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NATO forces should seek to apply creative and innovative solutions to combat the threats posed by Taliban insurgents. This means conducting an active assessment of various battlefields. It must be based upon developing efficient and effective strategies that can lead to the accomplishment of strategic objectives (Bolduc, 2009). Insurgencies use asymmetric means of warfare to counter the military superiority of their opponents. This means that NATO should develop security measures that are designed to neutralize the threat posed by insurgent tactics. It should involve the smart use of resources to achieve excellent results and outcomes.

Eradicating Taliban influence

Insurgencies need to be defeated by winning the hearts and minds of the local population. An insurgency thrives by creating an alternative political, social, and legal system. It must be able to destabilize the existing government order and fill the vacuum. Political attrition is the key strategy used by Taliban insurgents to defeat the allied forces. NATO forces must be enhanced to provide security and stability to local population. The huge casualties sustained by Taliban insurgents in battles with NATO forces are tactical victories (Booth, 2009). Yet they do not represent a strategic victory for the military alliance because the enemy has a pain threshold that exceeds Western interpretations of military casualties. An effective NATO mission should seek to maintain permanent presence in insurgent infested areas. The second strategy is to develop the basic parameters of governance that includes law and order, economic opportunities, and infrastructure development. This should be achieved by coordination with Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) forces. Securing the confidence of the local population will assist in eradicating the network of subversive cells that are thriving due to NATO inaction (Booth, 2009).

Enhancing NATO Troop Levels and Resources

NATO forces are badly in need of adequate troop levels in order to achieve the grand objectives of the mission in Afghanistan. Approximately 32,000 NATO troops are serving in the ISAF. These troops have been deployed in various parts of Afghanistan in counter insurgency operations (Campbell, 2009). There is need to increase the number of soldiers to ensure that NATO’s role can be enhanced. This means that NATO forces must be restructured with a joint command and control system. This will enable them to efficiently and effectively combat insurgents in Afghanistan (Campbell, 2009). It will enable them to assist reconstruction efforts in remote areas of the country. Further partnerships with civilian organizations should be enhanced by providing security and safety. Such an approach will tend to rely on clear and precise goals. Each member state must be willing to remove parliamentary restrictions on the deployment of additional troops.

Enhancing Afghan governance

NATO needs to adopt political and economic measures to win the insurgency in Afghanistan. This means that the Karzai government should be pressurized to apply high levels of accountability and transparency. Economic assistance should be regularly monitored and assessed using smart procedures. Enhancing cooperation with honest officials is the key to success. NATO needs to streamline and automate its processes in order to achieve goals and objectives (Barno, 2007). Afghans need a stable and viable government that is strength of unity and integration. NATO forces need to adopt a security paradigm that takes into account these objectives and goals.

Enhancing Intelligence Operations

Information gathering is a crucial aspect of any successful counter insurgency strategy. NATO forces are viewed as foreign occupation forces by Taliban and its allied network of subversive groups. Their propaganda seeks to create the impression that Islam and Afghanistan are under threat from foreign values and cultural norms. NATO intelligence should seek to counter the propaganda by focusing on the economic stability and security of Afghanistan (Bird, 2009). The repercussions of Taliban rule over Afghanistan should be elucidated by using the mass media. A flexible information gathering network should focus on creating rifts and schisms between the various insurgent groups.

Creating a New NATO Structure

NATO’s current command and control structure is based upon operations from the urban centers of Afghanistan. This strategy is inefficient because its leads to massive usage of resources and logistics. It also leads to the creation of a logistics nightmare because Afghanistan’s terrain is formidable for any military force. The solution is to create a decentralized management system. At every village, district, and town level, NATO officers must be given a list of priorities and objectives (Bird, 2009). This strategy will involve the use of minimum logistics in order to ensure efficient deployment of NATO forces in remote areas.

Training Afghan Military and Police Forces

Afghanistan can become a viable state only if its security forces have the resources, manpower, and expertise to defend it from security threats. The ANA and ANP require massive training and funding from NATO. A comprehensive strategy should seek to create a politically neutral Afghan military structure. Adequate funding and training should be provided in the form of modern weapons and tactics. Frequent problems like low pay, hostile working conditions, and insurgent infiltration need to be tackled through the creation of an effective background checking system (Bird, 2009). Security is the main requirement of the Afghan people. NATO has the expertise, resources, and clout to effectively transform local security forces.

Interagency Team-Building

NATO needs to enhance its coordination and synchronization with other allied forces in Afghanistan. This involves intelligence sharing and gathering operations about insurgent networks and sanctuaries (Bird, 2009). It should combine military offensives as a means of ensuring that insurgents are eliminated from possible areas. NATO needs to work effectively with US forces in order to develop a successful strategy.

Agile and Mobile Forces

NATO should seek to disperse its forces into agile and mobile forces. Such a strategy will enable it to quickly target insurgents and destroy their sanctuaries. It will enable the development of rapid reaction forces against insurgents. Smashing the logistics network and command and control center of insurgents requires the use of specially trained small forces (Bird, 2009).

Ramifications of Action

The success of NATO is dependent upon a number of vital conditions. The Afghan government must demonstrate a commitment towards reform and eradicating corruption. Further the plan can succeed only if the Afghan government cooperates and coordinates its activities with NATO. This involves a fundamental restructuring of basic assumptions and motives. An increase in NATO forces and resources will help take the conflict to the remote areas of Afghanistan. NATO forces will build a series of checkpoints, outposts, and military bases (Booth, 2009). They will be deployed out of their bases into the main battlefields. NATO assistance will be provided in the form of economic, political, and social advice. A monitoring mechanism will be deployed in order to ensure that objectives are being achieved. A decentralized approach will result in flexible and agile forces that are able to hit insurgents before they can execute attacks. Enhanced training of Afghan security forces will create a semblance of stability and order in the entire state. Further insurgents will be denied the political propaganda of battling foreign forces that are trying to destroy the local traditions of Afghanistan (Booth, 2009). However there is the threat of failure which must be taken into consideration by policy makers. Regional powers like Iran and Pakistan might try to destabilize Afghanistan in order to pursue their national interests. This could hinder the reconstruction efforts and weaken the Karzai administration. The Afghan government might be unwilling to cooperate with its international allies. Local officials might sabotage the efforts of the international community to develop infrastructure and basic structures of governance. Afghan security forces might still be lacking the training and expertise to combat insurgent forces. There is an inherent risk that NATO member states might not acquiesce to the demand to send more troops and resources. The lack of effective coordination and cooperation with other agencies could create problems for the entire program (Booth, 2009). New theatres of conflict like Somalia and Yemen could divert Western forces from Afghanistan. Finally there is the risk that NATO might withdraw its forces from Afghanistan without achieving any of its objectives. The longer the conflict drags without a decisive victory there is an increasing likelihood of an exit from the entire conflict zone.

Conclusion

NATO is a military alliance which was created to combat the threat of Soviet Union in Europe during the cold war. The end of the cold war witnessed a shift in security paradigms that called for the military alliance to develop robust responses to new security threats. NATO’s Afghanistan mission has been unsuccessful due to several reasons. This report has called for a number of recommendations which will enhance the role of the military alliance in the country. At the first level, NATO needs to augment is troop levels and resources. It should focus on eliminating Taliban influence in the local population. A basic form of governance should be provided. Further NATO should decentralize its military management system while deploying small and reliable forces to target insurgents. Good governance and training Afghan security forces is a vital component of counter insurgencies. Such an objective will seek to use military and political strategies to achieve the desired outcome.

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