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Strategic Thought

A soldier and civilian

DND photo IS2005-2023a by Sergeant t Frank Hudec, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

Corporal Michael Blois from Petawawa, Ont., with the Force Protection Company (FP Coy), of Task Force Kabul (TFK), searches the bag of a locally employed person at Camp Julien in Kabul, Afghanistan.






planning for success: the challenge of applying operational art in post-conflict afghanistan

by Howard G. Coombs and General Rick Hillier

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war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means. What remains peculiar to war is simply the peculiar nature of its means. War in general, and the commander in any specific instance, is entitled to require that the trend and designs of policy shall not be inconsistent with these meansThe political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and the means can never be considered in isolation from their purpose.

Carl von Clausewitz, On War1

This dictum that war is an extension of politics by other means is well known. Also of significance for national leaders and military commanders are related thoughts that Clausewitz articulated on the necessity of comprehending the nature of war. He advised that the most significant judgement political and military leaders must make before becoming involved in a conflict is to understand the type of war in which they were about to become engaged.2 The views on the requirement to understand the use of military force in the service of national or alliance interests and the character of war that were articulated during the 19th century remain especially relevant today. Missteps in the complex geopolitical environment that surround current operations can have long lasting, global consequences. However, despite clearly articulated doctrine that guides the manner in which Canadian commanders and staffs should relate the conduct of missions and planning of military campaigns to fulfil national or grand strategy, the practice of operational planning has diverged from those Clausewitzian guidelines.3 The Canadian Forces (CF) approach to operational art has been developed in the crucible of peace support operations over the last five decades. These operations run the gamut of humanitarian assistance to peace enforcement, and have resulted in operational thought being applied piecemeal by strategic, operational and tactical commanders and their staffs to meet the reactive demands of distinctly different military operations. And this is normally without the benefit of an overarching strategic vision or coordinating mechanism. Through analysis of these operations, one can opine that CF commanders and staffs have utilized elements of operational thought in the past and continue to use them today, but, at the same time, it must be recognized that this does not always occur in a coherent or orderly manner. Nevertheless, it is through the exercise of these concepts of operational art that the CF functions at the operational level of war. Therefore, to develop a reasoned approach to the application of operational art by the CF, it becomes necessary to understand the manner in which operational art has been applied in those distinctly different operations and environments for the purpose of generating a robust and lasting peace. Specifically, some insights into how the CF employs operational art can be gained by examining the application of operational thought as practised by the Canadian-led International and Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Rotation V in Afghanistan during 2004.4

At the operational level of war, commanders create campaign plans that arrange military and other activities to enable the sequential or simultaneous attainment of strategic objectives and to fulfil a set of conditions visualized as the ultimate goal of that campaign.5 Practitioners of operational art use concepts, theory and doctrine to analyze complex military problems and to develop and sequence campaign models, plans, and major operations.6 At the operational level, commanders must exercise operational art as a method to translate strategic aims into operational constructs by using elements of operational design that will ultimately be reduced to tactical actions necessary to achieve strategic objectives.7 Unfortunately, the practical application of this operational design method is neither simple nor straightforward, particularly during peace support operations,8 with campaigns usually being limited to the duration of individual unit and formation rotations. The overall mission then becomes a succession of initiatives that seem rarely to achieve more than stabilization of a situation and maintenance of the status quo. Interestingly, the last experience of significantly sustained land combat by the Canadian military, as conducted during the Korean War, has also been described in these same terms. A recent study by military historian William Johnston concerning Canadian participation in that conflict dispels the commonly held perception of a single and cohesive three-year war, and describes how the Canadian Army, albeit unknowingly, conducted three successive individual campaigns from 1950 to 1953.9

The Canadian Viewpoint

The current Canadian vision of conducting these types of operations has been shaped by the experiences of the 20th century. The extremely successful Canadian organization and leadership of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) I in 1956 initially framed our perspective of peacekeeping, as well as did participation in succeeding peacekeeping missions. All were predicated on obtaining consensus from the belligerent parties through mediation and negotiation. Avoidance of conflict was the rule, and the maintenance of peace, or at least an absence of overt violence, was normally sufficient to achieve the objective of the mission. National and alliance concerns revolved around the containment and/or the de-escalation of fighting. Canada, as a post-war middle power, took pride in these activities, conducted within the framework of the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). As war historian J.L. Granatstein put it:

