The US Army War College Quarterly Parameters

Published by United States Army War College Press

Online ISSN: 0031-1723


Of battle and disease: the East African Campaign of 1914-18
  • Article

February 1982


52 Reads

John Sloan Brown

Parameters: Newsletter of the National Council for Research and Planning, 1998

January 1998


11 Reads

These three newsletters for 1998 highlight the following topics and issues. The March newsletter features an article on streamlining the transfer ready model, which includes an equation to find the transfer directed rate and the transfer ready rate. The new transfer ready model is divided into three categories, the beginning cohort, the transfer directed, and the transfer ready. Also included is review of a report on the accountability and performance in the California community colleges. Recommendations are included. The July newsletter focuses on uses of technology in community colleges and points to sources that provide informative accounts on instructor's experiences with technology and information about using technology tools in teaching. The newsletter also revisits a study on wage data, which supports the notion that there is a positive relationship between formal education and earnings. Implications on community colleges are included. The October issue looks at performance based funding and budgeting as a drastic departure from traditional budgeting. This paradigm shift expects to effectively utilize tax dollars while increasing accountability and services. All newsletters also highlight regional news and messages from the president. (JJL)

Lessons in Command and Control from the Los Angeles Riots

May 1997


38 Reads

This article examines two attributes of operations other than war that are likely to influence command and control and thus affect directly the outcome of the mission: the absence of an obvious continuum or linear relationship between the strategic, operational, and tactical consequences of action, and the requirement for interagency coordination even at relatively low echelons. The article uses the 1992 Los Angeles riots to illustrate some of the unique characteristics of this type of mission: the situation was "amorphous and ambiguous," the use of force was greatly restrained, coordination with nonmilitary entities was often required at battalion and lower echelons, and political considerations governed military actions at even the individual level.

Civilian-Military Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance: Lessons from Rwanda

May 1998


53 Reads

Conclusion: The termination of Operation Support Hope by the end of September 1994 forced other agencies to take over all aspects of the relief operation within a few months of the massive refugee outflow. Perhaps the presence of US military support for a period beyond 30 September would have made for a better transition, but that subject is beyond the scope of this article. What is clear is that the extent of the military role in refugee relief was the subject of intense debate in the United States between the military and the civilian humanitarian agencies. As a result of the experience with Rwandan refugee relief, various efforts are under way to improve civilian-military coordination and cooperation on humanitarian relief. These should proceed, since there undoubtedly will be humanitarian crises in the future that require military involvement. Additional contacts between military establishments and humanitarian actors can reduce some of the wide gap between organizational perspectives. The new vision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the year 2010 uses the catch phrase "full spectrum dominance" to encompass the military's humanitarian role: "New concepts will enable us to dominate the full range of military operations from humanitarian assistance, through peace operations, up to and into the highest intensity conflict." The 1994 experience with Rwandan refugees, however, calls into question the prospects for effective implementation of this vision. The US military will need far more than "focused logistics" to be fully successful when it is selectively engaged in providing humanitarian aid. It will require stronger commitment from its leadership, stronger support in Congress, and closer cooperation with civilian agencies on both the nature and termination of its humanitarian mission. Nevertheless, even under the best of circumstances, the concept of dominance in Joint Vision 2010 will be difficult to achieve. The nature of the United States military, with its focus on warfighting, means that humanitarian assistance will always be viewed as a secondary concern and as a distraction from the real task at hand. This will inevitably result in clashes with the civilian humanitarian agencies whose primary mission is to protect and assist civilian victims and with whom the military must cooperate in any such action.

Peace and Stability Lessons from Bosnia

January 1999


18 Reads

Two common denominators underlie the discussion of the issues considered in this article. The first is the need to understand and to behave as though the Cold War is over and to learn how to optimize capabilities in an ambiguous, nontraditional, international security environment. In colloquial terms, this common denominator relates specifically to "mind-set." In more formal terms, it refers to leader judgment. The second common denominator involves the political partnership requirements that will permit doctrinal and structural change related to coalitions and operations involving mixes of military and civilian organizations. This requirement is fundamental to maintaining unity of effort in complex humanitarian relief or peace support operations. Together, these two common denominators are essential for success in complex humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.

Theater campaign planning: an analysis of NATO's Northern Region.

