Department of State Responds to General Anthony Zinni’s “Smart Power” Proposal

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Steve Clemons and Anthony Zinni.jpgEditor’s Note: Recently, retired 4-star General Anthony Zinni critiqued what he perceives to be an inability of the Department of State and US AID to change their operational dynamics to confront the realities of state-building in conflict areas and to embrace ‘smart power’ in substance rather than rhetoric. There is both a short clip of a conversation I had with General Zinni — as well as a longer video clip of the event he did at the New America Foundation.
The Department of State has officially responded here to General Zinni which
The Washington Note is pleased to present. — Steve Clemons
CRC_LOGO_lgrey_250_1.jpgResponding to General Anthony Zinni: Civilian Approach to National Security Problem Solving
This is a guest “note” approved by the Department of State and offered by Jeffrey Stacey, a Franklin Fellow in the Department of State’s Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction & Stabilization. He is a professor at Tulane University, where he teaches Political Science and International Relations. Dr. Stacey previously worked for the British government and the European Union, before returning to the U.S. to obtain his PhD from Columbia University.
I am a relative newcomer to the State Department. I have previous government experience but have logged a similar number of years more recently as an academic. Upon arriving at State at the beginning of this administration, this experience allowed me to plunge right in.
And in a world of 40+ failed states, there has been no shortage of work to be done. While I am technically still an outsider, having observed the newest office at State close up, sweated out long hours, and represented the U.S. government abroad, for the rest of this post I will use “we” instead of “I”.
In his September 1, 2009 speech at the New America Foundation, General Anthony Zinni spoke about his proposal for a new partnership effort between the Defense and other departments like State, and recognized that post-conflict work around the world will remain necessary for the U.S. and its allies.
stacey jeff.jpgIn order to achieve stability once the fighting phase is concluded, rapid progress on the political, social, and economic fronts is required. In fact, this smart power concept is already being avidly pursued in a full-fledged interagency effort across the U.S. government, albeit under a slightly different guise.
Whereas General Zinni calls for creating a new military command with DOD playing the lead, something similar to the 1947-style sea change he advocates is already taking place–only with State and USAID in partnership with DOD, as along with the Departments of Homeland Security, Treasury, Justice, Commerce, Agriculture, and Health and Human Services.
Several years ago Congress created a new office in the State Department–the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS)–and tasked it with spearheading a massive collaborative effort not only with DOD, but also including the major domestic policymaking agencies. Thus, a so-called “whole of government” approach to post-conflict stabilization efforts was born. And with eight major agencies involved, it is an impressive thing to behold. At the working level of the U.S. government, this form of U.S. foreign policymaking is doing just that: working.
Here is where recent developments are moving fast and might not be visible to those outside of the U.S. Government. Far beyond merely “throwing money and people at a problem” from “a little office in the State Department,” as General Zinni put it, this whole of government effort is taking root.
In Washington, it’s essential to have three things in order to be effective: mandate, money, and people. S/CRS has been established in law by Congress, given a substantial stand-alone budget, and has developed a highly professional cadre of personnel. The sizable staff consists of a central headquarters office focused on planning and preparation of civilian capabilities and networks of officials from our interagency partners who work with S/CRS regularly, including DOD.
And most importantly, S/CRS and its partners are building the Civilian Response Corps, which has already been funded to include 250 new hires. The Corps is designed as a civilian expeditionary force primarily for deploying to conflict zones, to accomplish tasks more suited to civilian experts than to our armed forces.
Civilian Response Corps hiring and training is well underway. 120 civilian experts will be onboard and trained to deploy abroad by this spring, and the full complement of 250 is expected in 2011. The sum of the three components–Active, Standby, and Reserve–will eventually swell to over 4000 personnel (once congress funds the Reserve component). Our DOD colleagues have greatly encouraged our efforts in S/CRS and have gone so far as to provide operational funds for S/CRS and our interagency partners.
General Zinni calls for a capability that involves a serious planning capability, comprehensive training, specific plans of engagement, regular assessment, and yearly practice (aka exercising), and claims that only the military can carry this off.