Canadian isolationism is dead, and its resurrection seems most unlikely. The shrinking of the world has given new responsibilities to every nation, but very few are willing to pick up the burden. If peace is maintained and a nuclear holocaust averted, the credit may well go to those nations that took steps to prevent wars. Canadians can take justifiable pride in the role they have played.10

However, in today’s volatile international environment, it is arguable that this paradigm continues to remain workable. The goal of intervention is no longer simply a cessation of violence to avoid potential nuclear conflagration. It is also about reconstruction, renewal and development leading to functioning nation states that can act autonomously within the world community of nations. Military campaigns must assist with creating the conditions for a durable and lasting peace in joint, multinational and multi-agency environments, and numerous state and non-state actors must be involved. They must also attempt to construct a confident sense of inevitability with respect to the desired outcome in the minds of all participants. As a result, the military contribution to this goal is not limited to the monitoring and control of consenting belligerents, as was the case with earlier peacekeeping operations. It has become exceedingly complex, particularly in post-conflict enironments such as Afghanistan.11

The Problems

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson long ago highlighted this dilemma. “Our problem, then, so easy to state, so hard to solve, is how to bring about a creative peace and security which will have a strong foundation.”12 In order to promote the conditions for a long-lasting peace, it is essential to produce societal regeneration by understanding the nature of the society being rebuilt, and then to work within that society.13 This requires focusing on the processes that permit strengthening and development of internal structures. Specific campaign plans must be formulated that include unified and balanced efforts by all agencies to achieve the circumstances necessary for success. The roles played by both internal and external participants in the process bear particular scrutiny in order to assist with the creation of local ownership of the societal transformation as it evolves and matures. Operational commanders and staffs must address the need to subordinate the military aspects of the campaign to the imperatives of supporting the efforts of reconstruction, and to provide the security that will encourage these developmental activities. While this is obviously an effort that requires cooperation and interaction with a myriad of other groups, it is contingent on the existence of a cohesive and focused strategic concept that creates unity of effort. Unfortunately, this unifying concept rarely exists as a cohesive whole in either grand or national strategy.

One view of operational methods of planning during peace support operations is depicted at Figure 1. Military and other intervention occur as the result of a crisis, and they do so with the purpose of restoring stability. Once the worst of the situation has been alleviated, operational commanders are in a position to commence the exercise of operational art in order to sequence activities and achieve the desired conditions for attainment of the strategic objective.14 However, unlike the model depicted here, reality is frequently quite different. All too often the strategic goals of this involvement are nebulous, which has a corresponding negative impact on the ability of commanders and staffs to conduct operational planning. Operational art exists to create the linkages between the requirements of policy and the activities of tactics. Consequently, without an overarching strategic concept, it is not possible to bridge the abyss between strategy and tactics. The exercise of operational art and the construction of campaign plans quickly degenerates into the realm of coordinating tactical actions in order to ensure stability and assist with reconstruction and development. The resultant military objectives are short-term and rarely outlast the tenure of individual rotations. Operational commanders are unable do more than strive for stability within their region of responsibility. Obviously, to facilitate the design of operational concepts, commanders must focus at the operational level, remaining apart from tactical decisions, and, lacking strategic direction, formulate connections with the strategic goal in mind.15


Figure 1

This provokes a great amount of thought on the exact nature of operational planning methodologies that will encourage peaceful societal rejuvenation as a collective effort by a variety of organizations within the context of overarching strategic guidance. It is obvious that successful and enduring campaign plans require an implicit understanding and inclusion of the nature of societal reconstruction and renewal required for a particular region. And they must also serve a strategic purpose. In the absence of a strategic concept to provide that function, it may then become necessary for the military to provide the assistance and impetus necessary for the formulation of a strategic concept with an ultimate objective of addressing “the removal of the causes of war.”16 This was the approach used during ISAF Rotation V, and it was the product of the post-1992 experiences with the complex dilemmas posed by peace support operations that have occurred since that time.

