Revisiting a School of Military Government: How Reanimating a World War II-Era Institution Could Professionalize Military Nation Building
Kauffman Foundation Research Series: Expeditionary Economics No. 3
24 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2011
Date Written: June 2011
In the last decade, the United States has found itself fully immersed in nation building, despite its alleged distaste for such endeavors. U.S. military forces in particular have been at the center of these efforts, building schools in Iraq, staffing Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) throughout Afghanistan and training soldiers in Mozambique. U.S. Army platoon leaders hand out micro grants to small business owners and help stand up city councils. Civil servants who once trained for peacetime development work now find themselves mediating tribal disputes in remote mountain provinces. Regardless of the efficacy of such efforts, public statements by both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggest that nation building and related activities are preferred solutions in the war against terrorism. Yet despite the enormous complexity and ambition of such efforts, there remains a gap in the training and education for nation building.
This paper details the U.S. Army-established School of Military Government and its related Civil Affairs Training Program that prepared forces for occupational duties in Europe and Asia. It highlights the demonstrated effectiveness both of its curriculum and approach to education and of its impact on the occupation of Germany and Japan, which offer important lessons for today’s military faced with similar challenges. If nation building, particularly with economic growth as a key component, is to assume a greater role as a component of foreign policy or national security strategy, it needs to consume a greater role of our planning, analysis, and organizational design. Civil Affairs and several other functional areas within the military play a significant role in aspects of nation building today and would benefit from education focused on such matters. Other beneficial initiatives would include creating a mechanism for drawing experts into and out of the military to serve as nation-builders at a level commensurate with their experience, providing a more effective and less expensive option than hiring contractors.
Keywords: expeditionary economics, nation building, military, economic growth
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