12 May 2004
Armitage Stresses Need for Civil-Military Collaboration
Deputy secretary points to mutual reinforcement
To win both war and peace, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage
says, it is not sufficient for the United States to have the greatest
military power in history. Instead, he says, soldiers must work
collaboratively with diplomats to secure victory.
Addressing the Army War College's 2004 class of officers, Armitage,
a former Navy officer who served three tours of duty in Vietnam,
said "[T]he power of a nation and all the suasion that power can
command never has resided and never will solely in military might." In
a May 12 address at the Marriott Hotel in Washington, the deputy
secretary said, "[W]e need international cooperation on a scale
we've not seen before." Such international cooperation, he added, "requires
extensive diplomatic engagement. You might say we need both [soldiers']
boots and [diplomats'] loafers on the ground. Indeed, today military
operations and reconstruction operations are taking place side
The reason for this, Armitage said, is that "the war we are fighting
today against terrorism is a multifaceted fight. We have to use
every tool in our toolkit to wage this war -- diplomacy, finance,
intelligence, law enforcement, and of course, military power --
and we are developing new tools as we go along.
Narrowing his focus from global terrorism to the situations in
Iraq and Afghanistan specifically, Armitage said "victory in Iraq
and Afghanistan won't just be when our soldiers can hold their
place without fear of attack and ... ambush." He said it will be
when the lights go on across the country; clean water flows from
the taps; and ordinary people can go about their business in the
streets -- permanently. "It will be when Iraq is governed by Iraqis
and Afghanistan is governed by Afghans, chosen freely and fairly
by their countrymen and women," the deputy secretary added.
In Afghanistan, Armitage said, winning the peace in addition to
the war "has meant demonstrating to a deeply traumatized society
that there is a viable alternative to the Taliban and to their
version of stability at any cost."
Turning to Iraq, Armitage addressed recent revelations of prisoner
abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad by saying: "[R]especting
human dignity and the rule of law is the right thing to do morally,
legally and operationally.". ... If we want ... a stable and peaceful
Iraq, for example -- we have to actually take proactive, constructive
action to build respect for individual rights and the rule of law.
And that means in Iraq that military operations and civilian reconstruction
are of equal importance. Winning the peace -- winning the war there
won't do us much good if we lose that peace in the process," he
Following is the transcript of Armitage's remarks:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State
J. W. Marriott Hotel
May 12, 2004
Remarks at the Army War College
Well, thanks so much for your kind introduction and for the description
of being part of the "dream team." Usually people refer to Secretary
Powell and I as "Beauty and the Beast." (Laughter.) I think you
know which role I have. (Laughter.) I'm delighted, ladies and
gentlemen, to have this time with you this afternoon to represent
our Department of State to you.
We recognize that most of you are up-and-coming leaders in the
military departments, and perhaps the goal of my Department in
facing our common security challenges may be a bit opaque to you.
And that may be the case, even though you have just spent a year
in the company of your four State Department colleagues. In fact,
sometimes it seems as though the more you talk to a diplomat, the
less you actually know. (Laughter.) But I actually think there
has rarely been a time when the connection between diplomacy and
the force at arms has mattered more.
Certainly, today, the United States possesses the finest military
force in history. Indeed, we are at a unique juncture: we can carry
out any mission we might see as necessary to our interests, while
greatly minimizing the destruction to civilian lives, property,
and infrastructure and maximizing our ability to protect our own
combat forces. In Iraq, for example, we saw a military operation
that was efficient, responsive, and precise in its lethality.
And yet even with the most powerful military history has ever
seen, we find that there are certain variables that technology
doesn't change much. And so today, it is still the soldier on the
field of battle, seizing and holding ground, who ultimately determines
the outcome of a fight. It is still the inescapable suasion of
a soldier with a bayonet standing on enemy territory -- tenure
on the land -- that bends an enemy to our will. And Iraq has proven
to us yet again just how important that point is.
Iraq has also underscored another durable truth: the power of
a nation and all the suasion that power can command never has resided
and never will solely in military might. For that matter, even
that essential soldier who takes and holds ground can only stand
there defending territory for so long. Particularly when he or
she comes from an all-volunteer force of a democratic nation. And
so as a soldier must hold ground, as our forces are doing right
now in Iraq and in Afghanistan, we must also hold a different kind
of ground. And that requires an unusual degree of cooperation and
connection between individuals from both military and civilian
nations -- by the organizations and between nations.