Case Afghanistan

Prior to the transition between ISAF IV and ISAF V in January 2004, the situation in Kabul had been stabilized through intensive patrolling.17 The time was propitious to expand beyond tactical activities and implement a long-term campaign plan that would address the needs of the Afghan people. President Hamid Karzi, the leader of the Afghanistan Transitional Authority (ATA),18 articulated concerns in four principal areas that he felt would undermine the influence of the ATA. Firstly, there were internal and external threats to the fledgling Afghanistan National Army (ANA) from a variety of sources. Secondly, the lack of human capital, that is, educated and trained people, within the ministries of the government and the security forces of the ATA posed great challenges to the governance and security of the country. Thirdly, there was a need for the promulgation of positive information supporting the efforts of the ATA. Lastly, and most importantly, the absence of unified action by the multitude of governments and organizations in Afghanistan had resulted in a dissipation of development efforts, and, correspondingly, the potential effects. As a consequence, in order to expand ISAF V beyond tactical activities, it was evident that it would be necessary to deal with these concerns. The most important issue was President Karzi’s concern regarding the lack of unity of effort amongst those involved in the regeneration of Afghanistan.


Figure 2

In many ways, like the activities of the NATO Stabilization Force in the former Yugoslavia, the primary focus of ISAF V planners became the development of a strategic framework supporting the harmonization of international community efforts in the reconstruction and redevelopment of Afghanistan. Initially known as the Structured Process for the Harmonized Development of Afghanistan (SPDF), and later as the Investment Management Framework (IMF), it was created by reviewing the mandates of all the major organizations in Afghanistan and by compiling a list of the objectives of each of these agencies. As depicted in Figure 2, these independent but interrelated themes culminate in one national end state and were represented within the IMF as five strategic lines of operation, each with a clearly defined start point and final objective. Each contained multiple objectives, in the short, medium and long-terms. The goal of each line of operation would be attained gradually through these three successive phases.19 The IMF model was offered to President Karzi and the ATA in order to assist further in developing a common national vision and unity of effort through consensus building and the coordination of all parties. It also provided a method to prioritize the challenges facing the ATA – with the purpose of eventually building a legitimate and functioning state that provided for the security and prosperity of its citizens and contributed to regional and global stability.

The IMF and derivative products that outlined the operational tasks and interdependencies required to achieve the objectives of the five thrust lines were briefed to the ATA and various members of the International Community, including the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). There was general acceptance of the concepts and principles that underpinned the IMF. Next, members of the ISAF V planning staff assisted the ATA with incorporating this information into the National Priority Programs (NPPs). With the assistance of ISAF staff, about 40 per cent of the IMF was actualized through the NPPs.

The NPPs were created by the ATA towards the end of the first two years of their administration to move reconstruction efforts from discrete and easy, to projects intended to provide immediate relief to those that would contribute to a sound future vision for the people of Afghanistan. President Karzi, at a number of international and domestic conferences, first outlined the overarching elements of this vision. He proposed that the carrying out of policies entailing large amounts of funding should be through programme financing as opposed to project financing. This idea became the National Development Framework, and its component parts became the NPPs. The unifying principle of the NPPs was that donor aid should be allocated through the national budget process so the capabilities of Afghan institutions could be consistently and systemically increased. The National Priority Programs were designed to move Afghanistan from a position of recovery and reconstruction to that of sustainable development. Additionally, the NPPs would ensure that aid efforts would be sustainable, “transparent, effective and accountable” to the people of Afghanistan.20

Afghanistan map

CMJ map by Monica Muller

Afghanistan Map

While a great amount was accomplished with creation of the IMF and incorporation of a significant portion of its contents within the NPPs, it was recognized that there was a requirement for a national unified concept that clearly articulated a strategy for prioritization, as well as for subsequently focused development. The logical next stage was the creation of a national concept for structured regional development. This concept would link the objectives of a strategy with the resources of the NPPs to actualize the IMF. The resultant national strategy would provide crucial guidance and impetus for coordination that would facilitate the construction of operational level planning for ISAF.

