The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) gathered senior-level experts at the U.S. Department of State, Defense, USAID, and various think tanks to discuss how economic tools can best contribute to U.S. strategy and operations in fragile and conflict-affected states.
In the past 15 years, the United States has learned and re-learned many hard lessons in stabilization missions around the world. While there is widespread understanding that success in such operations requires integration of all tools of statecraft, there is also growing recognition that traditional economic development models are ill-suited to the demands of many stabilization missions. For example, World Bank President Robert Zoellick has called for a new approach to “securing development” by “looking beyond the analytics of development to a different framework of building security, legitimacy, governance and economy.”
CNAS convened this working group to help define this new approach to using economic tools to support political and security stabilization, the return to normalcy in everyday life, and establishing the foundation for traditional development in fragile and conflict-affected states. By bringing together experienced practitioners and opinion leaders – from both inside and outside the U.S. government, private sector and public sector – CNAS seeks to define a specific work agenda to improve our understanding, training, and planning for the integration of economic activities into broader stabilization missions.
Topics for discussion included surveying the current landscape and existing “intellectual capital,” topics for additional research, and specific activities to improve our approach to economic stabilization both near-term and longer-term (e.g., providing advice in the development of operational plans; developing new training materials to support current and future civil-military operations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq; drafting doctrine; and formulating a proposal for a “center of excellence” in economic stabilization research, etc.).