Indeed, the war we are fighting today against terrorism is a multifaceted
fight. We have to use every tool in our toolkit to wage this war
-- diplomacy, finance, intelligence, law enforcement, and of course,
military power -- and we are developing new tools as we go along.
The international struggle to cut off terrorist funding, for example,
which is going on largely in cyberspace, is an essential and an
ongoing facet of this fight.
Furthermore, victory in Iraq and Afghanistan won't just be when
our soldiers can hold their place without fear of attack and without
fear of ambush. It will also be when the lights go on across the
country permanently. And when clean water flows from the taps --
permanently. And when ordinary people can go about their business
in the streets of Kabul or in Baghdad or in Karbala -- permanently.
It will be when Iraq is governed by Iraqis and Afghanistan is governed
by Afghans, chosen freely and fairly by their countrymen and women.
And while coalitions have been around as long as warfare, the
amorphous quality of this multifaceted struggle, as well as the
scope of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, means we need international
cooperation on a scale we've not seen before. And there is certainly
a compelling international interest in cooperation: Americans are
not the only victims of terrorism. Citizens of more than 90 nations
died in the World Trade Center alone. Terrorist attacks have killed
and wounded thousands of people from nearly every nation represented
here today, and also represented by your international fellows.
So it is fitting that well over 100 nations have made some contributions
to combating terrorism since 9/11. Most countries also have an
interest in seeing that Iraq and Afghanistan cease to threaten
and destabilize their neighbors and become members in good standing
of the community of nations. Indeed, 68 different nations are making
some contribution in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
All of this international cooperation requires extensive diplomatic
engagement. You might say we need both boots and loafers on the
ground. Indeed, today military operations and reconstruction operations
are taking place side by side. And we have to secure immediate
success in all operations to achieve long-term progress.
In Afghanistan, the challenge of taking the territory back has
always been not just to send military forces after the Taliban
and after al-Qaeda, but to deny to them their base of support.
And that has meant demonstrating to a deeply traumatized society
that there is a viable alternative to the Taliban and to their
version of stability at any cost.
The only way to do that is to secure the country and help rebuild
a reliable civil society and reliable governing authority. We can
point to some important progress. This ranges from a new constitution,
which the Loya Jirga agreed to in January; to the Kabul-Kandahar
Highway and 1,300 kilometers of secondary roads; to new or rehabilitated
schools, health clinics, power plants, and irrigation projects.
Now, of course, for those of you who've just returned, security
is still a challenge, although there is progress there, as well,
through the successful training of the Afghan National Army and
law enforcement forces and the presence of international troops
across that country.
Iraq is a similar situation in many ways, though the urgency of
the moment is far greater. At least it's far greater as [far as]
I'm concerned, because my Department is set to inherit that particular
situation in 51 days. The security demands have never been greater
than they are now and the window of opportunity for winning the
hearts and minds of Iraqis was smaller to begin with. And of course,
human rights violations [of detainees] at Abu Ghraib have made
that margin much smaller.
I want to say a word about that. You are all solid in your leadership
skills or you would have never been in Carlisle in the first place,
so you know that respecting human dignity and the rule of law is
the right thing to do morally, legally and operationally. It's
not enough to make sure that our forces are well-trained and well-led,
although that is certainly the minimum if we want to be sure that
violations don't occur; it's knowing for sure how to win, that
there's no negative outcome. If we want a positive outcome, a stable
and peaceful Iraq, for example -- we have to actually take proactive,
constructive action to build respect for individual rights and
the rule of law. And that means in Iraq that military operations
and civilian reconstruction are of equal importance. Winning the
peace -- winning the war there won't do us much good if we lose
that peace in the process.
The good news there is we are making some considerable progress,
and that's even before we've applied the lion's share of U.S. and
international donations. Much of the public works infrastructure
of the country, including electric power generation, paved roads,
and clean water, has actually exceeded pre-war levels in accessibility
as well as reliability.
The human infrastructure, which has suffered from 30 years of
tyranny, divide-and-rule tactics, and propaganda, as well as 12
years of sanctions and bombings, is proving quite a bit harder
to rebuild. Nonetheless, there is progress on that front, as well.
Millions of children are vaccinated and in school with current
textbooks. There is a Transitional Administrative Law that spells
out a vision for the political future, and we are working with
the United Nations to structure the interim or caretaker government,
which will be in place July 1.
