US Army, Key Strategic Issues List

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Nov 23, 2013
The KSIL for 2015-2016 is out for those who are interested in Strategic issues. I've always found it very interesting.

There are 3 parts to this:



Part III: Army Warfighting Challenges

In addition, since the US has been pursuing a path of "State Building" for several years, this brief article may provide some enlightment as to why it just doesn't work in many cases:

Strategic Insights: Fragile States Cannot Be Fixed With State-Building

July 27, 2015 | Dr. Robert D. Lamb
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The problem with the way the international community thinks about and responds to fragile states is not that we do not understand “fragility,” its causes, and its cures, but that we think of them as “states,” as coherent units of analysis. As a result of this strategic level mistake, efforts to build state capacity to contain violence and reduce poverty are at least as likely to destabilize the country as they are to help. The U.S. military should consider the destabilizing potential of its efforts to build capacity, train and equip security forces, and provide support to diplomacy and development when its partners and beneficiaries are officials of fragile states.

State formation has always been an exceedingly bloody endeavor. Most stable countries worthy of the term “state” that are stable, including wealthy, Western, liberal, or democratic nation-states, came into being through complicated social processes, including war, ethnic cleansing, or genocide. That violence was followed by an institutionalization of the values and social priorities of the victors, combined with some degree of accommodation for the vanquished across and within the new state’s borders.

State formation, in other words, has always been a matter of violent exclusion followed by pragmatic inclusion. In all successful states today, those processes have resulted in stable formal political systems, with a significant degree of internal consensus over how those systems should be governed.

Today, a quarter of the world’s population, and half of the world’s poor people by some estimates, live in places commonly referred to as “fragile states,” beset by conflict, poverty traps, low social cohesion and, in many cases, cycles of violence and terror. These pathologies are not contained within the borders of fragile states, however. As it is ritually noted in most articles on state fragility, these are places that often generate dangerous spillovers: regional tensions, international terrorism, transnational organized crime, an inability to contain outbreaks of disease, and other problems generally associated with the term “instability.”

But fragile states are not “states” in the same sense as those that are stable. They developed differently. They went through periods of tribal governance and warfare and, in some cases, territorial consolidation, as European states did, but then most were subjected to colonization by distant powers or severe domination by regional hegemons, in both cases with foreigners imposing borders and manipulating local politics, elevating one set of elites at the expense of populations with whom they did not share a tribal, ethnic, or national identity. When those foreign powers left (or reduced their footprint), the empowered elites either held on to power or were removed from power by their former subjects. In both cases, the internal fragmentation of views about governance—who should govern and how—remained and in all fragile states continues to be one of the most important determinants of fragility.


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