In fact, S/CRS and its partners have introduced precisely these elements, to such a degree that a major change in organizational culture–the very kind General Zinni advocates–is now evident. Beyond any reasonable doubt, we are beyond “saluting problems with band-aids.” The idea of a novel capability for tackling the problems presented by the world’s failed states is already coming to fruition.
For example, this past spring S/CRS and U.S. Government agency partners ran an exercise on planning with and deploying the Civilian Response Corps alongside the military, specifically our European combatant command. A phalanx of EUCOM planners at the level of Colonel were sent to plan this exercise with S/CRS. At the conclusion of this process, our military counterparts could not have been more impressed; moreover, one of the consultants commented that he had never seen anything like it in his twenty-five years in the private sector. The exercise itself was a success, with the troublesome parts functioning as teachable moments. We are planning future exercises of a similar sort for next year.
Nevertheless, while the demand for the Civilian Response Corps is unmistakably clear, one significant question remains: Will the Corps be deployed as designed? The challenge here is to overcome a considerable knowledge gap about the Corps and how it relates to the broader system within which it is intended to operate.
Consider this: Every time the U.S. makes a major commitment to a country in peril we end up reinventing the wheel at great cost to both policymakers and the American taxpayers.
The first thing we do is name a high profile official Special Envoy or Representative. Whether it’s Thomas Pickering on Colombia, Robert Gelbard on Kosovo, or James Dobbins on any of a number of hot potatoes handed to him, once this official is named there is no set process by which s/he gathers a team together, no set of tried and true procedures to follow, no staff already allocated to work on the country in question.
Instead, this official starts grabbing staff from all over the place and is essentially forced to wing it, setting off turf wars, interrupting policy streams, and busting budgets all across various bureaus and agencies.
S/CRS and its partners have designed a new system for handling crisis countries to use those lessons learned. In effect, the system within which the Civilian Response Corps operates is as simple as it is important. When country X asks for our assistance, under this system two things happen: 1) A team gets set up in Washington, headed by an official picked by cabinet level officials, and 2) a second team heads out to the U.S. embassy in country X, to assist the ambassador in place. Team 1 is the staff for the key decision making group for the crisis, coordinating closely with Team 2 in country. A third much smaller coordination team will head to the HQ of the military’s combatant command in the region.
The difference here is the staff come largely from S/CRS and interagency partners who are trained and ready for precisely this scenario, who operate according to a set of procedures that allow for efficiency and effectiveness, and who know how to both plan and operate once deployed. Team 2 does a conflict assessment and, with the embassy staff, the local government, and any international partners also operating in country, devises a strategic plan.
Then, for implementation purposes, additional smaller teams arrive in country loaded with civ-mil expertise for stabilizing pre- or post-conflict situations. These small teams in effect are advanced Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), much more civilian than military, and better prepared to transform conflict than the PRTs of today. This system is ready for use in the next major crisis.
So, why reinvent the wheel at such great cost? S/CRS and its partners have already handled numerous small-scale deployments around the world in 25 hot spots, with a team of 20 currently in Afghanistan, and others in and out of places like Pakistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
They have already conducted serious planning efforts in Sudan, Haiti, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Kosovo. The training we put our personnel through is rigorous, with heavy emphasis on planning, deploying, and operating in unsecure environments. We can operate with the military or without it, as the aim is to deploy in whatever capacity is suited to the conflict at hand. We have also begun working with allied governments who have built similar capacities; in addition we are actively working with NATO, the EU, and the UN.
The wholesale change in government culture General Zinni has called for is palpable. As our DOD colleagues have noted, with trained civilians ready to do the post-conflict stabilization, the U.S. military can remain focused on doing what it does better than anyone: fighting and winning wars. Together, these hard and soft tools make up the key elements of America’s new smart power toolbox. There are some conflicts abroad our leadership may choose not to become involved in, but where the U.S. seeks to protect its interests and aid friends in need, S/CRS and its interagency partners are up to the task.
– Jeffrey Stacey