A Model for Success?

As a result of discussions with the ATA Ministry of Finance, ISAF V provided a number of planners to assist Finance Minister Dr. Ashraf Ghani and his staff with the analysis of this strategic problem. The resultant concept paper, “Creating a National Economy: The Path to Security and Stability in Afghanistan” used the existent work of the ATA as a model for creating a legitimate and functioning Afghanistan. Without changing any of the established and accepted programmes and policies this paper advocated unified action of all involved agencies within an overarching security context:

The fundamental issue right now is securitybecause there is clearly given the security questions – reluctance [to make capital investments in the country]Where it may not be possible to secure the entire country at one point, you could create zones of security where enhanced economic activity could be fostered.21

This approach addressed the disintegrating influences affecting the country in a regional and coordinated manner that enabled the prioritization and allocation of resources. Furthermore, this approach demonstrated to the Afghan people the commitment of the ATA and the international community to national reconstruction and state building.

The ideas contained in this concept paper were derived from an analysis of “obstacles to success” and were conducted utilizing various official documents, primarily the Afghanistan Transitional Authority paper, “Securing Afghanistan’s Future.”22 The greatest challenge to the re-establishment of Afghanistan was the lack of confidence in nation building efforts by the international community and the Afghan populace. A study to establish distinguishable centrifugal forces at play within the country resulted in four discernible forms. First was the political dissension of regional leaders who advocate local interests above that of the nation. Second were military components, and they can be seen in the existence of the various disruptive non-governmental armed forces. Third were the people of Afghanistan themselves who, fragmented by almost thirty years of violence, had little unity. Fourth were regionally based narco-economies that had global ramifications. These centrifugal forces had come together in five distinct regional units that formed solid resistance towards centralization under the ATA.

This analysis outlined a number of significant issues that needed to be addressed at the strategic and operational levels so that ATA and international efforts in Afghanistan might prove fruitful. Primarily, in the absence of a strategic coordinating mechanism and a common vision for development, the multitude of efforts by the Afghanistan Transitional Authority and international community were diffuse, and, consequently, they had little impact. Also, without the creation of a secure environment for those engaged in the re-establishment of the Afghan state, reconstruction efforts had stalled. It was also necessary to resolve the obstructive regionalism supported by the various narco-economies and orchestrated by various regional power brokers23 to establish a functioning state. Finally, there was a need to reinforce the central government and the institutions of sub-national administration in order to provide effective governance and dismiss the perception that the ATA had little influence beyond the environs of Kabul.

“Creating a National Economy” articulated a strategic vision achieving a rejuvenated and independent Afghanistan, as an integrated member of the global community. It proposed that through focusing resources in specific areas, one could make the greatest impact in addressing the challenges. The ATA and international community needed to combine efforts in order to transform regional illicit economies into one legitimate national economy. The best way to do this was to focus on the greatest vulnerability in each regional economy. These are the rural areas where opium was produced. In cities and large garrison towns, there was a concentration of political, military and capital power that, in most cases, gave security and often prosperity to the urban populations and acted as a reinforcing feedback mechanism to continued regionalism. In the rural areas, there was no such concentration of military or capital power, and political power was also diffused. The most important groupings were those of village and family. One cannot underestimate the impact of these kinship networks, and their support would be necessary to enact this transformation. As the central government was challenged to extend its influence into remote areas, so were regional power brokers. This weakness in the illicit economies permitted an avenue for intervention.

It was noted that one exception to this approach might apply to the city and province of Kabul. It was thought necessary that the ATA build credibility by addressing security issues in Kabul before attempting to do so elsewhere. Without demonstrating the ability and determination to create a safe environment in the immediate area of the capital, it was felt that it would be that much harder to expand central governance elsewhere.24

The model acknowledged that it was a complex task to transform these economies. This could not be done by a nation-wide, broad-front capital-investment approach that targeted change at the provincial level. Rather, it was recommended that attempts to intervene should be based on transforming the modes of production, labour, and the distribution of wealth at the district, village and household level, in order to affect the primary forms of influence. In this way, the illicit economy could be attacked indirectly through the rural population.

