support operations, sometimes called nation-building efforts in these early months.
Important to the military planning process was the strategic guidance offered by the CPA. On 13 July 2003, the CPA issued its Vision Statement in which Mr. Bremer and his staff set out their mission to establish a new, free, and democratic Iraq that was “stable, united, prosperous, at peace with its neighbors and able to take its rightful place as a responsible member of the region and the international community.”156 To do this, the CPA directed overall Coalition operations in six main directions: security, essential services and civil society, economy, preparing for democracy, governance and sovereignty, and information.157 With these objectives in mind, CJTF-7 began working on its preliminary campaign guidance in the summer of 2003. (The next chapter will recount the formation of CJTF-7 and its planning efforts in greater detail. The discussion that follows focuses on CJTF-7’s role in shaping the initial American response to the security challenges in Iraq in the summer of 2003.)
In June the US military had formed CJTF-7 out of the core of the US Army V Corps headquarters and established it as the senior Coalition military headquarters in Iraq. The task force commander, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, had directed the task force planning section (CJ5) to begin planning immediately and established the following mission statement for Coalition forces:
Conduct offensive operations to defeat remaining noncompliant forces and neutralize destabilizing influences in the AO in order to create a secure environment in direct support of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Concurrently conduct stability operations to support the establishment of government and economic development in order to set the conditions for a transfer of operations to designated follow-on military or civilian authorities.158
Sanchez was tasking the tactical units he commanded to do two things simultaneously: conduct combat missions to establish security and begin operations that would foster political and economic stability.
Armed with this mission statement, the CJTF-7 staff began to establish other important parts of its draft campaign plan.‡ Major Wesley Odum, one of Sanchez’s chief planners, described how the CJ5 Plans section of the new joint task force began constructing the plan based on a foundation laid by the CFLCC and V Corps staffs.159 That preliminary work had established objectives, lines of operation (LOOs), and key tasks for CJTF-7. These fundamental concepts served as the point of departure for the CJ5 section when in July 2003, it convened a meeting in Baghdad attended by officers who planned operations at the division level.160 Over a period of several days, these planners agreed on a number of guiding themes for Coalition operations. Perhaps most important was determining the center of gravity and the LOOs, both critical elements in campaign planning. The concept of the center of gravity is derived from the writings of 19th century military theorist Karl von Clausewitz who defined the center of gravity as the “hub of all power and movement on which everything depends . . . the point at which all our energies should be directed.” US Joint doctrine adopted the idea, further explaining it as a key “source of moral or physical strength, power, and resistance” that is often embodied by individuals, forces, or other entities that have a decisive influence on a military force or its adversary.161 In his campaign plan, Sanchez identified the Coalition center of gravity as the popular support of the Iraqi people.162
To focus the overall military effort on gaining the support of the people, CJTF-7 developed the LOOs that would guide its forces. In conventional campaign planning, LOOs are physical features, usually depicted on a map, that connect a base of operations, such as Kuwait, to an objective, such as the city of Baghdad. In nonconventional campaigns, planners often use “logical” LOOs that are thematic or conceptual rather than geographic because the conflict is not geographic in nature.163 These logical LOOs collect critical functions together in conceptual groups.
In the case of CJTF-7’s draft campaign plan, the CJ5 section established five logical LOOs that spread across the full spectrum of operations—governance, security, economy, essential services, and information operations.164 Most important for military units was the security LOO that not only ordered the US Army to conduct combat missions if necessary, but also directed them to get involved in the training of Iraqi police and military units. The governance LOO included the creation of a new national government for Iraq, but at the tactical level this primarily translated into Soldiers facilitating the creation of local and regional governments. The economic and essential services LOO similarly directed Coalition units to assist in repairing infrastructure and establishing organizations that would enhance the growth of commerce and employment. Finally, the information operations LOO drew attention to the need for Soldiers to find ways of using ideas and information to win support within the Iraqi population. These lines became organizing principles for tactical commanders to follow in the planning of their own operations.
