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The USEUCOM Strategic

Effectiveness Process

DOD (Karlheizn Wedhorn)

By W i l l i a m E . W a r d

Convoy leaves Kharwar, Afghanistan,

following medical and veterinary service

GEN Ward discusses USEUCOM cooperative

security via videoconference at George C. Marshall
European Center for Security Studies

General Smith favors the looser term

effects-based approach and stated that an
55th Signal Company (Joey L. Suggs)

effects-based tool “might be most useful on

a strategic level at top headquarters, where
commanders must integrate military oper-
ations with U.S. political and economic
objectives.”4 U.S. European Command
(USEUCOM) has developed just such a
tool: the Strategic Effectiveness Process.

Effects-Based Defined
J.P. Hunerwadel lamented that there are

“as many opinions about what [effects-based
he terms effects-based opera- operations are] as there are people who have
tions (EBO) and effects-based written on the subject.”5 To apply any concept
approach to operations are two effectively, it is first necessary to establish a
of the most controversial topics workable definition. After examining the
in modern joint warfighting. A recent article broad range of arguments on effects-based
DOD (Robert D. Ward)

broke the controversy into two camps. Pro- operations, USEUCOM planners decided
ponents of EBO “seek greater efficiency and to apply effects-based thinking to enhance
less destruction in combat by linking each (but not replace) the traditional military
GEN James L. Jones, USMC, Supreme Allied use of military force, down to the most tacti- decisionmaking process by linking objectives
Commander Europe, and Commander, cal levels, to overarching, strategic effects or to tasks through a set of desired effects on the
USEUCOM, briefs press on international objectives.”1 But critics argue that it remains environment.
deployments of NATO troops “virtually impossible to reliably identify While the debate over effects-based
the effects of an operation when facing . . . operations raged in professional publications,
complex adaptive . . . targets like . . . insur- USEUCOM planners and leaders quietly went
gent groups in Iraq” and that effects-based to work to find the best way to apply effects-
thinking “can lead to potentially dangerous based thinking in the real world. The product of

ø self-delusion about the capacity to control

their efforts is the command’s Strategic Effec-
tiveness Process, a broad strategic framework
This article is a condensed version of In an interview soon after taking for the command that:
General Ward’s original submission. charge of U.S. Joint Forces Command,
A more technical essay with embedded General Lance Smith, USAF, acknowledged n establishes the commander’s desired
graphics is highly recommended for that there are “legitimate concerns out endstate for the theater, defined by a set of
operations and plans officers and there [about] people, including some in overarching strategic objectives and effects
is available at by Joint Forces Command, that try and make n prioritizes resource requirements by
clicking on JFQ issue 44. this whole thing too prescriptive. . . . I identifying tasks necessary to achieve the
refuse to use a term of ‘EBO’ that means effects and capabilities needed to perform
. . . different things to different people.”3 those tasks

General William E. Ward, USA, is Deputy Commander, U.S. European Command.

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n prioritizes information requirements

Objective-Task Linkage Capability Gap Identification
for the daily Joint Control Board and other
decisionmaking players by linking priority EUCOM Strategic Objective 3:
Strategic Theater EUCOM Strategic Objective 4:
Strategic access and freedom Objectives Terrorist entities are defeated and the
information requirements/commander’s criti- of action are secure environment is unfavorable to terrorism

cal information requirements to the strategic Strategic Theater Strategic Effect 4.2:
EUCOM Strategic Objective 3.1:
objectives and effects Host nations support USEUCOM Effects Partner nations increase their capability
to combat terrorism
forward basing strategy
n assesses the success or failure of the
command’s efforts to achieve the strategic Measures of MOE 4.2.3:
MOE 3.1.5 Increased percentage of identified terrorists
Effectiveness [MOE]
effects, using the expertise of USEUCOM Increased host nation compliance
with support agreements
exploited, captured or killed by local efforts
with partner nations
system-of-systems analysts (SOSAs), and
provides regular reports to the command’s Strategic Task 3.1.4:
Strategic Theater Strategic Task 4.2.2:
Establish and maintain MOB, FOS, Tasks Improve counter-terrorism intelligence capabilities
leadership. taskers of partner nations (tied to UJTL/EUCOM METL)

Required -Ability to train/equip partner CT efforts

-Ability to prevent crisis and rapidly respond -Ability to provide sufficient ISR
Objectives and Effects -TSC/Phase-0 capability in Eastern Europe Capabilities

-Gap: ISR capability
As an initial step, the chief of staff con-

vened a planning team comprised of represen- Operational/Tactical

Obj: Ground-based presence in Eastern Europe
Objectives/Effects/Tasks Phase-II-III

