Reconstruction and Stabilization Corps to be Enacted

Military operations may neutralize immediate kinetic threats and strategic communications may make promises, but enduring change comes from systemic overhauls that stabilize unstable regions. Security, humanitarian relief, governance, economic stabilization, and development are critical for stability and denial of sanctuary for violent extremism, terrorism, and insurgency. These are the real propaganda of deeds but without competent and comprehensive action in these areas, military and diplomatic actions are simply a waste of time, money, and life.

Bullets and bombs represent short-term tactical responses to a much larger strategic dilemma. Any text worth reading on insurgency or counterinsurgency recognizes and emphasizes the operational and strategic center of gravity is the people. Failing to address grinding poverty and disillusionment in regions creates fertile breeding grounds for extremists, terrorists, and insurgents to attack the national interests of the United States.

As Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) puts it:

In recent years, our government has cobbled together plans, people and projects to respond to post-conflict development in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The efforts of those engaged have been valiant, but these emergencies have been complex and time sensitive. Our ad hoc approach has been inadequate, slow and inefficient. Our lack of preparation for immediate stabilization contingencies has made our subsequent reconstruction efforts more difficult and expensive,” Lugar said. “We can and must do better engaging our civilian expertise in the world, to more quickly move to the next phase beyond the outstanding work of our military.

We must also prepare for unknown future conflicts. If we are to win the war on terrorism, we cannot allow states to crumble or remain incapable of governing. A delay in our response can mean the difference between crisis and stabilized success. The United States must be able to respond to a variety of international crises, both in civilian agency response to a crisis or as an effective civilian partner to our troops in a conflict or post-conflict environment.

To this end, Defense Authorization Bill S. 3001 will include establish and fund S/CRS, the State Department’s Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. Aggressively supported by Senators Lugar and Joe Biden (D-DE), the bill will:

  • establishes in law the office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and stabilization at the State Department;
  • supports the President’s 2009 budget request for $248 million for the purpose of enabling United States civilian stabilization capabilities through the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization;
  • authorizes assistance for stabilization and reconstruction in a country or region the President determines is at risk of, in, or in transition from conflict or civil strife;
  • establishes and maintains a Response Readiness Corps of government civilians with an active and standby component, trained and ready to deploy on short notice in support of U.S. crisis response;
  • establishes a Civilian Reserve Corps to deepen the pool of civilian experts trained and ready to deploy expeditiously in support of U.S. crisis response; and
  • directs the development of an interagency strategy to rapidly and effectively respond when stabilization and reconstruction operations are required.

Now, let’s make sure it does get passed.

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6 Replies to “Reconstruction and Stabilization Corps to be Enacted”

  1. Nice to see additions being made to the capabilities to the State Department rather than proposals to remove them.On a less flippant note, I think that last facet of the bill, “directs the development of an interagency strategy” will be hugely important. The systematic and smooth transition between the “kinetic” invasion and initial occupying force to the reconstruction units and then, perhaps, to the much longer term support (perhaps then by USAID and other development organizations), can really make the difference between success and failure. It took little time for the looting and lawlessness to begin once the Iraq invasion was completed.

  2. A similar program worked WONDERFULLY in Haiti.(Extracts sarcastic tongue from cheek)
    It just never dawns on anyone (perhaps intentionally… I know MY congress-critter Sam Farr supported this bill, even as he claimed to not vote any appropriations for the war in Iraq, to keep the almost defunct California construction industry in business) that the Iraqis are perfectly capable of rebuilding their own country, even with the war/mayhem-related deaths of thousands upon thousands of their teen and working age males.
    The concept of ‘blowing up a country’s infrastructure to garner contracts to rebuild it’ IS the epitome of moral turpitude. Putting a smiley face on it, via diplomacy or other means makes it no less immoral.
    That IS what it looks like to any rational citizen of the world.
    We invaded a country on the basis of bald-faced lies… Spent a few years (including before the invasion)destroying almost ALL of it’s civilian as well as military infrastructure, and NOW…
    …Now that the Pentagon’s cards are almost played out due to NO UN resolution and NO Status of Forces agreement, meaning NO RIGHT TO BE THERE ANYMORE… PERIOD, there’s this one last desperate attempt to ‘carpetbag’.
    Here’s MY suggestion regarding the “Reconstruction and Stabilization” of Iraq: Since the US now has ‘their boy, al-Maliki’ in office, albeit perhaps not for long, it would seem that DIRECT REPARATIONS are in order.

  3. USAID already has a Ready Response Corps and PC just came out with one too. The Corps exist for work for retired USAID and returned PC(Sam Farr)s. This should move to NGOs, but it is more effective to have the employees in from the beginning like Afghanistan. However, this can backfire when the money for the NGO they go to work for after their government service is earmarked by the Intelligence Committee. So, ideally it should stay government trained while it is still dangerous and later NGOs as it gets safer, but the training is mostly government. The problem will be the money staying in government hands or retire government recalled by the Response Corps and not the NGOs, who should be able to participate with their own people. The money should be going to private industry instead of the government.

  4. I get that Barnett’s SysAdmin idea is getting traction, but much like DES, I don’t think this has a chance in hell of working. First of all, how many times are we going to be using such a force? While the military has multiple peace-keeping and disaster relief type functions, it’s not like this civilian force is going to be utilized often (unless they are going to be augmenting the military on trips to Haiti, the Balklans, etc.).I don’t know. Maybe I’m a cynic, but government isn’t the answer here, it’s the problem. Maybe we should just support NGOs and the UN more and let this bureaucratic monster slumber.

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