Military 's Campaign Planning For Operation Iraqi Freedom

1301 Words6 Pages
As seen through today’s prism of operational art and design, the U.S. military’s campaign planning for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF) was not successful. This failure resulted from flaws in the planning process itself, and the conclusions that flowed from that process. The lack of adequate advance planning for Phase IV stability or transition operations proved especially problematic. This contributed directly to rising levels of violence in Iraq, and indirectly to increased public scrutiny of the war at home. Throughout 2006, the U.S. public, pundits and military planners debated the way forward in Iraq. The plan that emerged from this period, known as the surge, successfully overcame the deficiencies in the initial planning and execution…show more content…
In 2001, the existing contingency plan (OPLAN 1003-98) for an invasion of Iraq envisioned a range of 380,000 to 500,000 troops to be necessary for the task. As CENTCOM Commander Tommy Franks revised that plan, an exasperated Secretary of Defense sought to force the military to plan for modern warfare in a new way, reportedly saying “that he did not see why more than 125,000 troops would be required and even that was probably too many.” The variant of the plan approved by the President on February 13, 2003 (OPLAN 1003V) envisioned a total available combined force of 290,000 U.S. and coalition troops.
Secretary Rumsfeld repeatedly pressed for reductions throughout the planning process for what eventually became COBRA II. In the end, 150,000 troops participated in the initial military operations that began on March 19, 2003. Even in the midst of the war, Rumsfeld would question, for example, why both the 1st Armored and 1st Cavalry divisions still needed to be sent to Iraq. He ultimately pressured Franks to cancel the latter on April 21, 2003. “Rumsfeld just ground Franks down,” said Secretary of the Army Tom White. President George Bush declared the end of major combat operations on May 1, Coalition forces killed Saddam Hussein’s sons on July 22, and captured Saddam on December 13. By the end of 2003, troop levels had fallen to 122,000.
Poor understanding of the operational environment (OE) led to poor plans. Two main assumptions guided the planning:
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