Despite the comprehensive approach, it is still recognised that inter and intra agency cooperation in response to security challenges continues to be problematic. What strategies could be used to enhance cooperation and collaboration between actors in a Joint, Interagency and Multi-national environment?
The Comprehensive approach is a mechanism in which actors respond effectively to complex crises through coordination, cooperation and coordination in the military environment involving the government, the military and international organisations. Comprehensive approach is necessary during times of conflicts. It is essential in today’s complex security environment which requires joint, interagency and multinational response. Operating in a joint, interagency and multinational context also requires the contributions of various government agencies to help in a collaborative approach to the military operational tasks. A comprehensive approach involves coordination from military actors at national and military strategic levels. Coordination and collaboration are key pillars of the comprehensive approach. They ensure that international actors build confidence and understanding among each other in the complex military environment. The military actors should also cooperate with other international actors at the operational level in order to enhance effective joint operations planning and management. However, interagency cooperation in response to security challenges still remains problematic. Key strategies should be developed to enhance cooperation and collaboration between actors in Joint, Interagency and Multinational (JIM) environment.
This essay will discuss those strategies in the perspective of joint operations planning and management. In other words the essay will examine the strategies that can be used by the military to enhance success in the comprehensive approach. The key strategies that will be discussed include those that enhance greater levels of shared understanding that promote collaboration and cooperation in the JIM environment. This essay suggests that an effective comprehensive approach should harmonize various assumptions, paradigms, views and attitudes of international actors (New Zealand Defence Force, p. 30). The views of the government, the military and non-government actors should be brought together in a cooperative and collaborative manner through a share understanding of the military environment. The essay will discuss the strategies using theories of joint operations planning and management and publications while applying them to examples of recent operations of UK and US military.
One of the examples of Joint, Interagency and Multinational operations is the joint operations in Afghanistan involving US and NATO troops which began in 2001 after the bombing of US by Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Even after the death of Bin Laden, USA and NATO troops remained in Afghanistan to uproot all bases of terrorists which threaten world security, supported by the Afghan government. The military actors involved in the joint operations have a shared vision strategy. The shared vision was to eliminate the threats of terrorism in Afghanistan. However, crisis was experienced in 2012 when insider attacks. In 2012, the US had shifted the responsibility of fighting insurgence to local forces in Afghanistan following the killing of Osama Bin Laden in 2011 (Whitlock, 2012). Instead of supporting the joint military operations led by the US, local Afghan soldiers and policemen launched an insider attack killing 51 NATO soldiers in 2012. This crisis has caused the US and NATO to lose trust on the Afghan soldiers. This affects collaboration and cooperation in the Joint, Interagency and Multinational operations launched by the US and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
In order to develop appropriate strategies that can be used to enhance cooperation and collaboration in the Joint, Interagency and Multinational; it is necessary to develop a common sense of purpose, appropriate resourcing and shared understanding. This mechanism is appropriate for crisis management in the comprehensive approach. A sense of purpose can be achieved when the international actors arrive at a political agreement on the desired outcome (Rand Arroyo Center, 2011, p.3). In order to arrive at a cooperative and collaborative approach, the military, government and non-governmental approach should first agree on the desired outcome that will be beneficial to the interests of all actors involved in the Joint, Interagency and Multinational responses. The desired outcome should be consistent with a political direction influenced by shared understanding and a mutual sense of purpose among actors. The desired outcome may also be related to any issue of governance, economic development and security. Unity of purpose and a clear vision should also be developed to guide the joint planning and operations of the military and other interagency and multinational actors. The vision of the US-led joint operations in Afghanistan is to uproot the bases of insurgence/terrorists including Al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan. However, the crisis of insider attacks has caused a threat to the joint operations, and special strategies should be developed to enhance cooperation between the US, NATO and Afghan agencies. The US and NATO pulled out of the joint operations with Afghanistan Forces but they returned 10 days later with new strategies to enhance cooperation and collaboration with the Afghan forces.
One of the main strategies that can enhance cooperation and collaboration in a JIM environment is to develop a wide range of knowledge, skills and abilities to build a strong force in a collaborative manner. Functional expertise and basic military knowledge are essential in JIM contexts. In joint operations, collaboration between independent organisations is required. This is enhanced through the development of interpersonal and integration skills. In the Afghan operations, the US and NATO troops may use interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with the Afghan troops in order to convince them to cooperate with US and NATO troops instead of attacking them. If this is done successfully, the joint operations actors will achieve a shared understanding and vision which will in turn improve the collaboration and cooperation of the military actors involved in the joint operations. Although the independent organisations involved may be pursuing different agendas, it is necessary to develop a common ground of understanding in order to achieve the desired outcome of the joint operations team.
