Information Papers

Stability Operations Capabilities

What is it?
The role of the U.S. Army in stability operations is essentially defined in three guidance documents:

The U.S. Joint Staff’s Joint Publication 3-0, Joint Operations, wherein stability operations are defined as operations “encompassing various military missions, tasks, and activities conducted outside the United States in coordination with other instruments of national power to maintain or reestablish a safe and secure environment, provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief.”

National Security Presidential Directive 44, Management of Interagency Efforts Concerning Reconstruction and Stabilization, which lays the foundation for the national effort in stability operations through the following order: “The Secretary of State shall coordinate and lead integrated United States Government efforts, involving all U.S. Departments and Agencies with relevant capabilities to prepare, plan for, and conduct stabilization and reconstruction activities.”

Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 3000.05, Military Support for Stabilization, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) Operations, which commits the Department of Defense (hence the U.S. military) to “activities that support U.S. Government plans for stabilization, security, reconstruction and transition operations, which lead to sustainable peace while advancing U.S. interests.”

Ultimately, then, the U.S. Government must execute stability operations as a holistic effort. The expectation that the DoD can successfully execute such operations without every instrument of national power harmonized in that effort is overly optimistic.

What has the Army done?
The Army has developed the most comprehensive action plan in the military for institutionalizing stability operations across the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities (DOTMLPF) domains. Transitioning to a modular force, rebalancing the active and reserve components, growing and developing leaders, enhancing training, expanding language and cultural capabilities for Soldiers and leaders, and adjusting global force posture are just some of the measures that will enable the Army to meet the unique demands of stability operations.

Although stability operations are an interagency and intergovernmental effort, challenges and shortcomings in coordinating and resourcing efforts across Executive Branch departments often results in the Army carrying a disproportionate burden in conducting these operations. Nevertheless, the Army is directly participating with organizations throughout the government to define the most appropriate or essential roles of the military and Civilian agencies in stability operations. The Army has embedded a full-time officer in the Department of State’s Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization to enhance government capacity to respond to crises involving failed, failing, and post-conflict states and complex emergencies. The Army has rewritten and, for the first time since its inception over 100 years ago, renamed its capstone Field Manual 3-0, Operations: Full Spectrum Operations, to reflect the inclusion of the third core mission of stability operations.

The Army has also undertaken several initiatives to improve Army capability and capacity to conduct stability operations. Combat Training Centers (CTCs) have incorporated stability operations tasks and scenarios to more rigorously challenge units preparing to conduct these operations in theater. The Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Forces Command, and the respective service commands have established the Stability, Security, Transition and Reconstruction and Irregular Warfare Consortium for Complex Operations so as to posture themselves to better manage broad stability operations and international security cooperation efforts. The Army Deputy Chiefs of Staff, G-3 (Operations and Plans), G-5 (Host Nation Affairs), and G-7 (Training), have established a stability operations division at Headquarters, Department of the Army, to focus and integrate Army stability operations activities in order to improve capability and capacity for stability operations in a Joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational environment, and to oversee the development and shaping of Army policy and stability operations–related DOTMLPF efforts. The Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute has an expanded mandate to serve as the center of excellence for mastering stability, security, transition, reconstruction, and peace operations at the strategic and operational levels, and thereby to improve military, interagency, international, and multinational capabilities and execution. The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Combined Arms Center has established the Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance to serve as the DoD’s center of excellence and the U.S. armed forces’ focal point for international security force assistance missions that include the tasks of organizing, training, equipping, and rebuilding partner nation security forces.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army is implementing all requirements outlined in DoDD 3000.05 along with initiatives outlined by several independent studies by integrating them into the Army Campaign Plan. As an example, the Army is currently studying the Theater Military Advisory Assistance Group–Future’s transition teams and provincial reconstruction teams as institutionalized organizations that will work around the world building partner capacities, cooperating in theater security operations, and enhancing stability operations. The Army is continuing to develop processes, organizations, and implementation plans to execute Army responsibilities under DoDD 3000.05. Lastly, the Army continues to support the development of the government’s capability and capacity for stability operations by providing personnel and training or using Army institutional capacity to assist in its efforts.

Why is this important to the Army?
The elevation of stability operations as “a core military mission . . . that shall be given priority comparable to combat operations” has profound impact on Army resources. The ability to help shape government- and DoD-wide stability operations places the Army in a position to affect strategically the direction of these efforts. The Army’s significant capability and capacity to conduct stability operations directly supports the National Security Strategy.