The Future of Interagency Doctrine

By George E. Katsos Joint Force Quarterly 96

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Colonel George Katsos, USAR (Ret.), is a Program Manager on the Joint Staff.

Army CH-47F Chinook helicopter assigned to B Company, 1st
Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, California Army National Guard, assisted by Inyo County Search and Rescue, hovers while hoisting injured hiker at 13,800 feet on Mount Whitney, Inyo County, California, August 25, 2019 (Courtesy Inyo County Search and Rescue)
Army CH-47F Chinook helicopter assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, California Army National Guard, assisted by Inyo County Search and Rescue, hovers while hoisting injured hiker at 13,800 feet on Mount Whitney, Inyo County, California, August 25, 2019 (Courtesy Inyo County Search and Rescue)
Army CH-47F Chinook helicopter assigned to B Company, 1st
Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, California Army National Guard, assisted by Inyo County Search and Rescue, hovers while hoisting injured hiker at 13,800 feet on Mount Whitney, Inyo County, California, August 25, 2019 (Courtesy Inyo County Search and Rescue)
Whitney Rescue
Army CH-47F Chinook helicopter assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, California Army National Guard, assisted by Inyo County Search and Rescue, hovers while hoisting injured hiker at 13,800 feet on Mount Whitney, Inyo County, California, August 25, 2019 (Courtesy Inyo County Search and Rescue)
Photo By: Courtesy of Inyo County Search and Rescue
VIRIN: 190825-Z-A3568-1001Y

Agencies and Departments must deliberately and jointly invest in civil-military strategy, doctrine, training, and operations to meet the tests of this era.1

—General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.

Interagency capability synchronization continues to challenge whole-of-government approaches to national security. In 2011, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) General Martin Dempsey addressed the issue in the context of reform by directing the U.S. Armed Forces to expand the envelope of interagency cooperation.2 This strategic direction inspired an abundance of literature cataloging horizontal and vertical unity challenges among and between military and civilian workforces. Subsequently, the Joint Staff convened Department of Defense (DOD) and non-DOD (interagency and other civilian stakeholders) personnel to brainstorm on how to improve workforce interoperability within the context of joint doctrine—the purpose being to identify and work with those who get things done. The following accomplishments bring to light the potential of future interagency doctrine development.

U.S. military workforces plan and train with guidance material called doctrine. Joint doctrine, which is managed by the CJCS, is a body of institutional knowledge that provides fundamental principles and offers official advice to guide the employment of joint military forces in support of achieving national policy objectives. While recent national security system reform pursuits often describe U.S. Government civil-military cooperation emphasis as diminishing over time, joint doctrine was identified as one of two military efforts that still maintains a focus on promoting whole-of-government issues.3

Joint doctrine’s influence is vast. In a broader context for interagency personnel, joint doctrine and its standardization of terminology reduce organizational uncertainty, focus on strategic and operational perspectives, and provide transparency of best practices for organizational leaders, individual members, and society at large.4 In the realm of national interests, while national policies provide direction, joint doctrine in comparison offers official advice on how to enhance joint force effectiveness. While strategy describes national power synchronization, joint doctrine offers official advice on how to make strategy more effective on what to attain and with which military capabilities. Furthermore, as plans enumerate steps in the pursuit of mission objectives, joint doctrine offers official advice on how those objectives can be achieved. Under joint force development, lessons captured in operations and exercises enhance joint doctrine as well as expose unproven conceptual ideas that identify doctrinal gaps. Training, exercises, and education are also developed and implemented in accordance with joint doctrine.

Workforce doctrine and standardized terminology outside of DOD are scarce. Most organizations can be categorized as policy- or rules-based rather than doctrine-based workforces that capture and revalidate frameworks, common language, and best practices. Other than DOD, the Department of Homeland Security is the only U.S. Government entity with formal doctrine and terminology development processes. With present-day socialization of existing doctrine and terminology frameworks with interagency personnel, these participants continue to develop a basic understanding and appreciation for joint doctrine as well as a sincere desire to participate in joint doctrine development and to foster a dialogue that is leaning toward something similar for their own organizations.

Non-DOD joint publication participation continues to grow over time. Evidence includes non-DOD requests increasing twofold since General Dempsey’s departure. General Dunford added to his direction for non-DOD organizations to invest in military doctrine.5 The Joint Staff subsequently broadened opportunities for non-DOD entities via the Annual Call Memorandum to Executive Secretariats, creating a pathway for working group participation and other revision opportunities. One significant opportunity for change occurred in 2016 when the United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross, and other governmental and nongovernmental organization personnel became involved during the revision of Joint Publication 3-08, Interorganizational Cooperation.6 Their input influenced military perceptions that steered current practices away from calling non-DOD organizations “force multipliers and partners” to being known as “stakeholders” within an operational environment. Initially, the “so what” for non-DOD involvement was whether joint doctrine content was important enough to monitor and the development process worth the time and effort to inject organizational perspectives. After results of the aforementioned and other interactions, the question changed from whether to be involved to how these organizations could become more involved in joint doctrine development. Subject matter of continued interest focused on interorganizational cooperation, protection of civilians, defense support to civil authorities, joint planning and intelligence activities, special operations, counterdrug operations, countering weapons of mass destruction, and combating terrorism.7