It is important to develop knowledge and skills in the military because other non-military agencies participating in JIM operations need to understand Army capabilities and needs in order to achieve a common vision. If other actors do not understand the military environment, it will be difficult to achieve cooperation and collaboration in the joint operations. Knowledge and skills in the military environment are needed to train other actors in the joint operations. Rand Arroyo Center Research Report (p.1) suggests that development of skills and abilities in coordination of combined arms operations promotes collaboration between individuals and non-military organisations. The capabilities, skills and knowledge of JIM domains are distinct such that the expertise of one section of the JIM is different from the expertise of another. If one domain has expertise in people skills, another domain has abilities in critical thinking while another has negotiation skills. These abilities combined bring collaboration and cooperation needed for the achievement of the desired outcome of the military.
The UN Joint Peace Operations also apply key strategies to enhance effective collaboration and cooperation in its operations. Strategic planning is important when undertaking any joint operations. The UN develops a strategic estimate as part of its strategic planning approach. In this case, the actors identify a range of possible scenarios in their joint operations and suggest some options that may apply under each scenario. The teams involved can then use their skills and abilities to discuss each scenario and come up with recommended option to pursue under each scenario. When the team agrees on this, collaboration and cooperation will be achieved throughout the joint, interagency or multinational operation. This strategic planning approach should take into consideration the regional dynamics in the joint operations. The team should identify the risks involved, costs that are likely to be incurred, and likely uncertainties. In this case, the team will be prepared for any uncertainty that may not have been anticipated in the first place.
In the case of Afghanistan joint operation, the US-led joint military troops should plan for their activities and consider dynamics of their teams including uncertainties and risks. This will help the US and NATO troops to anticipate insider attack from the Afghanistan groups (Whitlock, 2012). The insider attack should be included as one of the likely scenarios. The group should then identify a range of options that can be pursued to deal with the insider attack if it occurs. The process of coming up with recommended option for this scenario should include the participation of Afghanistan’s military so that all the members of the multinational operation in Afghanistan can cooperate and collaborate effectively to achieve its desired outcome. In terms of regional dynamics, the JIM participants in Afghanistan should also consider the possibility of support for insurgence from neighbouring countries so that if the problem of insider attack is resolved through cooperation and collaboration, other unanticipated regional problems may not set in.
In a situation where there is more than one likely scenario, the military and non-military groups engaged in joint, interagency and multinational response should prioritize on the most important scenario. In the case of US-led joint operation in Afghanistan, the most likely scenario is attacks from the Taliban and Al Qaeda, followed by insider attacks (Whitlock, 2012). Therefore, the actors involved should engage its operational efforts on the insurgence first and then the Afghanistan military who also cause threats to the US and NATO army.
Joint interagency multinational operations also require negotiations in order to achieve collaboration and cooperation in the complex military environment. Various military and non-military actors involved in a joint multinational operation should negotiate with each other in order to arrive at agreed positions so that the team attains good collaboration and cooperation levels. Thomson et al (2010) identify negotiation as an effective collaboration tool. Negotiation is defined as the process of carrying out interpersonal decision making when it is not tenable to handle issues in isolation. Joint operations require the collaboration and cooperation of the relevant actors in order to achieve the desired outcome. The team needs to negotiate resources and ideas in order to avoid conflicts of interests. Negotiating parties need to apply different styles and approaches of negotiation in order to achieve the objectives of the joint operations team. During negotiation, the interests of both parties should be met so that both parties are satisfied with the negotiation strategies. Negotiation should therefore be carried out with the intention of achieving integrative outcomes whereby all resources are utilized to create opportunities for all actors engaged in the negotiation.
In regards to the joint multinational operation in Afghanistan, all actors should negotiate to ensure that the needs of all parties are met. USA, NATO and Afghanistan military should negotiate in order to ensure that they all collaborate and cooperate instead of turning against each other. The insider attacks carried out by Afghanistan military against USA’s and NATO’s military show that there is conflict between the Afghanistan soldiers and the USA and NATO. This conflict can be resolved through a negotiation process involving the three parties. Each party should express its interests and needs, but they should learn to understand the needs of others. Thomson et al (2011) suggest that it is necessary to observe the interests of actors thoroughly during negotiations in order to identify compatible interests of the parties and come up with solutions to the problems faced by the actors. The key issue of consideration during negotiation should be problem solving so that actors can put aside their differences and agree on the best way to solve a common problem. If this happens, the team meets the desired collaboration and cooperation.
