Comprehensive operations: Moving to a JIMP-capable Land Force
Establishing a comprehensive approach to operations, whether at home or abroad, has required new thinking of the Canadian Forces, especially from an army that must interact with a growing plethora of players. Peter Gizewski, Michael Rostek and Andrew Leslie explain the Land Force’s move to JIMP.
In today’s security environment, successful military operations will not be achieved through the use of military power alone. In a world where conflict is often multidimensional in nature, an ability to bring to bear all instruments of national – and coalition – power and influence on a problem in a comprehensive, timely and coordinated fashion is increasingly essential to achieving effective results. So too is an ability to address and, if possible, constructively engage the views and reactions of the public and the media – both domestic and international – as operations unfold.
CF acknowledgement of the requirement for such a comprehensive approach is strong, and this has led to the development of a comprehensive approach to military operations. This is especially apparent in the Land Force – most notably in efforts to create a more Joint, Interagency, Multinational and Public (i.e., JIMP-enabled) capability.
The comprehensive approach to operations derives heavily from “whole-of-government” philosophies calling for closer collaboration between agencies in achieving policy objectives. In fact, a comprehensive approach involves developing a capacity to interact with such players in a cooperative, constructive manner.
For the military, movement toward a comprehensive approach offers increased chances for achieving greater interoperability and collaboration among key players in the operational arena as well as developing requisite networking capabilities and skills essential to achieving one’s objectives. Yet even more fundamentally, such thinking supports a growing consensus that outward-focused, integrated and multidisciplinary approaches to security threats and challenges must be the norm given the complex problems and challenges posed by an increasingly multidimensional security environment.
That environment is ever more dynamic, uncertain and challenging. Increasingly, conflict zones are highly fluid and multidimensional. Battle lines often have no clearly defined front or rear. Enemies are widely dispersed. And distinguishing friend from foe (or neutral) is difficult.
Furthermore, conflict itself represents only part of the problem, as civil disorder, famine and disease linger in the background and threaten societal collapse as well as the prospect of even more carnage to come. Addressing these dangers is also crucial to peace and stability – as military operations are likely to be as much about gaining legitimacy and trust among surrounding populations as engaging in armed combat and destroying adversaries.
The JIMP concept
Movement toward a JIMP-capable Land Force stands as one means of operationalizing a comprehensive approach to operations. In fact, its aim is to clearly nest within both comprehensive and by extension, whole-of-government approaches. In essence, the term Joint, Interagency, Multinational and Public is a descriptor that identifies the various categories of players that inhabit the broad environment in which military operations take place. Yet to be “JIMP-capable” entails the adoption of an approach to operations, both domestic and international, that allows such players to effectively interact. Most importantly, it involves a belief in the requirement to adopt a comprehensive approach to problem solving that involves the holistic consideration – and ideally the coordination – of all relevant players.
The concept derives strongly from an assessment of current experience and likely future trends. Yet it does so from a distinct land operations perspective – calling in effect for the development of a capacity to interact with a particularly wide range of organizations and groups in pursuit of objectives. This not only involves interaction with the organizations and agencies of governments but private groups, publics and non-governmental organizations and agencies as well. Indeed, these latter “unofficial” entities often form an important component of the land environment – a fact to which experiences in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan amply attest.
In an age in which irregular threats are on the rise, and in which global media ensures that operations often unfold before wide audience, attention to the civilian on the ground and the informational and moral aspects of operations is ever-more important to success. So too is a capacity to enhance awareness, communication, and if possible, coordination and cooperation with such groups.
Such a capability is very much a work in progress. Yet efforts to emulate the logic of a JIMP approach are underway and show signs of having some benefit. For instance, over the course of Western involvement in Afghanistan, coalition allies have combined counterinsurgency operations involving Special Forces and regular infantry with broader efforts aimed at stabilization and reconstruction of the country. Military, diplomatic, development and law enforcement personnel are in fact working together in a relatively collaborative, cooperative framework to help realize the Afghanistan National Strategy (ANS) and thus bring stability, prosperity and good governance to the country.
