Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Quotable: The sixth and seventh “lines of effort” in the U.S. national strategy for Iraq

Monday, September 21st 2015

Good governance and “counter-messaging” are the most important “lines of effort” in Iraq, according to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey.  A Joint Chiefs of Staff news release summarized an interview he gave aboard his aircraft as he returned to Washington on January 22, 2015.  “The people need to get the message from their leaders that the fight is not about the West against Muslims, or Christians against Muslims, or against the Shia, he said. It's a fight of the people of Iraq and international partners against the terrorists.”  “That message can't come from us. It's got to come from them,” Dempsey said.
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter elaborated on the U.S. strategy in Iraq before the House Armed Services Committee on June 17, 2015.  His testimony was summarized in a Department of Defense news release, “Carter Vows Lasting Defeat of ISIL Forces,” the same day.  Public Diplomacy practitioners mark the sixth and seventh lines of effort.  Here are some excerpts of the DOD release:
President Barack Obama’s counter-ISIL strategy draws from all U.S. national security agencies to degrade and defeat ISIL, Carter said. The strategy and military campaign make up a global coalition that reflects a worldwide consensus to counter the ISIL threat, he added.
The counter-ISIL strategy is based on nine lines of effort that reflect the “breadth of this challenge and the tools needed to combat it,” the secretary said:
-- First, the crucial political effort to build more effective, inclusive, multisectarian governance.
-- Second and third are the DoD-led efforts to deny ISIL safe haven and build partner capacity in Iraq and Syria. DoD, alongside coalition partners, is conducting a bombing campaign from the air, advising and assisting Iraqi security forces on the ground, and training and equipping trusted local forces.
-- Fourth is enhancing collection of intelligence on ISIL.
-- Fifth is disrupting ISIL’s finances.
-- Sixth and seventh are to counter ISIL’s messaging and disrupt the flow of foreign fighters to and from the extremists.
-- Eighth is providing humanitarian support to people displaced by or vulnerable to ISIL.
-- Ninth is protecting the homeland by disrupting terrorist threats.

“The effective execution of all nine of these lines of effort by the United States and its coalition partners is plainly necessary to ensure overall success,” Carter said.

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