For the sake of comparison, the U.S. military is equipped with doctrine that guides its decisions and actions. This guidance is the basis for decision-making, planning, education, training, and implementation on the ground. Yet more than a decade after U.S. troops crossed the River Sava to help build peace in Bosnia and years after entering Afghanistan, civilian agencies of the U.S. government still lack any comprehensive strategic guidance. No guidance exists to inform decision makers, planners, or practitioners who deploy from civilian agencies to understand exactly what these missions are all about. In cloakrooms and conference rooms, in forward operating bases and humanitarian compounds, those who are engaged in these operations ask: what are we trying to achieve? The Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction is an attempt to fill this gap.