The Foreign Service Journal, September 2009

34 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 9 proach did not change home agency and core staff behavior and attitudes; accordingly, cross-fertilization and whole-of-government solutions re- main severely constrained. This stovepipe model, established by Sec. Rice and Amb. Tobias, persists today. At his presentation to MNF-I in March, Special Investigator General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen proposed that “a well-coor- dinated management structure is necessary to integrate interagency reconstruction efforts.” Bowen described the existing JIATF and PRTs in Iraq as a band-aid approach, and ex- plained that “success in integration comes from doctrine and training. We need a new approach: In order to effect jointness, it must be essential for career growth.” The Iraq Study Group had recommended in the spring of 2006 that to “improve how [U.S. government] con- stituent agencies — Defense, State, Agency for Interna- tional Development, Treasury, Justice, the intelligence community and others — respond to complex stability op- erations … they need to train for, and conduct, joint oper- ations across agency boundaries, following the Goldwater-Nichols model that has proved so successful in the U.S. armed services.” The 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act increased military ef- fectiveness and overcame interservice rivalry and stovepip- ing by enhancing joint training for officers in the different military branches; ensuring that officers were not disad- vantaged by joint service; and requiring that officers serve in joint duty assignments as a prerequisite for promotion beyond O6 (colonels and Navy captains, equivalent to FS- 1 and GS-15, respectively). Out in the field, Goldwater-Nichols produced a mili- tary in which members of different branches are motivated and trained to work together to design and execute strat- egy. Military doctrine has become very joint- and intera- gency-focused; two excellent recent examples include the field manuals dealing with counterinsurgency and stability operations. It may not be the perfect solution, but Goldwater- Nichols has largely succeeded. Better training along those lines for senior USAID and State Department officers on how to navigate the challenges of interagency integration would lead to greater understanding, and quite possibly would diminish the perceived costs of interagency cooperation. S/CRS pioneered this approach in 2008, and the cadre of civilian officers trained on interagency planning for reconstruction and crisis response has slowly grown ever since. With additional training, the downsides and costs of interagency integration can be further reduced. In our experience, targeted presen- tations with understandable lan- guage and appropriate messages delivered to interagency leaders will satisfy outside re- quests for information better than an off-the-shelf generic presentation, and may forestall further requests down- stream. Define the role and identity of each agency. Another obstacle to interagency cooperation is a lack of clearly de- fined identities and roles, especially for USAID. In com- plex environments like Iraq, it is unclear which govern- ment agency has the lead on any given objective, such as supporting elections, strengthening the health sector or advancing the rule of law. This promotes competition among agencies more than cooperation, and is counter- productive in such activities as “key leader engagements,” which need to be synchronized. Achieving unity of command in any multiagency op- eration is a difficult conundrum. As SIGIR points out: “When unity of command is missing and unity of purpose does not foster unity of effort, a solution can only be im- plemented at the top.” If USAID is to assume the global leadership role in the delivery of development assistance that Sec. Clinton describes, then agency staff must be al- lowed to lead in their areas of expertise. The impetus for interagency coordination and inte- gration must come from the top; otherwise, good ideas at the field level will never get off the ground. With support from above, civilian staff involved in counterinsurgency and reconstruction operations can move beyond the fear of sharing information to engage in joint problem-solving and strategic planning. The Quadrennial Diplomacy and De- velopment Review gives the State Department and USAID a perfect opportunity to plot a course forward that draws from past successes, corrects weaknesses and strengthens our ability to synchronize defense, diplomacy and development. ■ F O C U S The impetus for interagency coordination and integration must come from the top; otherwise, good ideas at the field level will never get off the ground.