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Making “3D” Work

Making “3D” Work

By now most Canadians have heard that Canada is pursuing a 3D – Defence, Diplomacy and Development – strategy in Afghanistan. In an April 2004 speech at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, NB, Prime Minister Paul Martin explained Canada’s 3D strategy in Afghanistan as:

“Canada’s role in Afghanistan has all the hallmarks of the new type of operation the Canadian Forces will be expected to lead: it’s a multilateral mission authorized by the United Nations and led by NATO; undertaken at the invitation of the Afghan government, and aimed at reviving a failing state, for humanitarian reasons and at the same time ensuring that it cannot be used as a base of operations for terrorists.

Elements of defence, diplomacy and development are woven tightly together as part of the mission. The Canadian Forces, for example, provide the security that, in turn, allows organizations like Canada’s International Development Agency to support Afghanistan’s election process and democratic development.

This ‘3-D’ approach – the integration of diplomacy, defence and development – will serve as the model for Canada’s involvement in international crises in the future – crises that will take many forms. For instance, multilateralism is clearly our preferred approach to resolving international crises. But the absence of international consensus must never condemn us to inaction.”

In The Ruxted Group’s view only one D, Defence, is working; and we are not convinced it’s working as well as it could.

We are believers in the 3D strategy. Our studies and personal experiences tell us that this is the way to go.

3D is not new. In some respects it is a logical Canadian response to another “three”: The Three Block War, conceived by USMC General Charles Krulak in the late 1990s. The Three Block War concept says we have to: “...  deliver humanitarian aid or assist others in doing that ... conduct stabilization or peace support operations ... [and] we will be engaged in a high-intensity fight.” The link is not exact, but the transformation process, in which many military forces, including Canada’s, are engaged, accepts many of The Three Block War premises.

But many Canadians sought something akin to 3D long before General Krulak offered his theory. Many a frustrated peacekeeper, going all the way back to the 1950s, saw the need for more and better coordination of military force, political action and development assistance or nation building. In the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s Canada was inching towards something like 3D in its engagements in the Middle East and Africa. However, 3D requires a set of commitments, in foreign policy and in politics, which fell by the wayside in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s as we turned away from the world and focused our political energies on our internal problems.

We are back on the world’s stage in a situation ideally suited for our 3D strategy.

A good 3D strategy requires commitment from all partners: the military, the foreign affairs team, including international aid and trade staffs, and other agencies like the police and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). To date, it appears to Ruxted that while the various commitments, per se, may be there they are, at best, poorly applied.

This is a counterinsurgency campaign and must be fought as such. Winning “hearts and minds” rather than eliminating “bad guys” is the key to victory. Victory for Canada is, as we told the Manley Commission achieved when “the people of Afghanistan can make their own decisions in their own way, even when they decide on policies with which we disagree – always bearing in mind that Canada, and the world, cannot accept a country's decision to turn itself into a base for aggressive war. The victory conditions will be achieved when the Afghans can elect a government – even if it is a government which we do not much like. The victory conditions will be achieved when the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police(ANP) are able to contain insurgencies – home-grown and foreign.”

Canada need not defeat the Taliban and their fellow travellers. We must prevent them from defeating the Afghan National Army so that the people of Afghanistan can make their own choices without duress. We want the Afghan people to choose “our” solution, which we believe leads towards peace, prosperity, equality and justice for all. We need the Afghan people to buy into our solution – we need to ensure that what we offer is more appealing than what the Taliban offers. We must help the lawful Government of Afghanistan and the ANA provide security, safety and some measures of prosperity and hope for a better future.

Militarily, we must teach the ANA how to win a counterinsurgency campaign and then stand, shoulder to shoulder, with them while they do it. Then we need to help the ANP learn to maintain the peace in communities. We, ourselves, may need to revisit the principles of counterinsurgency warfare.

There is, as there ought to be, a debate within military circles about objectives and methods. Canada’s generals know what needs doing; they will figure out how to do it, too.

Diplomatically, we need to get at the illegal drug trade – it appears to us, as it does to others, that the American led “war on drugs” is failing in Afghanistan, too. We have to find alternatives to allow Afghan farmers to put food on their tables from their poor, dry farms. Equally, we need to get at our enemies’ money – in banks in Tehran, Tokyo and Toronto – by fair means and foul.
There is need and room for improvement in the first two “Ds,” Defence and Diplomacy, but nowhere, in our view, is the poor application of 3D more evident than in Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) which is responsible for Development.

