Beyond Minimal Restoration: A Robust Approach to Post Large-Scale Combat Operations   [open pdf - 3MB]

From the Thesis Abstract: "Following a major military conflict, political instability and economic distress can create an environment for insurgencies to thrive, cultivating new and deeper problems and possibly leading to additional conflict. This risk of insurgency makes it critical for the victor to engage in nation-building after the military conflict is over to restore peace and stability and protect its long-term interests in the region. In the past century, the United States has played a powerful role in building nations around the world following substantial conflicts. In recent years, however, the United States has struggled to successfully rebuild nations to ensure the achievement of its longterm goals after it engages in large-scale combat operations, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently, the US military takes a 'minimal restoration' approach to nation-building in these areas, which largely relies on the expertise of the State Department and the US Agency for International Development while minimizing its own role. However, the military holds vastly more resources in comparison to the minimal funding of the State Department. This approach has been largely ineffective, and has enabled ideologically-driven insurgencies to thrive in the region. This monograph evaluates two historical case studies in which the United States successfully nurtured comprehensive nation-building efforts in the Republics of the Philippines and Korea. In these countries, the United States faced a threat that communist-led forces would take over the countries, extending the influence of the Soviet Union. With the goal of building strong democratic countries that could stand as bulwarks against communism, the United States built up both nations' infrastructure, economy, and political system. Today, both nations remain fully democratic and have top 50 economies in the world. These case studies provide insights into how the United States should approach reconstruction following large-scale combat operations."

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