U.S. Army Security Cooperation
Toward Improved Planning and Management
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In the realm of security cooperation — peacetime activities undertaken by the U.S. armed services with other armed forces and countries — the U.S. Army’s current planning process is exceedingly complex, involving a multitude of actors, problematic incentive systems, an incomplete information exchange, and a lack of effective measures of effectiveness. Even some of the stakeholders understand only certain aspects of the process and/or have only partial visibility into it. The drivers and demanders of peacetime cooperative activities undertaken by the U.S. Army with other countries and militaries (Army International Affairs, or AIA) tend to have an incomplete understanding of the resourcing problems and the tradeoffs involved in making AIA choices. In turn, Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) — the supplier of AIA resources — has an incomplete understanding of the benefits of AIA, and the Army’s own resourcing tools are not easily amenable to an in-depth understanding of the resources it commits to AIA. The demand for AIA is fundamentally predicated on the amount of AIA supply provided by HQDA, as opposed to the latter being the product of policy, strategy, and resource guidance. Indeed, incrementalism and continuity, rather than policy and strategy, are the principal driving agents in the development of AIA resource priorities. In the post-September 11 security environment, the planning system of AIA needs greater flexibility and efficiency as a crucial component of the global war on terrorism. The need to have flexibility and adaptability in security cooperation, and to seize opportunities that may be short-lived, has made reform of the security cooperation planning and implementation process essential.