September 11th Attacks Launched the United States' Global War on Terrorism

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Introduction In response to the September 11th attacks, the United States launched the Global War on Terrorism, invading both Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite these wars and the necessity for post-conflict stability operations, military leadership, including the Secretary of Defense, had neither desired nor trained its personnel to effectively conduct stability operations, which require effective interagency collaboration. Failing to effectively leverage interagency capabilities during the early phases of the 2003 Iraq War at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels prolonged the achievement of the U.S. military’s objective—transferring power to the Iraqis. Though the U.S. military will continue to operate in a fiscally-constrained environment, demands for it to accomplish more with less necessitate leveraging partner capabilities. Joint publication 3-08 defines interagency coordination as the “coordination that occurs between elements of DOD and engaged USG agencies for the purpose of achieving an objective.” While the U.S. military achieved major combat success in Iraq quickly, it was ill-prepared for post conflict operations. Ineffective interagency planning and operation were contributing factors. IRAQ: 2003-2004 Strategic While there were some interagency planning groups with representation from numerous agencies assembled 2002, they were unsuccessful in providing a strategic plan for post-combat operations. The way in which the United States military trained for the war in Iraq reflected a focus on conventional military defeat; the previous Iraq war demonstrated that superior military capability could determine success. However, the 2003 invasion of Iraq would demonstrate the unpreparedness of U.S. Government a... ... middle of paper ... ... an institutional effort which informs and values the contributions of other agencies. Conclusion As evidenced by the lessons learned in Iraq, interagency cooperation is essential for bringing about security and development. Though interagency cooperation was not the root cause for the troubles in Iraq, it would have allowed for a more rapid transition to a secure and independent Iraq. Failing to harness the momentum achieved in combat operations by using interagency cooperation inhibited security and development in Iraq, resulting in a longer than anticipated conflict. The lessons learned from Iraq can be applied not only to future conflict situations, but across the range of military operations. While current doctrine mandates interagency cooperation, if military leaders fail to value and train on interagency operations, the lessons of Iraq will be forgotten.

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