Comments

22 comments on “Department of State Responds to General Anthony Zinni’s “Smart Power” Proposal

  1. Iraqna says:

    What has SCRS accomplished since it has had its congressional mandate? Very little. S/CRS faces some legitimacy problems from within the state department…see evidence of its current move to a venue outside the beltway. the 1207 program, a program S/CRS oversees, has been riddled with implementation problems–urgent and emergent funding arrives 10 months after the fact and then effectively becomes a traditional USAID or INL project. SCRS has had but a few success stories to hang its hat on….there is much to be done before we herald SCRS as the answer to the lack of civilian capacity in conflict and post conflict environments.

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  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I think that the “PissedOffAmerican” needs to get his head out of the toilet”
    I would, but I haven’t figured out a way to exclude Washington DC from these discussions.

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  3. Jim Tracey says:

    I think that the “PissedOffAmerican” needs to get his head out of the toilet.

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  4. Maj Darryl Engelke, USAF, student, Command and General Staff College, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center says:

    Mr. Stacey points out that “recent developments are moving fast and might not be visible to those outside of the U.S. Government.” My question is why are these “developments” not being published and reported on to the American people? We continue to see reports on the failings of the military strategy in Afghanistan. Ms. Kori Schake, in an article in the Wall Street Journal on Sep. 25, stated “When Mr. Obama announced his current Afghanistan policy in March, he said it was “a stronger, smarter, more comprehensive strategy” that would build schools, hospitals, roads, and enterprise zones, addressing issues like energy and trade. Where are those efforts?” I want to see more reporting on the actual efforts of the broader U.S. government in Afghanistan and less of the military efforts. We don’t need to hear about planning deployment exercises with the military as Mr. Stacey proudly stated. Actual projects and accomplishments are needed. I agree with Ms. Schake that the military is doing its job in Afghanistan, “it’s time the rest of the government does its job.”
    We finally have a comprehensive plan for Afghanistan. Will it work? I think it will, if we properly resource all aspects of the plan, not just the military ones.
    “The views expressed in this comment are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.”

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  5. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    concerned citizen…precisely my point in suggesting that the UN stabilize and reconstruct, rather than the US unilaterally…
    My problem is in believing our “stated” goals..
    I think our reason for being in Iraq or Afghanistan, militarilly, have nothing whatsoever to do with “democracy” and everything to do with capitolism…free enterprise..that we only want a democratic process when the result is one that we want, not one that the population wants.
    In countries with great natural resources, we only want a “gov’t” that we can call legitmate, so they rubber stamp mineral leases, etc. If their “democratically” electred gov’t refuses to play along, like in Iraq with their “Oil Law”,we have our private contractors to keep things stirred up to de-stabilize the gov’t…until they get it “right”, our way.
    In my opinion, the only way the hostilites will cease is when we withdraw and the UN does the stabilizing/reconstructing…what would we be “winning” in Afghanistan with 40,000 more human beings pumped into that meat grinder? Finding OBL? Defeating the Taliban… Al Qeada? Puhleeeeze…. they exist because we are there in their midst, meddling in their affairs for how many years now?

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  6. concerned citizen says:

    This is a great inside baseball discussion. But the unanswered and more important questions are why are we playing the game and is it the right game to be playing.
    One reason S/CRS is floundering is because someone has yet to articulate a strategic vision and justification for its existence and mission. It’s one thing to have a humanitarian purpose, along the lines of USAID’s OFDA, but to what ends are we trying as a nation to stabilize and reconstruct other countries? Sure, it would be nice for our foreign policy goals if the world were stable and nicely constructed so as to facilitate our insatiable economic expansion. But it’s not as clear to me whether A) the United States should make it a part of its core foreign policy mission to stabilize and reconstruct countries, nor B) whether such an imperial mission would not be more successful (cheaper, at least, and possibly politically more legitimate) if pursued multilaterally within an international framework.
    I think Washington DC-based nation builders are way ahead of the rest of country on this one. And the inertia at DoD and State is troubling. Bureaucracies in search of a mission, indeed!

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  7. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    POA…no kidding…it’s my way of calling their bluff on the lofty lingo…

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  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I would prefer that we militarilly get our of everywhere and instead, contribute part of the funding to the UN Peacekeepers and Special Advisors…who could restore peace, and help to construct their infrastructures….I think the whole world would support peaceful rebuilding..”
    But then we’d loose control over the country’s, leadership, resources, and assets. Assuming altruistic motives of the scum that drives United States foreign policy and war making is kinda foolish. Motives are the FIRST thing that should be pondered when examining the kind of “my country tis of thee” horseshit Stacey is trying to sell us. There is no money in turning the carnival over to outside entities.

