Future Force: Incorporating more than the military
While tensions over the Taiwan Strait and Kashmir still threaten to draw nations into conflict, military forecasters believe that any war in which the West intervenes will take place within states. Operations will have specific, short-term objectives and capturing and controlling territory will still be vital. But the longer-term contest will be over hearts and minds, over the beliefs of locals, to mitigate lengthy occupation and the cycle of insurgency. And for that, operations will require resources far beyond the military.
All federal departments engage in forecasting. For the Canadian Forces, imagining where they might be deployed, the nature of the conflict and what resources will be required is fundamental to ensuring the capacity to respond. But acquiring the right ships, planes, tanks and guns is secondary to developing the right people. For the army, where the human dimension is significant, future soldiers must be able to interact with a multitude of players – other services, multinational coalition partners and, increasingly, other government agencies and a widening range of public players.
As it plans for its Army of Tomorrow (AoT), Land Forces has established a small team in the Directorate Land Concepts and Design (DLCD) in Kingston to flesh out those interactions in a model it has dubbed JIMP – Joint, Interagency, Multinational, Public.
The concept of integrated defence, diplomatic and development operations is not new, although historical antecedents did not cover the same breadth as JIMP. Within the Canadian Forces, the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was established as a non-combat unit; in Afghanistan, a provincial reconstruction team (PRT) provides a whole-of-government effort to build capacity in the Kandahar region. And the International Policy Statement of 2005 laid out a coordinated 3D approach inline with many western allies.
However, the evolving concept has yet to be fully adopted.
“If we’ve always done it, it seems odd that not only the Canadian government but a number of our allies have made it very explicit in their foreign and defence policies recently,” Peter Gizewski, a strategic analyst with DLCD’s operational research team, observes. “There is more explicit recognition that this is important, which indicates to me that it wasn’t going as well as governments wanted it to in the past.”
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Rostek, a senior staff officer responsible for concepts within DLCD, describes it as a holistic way of viewing operations. “We are trying to institutionalize what is now in individual stove pipes within government, to create a process across those stove pipes.”
Joint (army, navy, air force and special forces) and multinational (NATO, the UN) operations are reasonably well established and reflected in the continental staff system employed by allies such as America, Britain and Australia. Interagency collaboration and interaction with public institutions such as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the media are less understood, though the PRT in Afghanistan offers an example of that cooperation and a possible model for future stabilization and reconstruction campaigns.
Canada has acquired plenty of experience through the United Nations working in a concerted 3D model, contends Colonel Jim Simms, director of DLCD. “The head of the mission more often than not is not military, and there are other elements like civil affairs. As Bosnia, for example, has transitioned over the last number of years, the balance of power within the defence, development and diplomatic organizations has changed. The military’s part in any mission will adjust according to demands within the theatre. There are mechanisms already in place that need to be further developed to ensure synchronization. The military’s role is to create the conditions for those to flourish.”
“Even though you may be able to win the war, you also have to win the peace and that requires a number of players that don’t necessarily inhabit the military,” says Gizewski.
JIMP could provide the framework for organizations to work together and better understand internal cultures. “When we discuss this, there is an immediate and visceral reaction by some that the military is taking over,” he admits. “So it is just as important to know when to quit, as it is when to push. If you can’t get cooperation, at least you should be able to understand where the other players are coming from. That informs your planning from the beginning and you can take into account the potential second and third order effects a particular action might yield.”
One challenge to a JIMP-enabled force, collaborating across services, agencies and governments, is agreeing on the terminology.
“Just the term JIMP can be confusing and can mean different things to different people,” Simms acknowledges. “It was 3D, then 3D plus C (commerce), then whole-of-government. Is it JIMP? JIM? Most of our key allies are using JIM because they don’t feel ready to accept the ‘public’ component. I believe it creates an understanding that we are involved within the public forum.”
Integrating the concept into army culture poses minimal challenge. Joint and multinational operations are common, and Civil Military Coordination, a branch now integral to operations that traces its origins to the Second World War, already conducts aspects of the interagency and public components. If there is a hitch, it might lie in the fact that CIMIC is largely a reserve function and there remain some cultural differences between reserve and regular forces.