Eff: USAEUR positioned for rapid response/Ph 0 support
tatives from all directorates of the headquar- Task: Establish rotational BDE in Bulgaria/Romania

ters, plus all the subordinate headquarters.6 – Measures state of this Measures of Marine Forces
They operated as a traditional operational 1st Brigade FOC by ‘XXX’
Effect across DIME spectrum
– IDs IA/ military actions based on Performance intelligence training
conducted in Country ‘X’
planning team, with all stakeholders having a trend analysis, pattern recognition
– Focuses influence activies
hand in shaping the objectives. After getting
feedback from general and flag officers, seven
theater strategic objectives were presented and USEUCOM planners and leaders quietly went to work to find
approved by the USEUCOM commander:
the best way to apply effects-based thinking in the real world
1. the Nation and its citizens and interests
are secure from attack While developing the effects, the com- language for planners. Continuing through
2. success across the range of military mander directed that the team depart from the process, the team then engendered
operations is ensured historical effects-based thought processes in descriptors for the effects, measures of effec-
3. strategic access and freedom of action one area regarding the effects themselves: he tiveness, and theater tasks. The descriptors
are secure stated that at the theater strategic level, there provide essential effects-based language for
4. terrorist entities are defeated and the are key effects to be achieved in the operational planners writing any supporting plan. Figure
environment is unfavorable to terrorism environment that are purely within the control 1 shows the hierarchy from theater strategic
5. security conditions are conducive to a of the U.S. Government, such as gaining objectives all the way to tactical level tasks.
favorable international order resource support or influencing force alloca-
6. strong alliances and partnerships effec- tion and transformation processes. Objectives 2 While the process of developing theater
tively contend with common challenges (success across the range of military operations strategic objectives, effects, and tasks was
7. transformation leads evolving is ensured) and 7 (transformation leads evolv- significant, it was not an end in itself. The
challenges. ing challenges) primarily describe conditions real benefit to the command (and potentially
of, or actions by, Federal entities (for example, to other commands) is the way USEUCOM
Once the theater strategic objectives the Services, Congress, and interagency is using these objectives and effects within
were approved, the planning team developed partners). Interestingly, the commander made the Strategic Effectiveness Process to guide
strategic effects describing specific conditions this decision in 2004 to deviate from the then- planning, prioritize resources and informa-
that will lead to accomplishing the objectives. commonly accepted definition of an effect. tion, and assess effectiveness of command
To use more traditional military decisionmak- This approach has since been incorporated programs as a whole.
ing language, if the objectives represent the into new guidance from the Joint Warfighting
commander’s desired endstate for his theater, Center. In the recently published Commander’s Guide Planning
the effects articulate his intent (how he intends Handbook for an Effects-Based Approach In determining the best way to apply
to achieve the endstate). Effects describe the to Joint Operations, effects are described as effects-based thinking in the command’s area
behavior or state of some environmental being “stated in the form of behaviors and of responsibility (AOR), the team was sensitive
element (political, military, economic, social, capabilities of systems within the [operational to the ongoing controversy over effects-based
infrastructure, or information) and can be environment]—friendly, neutral, or adversary operations and made a critical recom-
measured to determine whether U.S. Govern- behavior.”7 mendation to the commander: USEUCOM
ment actions are helping achieve the desired To support the 7 strategic objectives, should apply its effects-based process at the
effects. Based on the assessments, leaders the team developed measures of effectiveness theater strategic level without mandating a
can then decide whether to stay the course or (MOE) and strategic theater tasks. The MOE standardized effects-based approach at the
change course to support the desired effects. and tasks are essential pieces of effects-based operational and tactical levels. In doing so, the issue 44, 1st quarter 2007  /  JFQ        55

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1st Combat Camera Squadron (John Houghton)

RADM Michael Lyden, USN, signs Acquisition and Cross-Servicing
Agreement with Secretary General of Ministry of Defense of Mali

Warfighters at Integrated Battlespace Arena

watch real-time pictures of theater air assets from
Predator unmanned aerial system