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  9. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    At this point, smart anything would be a vast improvement..overall, I do agree that more use of civilians in the State Dept.is a far better way to reconstruct and rebuild freindly long term relations…preferrably, in co-operation with the UN Special Advisory Services, rather than under the auspices of the Pentagon…
    The Military/Pentagon approach is antithetical to that aim because their role is to search and destroy… and privatized functions that were formerly performed by the military, are too open to graft, and not subject to any laws, are not exactly conducive to friendly chats and ventures…we need to get past “military solutions” thinking.
    I would prefer that we militarilly get our of everywhere and instead, contribute part of the funding to the UN Peacekeepers and Special Advisors…who could restore peace, and help to construct their infrastructures….I think the whole world would support peaceful rebuilding..

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  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Blackwater, Halliburton, KBR, etc. How’s this privatization experiment going for us? What makes the State Department think a bunch of barely out of diaper academics can cobble together less of a clusterfuck than than history tells us these kinds of efforts and bureaucracies become?
    And if we can shut down ACORN for catering to whores and pimps, than what the fuck is Congress still doing in existence?
    Where Is the Defund Blackwater Act?
    by Jeremy Scahill, September 26, 2009
    Republican Congressional leaders are continuing their witch-hunt against ACORN, the grassroots community group dedicated to helping poor and working class people. This campaign now unfortunately has gained bi-partisan legislative support in the form of the Defund ACORN Act of 2009 which has now passed the House and Senate. As Ryan Grim at Huffington Post has pointed out, the legislation “could plausibly defund the entire military-industrial complex:”
    The congressional legislation intended to defund ACORN, passed with broad bipartisan support, is written so broadly that it applies to “any organization” that has been charged with breaking federal or state election laws, lobbying disclosure laws, campaign finance laws or filing fraudulent paperwork with any federal or state agency. It also applies to any of the employees, contractors or other folks affiliated with a group charged with any of those things.
    According to the Project on Oversight and Government Reform, this legislation could potentially eliminate a virtual Who’s Who of war contractors including Lockheed Martin, Boeing and KBR to other corporations such as AT&T, FedEx and Dell.
    Perhaps one of the most jarring comparisons here is the fact that ACORN is now being attacked while the Obama administration continues to contract with Blackwater, the favorite mercenary company of the Bush administration, which is headed by Erik Prince, who was a major donor to Republican causes and campaigns, including those of some of the Defund ACORN bill’s sponsors, including Indiana Republican Mike Pence, one of the key figures in hunting down Van Jones. Prince, of course, was recently described by a former employee as a man who “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”
    At present Blackwater has a $217 million security contract through the State Department in Iraq which was just extended by the Obama administration indefinitely. It holds a $210 million State Department “security” contract in Afghanistan that runs through 2011 and another multi-million dollar contract with the Defense Department for “training” in Kabul. All of this is on top of Blackwater’s clandestine work for the CIA, including continued work on the drone bombing campaign in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This also does not take into account Blackwater’s lucrative domestic work training law enforcement and military forces inside the US at the company’s compounds in North Carolina, California and Illinois, nor the private “security” work it does for entities like the International Republican Institute, nor the work it does in training “Faith Based Organizations.” It also does not include the contracts doled out to Erik Prince’s private CIA called Total Intelligence Solutions, which works for foreign governments and Fortune 500 corporations.
    Then there is this fact: Blackwater was paid over $73 million for its federally-funded, no bid-security contracts with the Department of Homeland Security in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, billing taxpayers $950 per man per day, a spending decision the Bush administration called “the best value to the government.” ACORN, meanwhile, only helped poor people who were suffering as a result of the government’s total and complete failure to respond to Katrina.
    Meanwhile, a recent federal audit of Blackwater, compiled by the State Department and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, suggests the company may have to repay some $55 million to the government for allegedly failing to meet the terms of just one federal contract in Iraq, which, it is important to note, is $2 million more than the total money allotted by the federal government to ACORN over the past 15 years. (The company also cannot account for one federally funded “deep fat fryer” in Iraq, according to the audit).
    Overall, Blackwater has raked in well over $1 billion since 2003 in security contracts alone — all of which were kicked off by a fat no-bid contract to guard L. Paul Bremer. Let’s also remember that Blackwater was estimated in Congressional hearings in 2007 to earn some 90% of its revenue from the federal government and Prince refused to disclose his salary, but said it was over $1 million. Blackwater has been or is being investigated by the US Congress, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Justice Department and the IRS, among other agencies, for a range of issues from arms smuggling to manslaughter to tax evasion. One of its operatives pleaded guilty to killing an innocent, unarmed Iraqi civilian, while five others have been indicted on manslaughter and other charges over the 2007 Nisour Square massacre during which 17 Iraqi civilians were gunned down. The company is also facing a slew of civil lawsuits alleging war crimes and extrajudicial killings in Iraq.
    Here is a question for those Democratic lawmakers that voted in support of the Defund ACORN Act: How do you justify making this a major league legislative priority while Blackwater continues to be armed and dangerous across the globe on the US government payroll? Where is the Defund Blackwater Act?