To break down some of the inherent reservations other agencies hold, Rostek and Gizewski over the past few months have presented the concept to a range of audiences from Foreign Affairs to academia to the annual conference of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. However, JIMP does not translate well to charts or mathematical techniques, Gizewski admits – it is a human concept. “Unless you can get people willing to think about it, they will walk away. And once you fully explain what JIMP is, I’ve found it’s very hard for people not to at least give it a fair shake.”
If other government departments and NGOs are to collaborate, JIMP must overcome the innate cultural barriers that each harbours. Defence Research & Development Canada, for one, has begun researching ‘swift trust’ – the idea that trust can develop quickly when certain features exist in an environment – to understand issues around the regular-reserve force divide.
“This is all about trust,” Rostek stresses. “I can see the payoff in that experiment once they expand beyond the military into other agencies.”
“A lot of it is going to be context,” Gizewski says. “By 2021 we shouldn’t be scrambling to determine who we call. We’ve got to have an inventory of organizations, a full knowledge of the workings of those organizations – their strengths and their shortfalls – and the people you’d want to get in touch with quickly so that problems can be solved in a coordinated fashion.”
One small step may be a willingness to give credit to others, he believes, to acknowledge when another organization has the lead and is doing the job well “so that we build that camaraderie and mutual support for the long run.”
The army took the lead on JIMP as part of its AoT concept design, but it is sensitive to the perception by NGOs and others that it is simply trying to exert command and control over the environment.
“We have the resources to coordinate but we don’t want to co-opt anyone,” Rostek asserts. “We understand where NGOs like Care Canada are coming from. We want to work with them. The future security environment is a very troubling place and I don’t think we can afford to go in alone. But for everybody to function, the environment has to be secured.”
“From the start, we have to understand that the military end state is not the end state, it’s just one step on the way,” Simms adds.
“A lot of the NGOs believe there has to be ‘humanitarian space’, and in the best circumstances we agree,” Gizewski contends. “But on the other hand, I would hate to see a situation where there is no humanitarian space but we’re restricted from helping while the various organizations fight over who should have the lead, or if they will even go in. The bottom line is the person on the ground that is suffering. Yes, the military should back off when it can but sometimes we just don’t have any choice.”
Through a process called ‘backcasting’, the army has combined current best practices with future technology and human dimensional trends to build a picture of the security environment it expects to encounter over the next 15 and 40 years. Not surprisingly, it resembles much of what the force is doing in Afghanistan today. For the foreseeable future, it anticipates an equally adept, adaptive enemy operating in urban areas in a counter-insurgency model. And it forecasts a greater role for non-state actors.
“While the state may still be the main actor in terms of its role in international affairs, other organizations are going to have a much larger say in the future.” Gizewski believes that already “governments are having an incredibly difficult time managing complex problems and their nuances because more players are in the game. And to solve them, governments are going to have to look to others.”
“We see ourselves as a key player but not the only player,” Simms adds. “We have to understand those other players, understand their goals. But more than understanding, if at all possible, we want to synchronize and consolidate our campaign plans so that we’re achieving it together.
Deploying as a team ultimately means training as a team, something that has not happened to the degree most admit it should. One option being developed in Ottawa at the Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre is a security innovations centre that would bring together the various agencies for capability development, a step prior to training that might lay the foundation for greater operational success.
“If you get buy-in from the other agencies at that early stage, then they have an interest in making sure it goes well,” Rostek notes. And he makes a distinction between education and training. Though it would be a resource issue for other departments, he believes more could be done to involve interagency and even NGOs in the War College’s national security studies course. “That’s the senior staff and you need that sort of interaction.”
However, instilling the concept for the long haul will have to begin with the individual solder, Simms said. “The AoT, networked-enabled operations, and the JIMP construct are all focused on the soldier. We’re trying to enable the soldier with the right technology and right information without overburdening the soldier. While we’ve evaluated our move to a medium-weight, high tech force, we also better understand that networked and precision does not replace the soldier. As we expand the army, we want to make sure we attract the best and the brightest, especially in the infantry. They not only must be fit and able to master various weapons systems, they need to be able to master interactions with a whole host of people.”
