A Steep Hill
March 20, 2008
The difficulties experienced during U.S.-led interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq and the increasing recognition of the threat posed by ungoverned spaces have once again placed fragile states at the forefront of the U.S. national security agenda. Yet, the United States remains ill-equipped to meet the challenges of stabilization and reconstruction. There is a lack of coordination and strategic engagement within the U.S. government and no clear legislative authority for an overall strategic plan.
This study—the first to examine the role of Congress in strengthening fragile states before, during, and after interventions—identifies key legislative and executive branch obstacles to effective stabilization and reconstruction operations and explores opportunities for a new grand bargain that embodies goals both branches support.
Frederick Barton and Karin von Hippel are codirectors of the CSIS Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project. Derek Chollet is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Mark Irvine is a research assistant in the CSIS Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project. Bradley Larson is a research analyst at the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.