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  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Geez, it amazes me that anyone can be so enamored of this obvious sales pitch. It conjurs up the mind’s eye imagery of a chorus standing behind Stacey, chanting “Yes we can!!!!” while fireworks light up the night sky.
    Sadly though, those fireworks are the after images of the impacts of smart bombs and white phosphorous, and the REAL chant is provided by history, and the words chanted are “No we can’t”.
    The creation of these monstrous bureaucracies, that need death, military mayhem, and “failed states” to survive, is a sad statement on a nation whose infrastructure is failing at an escalating rate, whose economy is stitched together with worthless thread, and whose global credibility has been shattered by the exact kind of worthless and self destructive product Stacey’s sales pitch tries to con us into buying.
    Stacey will end up rich considering his position. How better to cinch your future than to be involved in a governmental agency that doles out taxpayer money to private industry?
    Frankly, I find Stacey’s sales pitch obscene, in its absolute absurdity, (as demonstrated by history), as well as in its Madison Avenue delivery.
    I meant what I said. This nation would be far better served if someone simply placed a shovel in Stacey’s hands, and expended the thirty minutes it would undoubtedly take to teach him which end of it goes in the dirt.

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  12. Anonymous German in Asia says:

    as a good (former) German General Staff offic er I should start with an apology, so I am sorry for commenting on something very American from a simple German perspective enriched with 9 years experience in Asia
    Listening to General (ret) Zinni and the answer by Jeffrey Stacey, I feel myself thrown back about 10 – 15 years ago, when in Germany was the discussion who is the leader of foreign and security policy. Luckily, the answer lays in the constitution saying that the guideline competency is with the German Chancellor – a political leadership. In times of peace and in bases at home troops and their commanders are willing to accept this overarching rule.
    However, once the military goes abroad many (especially leaders) start challenging the civilian authority and asking the often heard question (open or camouflaged) : “Are civilians able to lead? ” as many military leaders are thinking that they got the “milk for leadership” from their early childhood, military career training and military elite schools as no one else in the country. And even open in a talkative way “acknowledging” the civilian leadership in their deepest heart they do not trust civilian leaders and their capabilities. And this attitude is understandable in a way, as many military leaders were educated to be “special” in terms of their responsibility for the wellbeing of the nation AND their individual soldiers.
    And so, ther e is a frequent call for creating new “task forces”, “operational commands” etc, that sometimes I got the impression, new positions should be chiseled out, to compensate some people who could not yet be promoted due to a lack of general positions.
    But, many of the military leaders forget, that long before they arrive with their first official or covered reconnaissance teams, many other agencies – historically lead by special envoys from the head of state (on a temporarily base) or the ministry of Foreign Affairs on a permanent base (Embassies) followed by trade missions, humanitarian and development missions – are already in place and have their experiences. Of course not experiences of fighting war or handling high technology, but so-called “soft power” experiences, which are often neglected by the military leaders.
    I remember my former tank brigade commander discussing with farmers after a maneuver in winter time resulted in heavy damages of farmland saying at one point in the discussion: “I am not telling you how to plant your potatoes – and you are not telling me how to train my troops”. I am not agreeing with this point of view, as the military has to protect the ones without weapons so they should listen honestly20to their feelings.
    And in my opinion, this should be also the case in big politics: Not to create new military positions and justifying more military budget but cooperate and listen HONESTLY to the civilians even or especially if they are in leading positions. The civilians also have their weaknesses but which military does not have? Vice versa, civilians have also their strength which they can better allocate in a cooperative environment, where military is part of the executive (= implementing) body rather than the leader. Military advisors and specialists as support for the civilian political decision making process is one side, but the “primate of politics” should be stronger incorporated din the military training, so that also in a mission abroad these principles are not forgotten.
    So, I am happy with the answer of Jeffrey, because in my opinion all state agencies working in the environment of a foreign state should be lead by the State Department with the support from all other agencies. And if the Secretary of State is not acceptable for the DOD, then, yeah then the leadership is with the President of the United States as the others are all Secretaries.
    But, luckily, the President of the United States is a civilian.