Indeed, Canada’s dedication to its mission in Afghanistan has not gone unnoticed, garnering accolades and influence both within NATO and on the world stage. From election support to school building to disarmament and mediating factional conflicts, the CF’s Whole of Mission focus clearly bolsters efforts to build a more robust comprehensive approach. Recent work by Land Futures of the Directorate of Land Concepts and Design (DLCD) has also yielded a number of ideas and suggestions for taking the JIMP concept further.
Notably, it is clear that the ideas underpinning JIMP are not particularly novel. The Joint and Multinational aspects of JIMP are already well established – both within the Continental General Staff System and in the Canadian practice of staff responsibilities. And while the Interagency and Public components pose greater challenges for the Land Force – most notably in terms of interfacing with entities that are essentially non-military in nature – some experience is nonetheless resident in past Civil Military Coordination (CIMIC) practice.
Building on such nascent capacities is crucial. So too is their further elaboration. To this end a number of points are worth noting. Specifically:
· Human capital is the key to developing a JIMP capability within the Land Force.
· The successful implementation of a JIMP concept will require continued active endorsement from CF and Army leadership as well as other government departments.
· From a philosophical standpoint, there is considerable literature and research that concludes that soldiers, in response to what are called “new wars,” are taking on greater non-warfighting functions that seem at odds with their traditional warfighting roles (i.e., policing and development projects) and will require a shift in individual training.
· Viewed primarily as a holistic approach to operations, the chief focus of JIMP is on inculcating a new approach to operations primarily involving new agencies and publics while retaining and, indeed, improving joint and multinational collaboration and cooperation in both warfighting and stability and reconstruction operations.
· Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) – new forms of organization currently being used in Afghanistan – inform the JIMP concept as they bring together the military, other government departments (OGDs) and publics under a single construct in a conflict zone. Although there are many lessons which still must be learned from this new type of unit, the PRT can been seen as representative of the next iterative step for both Brigade and Battle Group structures incorporating political, developmental and other JIMP players (i.e., RCMP, Corrections Canada, NGOs, etc.) on a permanent or non-permanent basis.
· Collective training must incorporate OGDs, international organizations (IOs), NGOs and private volunteer organizations (PVOs) to inculcate coordination aspects of the JIMP concept such as collaborative planning. An ability to integrate the above agencies into the operational architecture and provide liaison to support them is crucial for JIMP success.
Beyond this, research and development work on JIMP through the Army’s Thrust Advisory Groups; Land Operational Research and experimentation on key questions relating to JIMP requirements; focused research aimed at creating a JIMP inventory (i.e., who are the players?); historical research investigating the antecedents of the JIMP concept; and the creation of a database of lessons learned from current operations will also be needed. Each of these lines of inquiry is currently underway.
To be sure, efforts to achieve and practice a comprehensive approach must be measured and realistic. They must be based on a recognition that the involvement of certain organizations and players within the security environment can, and will, vary. So, too, will the character and quality of the relationships and interactions that ultimately emerge.
Pursued as a key component of whole-of-government thinking, a comprehensive approach could serve – over time – to better socialize both the military and other organizations to the varied demands of the security environment itself and the important contributions that each can – and should – make in addressing its challenges.
One result would be a clearer understanding, respect and appreciation of the assets which varied players bring to the table in addressing security challenges, a willingness to cooperate with these players if and when possible, and to defer to others in reaching such goals – when circumstances warrant. Still another would be a greater likelihood that support to future operations is available when needed, from a wide variety of sources – in short realization of a truly effective “whole of mission approach” to future operations.
Peter Gizewski, a strategic analyst, and LCol Michael Rostek are with the Directorate of Land Concepts and Designs. LGen Andrew Leslie is Chief of the Land Staff. This article was originally published in the RUSI “Future Land Warfare Conference” Journal.