July 1990


12 Reads

For many years the Northern Region has been considered of secondary importance to NATO theater military operations. But with the buildup of Soviet forces on the Kola Peninsula and within the Northern Fleet, Soviet regional TVD operations now have the potential to seriously threaten NATO's Atlantic SLOCs and even outflank allied forces in the Central Region itself. NATO continues to respond by partitioning the Northern Region among the three major NATO commanders, SACEUR, SACLANT, and CINCHAN, instead of unifying it into a viable theater of operations. AFNORTH, the principal Northern Region warfighting command, may no longer be adequately structured or have the forces, operational depth, and agility to conduct a cohesive combined campaign that synchronizes all air, land, and sea operations in a theater where maritime influences have emerged as a dominant feature of the operational environment. At the same time NATO's emphasis on the Central Region has limited serious investigation of the Maritime Strategy as a potential theater warfighting concept in the European context. The monograph examines the fundamental concepts of the Maritime Strategy to see if they have application in improving combined theater campaign plans in the Northern Region. The monograph is structured as a case study focusing on campaign planning from CINCNORTH's perspective, looking at the Northern Region as a theater of operations and analyzing CINCNORTH's role in it. The criteria used for evaluation are the "seven tenets of a campaign plan" introduced by COL William Mendel and LTC Floyd Banks in recent articles in Parameters. The monograph concludes that in the present operational environment (geography, threat, coalition aspects, etc.) AFNORTH, as presently structured, is not capable of conducting viable theater campaign planning. Further, the author feels that the distinct maritime nature of the area warrants consideration of the Maritime Strategy as a theater strategy. A model is offered to show how planning in this maritime theater should proceed. The monograph ends with recommendations for restructuring the theater, both in geographical terms and in the command's design itself.

The Categorization of Conflict

May 1997


9 Reads

More than a century ago, the English philosopher F. H. Bradley wrote that "appearance leaves the world more glorious, if we feel it is a show of some fuller splendour; but the sensuous curtain is a deception . . . if it hides some colourless movement of atoms, some . . . unearthly ballet of bloodless categories."[28] Eight years into the post-Cold War era, we have a deeper appreciation for the "fuller splendour" of the complete range of military operations. Our strategic environment is complex and chaotic, an environment that routinely frustrates the strictures of bloodless categories. This frustration will not cause us to resist the impulse to categorical thinking. Indeed, in times of chaos and complexity, nothing is more instinctive. But categorization brings consequences. We ignore the logical channeling and predispositions derived from our categorizations of conflict at great risk. The proposed revision of FM 100-5 attempts to strike a balance, categorizing our operations according to purpose, while acknowledging that only agile, flexible combinations of these categories can meet the complete range of strategic requirements. Is this about right? Let the debate begin.

Why Contractor Fatalities Matter

November 2008


26 Reads

At the end of July 2008, the media reported that 4,600 service members have died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. But reporting only military fatalities understates the human cost of America's engagements in these regions by nearly a fourth. On the modern, outsourced battlefield, the U.S. government increasingly has delegated to the private sector the responsibility to stand in harm's way and, if required, die for America. As of 30 June 2008, more than 1,350 civilian contractor personnel had died in Iraq and Afghanistan, while another 29,000 contractors have been injured; more than 8,300 seriously. Nonetheless, contractor fatalities (and injuries) remain generally outside the public's consciousness. This article asserts that, in a representative democracy, public awareness of the human cost of our nation's security and foreign policies is critical.

Counterinsurgency, Legitimacy, and the Rule of Law

April 2012


23 Reads

Law features more prominently in warfare today than in any time in memory. Stories about the legality of detaining “unlawful combatants” or “unprivileged belligerents” in Guantanamo Bay are in the headlines weekly. The current set of conflicts may prove to be the most heavily litigated in human history. The current conflicts have seen an even greater expansion of law’s role in war, though: law as a means of warfare. Both the military and U.S. civilian development agencies have embraced these ostensibly legal activities – referred to generally as “rule of law” – for their contribution to our campaigns in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Law’s ascendance as a means of warfare is tied to the ascendance of counterinsurgency as a form of warfare. Counterinsurgency, as a contest between opposing groups to be recognized by a particular population as their legitimate government, necessarily places the host nation government’s legitimacy at the center of the conflict. Establishing the rule of law, then, is important to counterinsurgents because of its contribution to a government’s legitimacy. Nevertheless, the counterinsurgency and stability operations doctrine lack both a meaningful definition of legitimacy and a model for how the rule of law contributes to legitimacy. Counterinsurgents are hardly the first to address the problem, though. Questions about how legitimacy and law operate together have long been studied in both jurisprudence and social psychology. The two fields come at the question quite differently, but both offer important insights into what legitimacy means to counterinsurgents and how it can best be built as part of a counterinsurgency campaign.

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