Infrastructure Construction in Stability Operations

  • Colonel Andre P. Balyoz

From 2001 through 2014 the United States spent nearly $165 billion on reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a part of these efforts, infrastructure construction programs managed by military engineers during Operations Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Iraqi Freedom (OIF) provided new government facilities, road networks, and utility support infrastructure for the host-nation governments. These efforts reflect the tremendous capabilities of military engineers but they also highlight the importance of aligning work on the ground with national policy and military doctrine. This paper recommends: 1. Department of State taking the lead for stabilization and reconstruction; 2. Defining the scope of reconstruction as an interagency team before beginning; 3. Involving the host-nation in planning, prioritization, and oversight; and 4. Establishing security and legitimacy prior to beginning construction.