US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States
The US military and its unified action partners have determined that rapid execution of economic and infrastructure development tasks reduces the probability that a post-conflict state will return to war. Additionally, consecutive presidential administrations and joint doctrine have declared civilian experts best suited to lead development efforts except when security concerns deny their access to the public. However, history portrays American reconstruction operations as plagued by understaffed aid agencies, disjointed planning, and non-permissive environments conspiring to delay meaningful economic stabilization and infrastructure repair. This monograph poses the question should the military assume leadership of post-conflict economic and infrastructure development during the critical early weeks following the end of organized resistance The paper offers Operations Joint Guardian and Iraqi Freedom as historical case studies to demonstrate that the armed forces possess unique advantages, to include physical presence and organizational structure, making them well suited to implement peacebuilding economic policies after war. The study concludes with recommendations for campaign planners generating options and requesting resources for economic and infrastructure development tasks during stability operations.