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August 15, 2022

Why No One Was in Charge in Afghanistan

By Christopher D. Kolenda

On the first anniversary of the meltdown of Afghanistan, one of the best ways for the United States to respect the service and sacrifice of Americans and Afghans is to learn from its shortcomings and enact sensible measures that reduce the likelihood of future national security disasters.

Washington’s unenviable track record in post-9/11 military interventions, combined with increasing global volatility, suggests that reform is necessary and urgent to avoid being trapped in another quagmire of broken promises and impossible commitments. Here are three issues that contribute to U.S. failures—and some practical steps the U.S. government can take to prevent more fiascos.

The U.S. government should undertake three low-cost, high-payoff actions to learn from the Afghanistan debacle.

Coordination is impossible without a common playbook. The State and Defense departments are two agencies separated by a common language. The U.S. government has no official national security terms and concepts, so the same words can have different meanings, which makes coordination haphazard and heightens the risk of miscommunication.

Read the full article from Foreign Policy.

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