The planners also began thinking about how the campaign would develop over time and the overarching objective it was designed to achieve. Using the Army’s concept of full spectrum operations, the CJ5 created a four-phase campaign, with each phase emphasizing a different category of operation.165 In its first phase, the plan emphasized offensive operations against noncompliant elements of the former regime and other armed opposition, but recognized that units would simultaneously be conducting defensive, stability, and support operations. Lieutenant General Sanchez viewed the first phase of his plan as essentially a continuance of Phase III—Decisive Operations from CFLCC’s COBRA II, because in the summer of 2003 the CJTF-7 commander believed the instability in Iraq prevented CJTF-7’s forces from moving into the next phase, which would de-emphasize offensive operations.166 Indeed, in the CJTF-7 plan, Sanchez’s focus on offensive operations led to this first phase becoming known as Phase III—Offense. The second phase, labeled as IVa–Stability, would come after the Coalition had created a secure and stable environment and would feature stability operations, especially those that supported the establishment of Iraqi political and economic development. The transition to Phase IVb–Support would shift the emphasis of Coalition operations to focus on what the plan called support operations and would concentrate efforts on training the ISF. Over the course of these phases, the number of Coalition units would not be removed from Iraqi soil until in Phase IVc–Deterrence, the fourth and final phase, a very small contingent remained to advise and support Iraqi forces in the defense of their country. CJTF-7 planners envisioned the campaign reaching its ultimate objective or end state when Iraq became a secure state, free of active terrorist organizations, in which the army and police could protect the population from any internal or external threats that might emerge.
The CJ5 planners and the division planners agreed on the fundamental principles of the draft plan at the July meeting in Baghdad. When the division planners returned to their units in early August 2003, they used these principles to shape their unit’s campaign plans (discussed below). The CJTF-7 staff amended the original draft plan several times as the security situation changed in the summer and fall of 2003. In January 2004 the Coalition published a revised version of the original draft as the official campaign plan, but the mission statement and LOOs remained the same.§ The plan as a whole served as a broad statement of purpose, entailing a full spectrum approach to securing political, economic, and social progress as well as military success in Iraq.
At the tactical level, division commanders and their staffs produced campaign plans that were nested with the early drafts of the CJTF-7 plan. This process provided an amount of unity to an effort that differed based on the unique qualities of the local areas in which the divisions operated. The plan crafted by Task Force (TF) All American, a division-size unit commanded by the 82d ABN’s headquarters, provides an excellent example of this process. TF All American took over operations in Al Anbar province in the fall of 2003 and quickly defined its overall objective as winning the “support of the Iraqi People.”167 Major General Charles H. Swannack Jr., the division commander, and his staff then created a plan that focused the task force’s operations on this objective by channeling the effort into four LOOs: security, governance, essential services, and economy.168 The security LOO included American operations against insurgent organizations in the province, but also the use of the task force’s units to train the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) and the Iraqi police. Governance entailed actions by Civil Affairs (CA) and Psychological Operations Teams to foster local forms of democratic government, place greater authority for change in Iraqi hands, and assist with the conduct of elections. Operations along the essential services LOO sought to use reconstruction projects to improve Iraqi lives and demonstrate the Coalition’s resolve to create a better Iraq. The economy LOO focused the division’s attention on improving the environment for business and employment.
The 4th ID, operating to the east of Al Anbar in the Sunni Triangle, developed four LOOs similar to those in the TF All American plan.169 The military LOO included offensive combat operations as well as the training of Iraqi Army units. The governance LOO directed subordinate organizations, including combat units, to build relationships with Iraqi community leaders and facilitate the establishment of a local government. Like the 82d ABN, the leaders of the 4th ID hoped to use the economy LOO to improve employment and foster a stable business climate. Finally, the infrastructure LOO involved unit Soldiers in the restoration of essential services and infrastructure improvements.
The 4th ID’s campaign plan illustrates the broad, multifaceted approach taken by the unit’s leaders in mid-2003. Establishing this fact is important because several widely-read accounts of OIF have asserted that from its arrival in the Sunni Triangle in April 2003, the division relied too heavily on large-scale combat operations, actions that alienated the population in the region and turned many Iraqis into enemies of the Coalition.170 Certainly, the division’s operations in the early stages of its deployment in the Sunni Triangle did feature large-scale combat missions such as PENINSULA STRIKE, an operation that tasked two combat brigades and supporting elements to conduct large cordon and sweep operations in the Sunni heartland. One important reason for the emphasis on these types of operations was that the region north of Baghdad, especially the cities of Tikrit, Samarra, and Baqubah, had not seen major combat actions during the invasion of the country and only relatively small US Marine units had occupied the area until the 4th ID arrived in April 2003. Baathist networks in the Sunni Triangle thus remained intact and active that spring and summer, mounting serious attacks on US troops with mortars, small arms, and IEDs. The problem with operations like PENINSULA STRIKE was that in their attempt to remove the threat, the units conducting the cordon and sweeps often detained a large number of Iraqi men, not all of whom were associated with the insurgency. It is reasonable to assume that these actions disaffected at least some portion of the Sunni population in the division’s AOR.
