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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

JIATF South: Worth Emulating?

Dr. J Carafano thinks he's seen the future of the war against terrorism and he likes it. Read A Better Way to Fight Terrorism to learn about a truly joint (military sense means more than one service involved) operation that has had some success over a 16 year period.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon often gets saddled with tasks that should be done by other federal agencies. Tsunami relief is just one example. Every problem does look like a nail when all you have is a hammer.

The Pentagon still needs major military commands where we have long-standing military alliances: in Europe and Northeast Asia. Additionally, a military command to support homeland security (Northern Command, a post-9/11 Pentagon initiative) also makes sense.

But the United States should replace other combatant commands with organizations that look more like JIATF South, organized to cover troubled parts of the world that America needs to worry a lot about and focused on transnational threats particular to those regions.

Thus, JIATF South should worry about terrorism, human and arms trafficking, as well as drug smuggling. A task force covering Africa and the Middle East would be concerned with arms smuggling, human trafficking, terrorism and infectious diseases. One covering South and Central Asia would be oriented on piracy, human trafficking, terrorism, infectious disease and trafficking in materials need to make weapons of mass destruction.

Defeating terrorism would be a perfect mission for the regional interagency task forces. After all, no part of the government has all the tools or all the information it needs to get the terrorists before they get us. The Key West approach offers a model of how to get more out of the sum of the parts.
It does work, once you get a common language developed.

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