The State Department Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization and its Interaction with the Department of Defense

  • July 15, 2005
  • COL John C Buss

Over the past 15 years, the United States has been involved in seven major post-conflict reconstruction and stabilization operations.1 The ad hoc responses that characterized U.S. stabilization efforts in these missions have often proven inadequate. On each mission, our government has struggled to provide a responsive and enduring solution. The consequences have been the unnecessary loss of life, damage to infrastructure, and higher eventual costs for reconstructionand stabilization. Our unpreparedness to respond to the instability in post-war Iraq has met with sharp criticism. In response to these failings, the Bush administration established the U.S. Department ofState (DOS) Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS). This paper will analyze the functions of S/CRS, examine the organization's relationship with the military, and offer Department of Defense (DOD) policy recommendations to improve the interagency cooperation with this new organization.