Jonathan Robinson, Kauffman Foundation
Lacey Graverson, Kauffman Foundation
Combined military, university program would prepare government employees to help post-conflict economies, governments succeed
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.), June 30, 2011 – The United States should establish a new school of military government focused on creating a scalable cadre of nation-building experts, according to the new paper "Revisiting a School of Military Government," the third paper in the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Expeditionary Economics Research Series to reconsider the United States' approach to military and civilian development in areas stricken by conflict and natural disasters.
Such a new school would be based on the model of the WWII-era School of Military Government (SOMG) and its Civil Affairs Training Program, established by the U.S. Army in 1942, which proved highly effective in rapidly training several thousand military officers and civilian experts to support the successful transitions to civilian government in postwar Germany and Japan.
"Given our current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their extraordinary cost in resources, rethinking how the U.S. military plans and implements transitions after hostilities is vital," said author Rebecca Patterson, Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. "Establishing a school to provide specialized training in helping postwar nations build stable economies would close this important training gap."
The paper points to the previous School of Military Government, which was based in Charlottesville, Va., but partnered with several universities including Harvard, Stanford and the University of Chicago, to offer Civil Affairs Training Schools (CATS) as the demand for civil affairs experts grew rapidly during WWII. Curricula among the schools varied, with SOMG graduates focused on higher-level military strategy and CATS graduates focused on local/regional efforts; the system’s flexibility allowed the United States to quickly ramp up its training efforts as more personnel were needed. A new such program, as described in the paper, would provide rigorous training in areas such as rule of law, economic stability, governance, public health and welfare, infrastructure, and public education and information.
With nation building a critical part of current – and most likely future – U.S. military engagements, Patterson said, this model for educating nation-builders to both implement and oversee the complexities of a postwar transition would have numerous benefits:
- A new School of Military Government would help fill the need for nation-building expertise beyond what civil affairs alone can provide.
- Like its predecessor, the faculty would conduct research and publish manuals pertaining to the countries likely to require some form of nation building.
- Intelligence and strategists would receive targeted training and education to better advise military commanders throughout the war planning process.
- The program would rely more on expertise than on traditional hierarchy-based military training models, allowing officers and civilian experts alike to complete training more quickly and be positioned in their areas of specialization.
- The school would create a mechanism for drawing experts into and out of the military to serve as nation-builders at a level commensurate with their experience.
- Creating a dedicated training program for strategic nation-building skills could reduce the United States’ dependency on contractors in post-conflict scenarios, providing potential cost savings and reducing legal issues related to the handling by contractors of “inherently governmental actions” such as foreign relations.
- The school would serve as a repository for lessons learned and provide reach back capability for those nation-builders actively engaged in their craft, becoming a best practices resource for civil affairs generalists or others needing support.
"A new institution focused on specialized training in nation-building and expeditionary economics skills could not only make our post-conflict interventions more effective, it also could contribute valuable input at the war planning stage," Patterson said. "It can provide the United States a less costly, more effective way to provide this critical expertise to help post-conflict countries stabilize and thrive."
About the Expeditionary Economics Research Series
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Expeditionary Economics Research Series sets a research agenda to reconsider the United States' approach to military and civilian development in areas stricken by conflict and natural disasters. The series will feature research from Kauffman, as well as a number of other civilian and military sources. The inaugural and all subsequent papers in the series will be available at www.expeditionaryeconomics.org.
The concept of Expeditionary Economics (ExpECON) was introduced in 2010 by Kauffman President and CEO Carl Schramm in an article in the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, "Expeditionary Economics: Spurring Growth After Conflicts and Disasters." Schramm argued that economic growth is vital to stability, and the military, as the dominant player in these environments, must sharpen its ability to encourage indigenous entrepreneurship, which is the most effective means to sustainable growth.
With the ExpECON research series, Kauffman seeks to dramatically expand the body of work in this burgeoning field of study. The Foundation is inviting dozens of preeminent military and development thought leaders and practitioners to join in a dialogue on how to improve U.S. development efforts in conflict and disaster zones.
For more information on ExpECON, please visit www.expeditionaryeconomics.org.