By August 2003 CJTF-7 had curtailed most of these large-scale operations. Iraqi leaders had convinced Lieutenant General Sanchez that because of their potential for alienating Iraqis, the operations were counterproductive. In early August Sanchez stated, “I started to get multiple indicators that maybe our iron-fisted approach to the conduct of [operations] was beginning to alienate Iraqis. I started to get those sensings from multiple sources, all the way from the [Iraqi] Governing Council to average people.”171 Sanchez directed his units to avoid large-scale operations like PENINSULA STRIKE and rely instead on more limited, highly precise raids on verified insurgent targets. The combat operations mounted by the 4th ID in the months following Sanchez’s directive were much smaller in size than PENINSULA STRIKE.
By the time Sanchez directed the cessation of large-scale cordon and sweeps, the 4th ID was in the midst of conducting actions across their LOOs. In fact, as early as the middle of June, at the same time the division was conducting PENINSULA STRIKE, the 4th ID had already launched a variety of reconstruction and governance operations. The division commander, Major General Raymond Odierno, stated on 18 June 2003 that the 4th ID was involved in establishing a multi-ethnic representative government in the city of Kirkuk, opening a police training academy in Baqubah, re-opening 15 judicial courts and 37 banks in the area, and providing salaries to a large number of Iraqi civil servants.172 The journal of Major Christopher Bentch, a police officer from Kansas City who was serving as a Reserve CA officer in the 4th ID, supports Odierno’s description of the division’s operations. Bentch described how, by the third week of June, he and his team were spending a large amount of money on a broad variety of reconstruction projects. The CA officer further described how the leadership in the 3d BCT directed him to work closely with brigade planners to ensure reconstruction programs were integrated closely into the plan for the sequel to PENINSULA STRIKE, a large-scale operation called DESERT SCORPION.
For the Soldiers of the 4th ID, a gradual shift in operational emphasis became more pronounced as summer faded into fall. Lieutenant Colonel Troy Perry, a staff officer in the division’s 3d BCT, recalled that once the division eroded the insurgent networks in the Sunni Triangle and reduced the attacks on US units, his brigade began placing more resources in training the ISF, rebuilding the infrastructure, facilitating local government, and holding elections.173 Perry asserted that by January 2004, roughly 65 percent of his brigade’s operations were reconstruction, governance, and other noncombat missions. The remaining 35 percent were combat operations, but highly-focused missions designed to engage specific insurgents or insurgent groups in the AOR.174 Thus, from the time of its entry into the Sunni Triangle in April 2003, the 4th ID had been conducting full spectrum operations. What evolved, however, is how battalion and brigade commanders in the 4th ID emphasized specific types of operations to meet the objectives of their unique AORs.
This issue of balancing the operational approach affected all units and was one of the thorniest challenges facing commanders in 2003. If the unit focused on aggressive combat operations that directly attacked insurgent networks, it might alienate the population. On the other hand, if that same unit concentrated the majority of its resources on reconstruction, fostering representative government, and training local security forces, it might lose the initiative and allow insurgent groups to grow and gain legitimacy within that population. Lieutenant Colonel Greg Reilly, commander of the 1st Squadron, 3d ACR, struggled with this dilemma as he directed operations near the city of Al Qaim in Al Anbar province in the summer of 2003. In September 2003 Reilly used a written assessment of his squadron’s performance to express his frustrations in achieving proper operational balance:
My daily struggle, what I spend most of my mental energy on, is figuring out how to gain the initiative against the threat without causing increased dissention of the population. This situation is frustrating; it’s a classical catch 22 situation [emphasis in original]. I could aggressively go into built up areas on search and attack missions to destroy the threat, but the trade off is the collateral damage that will occur; the perception that security is getting worse; the loss of US soldiers as the risk increases and the risk of not achieving the objective at all.175
For Reilly, the solution to this problem seemed to lie in the establishment of local ISF that would create security and foster the rule of law. Nevertheless, this solution generated its own concerns: would the Iraqi forces be willing and able to engage insurgent forces and build the proper environment? While noting that the Iraqis themselves seemed to hold the key to creating stability, Reilly displayed a measure of unease: “The Challenge is the risk associated with allowing Iraqis to begin performing functions on their own and Coalition forces disengaging over time.”176 Many American Soldiers in Iraq shared this apprehension.
