"If the U.S. Army's current experience in ongoing overseas operations like those in Iraq and Afghanistan are any indication, reconstruction has become an integral part of the American way of war. And judging from the disappointing results of reconstruction efforts in these operations, measured mostly in terms of the effect that such efforts have had on the course of these wars, there is much lacking in the Army's understanding of reconstruction itself and the role that it will likely play in all future operations, especially in counterinsurgencies (COIN). Reconstruction is defined in current Army doctrine as 'the process of rebuilding degraded, damaged, or destroyed political, socioeconomic, and physical infrastructure of a country or territory to create the foundation for long-term development.' The term itself has been used in the recounting of the history of U.S. warfare for quite some time, most notably first applied to the period of rebuilding after the Civil War. The Marshall Plan and associated activities that took place in Europe and Japan in the wake of World War II represent reconstruction's finest hour. But it is only recently that reconstruction has been viewed as an integral part of operations that are under way as opposed to some sort of post-conflict or post-crisis activity."
Strategic Studies Institute: http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil