Joint Ops Key to Military
Lessons Learned from Iraq
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 9, 2003 – The maturation of the joint force
concept was at the heart of the successes American arms achieved
during Operation Iraqi Freedom, former command leader Army Gen.
Tommy Franks said today before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Even with those successes, the general said, the environment in
the region remains "challenging and volatile."
Franks gave the senators examples of the maturing of joint force
operations. "Some capabilities we saw reach a new level of
performance," he said.
The lessons that the command learned from operations Northern
Watch, Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan contributed
to the joint culture of the various headquarters in the area. "(Those
operations) also helped to improve our interoperability and our
command, control, communications, computer and intelligence networking," Franks
U.S. forces were also able to integrate conventional and special
operations forces with civilian resources to a much greater degree
than in the past, Franks said. "We saw for the first time
integration of forces rather than the 'deconfliction' of forces," he
said. By this he means the various units were able to work together
rather than assigning service specific units to exclusive operations
zones. He called this idea the most "transformational" concept.
All types of forces demonstrated these capabilities. "Seems
to me this integration of the conventional … to leverage
with special operations with asymmetric terrorist type threats
enabled precision targeting simultaneously in the same battlespace," Franks
Conversely, operations in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated special
operations forces capabilities to use conventional forces to set
conditions. "Operational fires have been used to spearhead
ground maneuver and our forces have been able to sustain the momentum
of the offensive while defeating enemy formations in all kinds
of terrain – open, desert, complex and urban terrain," he
Franks also identified areas that need more work. He said the
U.S. military must work to prevent friendly fire incidents. "Fratricide
prevention suffered from a lack of standardized combat identification," he
Deployment planning and execution was cumbersome, the general
said, "and much more akin to those required during the Cold
War than those required by our country for force projection in
the 21st century."
Coalition information sharing needs to be improved at all levels,
he added. Finally, human intelligence must be improved and more
bandwidth is required for communications.
Coalition forces are involved in stability operations in Iraq,
but the use of the term "does not infer that combat operations
have ended," Franks said. "Our forces are engaged in
offensive work … all over Iraq today."
Franks said that as conditions change in Iraq the number and composition
of coalition forces in the country will change. He said people
must understand that as this computation is made "that the
enemy we see there also has a vote."
Factors that will influence U.S. forces in the country include
other nations' contributions to the mix, the effectiveness of the
Iraqi police and how the new Iraqi army works.
The creation of a new Iraqi army is also moving forward. "The
plan envisions three divisions located near Mosul, Baghdad and
Basra," he said. "They will provide for territorial defense
and they will conduct stability operations. Our goal is to field
about nine battalions."
In the past two years, Central Command has been on the "leading
edge" in the war against terrorism. "Much dangerous work
remains to be done, but millions of Iraqis have freedoms today
that four months ago were only a dream," Franks.
"Securing U.S. interests in the future and ensuring regional
security stability will continue to involve risks in this region
and will continue to require the commitment of our resources," Franks