By way of examples: Early in 2007 the Senate of Canada recommended that:

 “Given the failure of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in Africa over the past 38 years to make an effective foreign aid difference, the Government of Canada should conduct an immediate review of whether or not this organization should continue to exist in its present non-statutory form. If it is to be abolished, necessary Canadian development staff and decision-making authority should be transferred to Department of Foreign Affairs and Internal Trade.”1

And: In a recent report the Senlis Council, in response to a CIDA invitation to review it work, explained how CIDA failed at one of the most basic ‘development’ tasks:

“CIDA distinguishes between several types of internally displaced persons including: ‘battle-affected displaced persons’, ‘drought-affected displaced persons’, and ‘security affected displaced persons’ to name some examples.

‘Displaced people’ and ‘refugees’ have several things in common: They are Afghan citizens who live in camps away from the villages that were home for many generations, they have few or no belongings and cobble together shelter from garbage, discarded sheet metal, vinyl tarps etc., they are generally unemployed and have no prospects for work, and virtually none of them know where their next meal will come from or when.

CIDA says it has funded food for work programs that have proven effective means for providing meaningful work and sustenance to some families in some camps. However the locations and other details of these programs remain unavailable. Also, many camps have yet to receive aid and will not because of their category of displacement or homelessness. If a camp is forced to exist long enough through lack of development initiative (and some camps have endured since the invasion following September 11, 2001) there is a tendency to rename them ‘settlements’. Such a move then places these people camping in the desert outside of the responsibility of CIDA-funded partners such as the UN’s World Food Program (WFP); in this way these people are placed by WFP under the auspices of the local government.

This is disastrous in contemporary Kandahar because the local government is not developed enough to accept responsibility and doesn’t necessarily agree with foreigners’ interpretations of ‘settlement’ vs. ‘camp’.

The bottom line: this group of Afghan people who are unemployed, homeless, hungry or starving, sick and injured, etc., are not eligible to receive aid – they fall through the very large CIDA bureaucratic cracks.”2

Regardless of defining who are displaced persons and refugees, these examples provide ample evidence, in Ruxted’s view, that CIDA is not doing what it must to make 3D work. CIDA’s problems appear to be consistent institutional ineptitude across the years, even decades, regardless of the political affiliation of the minister concerned. That failure threatens the entire 3D strategy.

We believe that an effective 3D strategy will work, indeed must work in Afghanistan and we agree with former Prime Minister Martin that it should be how we plan to operate in the future. But we must reform the Development arm.
To begin: CIDA should be folded back into the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) as the development aid funding arm, not a programme delivery organization. CIDA’s staff should be Ottawa based; a few may need to travel, now and again, to audit projects, etc.

Next: DFAIT, mainly, but DND, frequently, and other government departments, occasionally, should receive development aid funds (from CIDA) for specific projects (perhaps a telecom renewal project in one country) or programmes (an interlinked series of projects in another, à la Afghanistan).

Then: DND, specifically, should then hire private sector groups (Canadian and foreign – some humanitarian service agencies, some engineering/logistical firms) to deliver the projects or (perhaps using a prime contractor and sub-contractors) complete programmes.

Finally: DFAIT/CIDA and the Auditor General of Canada should audit projects and programmes for both appropriate (authorized, etc) spending and performance.

The Ruxted Group does NOT want the Canadian Forces turned into some sort of development aid organization. In our view the Provincial Reconstruction Team concept is too military now – although, given the security situation in Kandahar, that’s understandable. We would prefer to see those military personnel who are not providing security in a handful of management and contract award/payment functions rather than doing the work themselves. We recognize that until it is safe enough for civilian contractors and NGO workers to do much, the soldiers will have to do almost everything which is to be done.

In a counterinsurgency campaign the management team (a very senior civil servant and an equally senior military officer) need to direct military operations, development and aid money towards projects which enhance their overall goal: winning hearts and minds.

It is time for the Government of Canada to get back on board – back to something like Prime Minister Martin’s vision and make all three Ds work.

1.   Smith, The Utility of Force, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007
2.   Report - - page, 97
3.   Report - - pages 9/10


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