55th Signal company (Michael A. Abney)

tasks (using plain language) that describe what
USEUCOM had to do to achieve the desired
strategic effects throughout the theater. Once
the tasks were defined, the team linked them
to the joint mission essential task list, focusing
on tasks at the strategic and
operational levels. They also
crosswalked the strategic tasks
each of the components would implement effects- to the joint capabilities areas
based thinking in accordance with Service-specific outlined in the Functional
Capabilities Board Process
guidance because it is not yet joint doctrine
(Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
Sailors from USS Carr
assist boat in distress
of Staff Instruction 3137.01C).
U.S. Navy

off Sierra Leone (J–5) has integrated the new objectives and Once the list of strategic tasks
effects into the Theater Security Cooperation was complete, the Operations Research Branch
team acknowledged that each of the Service Regional Strategies and Country Campaign (J–8) staff compared all the tasks for each effect
components would implement effects-based Plans, and the USEUCOM Plans and Opera- against the full list of joint capabilities areas.
thinking and operations in accordance with tions Center (J–3) has done the same with the Then, with the help of the components, they
Service-specific guidance because it is not yet Counterterrorism Campaign Plan. Both Naval determined which tasks could be performed
joint doctrine. Forces, Europe, and U.S. Air Forces in Europe based on resources in the theater. The planners
Instead of directing the components to have begun including USEUCOM’s strategic identified capabilities that were missing but
implement effects-based operations in a rigid, effects in their plans in the course of normal that were required to perform essential tasks
proscribed manner, the command’s strategic review/revision timelines. supporting the strategic effects and highlighted
objectives and effects provide broad guidance them as gaps to be included in the IPL develop-
to anyone building a plan for execution within Prioritizing Resource Requirements ment process.
the USEUCOM AOR. They help define the This new effects-based process has As an example, strategic objective 4
“left and right limits” for any planning efforts, had a major impact on the development of states that “terrorist entities are defeated and
clearly stating the commander’s desired end- ­USEUCOM’s integrated priority listing (IPL) the environment is unfavorable to terror-
state and intent and making it easy for the sub- and programming objective memorandum ism.” Supporting this objective is strategic
ordinate or supporting command or agency to inputs. In a theater such as U.S. European effect 4.2, “Partner nations increase their
produce supporting or complementary plans. Command, where most activities center on capability to combat terrorism.” Strategic
The objectives and effects and their descriptors security cooperation, it is challenging to define task 4.2.2 states, “Improve [counterterrorism]
are not written in complicated military jargon, requirements in a capabilities-based manner. intelligence capabilities of partner nations.”
making them easier to use with interagency Capabilities needed to fight conventional con- This task is associated with a number of joint
partners in collaborative planning sessions. flicts are easy to identify: to control airspace, mission essential tasks.
While there is no easy way to inject such a a combatant commander must request air Task 4.2.2 can be performed by any
new thought process into an ongoing planning defense forces; to control shipping lanes, he component with the capability to train or equip
cycle, USEUCOM made progress in a relatively should request surface combatants. But what partner nation counterterrorist intelligence
short time by manning the strategic planning capabilities should a combatant commander forces. It also requires the capability to provide
team with representatives from all director- request to train and equip partner-nation secu- some counterterrorist intelligence information
ates and components. Over time, as the team rity forces or conduct intelligence sharing? to partners. USEUCOM planners determined
developed the effects and supporting informa- USEUCOM’s standing concept and func- that sufficient intelligence, surveillance, and
tion, members shared them with the staff and tional plans do not cover security cooperation reconnaissance (ISR) capability did not exist
components so all could begin integrating the activities, and they are not written in enough in any of the components to accomplish this
new language into their own plans. To date, the detail to lead directly to capabilities require- task throughout the AOR; therefore, the latest
Strategy, Policy, and Assessments Directorate ments. Accordingly, planners developed a list of IPL reported this capability as a gap requiring