Incentives such as farm and infrastructure repair, skills development and education, accessibility to public health and the provision of consistent and effective law and order to these regions would encourage villages to rid farms of poppy crops. This would involve the concentration of significant rural development projects to create conditions that would guarantee success. Transformation of the rural economies would remove the greatest source of capital revenue from regional power brokers. It would also be necessary to ensure economic initiatives were ready to fill the potential vacuum. However, simultaneously with rural development, there needed to be the application of direct pressure to the provincial political leaders who could disrupt ATA efforts at the village and district levels, as well as eradication operations to help persuade farmers to accept development action that was in their interests. Narcotics interdiction operations focused on drug bazaars and heroin-producing efforts must continue. In any case, the long-term answer rested in transformation of the rural economy.

“Creating a National Economy” was a macro model that allowed the ATA to take the lead in the re-establishment of Afghanistan as a functioning state. It recommended utilization of overarching joint planning and coordination mechanisms within the NPPs, with inclusive multi-agency representation to oversee its implementation. This coordinating body would then be responsive to the ATA and have subordinate coordinating committees in the areas being developed. In this manner, a cohesive and unified approach, marshalling all resources, could be taken towards regional development. It was also acknowledged that this strategy could only work if there were consensus amongst all stakeholders created by leadership from the principal ambassadors. This needed support from the heads of donor organizations in assisting the ATA to choose regions for concentrated development, in selecting priority institution-building programmes, and in distinguishing work requirements.

Spreading the Word

As a result of this requirement to create consensus for the idea, it was necessary to produce accord amongst all potential participants, including the ATA itself. In light of the planned presidential and lower house elections, and likely leadership changes in the autumn of 2004, it was somewhat difficult to deduce who would be in a position to become the prime proponent of this intended direction. However, there were a number of officials in positions within the ATA who could act as advocates during the foreseeable future, and these individuals were briefed on the contents of the plan.

Simultaneously, a number of the western ambassadors and their staffs were approached, and they demonstrated varying degrees of interest. The Canadian ambassador was informed of the initiative, and a copy of the proposal was sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade for information and further examination. Various international and non-governmental organizations were also solicited for feedback, and all demonstrated support for some, if not all, aspects of the concept. It was also proposed that another possible venue for dissemination of these ideas would be through forwarding the paper to consulting companies involved in Afghanistan for their information. It was noted that consultants, like contractors, were now part of the contemporary environment of peace support operations.25

Information packages and briefings were also given to Coalition Forces Command – Afghanistan (CFC-A) to ensure that they were aware of the work that was ongoing and to gain their support.26 The coalition and NATO forces that were coordinating reconstruction efforts, and would eventually have to act in an enlarged role, were the Provincial Reconstruction Teams. They were capable of making the linkages between the officials of the ATA and the international community, assisting through coordination and capacity building. They could also act as the military representatives in a given area and speak on behalf of their commanders. In a similar manner as the Joint Commission Observers of the NATO Stabilization Forces in Bosnia, they would also be a source of feedback to those in authority – a “directed telescope.”27

Flourishing poppy crops result in obstructive regionalism in Afghanistan, supported by the narco-economies and orchestrated by regional power brokers.

It was thought that it would have been useful to approach the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to marshal their thoughts on a unified approach to the reconstruction of the state of Afghanistan. However, time did not permit this before the transfer of authority from ISAF V to ISAF VI. Numerous experiences with stability operations in the recent past have indicated the need for active involvement of donors to achieve strategic goals. Money is a powerful tool that exerts considerable influence.