The local character of the insurgency and the measures required to counter it made close coordination of the overall campaign in Iraq difficult at times. Major General Thomas Miller, the chief of CJTF-7’s Operations staff section (CJ3), likened Iraq to “a mosaic of different agencies, enemies, peoples, tribes, coalition differences and different conditions—each deserving a response of its own.”177 However, a full spectrum campaign focused on supporting the construction of a new Iraq while countering an increasingly complex threat had to maintain unity of effort in its operations or it would likely not achieve its overall political goals. The nesting of the division’s campaign plans within the larger framework of the CJTF-7 mentioned above was one important means of creating unity of effort in OIF. Miller described the CJTF-7 campaign plan as laying out “cardinal directions” for the divisions to use as a general guide for their own operations.178 The Coalition quickly adopted another process—the daily and weekly coordination meetings between CJTF-7 and its subordinate headquarters. In a nightly conference call, Sanchez, the commanding general of CJTF-7, and his major subordinate commands including Special Operations units, shared information and coordinated operations. The CJTF-7 staff also held weekly campaign plan synchronization meetings with Sanchez to ensure all of the command’s efforts were focused on the larger objectives.179
As the campaign progressed, US Army planning and preparation for full spectrum operations became more deliberate and detailed. This was especially true for those units that deployed to Iraq in 2004 as part of the OIF II rotation. The commanders and staffs of these organizations had watched events in Iraq closely during the preceding year, had coordinated with the units they were relieving, and enjoyed the benefits of deliberate planning and training for the campaign—an advantage most units in Iraq in 2003 did not have. The 1st Cavalry Division (1st CAV), for example, arrived in Baghdad in March 2004 to replace the 1st AD. The 1st CAV trained carefully in the United States for the type of broad mission set that the 1st AD and others had learned to do in Iraq. Major General Peter Chiarelli, the commander of 1st CAV, had looked closely at the CJTF-7 campaign plan and developed a broad campaign concept for his division that he clearly characterized as full spectrum operations.180 Based on the same principles emphasized by counterinsurgency theorists such as Galula and Trinquier, Chiarelli’s campaign plan set down six LOOs: combat operations, train and employ ISF, essential services, promote governance, economic pluralism, and full spectrum information operations. The division commander believed these six themes, if properly followed, would move his forces closer to political success by creating legitimacy for the Coalition and its Iraqi partners. Likewise, his subordinate units adopted the same LOOs to guide their own operations in various parts of Baghdad.181
While limited combat operations might be necessary to deal with intransigent threats, Chiarelli focused more on winning the support of those Iraqis who were not yet actively supporting the insurgency but also not working actively on the side of the Coalition. These “fence sitters,” as Chiarelli characterized them, could be alienated by unfocused Coalition combat operations. But they could also be convinced to support the Coalition through carefully planned noncombat operations, such as projects that rebuilt the infrastructure and provided employment. Chiarelli instilled these principles in his staff and his subordinate commanders:
The key is trying to get [Soldiers] to understand the need to in fact look at those nonkinetic lines, the reconstruction line, the governance line, the economic pluralism line, and the information operations line, and the key and critical role that they play in a fight like this. . . . I think I was bound and determined to go over with an emphasis that said we were going to look at the nonkinetic lines as important, and in some instances more important than the kinetic lines, to getting us closer to mission accomplishment because you run into some real serious issues over here with this culture and this society when you apply those kinetic lines without an understanding of how that affects people over time.182
For Chiarelli, the US Army’s goals in Iraq were far better expressed using concepts like “political legitimacy” and “essential services” than in traditional military definitions of success derived from the experience and doctrine of conventional warfighting.