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additional resources.
Effect 4.2: Partner nations increase capabilty to combat terrorism taken to analyze the
The justification for AOR and use of the
the requirement was SE EUROPE
SOSAs to conduct
clear: it was tied directly EURASIA assessments.
and specifically to a N AFRICA The regional
theater strategic effect. W AFRICA approach is fairly
In addition to support- C AFRICA
straightforward. U.S.
ing USEUCOM IPL U.S. European Command European Command’s
inputs, this process aids Area of Responsibility AOR is vast, encompass-
False True
the components when Effect is more or less
ing 92 countries and a
they seek resources wide variety of cultures
through their parent Pattern Recognition Strategic Focus Area and environments, from
Europe: capabilities significant, CT cooperation Address gap between TSC and CT strategies through
Service budgeting cycles improving, but partners are vulnerable strategic and fiscal alignment (Title 10/22) modern democratic and
because it gives them Balkan CT capability undercut by inter-ethnic Capability doesn’t always translate into national economic powerhouses
clear justification for political and social conflict political will to developing former
requesting a capability Africa: CT capabilities undercut by persistent Effective CT programs require more than building Soviet-bloc nations and
political, economic, and social weaknesses tactical military capability
(in this case, ISR col- the struggling states of
Not all partner nations have the same Need to improve shared understanding and
lection) in support of understanding of the CT problem recognition of evolving terrorist threat sub-Saharan Africa. It
joint theater strategic USEUCOM’s primary roles—info sharing with partner is impossible to assess
objectives. nations and improving partner nations CT capabilities the validity of a state-
ment such as “Terrorists
Prioritize Information ­planning or consultation with interagency do not have freedom of action” for the entire
Prioritizing the information presented to partners to develop an integrated diplomatic, area of responsibility, so the assessment cell
the commander is critical in any headquarters, information, military, and economic response conducts its analysis in regional divisions based
and USEUCOM planners identified a key issue to this situation before it becomes a crisis. on theater organization: Western Europe,
when developing the strategic objectives: some CCIRs, which are fed by more traditional intel- Southeast Europe (including the Balkans),
information flowing into the headquarters was ligence channels, support current operations Eurasia (Russia and former Soviet republics),
relevant to operational decisionmaking—com- and crisis/contingency decisionmaking. North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa,
mander’s critical information requirements Southern Africa, and East Africa. The cell
(CCIR). This information was frequently Assess Strategic Effects conducts assessments by region in an annual
time-sensitive. However, other information The foundation of the ongoing Strategic cycle, presenting updates on two or three
was more relevant to strategic decisionmak- Effectiveness Process is the Effects Assess- regions roughly every other month. The goal is
ing and usually less time-sensitive. There was ment Cell and the process it uses to assess the to update the commander on each region twice
also a danger that information of little current command’s activities. The cell provides the a year.
relevance could have strategic significance commander the information to make decisions As the planning team began examin-
as the reflection of a trend or emerging issue, and shift resources or effort as necessary to ing ways to conduct strategic assessment,
while information with little strategic impact support the desired theater effects. If the effects members quickly realized that the expertise
might be critical to an ongoing contingency. are being achieved, the command is supporting of the SOSAs was the key to developing the
Both types are important and could drive a the endstate defined by the strategic objectives. analytical engine of the effects assessment cell.
commander’s decision, but in different ways Assessing effectiveness at the strategic These experts, one each to analyze the politi-
and on different timelines. level primarily involves pattern recognition. cal, military, economic, social, informational,
The strategic theater objectives and Because the strategic effects are long-time- and infrastructure systems within the regions
theater effects led to a new cat- horizon concepts, it is unrealistic of interest, came to USEUCOM as part of the
egory of information need—a to report them as successful or Standing Joint Force Headquarters (SJFHQ)
so-called strategic information the strategic unsuccessful in a short-term established in 2004. They performed opera-
requirement—that is used to eval- theater update. The cell analyzes the tional net assessment in support of SJFHQ
uate data and determine whether objectives and environment and determines operations, but lessons learned from multiple
it is relevant to a contingency or to theater effects whether the trends in the theater exercises showed that it was extremely difficult
overall strategic effectiveness. This led to a new are leading in the right or wrong to perform these assessments full-up on more
requirement is composed of ques- direction over time. For example, than one country in the AOR with such a small
category of
tions that focus on long-lead-time is the statement “Terrorists do team—and totally impossible to assess even the
decisions. These questions are information not have freedom of action” most important challenges for all 92 countries.
answered by analyzing measures need—a so- (effect 4.1) becoming more or less When the need arose to conduct analy-
of effectiveness through required called strategic true since the last update? There sis on a broader scale in support of strategic
reporting or independent research information are two noteworthy aspects of effects, the deputy commander shifted the
by the SOSAs. They might requirement U
­ SEUCOM’s effects assessment SOSA team from the USEUCOM Plans and
lead only to a decision to begin process: the regional approach Operations Center (the command’s SJFHQ) issue 44, 1st quarter 2007  /  JFQ        57

JFQ44[text].indd 57 11/27/06 10:37:01 AM

Major General Bronislaw Kwiatkowski,
Polish Army, Commander, Multinational
to the J–8 Operations Division Central South Iraq, addresses
Research division and assessment conference on regional security
tasked them to do the
analytical work neces-
sary to drive the strategic as assessments get beyond
the baseline stage, the

