Princeton University Library Catalog

A Warrior’s Peace The U.S. Military and Stability Operations Then, Now, and Moving Forward

Beecher, Zachary [Browse]
Senior thesis
Centeno, Miguel [Browse]
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs [Browse]
Class year:
136 pages
Restrictions note:
Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Summary note:
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan forced a revolution in military thinking that brought stability operations to the forefront while coloring the military as one-part warrior, one part reluctant architect of peace. Despite years of experience in stability operations of this type, previously known as “military operations other than war” (MOOTW), some leaders in the military seemed wholly unprepared while others excelled within operations in Iraq and Afghanistan whose purpose was similar in nature, but different in magnitude and place. Eventually, the military rapidly adapted and confronted the enemy. Now as both wars are winding down and the effects of sequestration will soon take their course, the military will be a reduced force with broader national security responsibility. Somehow it must institutionalize the lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without succumbing to the fog of the “Iraq Effect.” This thesis attempts to understand how the U.S. military, an organization most adept at highly efficient destruction, also consistently play the role of nation-builder. Despite concerns espoused by both military and civilian leadership about appropriateness of this role, the military remains the ideal government entity to execute stability operations. The problem is then how to best develop the military’s capability to execute stability operations and permeate the knowledge through the ranks. To pursue this question, I first examined where the military’s premier capabilities stand and how attitudes and organizational effectiveness change when conducting stability operations. In addition to evaluating political and economic realities that put the military as the primary force of stabilization in the U.S. government, I go on to look at the cases of Somalia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan for insight into the lessons learned and unlearned instability operations. Evidence was gathered on these cases by consulting relevant journalistic and historical pieces, as well as military histories, journals, and doctrinal manuals. Primarydocuments provided to me by General David Petraeus proved critical in understanding the development in strategic thought concerning stability operations. However, most important to the development of this thesis were interviews with senior military and civilian leaders: General David Petraeus, Admiral Michael Mullen, Brigadier General Mark Martins, Colonel Richard Lacquement, Colonel Gregory Daddis, Lt. Colonel John Nagl, and Anne-Marie Slaughter. Interviews with defense policy experts, such as Frank Hoffman and Janine Davidson, further grounded the discussion ofpolicy details in this thesis. Ultimately, the results suggest that although the military recently made leaps in its capability to conduct stability operations. Political realities and fears of repeating history threaten institutional memory and continued evolution. However, through public-private partnerships, leadership development, adaptive force protection policies, financialstructures for reconstruction projects, and effective training the military can continue to build on the legacy of lessons learned without falling behind in conventional capabilities.