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Stability Operations Now Part of Army’s Core Mission

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Feb. 25, 2008) -- Soldiers have been in Iraq keeping the peace, battling insurgents, protecting civilians and helping to rebuild that country for nearly five years. The Army now recognizes that work, called "stability operations," as part of a Soldier's core mission and made it so in the new field manual for operations, FM 3-0, which will be released later this week.

The change comes because the U.S. government has identified that failed and failing states are breeding grounds for terrorists and insurgents, said Lt. Col. James H. Boozell, an Army G3 branch chief for the stability operations and irregular warfare division at the Pentagon.

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"When local government can't provide the civil security and civil control necessary for its people, terrorists are allowed to thrive," he said. "If we stabilize governance, it will provide the level of civil security and control that disallows the growth of terrorism and insurgency."

Inside the new operations manual, the Army elevates the status of stability operations, putting it on par with the two traditional core Army missions: offensive and defense operations.

But stability operations are not new for the Army, Boozell said.

"We have actually been doing stability operations for over 200 years," he said. "But responsibility for lead agency was never assigned; it was never incorporated by United States government agencies. Now, the Department of State has been assigned responsibility for the conduct of stability operations; the military will support. In contested environments, the Army will conduct those operations until it is safe for civilian officials to enter the country, but the State Department will continue to provide guidance, Boozell said.

By adding stability operations as a third core mission, the Army indoctrinates what it is doing now in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what it has done in the past in places like Bosnia/Herzegovina, Somalia, Haiti and Kosovo. When combat operations subside, it has a further mandate to create conditions where additional elements of U.S. national power can be applied to help create stable governments and economies.

Stability operations consist of five "lines of effort," including: civil security,

civil control, support to governance, provision of essential services, and support to infrastructure and economic development.

Those lines of effort mean the Army might provide security in the civilian community until a legitimate civil government is able to assume that responsibility for itself. The Army will help governments rebuild judiciary and corrections systems, provide shelter for persons displaced by war activities, help prevent the spread of epidemic disease, and assist in developing public infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports and telecommunications systems.

"The Army will work to help establish micro-economic programs to stimulate the economy, stand up police forces and correctional institutions and begin re-establishment of the judicial process," Boozell said.

The Army will also have to redefine what it means when it talks about a successful operation, he said. In the past, success meant the culmination of a successful offensive operation -- that may no longer be the case, Boozell pointed out.

"Now that we have a third core mission, it causes us to re-evaluate what is success," Boozell said . "In the case where we are going to do a stability operation, success is no longer the ability to remove the enemy. Success is now the host nation's ability to govern and protect itself."

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