Monday, April 14, 2014

Ius in Bello in Hybrid Political-Military Decision-Making

Efficiency as a Measure in Assessing Wartime Operations
By Heath Hardman
Heath Hardman is a third-year student at Albany Law School and graduate of Empire State College. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Albany Government Law Review and has participated in the law school's Family Violence Litigation Clinic & Immigration Project. Additionally, he works as an intern in the Law Office of John N. Clo, in Gloversville, New York.
Before law school, Heath served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nearly 11 years, including two deployments to Iraq and two deployments to Afghanistan. During his service in the military, he completed the three-year Military COMINT (Communications Intelligence) Signals Analyst Program at the National Security Agency—a program consisting of 1500 hours of National Cryptologic School courses, working in three different organizations within the National Security Agency, and writing an in-depth technical paper.
He prepared this paper for Professor Vincent Bonventre’s course, International Law of War and Crime.

Throughout the history of war there have been innumerable instances of political and military failures.  These failures are often the result of poor decisions that have unnecessarily cost the lives of military and civilian personnel, damaged property and infrastructure, and led to great instability within the affected countries.

Although modern theories of war highlight obvious minimizing goals, such as reducing or eliminating civilian casualties and unnecessary destruction of property or infrastructure, the very fact that war is occurring, even if the minimizing goals are met, can cause great instability and anxiety and be very costly—in many ways. Once a decision has been made to engage in warfare, whatever the justification, the efficient accomplishment of political or military goals may lead to a shortened war, along with the associated benefits.

During war however, political and military decision-making, and political and military goals, are rarely made or developed in isolation from each other. Instead, a hybrid political-military decision-making strategy can be seen—both at the larger strategic level and at the discrete operational level. With this understanding, an efficient hybrid political-military operational decision-making process can lead to shortened wars, a more appropriate, and proportionate, outcome, and achieve political-military goals at a much lower cost as measured in lives lost, property damaged, and infrastructure destroyed. Inefficient decision-making can achieve the opposite, such as when military action does not support political goals, or when political mandates frustrate military goals or inflame insurgencies.

This paper will briefly discuss just war theory with a particular focus on ius in bello—just conduct in war. It will suggest a model hybrid political-military operational decision-making process, based on the U.S. Marine Corps’ war fighting philosophy, and use the battles of Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004, to illustrate both inefficient and efficient models. The Fallujah battles clearly demonstrate both the unnecessary loss of life and damage to property, and the need for an efficient model.
To read the paper, open HERE.