U.S. Air Force (Dawn M. Price)

effectiveness process.
To accomplish intent is to elevate the
this, the team submits presentations to the
data calls to the compo-
deputy commander and
nents and headquarters
directorates, conducts
commander level
independent research, analyzes the data, and
prepares graphic presentations for the head- officers brief senior leaders about all strategic effects as well as adding effects-based language
quarters leadership. Through 2005 and 2006, communications and information operations and assessment practices into new command
the cell conducted a series of “quick look” occurring in the regions of interest for that activities in a more proactive manner. The
assessments of each effect, establishing the particular meeting, showing the results of the current goal is to use effects-based assessments
baseline from which future deviations will be latest strategic assessment for the same regions. for all theater strategic activities by early 2007.
measured. This required pulling voluminous The chief of staff, directors, and com-
data from the components, country teams, and ponent headquarters representatives review The controversy over effects-based opera-
other staff directorates. the effects assessment and discuss options tions may rage on, and academics may continue
To ease this process in the future, the for adjusting the direction of the command’s to debate an exact definition. In the meantime,
Operations Research Branch is developing activities to reinforce success or prevent failure U.S. European Command is moving out,
assessment tools that will rely primarily on to move in the right direction. As the process applying an effects-based approach to opera-
other preexisting reporting requirements to matures and the assessments get beyond the tions throughout the theater and proving that
provide data to the effects assessment cell, baseline stage, the intent is to elevate the pre- effects-based thinking is the best methodology
including Joint Staff war on terror assessments sentations to the deputy commander and com- for synchronizing the complex and varied ele-
and Office of the Secretary of Defense security mander level, as the chief of staff occasionally ments of national power at work in a geographic
cooperation assessments. The vision for the directs now. combatant command. JFQ
effects assessment is that the process will As Lieutenant General David Deptula,
become more passive as the command’s plans USAF, said, “EBO is not a framework, a system, N otes
and component plans are written and executed or any organization . . . rather it is a methodol-
using effects-based methods and language. ogy or a way of thinking . . . it encourages
Elaine M. Grossman, “A Top Commander
Acts to Defuse Military Angst on Combat
Data collection for assessments will then merging all of our national security tools and
Approach,” Inside the Army, April 24, 2006,
simply involve reviewing routine reports rather thus has application across the spectrum of
available at <
than additional data calls. Even if the subordi- conflict.”8 USEUCOM leaders and action
nate actions are not conducted by interagency officers are applying this methodology and way ask&docnum=ARMY-18-16-16>.
partners according to effects-based processes, of thinking to a wide range of programs and 2
the reports and results from these activities will processes throughout the headquarters. 3
General Lance L. Smith, USAF, quoted in
easily feed the strategic assessment process as It is impossible to develop and implement Grossman.
long as they are working in some way toward a new process as significant as this overnight. 4
the theater strategic effects. As stated earlier, The command’s Strategic Effectiveness Process 5
J.P. Hunerwadel, “The Effects-Based
USEUCOM planners wrote the tasks and mea- has been under construction since 2004 and is Approach to Operations: Questions and Answers,”
sures of effectiveness that support the desired being implemented using a phased approach. Air and Space Power Journal 20, no. 1 (Spring
2006), available at <
strategic effects in plain English, not military The first two phases of implementation
jargon, in order to facilitate application by focused on educating the staff and component 6
These include U.S. Army, European
interagency partners or other nonmilitary staffs on effects-based language and processes
Command; Naval Forces, Europe; U.S. Air Forces in
organizations. and adding this education to current planning Europe; Marine Corps Forces, Europe; and Special
Strategic effectiveness assessments are and other activities in a reactive manner. These Operations Component, U.S. European Command.
currently reported at bimonthly meetings of phases also included the “quick look” effects 7
Joint Warfighting Center, Commander’s
the Strategic Effectiveness and Communica- assessments. As of fall 2006, the command Handbook for an Effects-Based Approach to
tions Council, a forum of USEUCOM staff will complete these assessments and begin Joint Operations (Norfolk, VA: U.S. Joint Forces
and component senior leaders chaired by the looking for the long-term changes that will tell Command, 2006), I–4.
chief of staff. When the council meets, action the commander if he is achieving his desired
Lieutenant General David A. Deptula, USAF,
“Foreword: Effects Based Operations,” Air and
Contributors: Colonel Stuart Dickey, USMC; Colonel Mark Wells, USAF; Colonel James Welton, USAF; Space Power Journal 20, no. 1 (Spring 2006), avail-
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Holdren, USA; Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Habel, USA; Major Christopher Holinger, able at <
USAF; and Rick Kuenning, Chris Crowley, Alison Jameson, Dick Drane, and Don Cranz. cles/apj/apj06/spr06/deptula.html>.

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