Friday, April 23, 2010


The DIME (Diplomacy, Information, Military, Economics) model is a new thought organizational concept emerging out of US military academia. So new, in fact, Wikipedia only has one sentence on it. That's pretty freakin' new. At its basic level, DIME is a new way to think about and categorize the power, and thus influence, of a state. The logic goes that a state's influence in the international system is defined by its ability to project power in each of the four areas of DIME. And it is the job of a state's leadership to balance their particular state's interaction with other states in terms of the four elements of DIME. Sometimes diplomacy alone will solve a problem, information is always needed to support the other three elements, economic interaction occurs everyday between most states and can be used to project power in different ways, and sometimes military actions are needed, although this does not always necessarily mean war (think the 24th Marine Expeditionary Force in Haiti a couple months ago). Each of the four DIME elements consist of a range of varying degrees within their own category as well. A state can use diplomacy to enhance and strengthen a relationship with another state or it can use diplomacy to indicate a strain in relations with a state. Economic interaction can be trade and cooperation, development assistance, or sanctions. Information is both out-going, in the form of communication, and in-coming, in the form of intelligence. The four DIME elements ebb and flow based on the situation they are applied to and, like most strategic models, the DIME model can get messy very quickly.

DIME is also a way for the US military to think about the role its plays in our great country and how that role interacts with the roles other organizations play. And there always seems to be a strong debate about which elements deserve the most emphasis and funding. It has been said by numerous US officials across the spectrum of leadership that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be won by military might alone, that all the tools available to US decision-makers must be employed. This is the heart of the DIME concept. And it's not surprising that US leadership started delivering speeches about how the current wars cannot be won by military might alone once the Iraqi insurgency kicked off in 2004. The Iraqi insurgency has caused the US military to rethink how it approaches its missions. Effective diplomacy between a stable Iraqi government and the US, along with effective diplomacy at the unit level, all in conjunction with economic stimulation and Iraqi job creation have become equal (or exceeded, depending on where you're sitting in the discussion) to military impact on the situation. And if you don't believe me, just check out the below from the U.S. Army Field Manual 3-24 Counterinsurgency:

Counter-insurgents achieve the most meaningful success by gaining popular support and legitimacy for the host government, not by killing insurgents. Security plays an important role in setting the stage for other progress, but lasting victory comes from a vibrant economy, political participation, and restored hope.

One example, on the economic side, of how the US military is approaching these DIME model concepts is personified in the position of Mr. Paul Brinkley. Mr. Brinkley, a former Silicon Valley executive, is Deputy Under Secretary of Defense and Director of the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations in Iraq. His basic job is to work with the Iraq Ministry of Fiance to get the country's economy up and running again. Interesting position for someone with a DoD badge.

DIME may only have one sentence in Wikipedia, but it does have its own website linked off of the US Army War College's website. And with the concept of war and state interaction changing, we can only expect that the DIME model will garner increased focus within the US military and US leadership as a whole. The ability of a state to project power is a field of study unto itself (Side Note: if you want a place to get started, I'd recommend here). It will be interesting to track how the dynamics of the DIME model change once the next big US military kick-a** adventure takes off. Maybe, just maybe, could this concept be the foundation of the next US RMA? That's a whole other discussion. Only time will tell.


IceBreaker said...

Great post on DIME. Could you possibly tell me from where you got the DIME graphic? I'd like to use it in a paper, if I may. Thank you.

NEO said...

The DIME model is for explanation to public actually. Though the post beautifully explains the DIME model and the evolution of it over time, it has never been the power tactic of any nation and it never will be. The Diplomacy has never been the first choice, the intelligence is there always but the Military and Economies are not the key players. The key players have always been the illusion and solution. You might have heard it as creating a problem and then solving it. The big nations and big powers that are not nations all survive through creating an illusion of problems where there are actually no problems. So that the common man will be presented with problems which are not there and then will be presented with the solution which is not necessary. The DIME models is actually part of the solution. This is where the common man is made to think that there was diplomacy, then intelligence, and then Economics and finally Military. I came across a few posts including this one while googling military power and economy. I did that because I was reading another article on a current military, economy and new world order topic. I think it is related to the subjects and concepts described in this post. You can see that article here:

Anonymous said...

I personally think it's horrendous.. I'm a 52-yr old female from Texas and I'm having this done to me as I type this. Not only DIME but throw in the law enforcement with it. I believe that would be DIMEFIL? Am I an insurgent, gang member? I don't even have a criminal record and have sterling credit as well. Goodness? What in the world? The sob's abusing their power. My crime? I wrote a letter on being pro-2nd amendment. The police chief in the tiny town I live in disliked me (along w/ mayor) so they turned me into the feds as a threat to the homeland. What uttetr bullshit.