This brief is part of a series that discuss the implications of fragility on existing U.S. tools, strategic interests and challenges. U.S. efforts to improve police and military capacity accelerated after 9/11, when the United States began to see weak, fragile, or failed states as reservoirs of insecurity and committed to helping strengthen their ability to fight internal threats before they crossed borders. Meanwhile, as part of a lighter-footprint approach to global engagement, building the capacity of partner states – many of them fragile – became a way for the United States to address the growing number of crises without directly committing troops.
Since only 1 in 5 violent deaths worldwide is now caused by civil or interstate war, SSA encompasses law enforcement support in addition to military support. Although impossible to render an accurate account of the scale of America’s SSA, it is clear that the United States is increasingly relying on this tool, spending an estimated $18.5 billion on SSA in 2014. The author argues that there is no correlation between increased SSA and stability in fragile states and improving SSA effectiveness requires changes to both strategy and implementation.
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