Bridging Ends to Means: Achieving a Viable Peace in Afghanistan
Air Command and Staff College Maxwell Air Force Base United States
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With a viable state of peace remaining an elusive outcome after eight years in Afghanistan, reappraising the American strategy is now an utmost priority. Adopting the ends ways means construct from Operational Design, this paper proposes a revised set of end states and strategy recommendations commensurate with the resources at hand. To begin, an evaluation of the means at hand reveals a number of hard truths. First, from both operational sustainability and fiscal perspectives, open-ended military escalation is no longer a feasible option. Second, even with the drawdown of Iraqi forces underway, bolstering counterinsurgency forces in Afghanistan will require substantial additional investments in terms of training and equipment, and take more time than anticipated. Last, civilian capacity a crucial component of nation building will be lacking, at least in the short term.