The Saturday Vanguard July 14, 2012 carries the comment of the Attorney General of the Federation:
"The Federal Government, yesterday, expressed its concern over the increasing spate of violence across the country, saying it is working hard to stem the gradual descent into anarchy by diligently prosecuting all those indicted for civil disturbances to serve as deterrence".
The story may be an overly parsimonious summary of what the AGF said. However, what is summarized suggest that the measure to stem this sliding into anarchy is to make the task that of the Nigeria Police. What analysis of the security condition of Nigeria has led to this idea? The FM 3 - 07 shows such an answer could be derived within the framework of stability operations.
"FM 3-07 stability Operations reflects a long journey by the American Military and a series of hard operational lessons learned by the post-Cold War generation. It underscores recognition that in addition to fighting and winning our national battles, the military will continue to be called on to bring peace and order to societies under stress. As doctrine, FM 3-07 fills a profound intellectual void by describing the complex 21st century landscape and articulating the military's unique role in bringing order to chaos" (Ibid Pp. XV).
The issue of who does what effectively is described in the above, especially in the strategic task of "bringing order to chaos". Bringing order to chaos is pre and post-conflict peace building task premised on fighting and winning our national battles.
The U.S Army fought and lost the Vietnam War and as a result it was not in a position as part of its post conflict peace-building to bring "order to chaos in post-war Vietnam".
The Libyan on the tail of the US and NATO aerial bombing of Ghaddafi's government toppled the Ghaddafi regime. Whether the anti-Libyan Ghaddafi forces can bring order to chaos in Libya is the challenging question! The US Army fought and won the battles waged against Saddam Hussein but had left the task of bringing order to chaos in Iraq to the Iraqis.
The US and NATO are fighting the battles against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the Allied Forces are withdrawing without winning the battles. Can the Afghan government established by the Allied Forces bring order to chaos in post-NATO Afghanistan? Bringing order to chaos is a victor's post- conflict peace-building task.
The Nigerian government has yet to realise that this is a victor's task; a military conflict resolution not a conflict management task. Bringing order to chaos is bringing order to the chaos of anarchy; a replacement of anarchy with order. This is what FM 3- 07 calls stability operations that requires a whole of government approach.
A whole of government approach is an approach that integrates the collaborative efforts of the departments and agencies of the United States government to achieve unity of effort toward a shared goal.
A whole of government approach is vital to achieving the balance of resources, capabilities and activities that reinforce progress made by one of the instruments of national power while enabling success among the others.
It relies on inter-agency coordination among the agencies of the USG, including the Department of Defense, to ensure that the full range of available capabilities are leveraged, synchronized, and applied toward addressing the drivers of conflicts and reinforcing local institutions to facilitate achieving sustainable peace.
Success in this approach depends upon the ability of civilian and military forces to plan jointly and respond quickly and effectively through an integrated, inter-agency approach to a fundamentally dynamic situation.
Accomplishing this requires a willingness and ability to share resources among USG agencies and organisations, while working toward a common goal. These resources- financial, military, intelligence, law enforcement, diplomatic, developmental, and strategic communication are often limited in availability and cannot be restricted to use by a single agency, service or entity.
To achieve the broad success envisioned in a whole government engagement all must be integral to united action. All are elements of the whole of government approach".
Bringing order to the chaos of anarchy in a whole of government approach entails in the process of a unified action the appreciation of which agencies can be assigned the lead role to ensure the overall result of establishing a sustainable order of security where anarchy had been prevalent.
How much can Nigeria learn from the US Army theorization of stability operations? The state governors demand state police as a substitute for the Nigerian Armed Forces. Why? Because the Armed Forces are apparently in the short run suffering setbacks.
But this is a knee-jerk reaction not informed by an understanding of the present course of government's battles with the forces of insurgencies, and what post conflict stability operations is implemented through a whole of government strategy.
In the next essay we will present the FM 3- 07 concept of stability operations as theorized by the US Army and what we can learn from it on how Nigeria's security situation can be conceptually characterised.