This effort to create interest and shared ownership amongst all agencies was crucial. While it demanded a great amount of effort, it was recognized that, without assisting the ATA to advance the concept, both the populace and the international community would be reluctant to sustain the needed activity. The support of the international community was necessary for unified action, and without the security, planning resources and coordination provided by the military, the ATA and international community would be reluctant to commit resources. In many ways, it becomes the role of the military commander to create a sense of inevitability about desired outcomes amongst all participants. Together these activities enhance the ability of military forces to hand over to civil authorities, disengage and reduce their presence throughout the region.28

This indicates a key difference between normal operations and peace support operations. Through high intensity or “kinetic” types of operations, one attempts to overwhelm the enemy through all means available, but primarily through violence. The focus is on the destruction of the enemy rather than consolidation of one’s own forces and authority. During peace support operations, such as that being conducted in Afghanistan, one must constrain the growth of the threat forces and manage the perception that there is an increase in measurable government capacity. The military component is just one element of the overall campaign. The ultimate object is a stable and secure end-state. In General Hillier’s words, “We can’t leave until the state building is comlplete; that’s why it’s called an end–state.”29 As a result, during nation building one attempts to establish a window of opportunity and maintain that as long as possible, and the objective becomes creating desired perceptions in those one wishes to influence.

In certain ways, this may have become a de facto Canadian way of conducting war, despite a tendency to train and educate personnel as if kinetic operations will address the dilemmas posed by the contemporary operational environment. While deployed, Canadian officers and non-commissioned officers shape the environment through a variety of non-lethal ways, including information operations. Unfortunately, decisive combat operations are, in effect, simplistic solutions to what are complex dilemmas. For example, in Afghanistan a narco-state now exists. Kinetic operations alone will not address the convoluted issues that this reality has created. However, in order to do this, we need to develop and refine the intellectual abilities required for complex problem solving.

It is necessary to approach the difficult quandaries posed by peace support operations holistically, and to identify points that must be addressed simultaneously across elements of national power in order to achieve the desired result. The focus of activities during the campaign planning process, when the opponent is ill-defined and usually a non-state actor, should not be on traditional views of decisive points and centres of gravity. Instead, activities should focus on the attainment of the end state by linking the conditions necessary for success throughout the length and breadth of a campaign. Additionally, it is very important that all operations are conducted in a manner that will bear up under public scrutiny. Indigenous participation, support and, most importantly, leadership of the process of reconstruction must be encouraged. Campaign plans designed to assist with the renewal of war-torn societies must recognize the need for local ownership of the transformation as it evolves and develops greater capacity.

Currently, the non-military aspects of planning in the Afghan theatre are focused on attempting to facilitate a representative form of government and a robust economy. It is understood that encouraging ethical behaviours lending themselves to the establishment of these goals is also a necessity. Campaign planners are struggling to turn nascent national policies into local triumphs, which will in turn reinforce and strengthen the national institutions. In the initial stages of this campaign, operational measures of effectiveness, normally utilized at the operational level, must through necessity be applied at the tactical level. Over time, these measures of effectiveness will widen in scope and become indicative of operational progress. Nevertheless, at the beginning, nation building activities may be concerned with such visible low-level issues as creating sustainable local employment, the re-establishment of local hydro-electric infrastructure, the repair of roads and communications facilities, and, of course, the provision of support to local institutions of governance.

In Conclusion

Members of the Canadian military are continuously thrust into complex situations without clear strategic objectives, except for the imperative to establish a “secure environment.” In order to efficiently implement a conceptual plane encompassing the operational level of war, the CF must be aware of the challenges being experienced by current commanders and staffs and address them when considering campaign planning methods. The most significant lesson of modern peace support operations is that an intervention by outside forces in a post-conflict environment does not necessarily lead to a strategically certain result or a complete cessation of hostilities. A tenuous peace in Afghanistan has highlighted the difficulties inherent in the re-establishment of a nation and confirmed the importance of the link between strategy and operations. Military activities must orchestrate the elements of success that are applicable to the problem being addressed, and they must synthesize the information to devise approaches that will create the conditions necessary to achieve victory.

To best describe the manner in which the CF uses operational thought during peace support operations, it must be acknowledged that there is a Canadian way when visualizing, describing and implementing the operational level of war. Unlike other national armed forces, the Canadian perception of the operational level of war is not focused on operational manoeuvre or operational logistics, nor is it tied to a specific theatre of war. It diverges from the coherent vision promulgated in doctrine and military education. Canadian commanders and staff officers, as demonstrated by activities conducted during International Security and Assistance Force Rotation V, are not bound by hierarchical relationships; they only create the opportunity to coordinate operational-level systems in a multi-agency environment by facilitating the construction of the operational level of war – from the bottom up. It is a unique approach that is not captured by doctrine but is legitimized through practice and it reflects the Canadian way in the post conflict environments of the 21st century.

