Military talks about interagency collaboration in war zones

By Emily Jarvis
Internet Editor

In school you learn that there is no “I” in team and now the federal government is taking a page out of that book when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The National Defense University and the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center are joining forces to host a symposium geared at improving interagency cooperation in war zones.

“The symposium will examine various initiatives in training, education, lessons learned and best practices across the spectrum of the U.S. Government whole of government approach to complex operations.”

“There has been a lot of initiatives such as provincial reconstruction teams that help us work together better. We need that same sort of collaboration and cooperation in an interagency environment. This symposium is going to help advance that effort,” said Brigadier General Edward Cardon on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Jane Norris.

But how do agencies work together?

“We need improved interagency cooperation and collaboration. To do that, we think education and training is key. How can we be better trained? Not just inside of what we are doing in the military but how can we do it on an interagency approach,” said Cardon.

“Protection of the population is one area that would benefit from interagency cooperation. We (military) would normally put a series of out posts, but there is a whole local government aspect of this as well. A part that provides an outlet for the people to bring their grievances, an effort to enforce a security force whether it be army or police from the host nation which includes a rule of law effort which needs to be enforced. There is microeconomics which is vitally important which we in the military are not good at, and USAID has extensive experience in this. That’s just a few examples in a small little village of what can be done with an interagency approach,” said Cardon.

Cardon believes entering a war with an interagency approach makes more sense than having the military secure the area and then bring in other agencies to help with stabilization.

“There is a tremendous power in having diplomats, Treasury and Agriculture there. They have areas of expertise that we couldn’t even begin to mimic and we are really good at security. We need help on the rest to have goods stabilization efforts,” said Cardon.

Cardon has seen the power of interagency collaboration first hand during his three terms in Iraq. “I started in Fallujah in 2003 and then went back in 2005, ’06, ’07,and ’08. I have seen tremendous development and adaptation by the whole of government. Looks like a more effective approach of a unified civil military plan.”

Cardon thinks that the interagency approach should be used in Afghanistan. “I think those approaches over time are much more effective. No longer can we have a military plan that after we have stabilized we bring in the rest of the agencies.”

To register for the event click here.

(Copyright 2009 by and the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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