Chiarelli’s emphasis on nonkinetic operations led to unique approaches to the problems of insurgency in and around Baghdad. Two of his division’s battalions—the 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry (2-12th CAV) and the 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery (4-5th ADA)—both operating near the international airport, began to work closely with local tribal leaders to understand their grievances and reach a consensus about common goals that could be attained with Coalition assistance.183 Using this approach, sometimes labeled by observers as “constructive engagement,” American Soldiers listened closely to local leaders to understand how their tactics and behavior at times clashed with Iraqi cultural norms and how they might decrease tensions. Through this process, the local sheiks came to see the American units as the strongest, most influential players in the local political setting and negotiated to achieve what they wanted in exchange for aid in identifying insurgents and pushing them out of the AOR. In the experience of 2-12th CAV and 4-5th ADA, the launching of infrastructure improvement projects satisfied local needs, addressed unemployment problems, and granted greater status and influence to local Iraqi sheiks within their tribes, all of which helped create greater security. Indeed, one report suggested that the dramatic decrease in the number of insurgent attacks on American Soldiers in 2-12th CAV’s AOR was largely a result of the approach taken by the unit’s leaders.184
The transition to MNF-I in the summer of 2004 formalized the shift to a deliberate and well-defined full spectrum counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq. When General Casey took command in July, he and Ambassador Negroponte directed the creation of a Red Team and then used the findings of that team’s research in conjunction with the MNF-I staff’s efforts to develop a new campaign plan. According to Casey, the Red Team gave him detailed confirmation that “we were fighting an insurgency, that the primary threat to the accomplishment of our strategic objectives at that time was the former regime element insurgency.”185 For the MNF-I commander, it was imperative that he unequivocally define the enemy: “At my level, I felt it very important to be able to articulate to the command what the nature of the war was, and in my mind, there was still too many folks here that thought this was just the aftermath of a conventional war.”186 This understanding of the enemy led him to issue a new mission statement that described the Coalition’s military purpose as “full-spectrum counterinsurgency operations.” According to Colonel William Hix, who served in the Strategy, Plans, and Assessment (SPA) section of the MNF-I staff in 2004 and was heavily involved in developing the new campaign plan, Casey chose the term “full spectrum counterinsurgency operations” for his mission statement to stress that the Coalition was engaged with an insurgency and Coalition military forces had to simultaneously conduct a range of operations to deal with that enemy.
Casey’s emphasis on the political and economic aspects of the campaign led him to integrate his own military staff with that of the US Embassy, led by Ambassador John Negroponte, which the US Department of State (DOS) had established after the transition of political authority to the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG). By the end of 2004, the MNF-I commander had also successfully forged a close relationship with Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, further strengthening the political aspects of the Coalition effort. Hix recalled that MNF-I’s conception of the campaign in the summer of 2004 embodied Galula’s assertion about the primacy of politics in counterinsurgency warfare. Indeed, the plan’s four LOOs—governance, security, economy, and strategic communications—all focused the Coalition effort on the January 2005 elections and assisting the IIG to assume more authority in an effort to build greater legitimacy.187
The MNF-I campaign plan, published in August 2004, served as only a temporary guide. Casey began to re-conceive the plan in the fall 2004, bringing in counterinsurgency experts from the RAND Corporation and the Naval Postgraduate School to help him and his staff gain insights from counterinsurgency campaigns of the past. This initiative and others led to the emergence of new thinking about the counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq and bred ideas such as the creation of the Military Transition Teams (MiTTs) to assist in the training of the ISF.188 Ultimately, Casey included these ideas in the modifications made to the campaign plan after the January 2005 elections established Iraq’s new political environment.
‡ CJTF-7 did not publish its campaign plan until January 2004. Between July and December 2003, the draft plan served as the basic guidance for all of CJTF-7’s subordinate units.
§ The CJTF-7 Campaign Plan remains classified as of the writing of this study.
Prewar Assumptions about Postconflict Threats
Origins of Iraqi Discontent
De-Baathification and the Disbanding of the Iraqi Army
The Emergence of the Iraqi Insurgency
Major Insurgent Groups
Secular Ideologues: Baathists and Arab Nationalists
Ultraradical Salafis and Wahhabis
Al-Qaeda and Other Foreign Groups
The Coalition Response to the Iraqi Threat
American Perceptions of the Threat
Full Spectrum Operations and Counterinsurgency: The US Army’s Evolving Response to the Iraqi Insurgency
Reorganizing for the New Campaign
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