Understanding Complex Military Operations: A case study approach, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Understanding Complex Military Operations

A case study approach, 1st Edition

Edited by Karen Guttieri, Volker Franke, Melanne Civic


310 pages

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Hardback: 9780415712804
pub: 2014-03-13
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This volume provides materials for active learning about peacebuilding and conflict management in the context of complex stability operations.

Today, America faces security challenges unlike any it has faced before, many of which requiring lengthy U.S. involvement in stability operations. These challenges are exceedingly dynamic and complex because of the ever changing mix and number of actors involved, the pace with which the strategic and operational environments change, and the constraints placed on response options.

This volume presents a series of case studies to inspire active learning about peacebuilding and conflict management in the context of complex stability operations. The case studies highlight dilemmas pertaining to the story of the case (case dilemma) and to its larger policy implications (policy dilemma). The cases stimulate readers to "get inside the heads" of case protagonists with widely differing cultural backgrounds, professional experiences, and individual and organisational interests. Overall, Understanding Complex Military Operations challenges the reader to recognize the importance of specific national security related issues and their inherent dilemmas, deduce policy implications, and discern lessons that might apply to other – perhaps even non-security related – areas of public policy, administration, and management.

This volume will be of much interest to students of conflict prevention, transitional justice, peacebuilding, security studies and professionals conducting field-based operations in potentially hazardous environments.


'The case method is a natural addition to training and education for complex operations. When the Case Center of the Georgetown University Institute for the Study of Diplomacy was asked to participate, we shared an analytical technique that would apply experiential learning in a new way. The central question for students of complex operations is: confronted by a new environment, how does an expert practitioner interpret the situation and reach new insights? There are many similarities that practitioners face in Iraq and Afghanistan, but successful operations in one environment is not wholly a recipe for success in the other. Teaching with the case method builds the analytical, decision-making skills that are not case, or lesson, dependent. The case study method and the practitioners who contributed to this volume have established a solid foundation for future complex operations' --- Charles Dolgas, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University

'The origins of this case studies volume was a collaboration between the nascent Center for Complex Operations and the Naval Post Graduate School, with the aim of improving the ability of the U.S. Government to prepare for civil–military cooperation in counterinsurgency, irregular warfare and stability operations. Complex operations are tough! As soldiers, policy makers, peacekeepers, academics and other experts engaged in complex operations, we continue to face challenges, even after a decade of civilian-military cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan. These case studies are designed to enhance the learning and analytical processes and better prepare professionals for the range of complex operations. And maybe, the next time we find ourselves shoulder-to-shoulder doing the difficult and necessary work inherent in complex operations, things will be just a little bit easier' ---David A. Sobyra, Office of the Secretary of Defense

'Among the challenges of complex operations and practical learning broadly is ensuring that the experiences of individuals, and their collective insights, are integrated into training and education. With the staccato operational tempo, the rapid turn-over of personnel, and the time-urgency of two ongoing hot wars at the time, the challenge was how best to refine analysis and decision making skills of those who would be called into field operations. These case studies provide pertinent facts derived from first-hand experience, with scenarios drafted by practitioners and others. With the accompanying teaching notes derived from personal insights, this volume provides a method for conveying valuable experiential learning even in situations of ambiguity and uncertain outcomes' --- Michael Miklaucic, Center for Complex Operations, National Defense University

'This book of case studies will be an invaluable resource for students and practitioners of complex operations across its spectrum from conflict prevention and stabilization to peace-building, as well as in political transitions of various kinds. The business school case study format places the student in a real- world scenario, where they must make decisions that require difficult trade-offs and derive an understanding of many different perspectives. This time-tested teaching method helps to ground the learning experience in a solid foundation. This case studies book brings to life the academic literature while giving students practical exposure to a wide range of situations in response to which they can develop their own insights and conclusions. The authors provide an impressive array of cases, ranging from the British in Aden in the 1960s to separatist movements in the Former Soviet Union, unrest during Kenya’s elections, humanitarian engagement in the Horn of Africa, and the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. This book will be an indispensable classroom tool for the teaching of complex operations in educational and training environments. This also is a memorial for conveying lessons for years to come.' -- Clare Lockhart, co-founder and CEO of the Institute for State Effectiveness

'National security is more an essential than a phrase. For it to be strong is for it to be studied. To think strategically about it is strengthened by looking back at examples of the past. The case studies contained herein offer both context and content to do things better and to make life better.' -- F. William Smullen, Director, National Security Studies, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Table of Contents

Foreword, Ambassador John E. Herbst (Ret.) 1. Complex Operations: Connecting Scholarship and Practice, Karen Guttieri and Volker Franke Part I: Policy Questions 2. The Road to Good Intentions: British Nation-building in Aden, Scott Smitson 3. The Declarations of Independence: The Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic,Rudy L. Hightower II 4.Mozambique: A Chance for Peace, Ann L. Phillips 5. Basra: Strategic Dilemmas and Force Options, John Hodgson Part II: Security Providers 6. Security by Contractor: Outsourcing in Peace and Stability Operations, Volker Franke 7. Leading Healing in a Broken Unit, Edward H. Powley and Scott N. Taylor 8. Right and Wrong, Balanced on the Edge of a Spear: U.S. Forces at a Mosque in Baghdad, Joshua Potter Part III: Coordination Challenges 9. The Kuwait Task Force: Postconflict Planning and Interagency Coordination, Dennis Barlow 10. Dynamics of Humanitarian Assistance: Civil Affairs in the Horn of Africa, Jessica Piombo 11. CORDS Campaign of Pacification, Rufus Phillips 12. Security by Drones: The Global Market for Remote-Controlled Warfare, Rebecca LeFebvre Part IV: Security and Development Program Challenges 13. Dynamic Tension: Security, Stability, and the Opium Trade, Peter Curry 14. A Penny for Your Thoughts, a Nickel for Your Heart: Buying Popular Support for Counterinsurgency, Justin Gorkowski 15. Reintegrating Child Soldiers, Kim Fletcher Part V: Analytic Cases 16. Whole of Society Conflict Prevention: A Case Study on Kenya’s Success Contrasted with Failures in Afghanistan and Iraq, Lisa Schirch 17.Military Intervention and Diplomatic Engagements in Libya: A Collage of Policy, Force and Law, Anna F. Triponel and Paul R. Williams 18. The Iraq War: Efforts during Conflict to Address Past Atrocities and Seek Accountability, Sandra L. Hodgkinson

About the Editors

Karen Guttieri is Assistant Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, U.S.

Volker Franke is Professor of Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University, Georgia, U.S., and is author/editor of three books.

Melanne A. Civic is the Special Advisor to the Center for Complex Operations (CCO) at the National Defense University (NDU), U.S., and is an attorney.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Security and Conflict Management

This series will publish the best work in the field of security studies and conflict management. In particular, it will promote leading-edge work that straddles the divides between conflict management and security studies, between academics and practitioners, and between disciplines.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
HISTORY / Military / Strategy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General