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From Spectrum to Beam in Iraq Organizational Adaptation: Combat, Stability, and Beyond

Serena, Chad (2010) From Spectrum to Beam in Iraq Organizational Adaptation: Combat, Stability, and Beyond. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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On 20 March 2003, the United States Army participated in the invasion of Iraq as part of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF). Despite the announcement from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln of the end of major combat operations on 1 May 2003, the U.S. Army is still conducting maneuvers and missions throughout the cities and desert plains of Iraq. Fundamentally, the U.S. Army was incapable of translating initial combat success into the accomplishment of strategic objectives and political victory. What emerged from tactical and operational victories against Iraqi forces was not a stable democratic peace; instead, Iraq plunged into a long and complex insurgency that fused the spectrum of conflict into a single beam where the full range of military operations had to be performed nearly simultaneously.Combating and defeating this insurgency required a capacity for conducting simultaneous full spectrum operations in a competitive environment populated by highly adaptive foes. But the U.S. Army was unprepared for this task. A Cycle of Mutual Adaptation between hierarchical and vertically integrated organizations and networked and horizontally integrated competitors ensued. The latter was predisposed to organizational adaptation and conducting networked operations in a decentralized fashion; the former was predisposed to quickly vanquishing threats along prescriptive plans with centralized command and control systems. How this competition unfolded and the implications of this process are the subject of this study.Although the insurgency in Iraq has largely been quelled, the cyclical and competitive process producing this tenuous stability has raised serious questions regarding the efficacy of post-Cold War and post-9/11 strategies, force structures, doctrine, training, and the U.S. Army's organizational capacity for adaptation in light of national interests, strategic requirements, and institutional legacies. This study charts the historical factors contributing to the Cycle of Mutual Adaptation in OIF, analyzes this cycle, gives an assessment of the international security environment in the wake of this conflict, and concludes with policy recommendations for improving the U.S. Army's capacity for organizational adaptation in the 21st Century.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWilliams,
Committee MemberGormley, Dennis
Committee MemberGoldstein, Donald Mgoldy@pitt.eduGOLDY
Committee MemberMetz,
Date: 29 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 2 April 2010
Approval Date: 29 June 2010
Submission Date: 3 April 2010
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Insurgency; Iraq; Organizational Adaptation; U.S. Army
Other ID:, etd-04032010-110011
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:33
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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