The role of law in military operations today is pervasive, and it contributes significantly to the complexity of the international security environment. The practice of "operational law," as it is often called, requires legal advisors on military operations to be competent in areas of the law as diverse as environmental law, contracts, claims and human rights in addition to the more typical bodies of law that one would expect in a military operation, such as the law of armed conflict. Legal complexity is just one of a number of operational aspects that have forced international organizations to reassess their traditional methods of conducting military operations. In particular, conflicts since the end of the Cold War have shown that the mere coincident use of military force alongside civilian reconstruction and development programs in an operational environment is not sufficient to set the conditions conducive to a stable and lasting peace. Accustomed in the past to working largely independently of one another, military and civilian efforts often lacked the horizontal coordination between them necessary for practical cooperation at the strategic, operational and tactical levels of operations. Further, the use of their respective conventional planning, execution and assessment techniques did not always generate the necessary vertical coherence in strategy implementation between the different levels of their operations that would ensure their plans were effectively carried out. Finally, military and civilian organizations have realized that certain conditions necessary to build a stable and lasting peace, such as establishing the rule of law, can be challenging to achieve using traditional approaches.
Colonel Jody M. Prescott, The Development of NATO EBAO Doctrine: Clausewitz's Theories and the Role of Law in an Evolving Approach to Operations, 27 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 125 (2008).