The problems ahead are highlighted by the National Security Presidential Memorandum on defeating ISIS. It is a flashing case of the issues of creating an interagency plan.

I've highlighted a couple of the directions to the Department of Defense that clearly point to the issues.

The Secretary of Defense is told to frame a public diplomacy effort to counSIS. Public diplomacy is the State Department. The Department of Defense is told to come up with mechanism to cut off ISIS funding. That is a Treasury responsibility.

Over the years, a number of ways have been tried to solve these interagency problems. One of the ideas was to have a format for an interagency plan. The format was to be a structured way to get separate agencies to contribute to what would be a coherent plan. Although this thrust was mostly administrative, the Departments decided it was a way to increase the authority of the National Security Advisor, and it never got anywhere.

Another way has been to give the task like this to a Deputies Committee where the major players would be represented. The interagency planning for Libya was done this way with disastrous results.

In the document, I think we are seeing Flynn's Army background coming to play. The memorandum looks like something that a commander would use to initiate the planning process.

My assessment is that this whole process is not going to produce worthwhile results.

"We are going to defeat ISIS." That's okay for a political campaign but one can't coordinate interagency efforts with that kind of objective. Probably the most important part of any interagency effort that brings together the instruments of power is a well thought out set of objectives that can be translated into actions. How will we know we have defeated them if the only objective is to defeat them?

Is the objective unconditional surrender? Not going to happen. Is the objective to kill every individual associated with ISIS. Not going to happen. Reduce ISIS to an ineffective movement in Syria and Iraq. Might happen. Reduce ISIS capability for power projection. Might happen.

I would conclude that Deputies should start meeting immediately on the objectives, and these objective should be cleared through the NSC. The next step is to be clear on the thrust of power that will achieve those objectives. Then....