Now, in this race with time, security obviously remains the essential
challenge and will require tough choices -- choices that are not
going to go away. We either make them now or we leave them to a
fledgling Iraqi government. Indeed, we should not be surprised
that violent factions and foreign imports would step up their operations
just as we are making some headway in the reconstruction efforts.
This progress in both Iraq and Afghanistan is laudable; it is
important. But conceptually or in our capabilities, we need to
find a way to make better progress: from the command structure
to the need for security, for those rebuilding schools, we have
to adapt our standard operating procedures as we go, as well as
to have our people adapt.
Our armed forces are not necessarily geared primarily for reconstruction
and humanitarian projects, or for the diplomacy and statecraft
that usually go along with such missions. But our diplomats and
our aid workers are not really trained to work in a non-permissive
environment. And I'm not just talking about the need for security,
but also the quick judgment and immediate action of the battlefield.
Moreover, these two forces -- boots and loafers on the ground --
do not necessarily have the habits and structures in place for
working together on mutually reinforcing missions. That suggests
to me that we need to extend our understanding of military transformation
to include mindsets, institutions, and the way in which we cooperate
internally and with international partners.
Indeed, if you look at current operations, we are already breaking
some new ground and adding innovations to the way we conduct operations.
NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization], for example, has taken
on its first significant out of area operation with ISAF [International
Security Assistance Force] in Afghanistan. Seventeen of the 26
NATO Members are now engaged in separate, stand-alone coalition
activities in Iraq. Other nations, such as Jordan, are using their
territory to train police forces. In Afghanistan, we have developed
the concept of Provincial Reconstruction Teams, which consist of
a mix of military, civil affairs, and civilian professionals composed
of and led by various nations, and these are providing dispersed
security and reconstruction support across the country.
Adapting our people and adapting our processes is more than a
matter of philosophy. We have to do this on an immediate and urgent
basis for our success in Afghanistan and for our success in Iraq,
but also for reasons that go beyond those discrete challenges and,
frankly, even beyond the war against terrorism.
I believe the nature of the international system has shifted and
we are likely to see more such situations. In real time, you can
consider Haiti or Liberia as a case in point. In the near term,
we have to consider what will happen next in Sudan, especially
as the true scale of the humanitarian disaster in Darfur becomes
more obvious. And in the long term, there is, of course, North
Korea, which inevitably will either open to the world and face
incredible dislocation in that process, implode, with potentially
devastating effects domestically, or explode and lash out, which
is almost too terrible to contemplate.
For that matter, we have to consider transnational challenges
in a similar light. It sometimes seems as though there was not
a country in the world untouched by the A.Q. Khan network, for
example. Or consider the illicit trade in human beings, which has
become nearly as profitable for international crime rings and almost
as pervasive as is trafficking in narcotics.
It is not just the security challenges that require new approaches;
it is also the opportunities of our time. We had protesters in
town a couple of weeks ago. And, well, I know we usually have protesters
in this town. But this particular group was picketing the World
Bank and IMF [International Monetary Fund], and to some extent,
they had a point. Globalization is producing winners and losers.
But we are not talking about a trend that can be stopped, let alone
reversed. Indeed, the inequities should give us all the more reason
to have policies that maximize the benefits of globalization, from
a trade policy that raises the living standards for as many people
as possible, including here at our home, to an aid policy that
redirects market failures and distributes new technology -- everything
from the Internet to vaccines for the diseases that still devastate
much of the world's population.
This Army War College Class of 2004 is soon to graduate, after
a tough year of study. So first of all, you should be congratulated
on your accomplishment. I wish I could tell you that you've earned
the right to kick back and relax, but of course, now you've got
to return to your "day jobs." Indeed, many of you will be deploying
either to Iraq or to Afghanistan, where you will find that the
questions you have pondered for the last year about leadership,
about military force, and the international landscape are not quite
I encourage you all to carry the spirit of Carlisle back with
you to your jobs, because we are going to need that spirit of open
inquiry, of innovation, and of cooperation if we are going to be
able to meet both the challenges and opportunities we are facing
today. I believe I speak for all of my colleagues in the Department
of State when I say to you, we look forward to working alongside
you, and to thank you for your commitment to peace and prosperity
for this country, and for countries all over the world; and we
wish you good luck and Godspeed.