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Howard G. Coombs is a doctoral candidate at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario studying 20th century Canadian military history. He is also a Teaching Fellow at Queen’s, a Research Associate at the Canadian Forces Leadership Institute in Kingston, and an instructor at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. General Rick Hillier is the Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Forces. During 2004, he commanded the NATO International and Security Assistance Force Rotation V in Afghanistan.


  1. Carl Von Clausewitz, On War. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Eds), (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), pp. 86-87.
  2. Ibid., p. 88.
  3. The latest articulation of Canadian Forces operational level doctrine is contained within Canada, National Defence, B-GJ-005-300/FP-000 Canadian Forces Operations, (2004-11-05).
  4. The authors of this paper are indebted to Commander (N) Chris Henderson, Lieutenant-Colonels Allen Black (ret’d) and Ian Hope, as well as the staff of ISAF V, whose work in Afghanistan is contained throughout this paper.
  5. The other activities alluded to are those derived from the exercise of the elements or instruments of national power, and they are diplomatic, informational and economic in nature. A common acronym used with reference to these components is DIME, for D[implomatic], I[nformational], M[ilitary], and E[conomic].
  6. The term ‘doctrine’ at its most fundamental level is used to represent the common understanding that is generated by standardized methods of practice. Doctrine is a distillation of history, theory and accepted techniques. It is not prescriptive, but can be likened to a sheet of music that all players may read and interpret, using their own instrumental method.
  7. Elements of operational design are used to create a practical expression of operational art, the campaign plan. They include concepts such as military end state, the desired conditions that are required to fulfil the strategic objective. Ideas such as centre of gravity, decisive points and lines of operation assist in determining the end state. The centre of gravity refers to the physical or moral quality that acts as the centre or hub of power for an opponent. Normally, one attempts to discern decisive points that allow one to indirectly affect the centre of gravity, while the line created along a series of decisive points, a line of operations, is used to sequence military force temporally and spatially. It is very important to arrange the events that cannot be conducted simultaneously in a continuous sequential manner, without a pause. This idea of sequencing is also an element of operational design. Definitions available in Canada, at National Defence, B-GJ-005-300/FP-000 Canadian Forces Operations, (2004-11-05), pp. 3-1 to 3-3.
  8. The most recent publication of peace support operations doctrine lists conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacebuilding, traditional peacekeeping operations, complex peacekeeping operations, enforcement actions, and humanitarian operations as the various categories of peace support activities. Canada, National Defence, B-GJ-005-307-FP-030 Peace Support Operations, (2002-11-06), pp. 2-3 to 2-5.
  9. William Johnston, A War of Patrols: Canadian Army Operations in Korea (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2003).
  10. Lieutenant J.L. Granatstein, Report No. 4 Directorate of History Canadian Forces Headquarters: Canada and Peace-keeping Operations [paper on-line], Canada, Department of National Defence, 22 October 1965, available from <www.dnd.ca/hr/dhh/history_archives/engraph/cfhq_e.asp?cat=4>, accessed 23 February 2001, p.25.
  11. Supporting the argument that military involvement in post-conflict activities is multifaceted are statements that Afghan Finance Minister Dr. Ashraf Ghani made to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe during a visit to Kabul in July 2003, for continued North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) strategic planning support. Ghani argued that NATO officers had the requisite experience to understand end states and to view programmes holistically, unlike many humanitarian agencies. He also added that NATO planners brought a fresh, unbiased perspective to any discussions. E-mail of Lieutenant-Colonel (ret’d) Allen Black to Howard G. Coombs, February 2005.
  12. Lester Bowles Pearson, “Nobel Lecture,” 11 December 1957 [internet document], available from <http://nobelprize.org/peace/laureates/ 1957/pearson-lecture.html>, date accessed 2 February 2005.