During negotiation, the most important negotiation approach is to compromise each other’s positions so that both parties agree on specific concessions to meet halfway in terms of their interests and needs. In this case, each party should relinquish some of its interests to accommodate those of others. In the case of USA’s mission in Afghanistan, the actors involved may consider accommodating style of negotiation whereby one team gives in to the needs of the other. In this case, Afghanistan military should be the actor giving in to the wants of USA and NATO because it violated the trust of its partners in the fight against insurgences. However, USA gave in to the wants of Afghanistan in September 2012 when it stopped its operation in Afghanistan because Afghanistan had overstepped its boundaries in the operation.
Motivation plays a key role in negotiation. If one party negotiates for its own gain, it is bound to be inclined to competitive favours rather than collaborative and cooperative heuristics. USA and NATO should place a common goal or desired outcome as the basis of negotiation in order to achieve a cooperative heuristic with Afghanistan. Dual concern model developed by De Dreu (2004, p. 119) involves the concern that each party has for itself. Selfish negotiators have low concern for the interests and needs of others. In the case of USA and Afghanistan, it is clear that Afghanistan is a selfish negotiator because it has low concern for USA to the extent of killing its army.
In joint interagency operations one of the most important strategies is integration strategy. UK and USA have very integrated interagency military composed of navy, the army, police and other military and non-military agencies. To achieve a successful joint interagency operation it is necessary to establish a strong integration strategy. This strategy enhances collaboration and cooperation in joint operations. In this approach, the military should integrate Joint, Interagency and Multinational capabilities into the military operations and the operations of its partners or allies in a military environment.
In order to achieve a successful integration, there is need for the military and its partners to understand the use of power and authority in a complex military environment. The interagency and multinational partners and allies should understand their responsibilities including humanitarian support, civil engagement, stability operations, and regard to the rule of law. Furthermore, an effective integration approach in a Joint, Interagency and Multinational operation requires actors to understand each other’s capabilities and weaknesses. The strengths of various actors need to be integrated in order to improve unity of effort and achieve a high level of collaboration and cooperation. Integration strategy is important in a comprehensive approach because it brings together the capabilities of various agencies in order to achieve a desirable outcome that favours the interests of all parties. Interests and needs of parties are also integrated through the integration strategy so that a unified outcome is achieved and conflicts of interest are
Another strategy of achieving effective collaboration and cooperation in the comprehensive approach is the expansion and preservation of relationships and trust within the Joint, Interagency and Multinational operation. Building relationships and trust enhances effective interagency coordination and collaboration; hence promoting the adaptability of interagency and multinational operations in the dynamic military environment (De Dreu, 2004, p. 43). Trust and relationship between the USA/NATO and Afghanistan military are lacking; otherwise an insider attack would not have occurred in the process of interagency cooperation. Interagency integration is also one way of building a strong relationship between various actors. The integrated interagency should have a clear objective resulting from the integration of the objectives of each group/actor in the interagency operation. Conflicts may arise during an interagency operation if the objectives of one agent or partner differ from the objectives of the other. Integration should be an ongoing and iterative strategy throughout a Joint, Interagency and multinational operation. The integration should be enduring, coherent and effective.
Cooperation and collaboration in a Joint, interagency and Multinational military environment can also be achieved through mutual trust and willingness to cooperate (USMC, 2013, p.1). This requires the partners and allies of the JIM to understand their ways and institutions. Education, common language, and liaison are also essential elements in enhancing a shared understanding which will promote trust and wiliness to cooperate. In the situation of Interagency and Multinational operation in Afghanistan, it is clear that Afghanistan as one of the actors in the operation is not willing to operate and lacks trust. This hinders collaboration and cooperation. The US and NATO should build liaison, education and a common language to negotiate with Afghanistan in order to establish a common force against insurgents.
In conclusion, it is clear that cooperation and collaboration should be developed in a Joint, Interagency and Multinational operations through appropriate strategies in order to achieve the desired outcome. The strategies that should be considered include: building trust and relationships; developing a shared understanding and a common vision; negotiating appropriately; enhancing key knowledge and skills among partner; integration strategy; and developing mutual trust and willingness to cooperate. These strategies are required to enhance collaboration and cooperation among various actors in the Afghanistan operation led by the USA. The Afghanistan operation is the key example used in this essay to discuss the strategies required for effective cooperation and collaboration as part of the comprehensive approach used in the operation. The US and NATO need to negotiate with Afghanistan and try to build trust and relationship with them in order to enhance collaboration and cooperation in the Afghanistan operation to do away with insurgents.
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