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  13. Lurker says:

    Steve,
    Great exchange you are revving up here between one of America’s greatest generals and the young Mr. Stacey of the State Department. It’s not quite “Gladiator” but it’s not supposed to be. You are doing an outstanding service for the nation and reminding us how political debate should be done.
    Thank you. My son plans to write a paper for his high school on the issues in this post.

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  14. jonst says:

    Send them all to cosmetology school!

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  15. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    The Jeffrey Stacey argument seems very much comprehensive and lucid yet there is an exigency to project the US smart power doctrine beyond the cost-benefit doctrine’s expediencies entailed in it.

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  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The Corps is designed as a civilian expeditionary force primarily for deploying to conflict zones, to accomplish tasks more suited to civilian experts than to our armed forces”
    Do you have an Electrocution Supervisor yet???? I understand Halliburton’s just quit.

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  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And in a world of 40+ failed states, there has been no shortage of work to be done”
    You look young and able. Why not get a friggin’ shovel and fix the pothole in my cul de sac?

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  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “S/CRS has been established in law by Congress, given a substantial stand-alone budget, and has developed a highly professional cadre of personnel. The sizable staff consists of a central headquarters office focused on planning and preparation of civilian capabilities and networks of officials from our interagency partners who work with S/CRS regularly, including DOD”
    Another government behemoth that can’t exist without a perpetual state of war, sucking up taxpayer money like an engorged leech.

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  19. JohnH says:

    I agree with POA.
    And please tell me what’s wrong with the Dumb Power the US has been deploying for the last 50 years? It’s what built the Empire!
    Now Zinni has to take Dumb Power and make it Smart. The nerve of the man! And besides, what’s good for BAE is good for America, even if BAE is a British company!

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  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Thus, a so-called “whole of government” approach to post-conflict stabilization efforts was born. And with eight major agencies involved, it is an impressive thing to behold”
    Yeah, I’m sure we are all especially “impressed” with the “post conflict stabilization efforts” in Iraq.
    Of course we don’t need to worry about this in Afghanistan, for there probably won’t be any “post conflict” period. At least, not until we pull the inevitable “Saigon style” exit. Then “stabilization” will be the least of our concerns.
    “So, why reinvent the wheel at such great cost?”
    Uhm, because it doesn’t work????
    (How do you people dream this shit up?)

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  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “As our DOD colleagues have noted, with trained civilians ready to do the post-conflict stabilization, the U.S. military can remain focused on doing what it does better than anyone: fighting and winning wars. Together, these hard and soft tools make up the key elements of America’s new smart power toolbox. There are some conflicts abroad our leadership may choose not to become involved in, but where the U.S. seeks to protect its interests and aid friends in need, S/CRS and its interagency partners are up to the task”
    http://www.theonion.com/content/news/nadir_of_western_civilization_to?utm_source=a-section
    Nadir Of Western Civilization To Be Reached This Friday At 3:32 P.M.
    (Which is more nonsensical? Stacey’s statement, quoted above, or the Onion piece?)

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  22. DCpolitico says:

    Steve,
    Thanks very much for posting this fascinating outline of what the State Department is doing in the civil reconstruction wing of post-conflict zones. Really excellent essay by Jeffrey Stacey.
    I think your comment function was off here earlier today and am glad that it is now on as I have been wanting to commend you, General Zinni, Professor Stacey, and the Department of State for engaging in a serious discussion and debate about a very serious challenge for the nation.
    I do not believe that I want the entire apparatus of our diplomatic and peace-building operations dominated by the Pentagon, but that’s the way things have been going for a long time as Anthony Zinni states in the longer video program that you moderated at the New America Foundation Steve. Zinni paid respect to Dana Priest and her book The Mission, which argues that the Military is becoming the defacto State Department and AID anyway.
    But I don’t think that this is ultimately good for the nation or the world, and I strongly applaud the expansion of the resources and capabilities of the Reconstruction and Stabilization office at State.
    Really excellent to see this kind of high quality debate SOMEWHERE in the blogosphere, and so glad it is here.
    Thanks for getting the comments function working. I was going to go crazy if I couldn’t comment on this.
    Thanks Steve!

    Reply

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