Economic Development in Counterinsurgency Building a Stable Second Pillar
Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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To be victorious against an insurgency, counterinsurgents must build host-nation government legitimacy within the population by providing effective security, responsive governance, and sufficient economic development. When the United States US decides that it is in its interest to assist other nations battle insurgencies, it should consider how best to accomplish these three objectives. Within the security mission, US Army and Marine Corps leaders have codified the US approach in a an official publication, but US economic development experts have not yet put forth a similar strategy to guide development activities or inform their security and governance counterparts. To fill the gap, this paper lays out five key economic development principles that should be used to form the basis of any development COIN strategy host-nation government legitimacy, mission synchronization, simultaneous tactical and operational development, HN capacity building, and responsiveness to local input. It also proposes the use of a four-phase development model composed of Shape, Stabilize, Build, and Transition phases to increase the probability that economic development in COIN will have its intended effect with regard to building government legitimacy and increasing security and governance cooperation. COIN is a difficult task, the success of which relies on a number of complex factors that often fall outside the counterinsurgents control. While these development principles and corresponding model do not guarantee success, they do increase the probability of a favorable outcome if employed consistently.