International Doctrine Development Thrives

November 10, 2010
By Maryann Lawlor, SIGNAL Online Exclusive
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Representatives from more than a dozen nations came together last week to wrap up the two-year Multinational Experiment 6 (MNE6), share their conclusions and solidify their plans for the future. In the vast majority of cases, action on the event’s categories of the four main objectives involves developing concepts and doctrine. However, in at least one case—logistics—MNE6 resulted in a concrete solution that has already been fielded in Afghanistan.

According to Maj. Gen. Joseph Reynes Jr., USAF, U.S. Joint Forces, the experiment was a platform for researching guidelines and the possible products to support them. These products could be technical solutions, but in more cases than not, they were agreements about how countries can best collaborate within a coalition. One reason the event focused on doctrine rather than technical solutions is that many of the countries involved do not have the financial or personnel resources to upgrade equipment, he says.

To form these policies, MNE6 participants from 18 nations and observers from three countries shared their collective experiences and created guidelines for achieving compliance among nations that takes into consideration cultural diversity. The experiment’s results in most instances were directives that combatant commanders from all nations will follow in a coalition environment to ensure understanding and collaboration, particularly in how to communicate in complex environments, Gen. Reynes explains.

One tangible solution emerged from MNE6 and was delivered to the International Security Assistance Force–Afghanistan headquarters during the event. It is a software solution that allows all coalition participants—NATO nations and non-NATO nations alike—to view logistic networks, requirements and assets. As a result, a coalition partnership has clarity across the spectrum of the multinational environment. Without this tool, non-NATO nations had to put a manual process into place to track the logistics of transported and stored materials, the general explains.

Gen. Reynes believes that MNE6’s largest accomplishment was developing a comprehensive approach—a whole-government approach—of planning, execution and assessment of operations. The event moved this methodology into doctrinal frameworks and operational guides, pamphlets and studies that not only apply to the U.S. military but also to coalition commanders.

Having visited the same experiment five years ago, the general found that previous discussion on these topics was not as in-depth and lacked the clarity and definition that existed in MNE6. “Over these years, especially the past two years, from the United Kingdom to all of the nations participating, national leaders are finding clarity and understanding to the core environment and to these unique environments in ways they did not have before,” the general states. All of the participating nations began incorporating the doctrinal documents and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) developed during MNE6 into their processes immediately, he adds.

“At the end, several people walked up to me and said, ‘I don’t have the money to buy new assets and new things right now, but I do have the money to contribute to thought and concept development that will drive where I’m going in the future and make me more effective and more efficient now,’” he shares.

“My push to them was ‘Great work on doctrinal and conceptual studies. The real answer will be when we move these into operational TTPs, into doctrinal concepts and when we move them into actions of our forces,’” Gen. Reynes notes. “And every one of the senior leaders and general officers and political senior leaders all promised that they are making that happen, that they take it as a real mission and that they’re going to move forward. I think that shows the spirit of collaboration that was in this multinational experiment.”

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