Civil-Military Relations, Fostering Development, and Expanding Civilian Capacity

Posted in United States | 23-Apr-09 | Author: Frederick Barton and Noam Unge| Source: CSIS

This is a critical moment for the United States' approach to global engagement. Concerns have been rising over an apparent imbalance in American statecraft, principally resulting from too heavy a reliance on the military.

On February 11, 2009, more than 40 policy experts and practitioners convened at Brookings to discuss efforts to build civilian stabilization capacity within the U.S. government's international affairs agencies and broader efforts to reform U.S. foreign assistance. The day-long workshop also sought to explore pathways for rebalancing civilian-military roles and to ensure necessary increases in civilian capacity. This event was hosted by Brookings Global Economy and Development and the Center for Strategic and International Studies Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project with the generous support of the Connect US Fund. Workshop participants offered a range of expertise in defense, diplomacy, and development, as well as varying perspectives from the executive branch, Capitol Hill, civil society and the research community.

This brief report attempts to capture and distill the themes and insights that emerged over the course of the workshop's exchanges, and it also presents further research questions and future steps. The project will publish a more detailed report with our findings and recommendations in the summer of 2009.

This brief is divided into five sections:

  1. Rationale for expanding civilian capacity in international development and stabilization.
  2. Proposals for how these objectives could be implemented.
  3. Assessment of the potential political and institutional challenges in implementing the necessary reforms.
  4. Solutions to overcome these challenges.
  5. Questions and issues for further analysis.

Download the full report.