Author: Mr Shane Lauth, Ms Kate Phillips, Ms Erin Schenck, Dr W Andrew Terrill
A colloquium on “U.S. Military Operations in Iraq: Planning, Combat, and Occupation” was held November 2, 2005, and was co-sponsored by SSI and Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Three years beyond the start of that transition, the debate continues about the adequacy of planning for and proficiency of execution of Phase IV operations in Iraq and elsewhere. The debate most often surrounds three issues concerning this final operational phase: the relationship to preceding operational phases; responsibility for planning; and responsibility for execution. Much of the debate to this point has been an unproductive effort to assign blame for shortcomings in the planning for and execution of stability and reconstruction operations; participants in the colloquium moved beyond finding fault, began analyzing the central issues, and addressed solutions.