Inevitable Conflicts, Avoidable Failures: Preparing for the Third Generation of Conflict, Stabilization, and Reconstruction Operations
Written by Johanna Mendelson Forman, Center for Strategic and international Studies
The first two sections of this report briefly review the first two generations of U.S. engagement in what was then called “post-conflict reconstruction” and later termed “stabilization and reconstruction.” The first generation, from the end of the Cold War to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, was characterized by strong interplay between the United States and multilateral organizations in coordinating to help countries in conflict. The second generation, from 9/11 to the end of the “surges” in Iraq and Afghanistan, was influenced by the PCR Commission’s work on the essential tasks needed for reconstruction and, later, by new doctrine for counterinsurgency. We have now entered a third generation in which skepticism about the value of and capabilities for doing this work is on the upswing. After a decade of conflict, the public is tired and resources are declining. The report’s third section, therefore, considers the current state of the field in light of the political and economic mood of the United States today. The final section of this report offers broad recommendations based on the lessons of the past decade.
Read the report here.