  13. For further study concerning concepts of nation rebuilding, Michael Pugh’s Regeneration Of War-Torn Societies is strongly recommended. This is a scholarly work concerned with the challenges of understanding and addressing societal changes within war-torn populations. Pugh seeks, through a collection of essays, to provoke thought on the nature of peaceful societal renewal or what he calls “regeneration” as a collective effort of reconstruction by internal and external agencies. The nature of regeneration, and a related concept, “peacebuilding,” the establishment of a secure environment, are examined from the viewpoint of understanding the interaction of societal processes and mechanisms with the actions of the supporting agencies of reconstruction. Michael Pugh, Regeneration Of War-Torn Societies (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000).
  14. Coherent campaign plans linked to a strategic objective also make it possible to identify an exit strategy. Email of Lieutenant-Colonel (ret’d) Allen Black to Howard G. Coombs, February 2005.
  15. Colonel Bill Brough, Executive Officer to Commander ISAF, interview by Howard G. Coombs, 21 July 2004.
  16. Lester B. Pearson, “Nobel Lecture.”
  17. Brigadier General (ret’d) Jim Cox, “Major General Andrew Leslie – Kabul & ISAF” [internet journal] <www.frontline-canada.com> (September/October 2004), p. 8.
  18. “The ATA replaced the Afghan Interim Authority (AIA). In accordance with the Bonn Agreement, the ATA organized a Constitutional Loya Jirga in late 2003 to pave the way for the election of an Afghan government by early 2004.” Due to a number of factors the election was delayed until October 2004 and resulted in the inauguration of President Karzi that December. “Government of Afghanistan,” in Peacebuilding in a regional perspective [Internet] available from <http://www.cmi.no/afghanistan/background/ata.cfm>, accessed 14 February 2005.
  19. Diagram from a presentation by Lieutenant-Colonel Ian Hope entitled “A Strategic Concept for the Development of Afghanistan,” June 2004.
  20. The Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan, Ministry of Finance Consultation Draft, “National Priority Programs (NPPs): An Overview,” (23/24 June 2004), p. 3.
  21. “Security Issues Dampen Afghan Investments,” in The Associated Press (13 July 2004).
  22. Afghanistan Ministry of Finance Consultation Draft, “Securing Afghanistan’s Future: Accomplishments and the Strategic Path Forward,” (29 January 2004).
  23. The term ‘regional power broker’ is used to denote an individual who controls power that is neither sanctioned nor necessarily authorized by the state.
  24. A senior Uzbek commander expressed the following sentiment: “If there is any law to be implemented, it should first be done in Kabul, then in the provinces, and then in the districts. If you don’t disarm the defence ministry, which is dominated by Panjshiris, people will ask, ‘Why are you disarming this province or that province?’ If the top four commanders [in Kabul] place their arms in the hands of central government, people like us will have no problems placing our arms in the centre.” Quoted in International Crisis Group (ICG), “Disarmament and Reintegration in Afghanistan: ICG Report No 65,” (Kabul/Brussels, 30 September 2003).
  25. “Windfalls of War: US Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan” The Center for Public Integrity (Washington: 29 September 2004) [internet] available from <http://www.publicintegrity.org/wow/default.aspx>, accessed 10 May 2005.
  26. CFC-A had the mission of conducting “full spectrum operations throughout the area of operations in order to establish enduring security, defeat al-Qaida/Taliban and deter the re-emergence of terrorism in Afghanistan.” Untitled ISAF Liaison Officer Document (1 September 2004).
  27. In the quest for certainty, commanders sometimes utilize qualified and trusted officers to act as observers and report their findings. These special agents exist outside the chain of command, and report back to the originating authority. In the manner of a telescope directed towards a certain point, these officers provided information from specified units and operations. Lieutenant Colonel Gary B. Griffin, The Directed Telescope: A Traditional Element of Effective Command (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Combat Studies Institute, 1991), p. 1.
  28. E-mail of Lieutenant-Colonel (ret’d) Allen Black to Howard G. Coombs, February 2005.
  29. Lieutenant-General (now General) Rick Hillier, Commander ISAF, interview by Howard G. Coombs, 20 July 2004.

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