AS CANADIANS, we are conflicted by the combat role of our military. On the one hand, we celebrate battles like Vimy and Normandy as nation-defining moments. On the other, we question intervention in Afghanistan and struggle greatly with casualties. As an overarching concept, JIMP may help demonstrate the necessity of Canadian intervention.
“Publics are not prepared to accept the casualties and kinds of risks that are being taken unless they are fully convinced of the rationale of the mission,” Gizewski says. “It’s up to the government of the time to explain it. JIMP can be useful in coming to a realization of why we’re there, how we should do things and when we should back off.”
Simms believes JIMP is a philosophy more than anything else, and will take a generation to fully embed in both the military and other players. But he cautions that every military operation of any substance will have a JIMP element to it. “It’s different and it’s going to become more pronounced, so we might as well come up with a doctrinal approach.”
“A lot still has to be investigated and I’m sure we’ll run into some degree of resistance,” Gizewski says, “but not to try is not good enough, particularly given the type of security environment we’re facing.”
From ad hoc to doctrine
Earlier this year, the army published Land Operations 2021, a planning document prepared by the Directorate of Land Strategic Concepts to guide the army’s development through to the year 2021. The document provides a framework for developing the Army of Tomorrow (AoT) and its adaptive dispersed operations concept, essentially combating an adept adversary with an agile, adaptive force dispersed over a complex battlespace.
To understand the role of JIMP within that framework, Land Concepts and Design (DLCD) is conducting multiple experiments. The process of capability development has four phases – conceive, design, build and manage – and JIMP is now transiting the first two.
“The military can be very platform-centric,” Colonel Jim Simms, director of Land Concepts and Design (DLCD), explains. “We’re trying to move toward a networked focus in which information sharing and knowledge management will trump platforms. It’s a constant challenge to convince people of that because it’s more a philosophy than something that you can show on a table.”
A seminar last year revealed three key lines of investigation: The evolution of the optimized battle group; JIMP, and what capabilities might be required to be JIMP-compliant; and the family of future combat vehicles, an area Simms says will be critical as the army looks ahead to replacing some of its current systems now in use in Afghanistan.
“While the gold standard remains combat operations at the brigade group level, led by Canada in a multinational environment, our centre of gravity was the optimized battle group,” he said. “So what will our AoT battle group look like and why will it be optimized? Some key questions came out of the exercise.”
Later this summer, DLCD will start a multi-year, phased experiment in Gagetown, NB, centred on the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, which will have recently returned from operations in Afghanistan.
“In phase one (2007/8) we will invest approximately 40 new non-infantry positions into the battle group to enhance certain capabilities and to experiment with novel approaches to conducting operations including the JIMP aspect. We will also embed a focused capability development cell – a major, a technical NCO and a civilian operations research person – to inject lines of investigation and feedback the data. One of the first phases we’re looking at is the command and control aspect of a battle group. What kind of capabilities do we require at that level (we’re starting to build certain capabilities into the brigade level to make it capable of dealing with multinational organizations).
“From a structural and doctrinal point of view, what do we need to have imbedded in the battle group to make it JIMP-compliant? Do we need to have a Foreign Affairs or CIDA employee embedded to synchronize and channel information into and out of the battle group to the other players? Other organizations won’t have all the communications and plug-in tools we do, so do we need to have more liaison officer detachments within the battle group? Do we need to try and sell that approach to the other players in the environment?
“And what are the barriers we just can’t cross – not necessarily cultural barriers, but shear barriers based on a desire by some organizations such as the Red Cross to remain independent from the military?
“We want to build a doctrinal approach of what it means to be JIMP-compliant. We embrace agility in thought and action but we don’t want an ad hoc approach.”
For more on the Army of Tomorrow, visit www.army.forces.gc.ca/zefra.