Until recently, governments and militaries have preferred to focus attention and resources on conventional military operations rather than stabilization and reconstruction missions. Thus, skills and capacities for the latter set of missions have remained underdeveloped or have been allowed to atrophy. U.S. experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated, however, that improving U.S. capacity for stabilization and reconstruction operations is critical to national security. To help craft a way ahead, the authors provide an overview of the requirements posed by stabilization and reconstruction operations and recommend ways to improve U.S. capacity to meet these needs. Among other findings, the authors suggest that the United States
- emphasize building civilian rather than military capacity
- realign and reform existing agencies rather than creating new organizations
- fund and implement the Civilian Stabilization Initiative
- improve deployable police capacity
- develop stronger crisis-management processes
- ensure coherent guidance and funding.