Non-DOD involvement in joint doctrine development positively affects the enterprise. Recently, the Joint Staff assembled more than 30 authors from 18 organizations to develop a series of 3 articles on interorganizational cooperation.8 This series addressed the importance of a shared purpose, shared process, and working thoughtfully with people who follow through. Authors also examined organizational interpretation of higher-level guidance, area of responsibility distribution, time horizons, decisionmaking, and work methods. Furthermore, the group examined attitude and mutual respect as well as touchpoints on understanding principles, mandates, and organizational interests. This interaction and process led the way to understanding the importance of and need for a common set of terms and definitions to close the knowledge gap among U.S. Government workforces.9 Based on the fact that successful doctrine is normally built on a well socialized, understood, and agreed language, multiple interagency personnel banded together in 2017 and created the U.S. Government Compendium of Interagency and Associated Terms. This first edition included domestic- and foreign-themed sections to assist stakeholders in understanding counterpart language usage during steady state cooperation and force employment. Members of specific communities that found utility in this product included DOD special operations forces and academia.10

The remaining question is whether the time is ripe to formally develop interagency doctrine. In current joint doctrine, non-DOD contributions continue to improve content to include what joint force commanders should know about other potential workforces to be encountered during force employment.11 This U.S. Government interoperability information can be productive for use by National Security Council and Executive Branch department and agency personnel. The vehicle for this momentum is the new Joint Guide for Interagency Doctrine. Released in October 2019 and available at the Joint Electronic Library, this inaugural document contains U.S. Government structures, frameworks, relevant coordination mechanisms, force employment observations, organizational areas of responsibility regions, and notional framework and terminology mapping constructs. Moreover, the guide expands on current knowledge and can assist in the strategic art of navigating the U.S. Government bureaucracy to make workforces work more efficiently together in achieving national policy objectives. CJCS General Mark Milley has touched upon this issue, indicating that listening to entities such as those that make up the interagency is important to building an adaptive and agile force.12 In the end, the Joint Staff–driven gathering held 5 years ago not only shined a light on improving U.S. Government workforce interoperability but also brought the future of interagency doctrine to fruition. JFQ

Notes

1 Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., “Advance Questions for General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., USMC, Nominee for the Position of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” July 9, 2015, available at <www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Dunford_07-09-15.pdf>.

2 Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman’s Strategic Direction for the Force: Strengthening Our Relationship of Trust with the Nation (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, February 6, 2012), 5; George J. Flynn, Decade of War, vol. 1, Enduring Lessons from the Past Decade of Operations (Suffolk, VA: The Joint Staff, June 15, 2012), 25.

3 Richard D. Hooker, Jr., and Joseph J. Collins, Lessons Encountered: Learning from the Long War (Washington, DC: National Defense University Press, September 2015), 10.

4 Joint Publication (JP) 1, Doctrine of the Armed Forces of the United States (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2016); Barry R. Posen, “Foreword: Military Doctrine and the Management of Uncertainty,” Journal of Strategic Studies 39, no. 2 (2016), 159–173, available at <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01402390.2015.1115042>.

5 Dunford, “Advance Questions for General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.”

6 JP 3-08, Interorganizational Cooperation (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, October 12, 2016).

7 Ibid.; George E. Katsos, “The U.S. Government’s Approach to Health Security: Focus on Medical Campaign Activities,” Joint Force Quarterly 85 (2nd Quarter 2017), 66–75; “The U.S. Government’s Approach to Food Security: Focus on Campaign Activities,” Joint Force Quarterly 87 (4th Quarter 2017), 112–121; “The U.S. Government’s Approach to Environmental Security: Focus on Campaign Activities,” Joint Force Quarterly 89 (2nd Quarter 2018), 130–139; “The U.S. Government’s Approach to Economic Security: Focus on Campaign Activities,” Joint Force Quarterly 90 (3rd Quarter 2018), 106–112; and “The U.S. Government’s Approach to Civilian Security: Focus on Campaign Activities,” Joint Force Quarterly 91 (4th Quarter 2019), 97–104; JP 3-28, Defense Support of Civil Authorities (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, July 31, 2013); JP 5-0, Joint Planning (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, June 16, 2017); JP 2-0, Joint Intelligence (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, October 2013); JP 3-05, Special Operations (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, July 16, 2014); JP 3-07.4, Counterdrug Activities (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, February 5, 2019); JP 3-40, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, October 31, 2014); JP 3-26, Counterterrorism (Washington, DC: The Joint Staff, October 24, 2014).

8 James C. McArthur et al., “Interorganizational Cooperation, I of III: The Interagency Perspective,” Joint Force Quarterly 79 (4th Quarter 2015), 106–112; “Interorganizational Cooperation, II of III: The Humanitarian Perspective,” Joint Force Quarterly 80 (1st Quarter 2016), 145–152; and “Interorganizational Cooperation, III of III: The Joint Force Perspective,” Joint Force Quarterly 81 (2nd Quarter 2016), 129–139.

9 George E. Katsos, “Department of Defense Terminology Program,” Joint Force Quarterly 88 (1st Quarter 2018), 124–127.

10 George E. Katsos, “Command Relationships,” Joint Force Quarterly 63 (4th Quarter 2011), 153–155; “Multinational Command Relationships,” Joint Force Quarterly 65 (2nd Quarter 2011), 102–104; and “The United Nations and Intergovernmental Organization Command Relationships,” Joint Force Quarterly 66 (3rd Quarter 2012), 97–99.

11 Feedback from onsite doctrinal briefing at Special Operations Command, April 2018; feedback at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government National and International Security Program for Senior Executives, August 2019.

12 Mark A. Milley, “39th Chief of Staff Initial Message to the Army,” September 1, 2015, available at <www.army.mil/article/154803/39th_chief_of_staff_initial_message_to_the_army>.